City walls and sea in Hvar

Top 15 Things to Do on Hvar

What to expect when visiting Hvar

Hvar is Croatia’s 4th biggest and longest island, but that’s not what Hvar became famous for.

It’s the relaxing beaches and crystal-clear waters that are regularly featured in the top ten lists. And did we already share that Hvar Island is home to the highest number of UNESCO sites in the world?

Whatever the reason, people fall in love with the island of Hvar. They can’t help but embrace the friendly atmosphere, indulge in the spectacular Mediterranean cuisine and enjoy a bit of glitz.

The island that offers something for everyone

Hvar has beaches, old towns steeped in history and an archipelago of islands nearby to explore.

A younger crowd is attracted by its lively and glamorous nightlife. Whilst couples, friends and families see it as the ideal location for a relaxing holiday.

TIP: When people mention Hvar, most will actually be referring to Hvar Town where a lot of the action happens. Hvar is more than that. It’s the longest island in the Adriatic sea, offering several more areas to stay and explore.

How long should you spend on Hvar island?

People visit Hvar for various lengths of time. Some people visit Hvar as their only holiday destination and end up spending a week or more.

For others, Hvar is a stop along their journey through Croatia. Some only spend the day on Hvar as part of a boat tour.

We think that 3-4 days is a good amount of time to spend on the island. This will give you time to explore multiple towns on the island, as well as have a beach day where you do absolutely nothing.

Top 3 tours on and around Hvar

#1 Get lost in the cobblestone streets of Hvar Town

Main square in Hvar Town

Whether you’re staying in Hvar Town or somewhere else on the island, Hvar Town is a place that you need to explore.

The best way to discover Hvar Town? Just get lost! 

Wander through its cobblestone streets, stumble upon hidden cosy cafes and admire the stunning architecture all around you.

Where should you visit?

Medieval stone streets in Hvar Town

The Old Town is steeped in history. With the 700-year-old city walls still standing today, you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, but with a modern twist.

The waterfront promenade of Hvar Town isn’t to be missed either. Lined with tropical palm trees, you will find the world’s most expensive yachts docked at Hvar Towns harbour.

In the background on the hills, you’ll see Fortica Fortress towering over the town.

Some other top spots to visit whilst in Hvar Town are St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hvar theatre and the Franciscan monastery (see #12).

#2 Spend the day on Hvar’s breathtaking beaches

Crystal-blue waters at Malo Zarace Beach

Croatia’s beaches are world-renowned, often making it onto the top ten lists. They’re that good! 

You’re on an island, the sun is shining. What better way to spend the day than lounging on the beach and taking refreshing swims in Croatia’s crystal clear waters?

There are plenty of beautiful beaches scattered around the coastline of Hvar Island.

Do keep in mind that just like in the rest of Croatia, the beaches in Hvar are generally rocky. You’ll find a few sandy beaches in the northern part of Hvar, but the beaches we selected below consist of small stones.

But hey, at least the sand doesn’t stick everywhere, so you can make your way straight from the beach to one of Hvar suburb beach clubs!

Here are our three favourite beaches on Hvar Island:

Dubovica Beach

Traditional stone house overlooking Dubovica Beach

Only a 15-minute drive from Hvar Town, you’ll find Dubovica beach. It may be one of the best on the island, or even in the whole of Croatia.

Visiting this slice of paradise requires a small walk from the main road, but it’s certainly worth it. The small cove is surrounded by greenery and a traditional stone house on one side.

With its picturesque turquoise waters, you can’t find a more Croatian beach than this one.

When you need a break from the sun, there’s a small and inviting beach bar to grab a drink or some food in.

Pokonji Dol Beach

Pokoniji dol beach is a 30-minute walk from the Old Town

Don’t want to go by car? Pokonji dol is one of the best beaches close to Hvar Town and only a short 30-minute walk from the Old Town.

If you fancy an escape from Hvar’s harbour town, Pokonji dol is the place to go to. You probably won’t be the only one with the same idea, though. It can get pretty busy here!

Pokonji dol is basically another Croatian dream beach.

Sandwiching the beach, you’ll find delicious and traditional restaurants on either side. Serving the freshest catch of the day, you can’t go wrong here if you fancy fish for lunch or an early dinner.

Prapatna Beach

Incredible waters at Prapatna Beach

Prapatna Beach is pretty much on the other end of the spectrum from Pokonji Dol when it comes to the number of visitors. As it’s situated on the north of the island, close to Jelsa, you’ll find far fewer tourists here.

The beach is no less beautiful, though, if anything even more so.

The peace and tranquillity create a secret haven that feels intimate and special.

#3 Admire some incredible views from Fortica Fortress

Fortica Fortress sat on the hilltop over Hvar Town

North of the square in Hvar Town and up some steps, you’ll find Fortica Fortress, known by the locals as Španjola.

It’s an iconic sight of Hvar.

The long and dynamic history of Fortica Fortress

Fortica Fortress offers views of Hvar and the Pakleni islands

The fort dates back to the beginning of the 16th century during Venetian rule and was reconstructed in 1579.

The first attempts of construction actually began in 1282, but it took several centuries to be finished. It was probably not the smartest idea to fund a building with the sale of salt.

The fort, initially used as a military structure, is now home to a collection of artefacts covering the fort’s history. Best of all, the fort offers an incredible (sunset) view over Hvar town.

Peek over its walls, and you’ll see panoramic views of Hvar and the collection of Pakleni islands scattered in the sea.

Entrance to the Fortica Fortress costs €5.30.

The fort opens at 09:00 in the morning and stays open till late, around 21:00, making it a perfect place to watch the sunset over Hvar Town.

TIP: Our compact Hvar Travel Guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Hvar!

#4 Join a boat trip to explore the Blue Lagoon and Pakleni Islands 

Ariel view of Blue Lagoon

Hvar is surrounded by idyllic islands that you don’t want to miss out on seeing.

It’s a perfect way to spend the day – in the sun, swimming, snorkelling and discovering Croatia’s underwater world.

There are tons of boat trips to pick from in Hvar, each one offering different destinations, durations and inclusions.

Decide what you want to see and go from there.

Which boat trip should you pick?

Join a boat trip from Hvar

We’d recommend joining this fun-packed 8-hour boat trip. This way, you’ll see all of Hvar’s iconic spots like the famous Blue Lagoon, Green Cave, Vis and the Pakleni Islands. Plus, you can enjoy a delicious lunch on the Pakleni Islands.

For €100, you’ll feel like you’re on an exclusive private boat trip due to the small group size. It’s likely to be one of your favourite days in Croatia!

Book your Hvar boat trips here:

#5 Sail or kayak to the stunning Pakleni Islands

Kayaks on the beach

Ironically, Pakleni translates to Hell Islands. The islands couldn’t be any further from their name.

If anything, they’re paradise islands. These are the islands that people dream of.

The chain of islands offers breathtaking beaches, some of the best snorkelling in Croatia and some quirky beach clubs.

You could visit the Pakleni Islands as part of a boat trip, but there’s also a more unique way to visit them.

You can join an adventurous kayaking and snorkelling trip!

This adventure-filled sea kayaking tour takes you to hidden caves, secluded beaches and under the water with a bit of snorkelling.

You’ll enjoy 4 hours of fun and go to places that the boats don’t. Then once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a delicious lunch all for only €57.

Book your tour to the Pakleni Islands here:

#6 Spend the day exploring the quieter town of Stari Grad

Restaurants on Stari Grad’s promenade

Stari Grad on the northern side of Hvar is one of the oldest towns on the island. It dates back to 385 BC and was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The name actually translates to Old Town.

This is somewhere that you need to spend a day, or even stay, as a quieter alternative to Hvar Town.

The town has that European island, relaxed vibe. There’s never a need to rush; there’s always time for a drink and you can never eat enough food!

What fun things are there to do in Stari Grad?

Stari Grad during golden hour

Spend some time walking through the Stari Grad plains. These are ancient Greek agricultural plains from the 4th century BC. Amazingly some of the original walls and crops still remain!

Just like most small towns, the best thing to do is to wander its streets and see what you find. The narrow streets are home to funky souvenir shops, cosy cafes and unique restaurants.

St. Stephens Church in Stari Grad

Grab some ice cream and stroll along Stari Grad’s promenade or admire the architecture of St Stephens Church.

#7 Step back in time and explore the grand Tvrdalj Castle

Visit Tvrdalj Castle whilst in Stari Grad

If you’re a big fan of literature, history or just incredible buildings, visit Tvrdalj Castle whilst you’re in Stari Grad.

The castle was the summer residence of the 16th-century Croatian poet, Petar Hektorović. The poet found inspiration in Stari Grad, the local fisherman and stunning landscapes.

However, Hvar came under attack from the Ottomans, turning a peaceful island into one of war. During this time, Hektorović decided to fortify his house and turn it into a castle that could be used to protect the locals. That’s how it became a castle.

Masterpieces were produced within the walls of Tvrdalj Castle, but the building itself is also one to admire. It emanates peace, with its interior courtyard, saltwater fish pond and gardens.

Entrance to the castle costs €2.

#8 Taste some of Croatia’s spectacular wine on a wine-tasting tour

Hvar produces incredible wine

If you’re a wine lover, then you’ve come to the right place. Croatian wine is some of the best in the world.

You also don’t tend to find as many Croatian wines in restaurants and bars around the world, which makes enjoying a glass of Croatian wine that little bit more special.

Wine production dates back an astonishing 2,500 years, with Hvar being one of the first places it began. We can thank the Ancient Greeks for that one.

With more than 2718 sunny hours per year, Hvar has the perfect climate for producing wine. No wonder there are vineyards scattered all across the island.

What’s wine tasting like on Hvar?

Wine cellar on a wine tasting

There are a number of ways you can try some Croatian wine. The first way is to simply go to a bar and order some. Easy!

If you want to learn more about the grapes, production and final product, then we’d recommend joining a wine tasting or tour.

A lot of the vineyards offer their own tours. Alternatively, you can join an intimate 3-hour wine-tasting experience with a local winemaker in the coastal town of Jelsa. The tour is limited to a small number of people, creating a personal experience as you get to taste and learn about 4-5 different Croatian wines.

Book your extensive and informative 3-hour wine tasting experience for €100

#9 Visit the cute Vrboska fishing village

Vrboska waterfront view
Small fishing village of Vrboska

The little village of Vrboska has been nicknamed ‘the Venice of Hvar’ due to its canal. Yes, we didn’t make a mistake there with no plural, there is only one canal. It’s still a stunning place to visit with its waterway and stone bridges.

Once reliant on agriculture, Vrboska flourished into a thriving fishing village. It’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon, wandering around the harbours, seeing the different boats and enjoying a drink by the water.

How to get to Vrboska from Hvar Town

Vrboska is only a 35-minute drive from Hvar Town, so you can easily hop in the car and go for a visit.

The island bus also runs to Vrboska, so even if you don’t have a car, you can still get there.

#10 Hop over to the island next door and spend the day on Brač

Brač harbour with small boats

Situated just across the water is the island of Brač.

It’s a much less visited island compared to Hvar, but that doesn’t mean it’s less enjoyable.

Brač has an incredible and one of the longest histories. It is thought to have been inhabited since neolithic times – between 10,000-4,500 BC. That’s a long time!

If you do visit Brač, we’d recommend spending your time in the port town of Bol. The charming ambience in Bol is many people’s favourite across the island.

Along the port, you will find several fabulous restaurants and cocktail bars. The highlight has to be the world-famous Zlatni Rat Beach.

How should you spend your day on Brač?

Zlatni Rat beach reaching into the sea

The picturesque Zlatni Rat beach is beautiful, and it’s also a place for adventure. The ideal weather conditions provide a perfect spot for water sports fanatics.

Between August and October, Brač is one of the best places for both windsurfing and kite-surfing.

In the south, you’ll find the highest peak of all the Adriatic Islands on Brač. Vidova Gora stands at an impressive 778 metres. Up for the challenge?

These are just a few of the things that you can do on Brač, and here are plenty more.

How to get from Hvar to Brač

You can join a tour from Hvar to Brač, or you can make your own way there. This is the cheaper option.

To find out how to get from Hvar to Brač (and back), we’ve put together a guide with the best options available to get there.

#11 Take a ferry to the mainland and visit the popular city of Split

Split’s harbour with Diocletian’s Palace in the background

Before taking the ferry to Hvar, many travellers spend one or two nights in Split. If you haven’t included Split in your Croatia itinerary, it’s definitely worth making a day trip from Hvar.

Split is a port city situated on the mainland of Croatia. Over the last decade, it has transformed into one of the most popular destinations not just in Croatia, but in Europe.

The Old Town is steeped in history, dating back 1,700 years. That means there are a number of important buildings and sites to visit. And of course, some scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed there.

There is an abundance of irresistible restaurants, bars and cafes, plus even more beaches if you haven’t got enough on Hvar. Check out our blog post on Split to make sure you will get to see the best of Split.

How to visit Split from Hvar

Narrow, cobblestone streets in Split Old Town

If you want to visit Split independently, we’ve put together a guide on how to get from Hvar to Split (and back).

For those who think organising it themselves is too much hassle, you could also join a day tour that will arrange everything for you.

#12 Spend some time in Franciscan Monastery 

Turquoise waters in front of Franciscan Monastery

Back to Hvar Town. If you are staying for several days in Hvar Town, Franciscan Monastery is worth a visit.

Built in the 15th century, the monastery that overlooks the water is now a museum that displays collections from Greek, Roman and Venetian times.

The monastery is also known for its huge painting of the Last Supper. As well as taking in the historical information, the monastery alone is a lovely place to just walk around, imagining its previous inhabitants.

Entrance to Franciscan Monastery costs €4.

#13 Visit Hvars abandoned village – Malo Grablje

Abandoned village of Malo Grablje

If you’re into a bit of dark tourism or something a little different, then you’ll want to visit Hvar’s abandoned village.

The village of Malo Grablje was abandoned in the 50s after the locals decided to move to Milna, in search of a better life and jobs. Since then, no one has lived there apart from one person.

Mr. Berti Tudor decided to restore his family home and open a small family restaurant. There’s no need to worry about getting hungry whilst you’re exploring.

It’s incredible to see how nature has started to take over the old stone houses.

#14 Join Hvar’s famous pub crawl and experience the island’s nightlife

Hvar harbour lit up at night

Hvar has a world-famous party scene, partly thanks to its iconic pub crawl. Some backpackers come to the island just to join this pub crawl, over 13,000 in fact.

The official pub crawl kicks off with 90-minutes of all-you-can-drink before heading off to a number of bars where you’ll also receive welcome shots. The night, if you’ve made it that far, usually ends in Carpe Diem. It’s one of Hvar’s most prestigious nightclubs, situated on a small island opposite Hvar Town.

It’s a night that you’ll never forget or for some – won’t even remember, depending on how much you drink! It’s a great way to meet other travellers and experience Hvar’s best nightlife spots.

#15 Get some awesome pictures in Hvar’s lavender fields

Never-ending lavender fields on Hvar

Hvar isn’t called Lavender island for no reason. Lavender grows all across the island, providing a stunning contrast of purple against the vibrant greens of the island and the azure of the sea.

If you’re visiting Hvar during lavender season, between June and July, then you should make sure to visit one of these fields.

The main lavender fields can be found around Zastrazisce, Gdinj and Bogomolje.

You’ll also find plenty of souvenir shops across the island selling lavender souvenirs such as perfumes, oils, pillows and of course lavender ice cream. A must-try!

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About the author(s)

Professional Traveller

Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.


Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.