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 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 Ibiza of Croatia
That glitz has made Hvar a hotspot for the rich and famous. It’s become a favourite for yachting advocates, hence the superyachts moored in the harbour. The house-sized yachts are a sight to see on Hvar Island alone.
Celebrities flock to Hvar to enjoy one of the most exclusive party destinations in the Adriatic sea. Haven’t you ever wanted to party like Beyonce or Prince Harry?
And while you’re enjoying their top class cuisine, don’t forget to have a glass of wine at the table. Hvar is known for producing some incredible wine.
The island that offers something for everyone
It 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 most 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 having a beach day where you do absolutely nothing.
Given that Hvar is an island, there are a surprisingly large number of areas to stay in.
To help you decide where to stay, we shared the 3 best areas to stay on Hvar Island below:
Location #1: Hvar Town – famous nightlife and bustling streets
Hvar Town is the island’s capital. A capital that has become famous across the world for its nightlife. During the summer months, thousands of travellers flock to Hvar Town to test its reputation themselves.
Hvar Town is more than just a party hub though. It’s rich in history, culture, great restaurants and boutique shops. You’ll find a lot of the islands’ historical sites here, as well as some great beaches.
Accommodation in Hvar Town
Accommodations get booked up pretty quick in Hvar Town, especially during the summer months, so we’d recommend booking in advance.
Places also tend to be more expensive here. Double rooms start at around €40. You’ll find a selection of Airbnbs, hotels and hostels here.
Location #2: Stari Grad – full of history, culture and relaxation
Stari Grad, situated 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.
It’s the area to stay in if you’re looking for what most of Hvar Town can offer, but without the nightlife. Instead you’ll be able to enjoy a number of calm restaurants and bars, perfect for a good chat.
There’s plenty of architecture to admire here as the town has 9 churches and chapels to be explored. It’s not really a beach destination as the only one in town is made of concrete…
Don’t worry though, a short walk around the headland will reveal a beautiful beach perfect for spending the day on.
Accommodation in Stari Grad
On average you’re going to find that accommodation is cheaper here than in Hvar Old Town. Double rooms start at around €30 instead.
In Stari Grad, you’ll find a range of both hotels and private apartments.
Location #3: Jesla – nature, wine and beaches
Jelsa can also be found on Hvar’s northern coast, not too far from Stari Grad.
If you’re looking to escape the majority of tourists and immerse yourself in nature, then Jesla might be the place for you.
It’s a quaint village that dates back to the 14th century, offering some history, but not as much as the other two. What it does offer though is a great jumping-off point to some unspoilt beaches of Hvar.
Another bonus, Jesla is close to the island’s vineyards. That means lots of amazing wine at your fingertips!
If you choose to stay in Jesla, we’d recommend renting a car as public transport doesn’t really exist there.
Accommodation in Jesla
In Jelsa you’ll find lots of private apartments and hotels. There aren’t as many accommodation options here as in Hvar Town, so they get booked up quickly.
Private rooms tend to start at around €50 a night during peak season.
Where to eat on Hvar
After a day of sunbathing or exploring the Old Town, Hvar has plenty of great places for you to eat. The cobblestone streets are filled with small seafood restaurants and unique fine-dining.
Here are our 3 favourite places to eat on Hvar Island:
Konoba Menego – traditional Croatian cuisine with an interior to match
Konoba Menego is an island favourite. This traditional Croatian restaurant in Hvar town is family run, making you feel at home as soon as you step inside. The interior matches the style of the food, with stone walls adorned with an array of decorations.
The food is incredibly fresh and everything homemade. The majority of plates are for sharing, so you get to try a bit of everything. Trust us, you’ll want to. Literally everything is delicious here!
Fig Hvar – the best breakfast and brunch on the island (or Croatia?)
You can’t go to Hvar Town and not visit Fig Hvar. After opening in 2015, its name and reputation have spread far beyond Hvar. It’s become so popular that they’ve opened up Fig Split.
The menu is inspired by the travels of its owners and the abundance of locally grown produce. They’ve become known for their spectacular breakfast and brunch plates, but their lunch and dinner menus shouldn’t go amiss either.
Their Spicy Eggs or California Toast are one of the best ways to start the day!
Antika – part traditional, part modern but delicious all round
Situated in Stradi Grad, Antika offers an exciting blend of traditional and modern Croatian cuisine.
Excellent food, outstanding wine and a welcoming atmosphere. There’s not much more you can ask from a restaurant.
There’s something for everyone – fresh seafood, pasta, perfectly baked bread and delicious desserts.
You’ll need to book ahead though at this popular spot.
How to get around on Hvar Island
Hvar is an island where walking just doesn’t get you far. To figure out how to get around the island, here are the different transport options available:
Hvar is a relatively big island that isn’t made for walking around.
By foot is certainly the best way to explore each of the towns, but not for travelling between them.
To do that, we recommend the transportation modes below.
If you’re looking to properly explore the island of Hvar, then renting a car or scooter is the best way. Both of these give you the freedom to explore at your own leisure, and get off the beaten track.
The island’s main road runs from Hvar Town to Sucaraj, connecting all major towns on the island such as Stari Grad, Jesla and Vrboska.
The road connecting Stari Grad to Hvar Town is in good condition, but as you get further towards the east (Sucaraj), the driving becomes a little less enjoyable. The road isn’t in a great condition.
You can rent a car on the island from the main towns such as Hvar Town and Stari Grad. This way you can hire the car just for the days that you need it.
Hiring a scooter can also be another great way to get around the island.
Another way to get around Hvar is by using its bus system. The island is served by Cazmatrans, one of the national bus operators. These bus’ connect most of the major places to visit on the island, including Hvar Town, Jelsa, Stari Grad, Vrboska and Sucaraj.
You can’t book the tickets online, but you can check the bus schedules on GetByBus.
The price varies depending on the length of your journey, but bus tickets tend to be priced between 30 KN (€3.95) – 70 KN (€9).
You can get a taxi from pretty much anywhere on Hvar. They can be super convenient to get to your accommodation from the ferry port, or to move around the island if you don’t want to get the bus. Similar to Uber, Hvar has an app called PickApp which allows you to order taxis using your phone.
They claim to be 43% cheaper than the traditional taxis on the island, so it’s worthwhile downloading this app!
Our favourite places to stay in Hvar
Important: Tourism in Croatia is very seasonal. While many accommodations in Croatia shut down during the winter months, most of the accommodations get fully booked in the summer. With July and August being the peak season, rates can rise 3 times as high as compared the low season or shoulder months. We recommend booking your accommodation at least 1 month in advance to lock in better rates.
Choose to stay here and you’ll be just 45 meters from the main square. You can’t really get much closer! Guesthouse Kampanel is set within a traditional Dalmatian stone house that was fully renovated only a few years ago.
The pops of colour, in amongst the predominately white rooms, give them a fresh and clean feel. Opt for a studio apartment and you’ll get your own kitchenette with a coffee machine and microwave.
Kampanel 10 looks and feels like a luxury boutique hotel, without the luxury price tag. Every detail of the room has been thought about, but it’s the velvet statement pieces that really complete the room.
Here you’re only a stroll away from Hvar main square which is brimming with bars and restaurants, and also the port. That’s if you can steal yourself away from the huge and comfy beds.
This place is just wow! You won’t be able to stop yourself from saying that when you step into this modern and charming suite. Every suite is large and offers a fully functional kitchen, if you fancy cooking during your stay.
You probably won’t want to cook though, as it’s moments away from bars and restaurants, plus Croatia’s most famous breakfast spot. Your hosts will be the cherry on top, offering a top-notch service and advice.