Easily among the most beautiful islands in all of Croatia, Hvar is a Mediterranean paradise. The island is at the top of any Croatian itinerary, with some of the best beaches and restaurants on the Dalmatian Coast. On the west side of the island lies Hvar Town, a buzzing city rich in history and life.
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The cobblestone streets create a maze of renaissance architecture and medieval fortresses that rub shoulders with nightclubs and wine bars. While Hvar has a party town reputation, its charm and beauty offer so much more. We spent our days in Hvar cruising the white pebbled beaches, sailing into caves, or galavanting through lavender fields.
So, if you find yourself in the glistening Adriatic Sea and are wondering what to do in Hvar, these sights and activities won’t disappoint.
Here are our top picks for things to do in Hvar, along with the best hotels and restaurants.
How to Get to Hvar Island, Croatia
The easiest way of getting to Hvar Island is to fly into Dubrovnik or Split and take the ferry. The island has 4 ferry ports in Hvar Town, Stari Grad, Jelsa, and Sucuraj, so you can take your pick. The Kapetan Luka catamaran from Dubrovnik runs once daily during the high season and takes just over 3 hours. It costs 230 KN per person and will bring you right into Hvar Town.
Even closer, travellers arriving from Split can board either a foot or a car ferry from 3 different companies. Jadrolinija runs catamarans to all of Hvar’s ports up to 16 times daily during the high season! Tickets run 40-110 KN per person and sailings take 1-2 hours depending on your port. Lastly, if you hired a car on the mainland, you can hop on Jadrolinija’s car ferry to Stari Grad for 310 KN per car.
Best Time to Visit
The summer months in Hvar see hoards of tourists on packed beaches with beach bars filled to the brim. If you’re keen to visit Hvar Town to indulge in its bustling party scene, then July and August is when you’ll find it most lively.
We prefer the shoulder season when things aren’t as crowded and dinner reservations are aplenty. We recommend visiting Hvar in spring or fall when it’s less busy and the weather is still absolutely lovely. But be careful to not push your visit too far into the Fall, as we discovered during our visit in October, many of the Hvar bars, restaurants and attractions shut their doors at the end of September.
Best Things to do in Hvar, Croatia
1. Visit the Beaches
Hvar Island is bordered with stunning beaches from coast to coast. Whether you’re visiting the island to relax, party, or sightsee, exploring Hvar beaches is a definite must. You’ll be spoiled with postcard-worthy places to sunbathe and plunge into the shimmer of the Adriatic Sea. Here are a few of our favourites of the best beaches in Hvar:
Nested in pine trees and olive groves, Dubovica Beach is a picturesque pebble beach in a peaceful cove. You’ll need to hire a car or boat to travel the 8 km from Hvar Town but the trip is worth it! Dubovica is a great picnic spot and one of the best places to go diving in Hvar.
Pokonji Dol Beach
Just a 20 minute walk from the city centre, Pokonji Dol is one of Hvar’s top attractions. You’ll usually find the beach lined with sunbeds while heads bob around in the gorgeous turquoise waters. It’s an easy beach to reach from Hvar Town and the perfect place to launch a kayak or enjoy a seaside lunch at a konoba.
If you’re in search of a beach even closer to Hvar Town than Pokonji Dol, Bonj Beach is it. The public area at the foot of Hotel Amfora shares a bay with the luxe Hvar Beach Club. Keep your eyes peeled for glitzy celebrities while you’re splashing around in the crystal clear water.
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2. Go Kayaking
Seeing Hvar Town from the water reveals a totally different perspective than at street level. The best (and most affordable) way to do this is aboard a kayak. There are plenty of places in town that offer rentals so you can get out and hit the sea.
We’d recommend cruising around the coast of Hvar or venturing over to the Pakleni Islands if you’re up for it. The paddle usually takes about an hour each way and there are lots of pebble beaches on shore to ground. Full day rentals start at 300 KN. Alternatively, spend a lovely evening on a sunset kayaking tour when the water is at its calmest.
3. Sail Around the Pakleni Islands
Just off the coast of Hvar Island, the neighbouring Pakleni Islands, or Paklinski Islands, are perfect for a day trip. The chain of 16 islands have amazing beaches—including those of the nude variety—and lots of charming restaurants. Visiting the Pakleni Islands is a special experience and seriously one of the best things to do in Hvar.
Your options for reaching the islands are to hire a boat with a skipper, join a tour, or become your own captain for the day. For total relaxation, a full day sailing tour is the way to go. You’ll set sails on a 37 ft (11.2 m) racing sailboat and weave through the stunning archipelago. Jump in for a swim or throw on a snorkel before settling in for lunch and cocktails at a small family-owned beach bar.
For a more hands-on experience, renting and driving your own boat is sure to be a memorable adventure. A number of companies in Hvar have a fleet of small, easy-to-drive cruisers that are surprisingly affordable. Spend the day exploring the Pakleni Islands on your own schedule for just 500 KN including insurance.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to check out some of the islands’ unforgettable places. Two of our favourite beaches near Hvar are on the Pakleni Islands. Mlini Beach on Otok Marinkovac is a dreamy oasis with an amazing open-air restaurant to match. Similarly, Palmizana Beach feels like a real slice of paradise.
And if your trip won’t allow for a full day on the water, an evening sail is a must. This 2-hour Sunset Cruise With Wine is an ideal way to end a busy day exploring Hvar Town. Sip and snack as the water shimmers in the sunset—surely one of the most romantic things to do in Hvar.
4. Stroll Around Old Town
Old Town Hvar is a maze of cobblestone streets and historic buildings that ooze character. You can easily get lost as you wind through the alleyways and skinny steps that make Croatia so magical. We mean getting lost in a good way, of course, as you often discover the best things when you’re not looking for them.
Naturally, as St. Stephen’s Square is the main square of Hvar Town, it’s a great place to explore and people watch. Grab a cup of coffee and admire the Venetian renaissance architecture that surrounds the Old Town meeting place.
St Stephens Square is also home to the extraordinary 14th century masterpiece that is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The iconic bell tower landmark and can be seen from much of Hvar Harbour. The Cathedral of St Stephen looks especially pretty lit up in the evening glow that fills the town square.
Similarly, the Franciscan Monastery is one of the most emblematic things to see in Hvar. It’s perched above a peaceful cove wrapped with lavish gardens that’s just a short stroll from Hvar Harbour. A 300 year old cypress tree accents the gardens while the Franciscan Monastery features artwork by famed Venetian painters. Step inside to admire the massive painting of The Last Supper and gaze at works by Stefano Celesti and Palma Junior.
5. Admire the View from Spanjola Fortress
From the streets of Old Town, you may only see a large stone wall hovering over the red rooftops and alleyways. This 16th century marvel is Fortica Španjola, an enormous fortress that was once the site of shelter during historic attacks. Commonly referred to as Hvar Fort, the fortress features ancient canons and a labyrinth of passageways.
But, what makes Spanjola Fortress one of the top things to do in Hvar is its magnificent panoramic views. In true Croatia fashion, you’ll need to climb up a very long set of steps from St. Stephen’s Square. The steps will open up to the highest place in Hvar Town at Spanjola Fortress. Here, you can look out over the entire town and watch the Pakleni Islands sparkle in the glimmer of the Adriatic Sea.
6. Sniff Lavender in Velo Grablje
Legend has it that the small village of Velo Grablje was once the home to Croatia’s gold rush—of lavender that is. If you’ve ever visited Hvar Island, the aroma of lavender has surely delighted your nose. In Velo Grablje, it’s believed that a lovestruck farmer grew endless lavender fields which he then turned into oils and struck gold.
Nowadays, you can visit the village as it gets revived to its former glory after years of being abandoned. The village hosts an annual Lavender Festival in June and boasts stunning views of Hvar Island and the sea. To reach Velo Grablje, follow the main highway toward Stari Grad some 15 minutes from Hvar Town.
7. Take a Boat Trip to the Blue and Green Caves
Day tours to nearby islands are one thing on nearly every Hvar travellers’ bucket list. If you’re seeking unique attractions beyond the usual beaches, add visiting a cave to your agenda. This Cave Tour showcases two of Hvar’s coolest spots, the Blue and Green Caves.
On the tour, the first stop is Ravnik Island where you’ll be able to swim in the emerald waters of the Green Cave. Next, you’ll head to Bisevo Island, home to the iconic Blue Cave.
As the sun shines through the caves, the water lights up in vibrant jewel tones. It creates a magical place to swim and is one of the most fascinating things to do in Hvar.
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8. Tour Local Vineyards
Croatia is known for fantastic Mediterranean wines with many of its best grapes coming from Hvar. Just like the quintessential olive oil, Hvar wines are a fabulous addition to any seaside meal. There’s no shortage of wine bars in Hvar Town, but we always enjoy going to the source and tasting at a vineyard.
The main winemaking region of Hvar Island is in Jelsa. It’s about 30 minutes outside of Hvar Town, best visited on a Wine Tasting Tour. On this 3 hour tour, a family of winemakers share insight on the quality and traits of Dalmatian wines. You’ll be treated to a vineyard tour and wine sampling, paired with a spread of local appetizers.
9. Have Lunch in Mekicevica Bay
Mekicevica Bay is one of the best places to visit in Hvar for a secluded day of sunshine. The only way to get there is on a footpath from Pokonji Dol Beach that winds through the pine forest. At the end of the 20-minute walk, you’ll be treated to an incredible beach far from the crowds of town.
After enjoying Mekicevica Beach, make your way up to Robinson for a delightful spread of homemade fare. This charming restaurant offers authentic Dalmatian cuisine served under a canopy of pine and olive trees.
Where to Eat & Drink in Hvar, Croatia
Hvar Town is abuzz with glitzy restaurants and stylish cocktail bars. Here are a few of our top picks for places to wine and dine beyond the usual contenders.
In a city known for its vibrant nightlife, it’s rare to find a chill spot away from the crowds. Meanwhile, hidden high above Hvar’s main square, Teraca Bar is exactly that. This cozy retreat has an amazing outdoor terrace where you can watch as waves of tourists pass through St. Stephen’s Square. Grab a cocktail, listen to the music, and enjoy the view! Teraca doesn’t advertise (or even have a website) so you’ll be in on the secret at one of the best bars in Hvar.
Hvar is full of beach bars but there’s something special about Falko. Similar to Teraca, it feels far from Hvar nightlife and has an unpretentious vibe that can be hard to find. Falko proudly serves a menu of homemade snacks, including vegetarian dishes, and reasonably priced cocktails. It’s an idyllic place to watch the sunset and soak in views of the sea and nearby islands.
Set on the edge of the picturesque Hvar Riva, DiVino Restaurant has some of the best views in town. The menu showcases Croatian cuisine at its best with amazing wines and a chef’s choice tasting menu. Dining at DiVino is in itself one of the best things to do in Hvar, Croatia.
For a taste of authentic Dalmatian cuisine, look no further than Konoba Menego. Absolutely everything is local and homemade and so, so delicious. Try the papucice, a mouthwatering dish of seasonal vegetables sprinkled with almonds and local figs. And don’t forget to pair your meal with a regional wine from Jelsa!
Where to Stay in Hvar, Croatia
Just like restaurants, accommodation in Hvar is plentiful. Check out these gems for a memorable stay.
In Hvar Town
For a luxurious island experience, Hotel Adriana is a chic spot overlooking the harbour. It’s a short walk to all of Hvar Town’s landmarks and has a pool, rooftop bar, and spa onsite. The boutique hotel offers suites and glamorous penthouses with incredible views starting at 1,725 KN per night.
Just outside of St. Stephen’s Square, Villa Nora is a restored 14th century palace in the heart of Hvar. The rooms blend modern and traditional with exposed beams and stone accents. The hotel is a great launch point for exploring Hvar and Lucullus – the hotel’s restaurant, is fantastic. Rooms start at just 905 KN per night.
Villa Perka in Sveta Nedjelja
Settle into eco-luxury just 30 minutes outside of Hvar Town in Sveta Nedjelja at Villa Perka. The stone villas are surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation and boast incredible views from the rooms and swimming pool. Villa Perka is the first eco-friendly retreat in Hvar, with an emphasis on local products, natural cleaners, and celebrating the community. Villas start at 1,500 KN per night.
Cast Away in Gromin Dolac
For a truly unique experience, camping in Hvar at Cast Away is pure bliss. This eco-resort in Gromin Dolac, 50 minutes outside of Hvar Town, offers cozy beach huts steps from the water. The grounds are lined with hammocks and sunbeds, along with activity rentals like kayaks and mountain bikes. Cast Away is fully off-grid with solar power and rainwater collection. Huts at the Cast Away start at 340 KN per night.
Essential Travel Info & FAQs
How long do you need in Hvar?
To explore the island of Hvar, we recommend staying 3-4 days. You only really need one day to see the sights of this town, but you’ll want to plan for visiting nearby beaches and islands.
Is Hvar expensive?
Hvar is known to attract an up-market crowd with its buzzing nightlife scene. That said, it can get pretty pricey compared to other Croatian islands. Bars, restaurants, and hotels in Hvar Town will generally be more expensive than smaller towns on the island. But that’s not to say that it can’t be enjoyed on a budget, of course.