Outside of Dubrovnik, Hvar is the epicentre of the Dalmatian travel industry. Holidaymakers come to be around the yachts lining the harbour of the island’s namesake capital and among the revellers forking out more than top dollar (in Croatian terms) to party into the night. A massive overhaul of key hotels here, in the Sunčani Hvar chain, has been followed by a slower stage of development as the town comes to terms with its stardom.
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Find awesome things to do in Hvar with UberBOAT
Operating like its namesake service on land, UberBOAT provides reliable and safe transportation from a speedy transfer over the waves or a half- or full-day tour. For Hvar, this means swift access to its high-end harbourside restaurants and nightspots, to its beach bars and hard-to-reach idyllic getaways on and off shore. Island hopping could not be any easier – and all with one tap of a button. Once you request a speedboat for between eight and 12 passengers, you're guided to a nearby pick-up point where your captain will be waiting. No more relying on early-morning public-ferry schedules or phoning round for oversubscribed boat rentals. Time-poor travellers need stress no longer. To lower outgoings, you can also split the fare with other holidaymakers and reach your cocktail bar or restaurant table in next to no time. The yacht-lined harbour of Hvar Town is the island’s key destination for fine dining and high-end partying. Gazing over the waterfront, Gariful beckons to heads of fashion houses and big-name footballers, greeted and served in well-versed fashion. First-class Adriatic lobster is the dish here, paired with the best wines Croatia can produce and enjoyed on a glass-floor interior that houses a brightly coloured aquarium. For something a little more laid-back, the BB Club featuring Shrimp House at Riva, hvar yacht harbour hotel is all about casual dining, a lounge mood, tastefully chosen tunes and any number of champagnes by the glass. Plus, of course, pl
Things to do in Hvar
The Venetians rebuilt the town of Hvar in the early 1600s. It is centrepieced by Pjaca, or Trg sv Stjepana, the rectangular main square lined with shops and restaurants, framed by the harbour and Arsenal at one end, the market and St Stephen’s Church at the other. The church contains a treasury (open summer 10am-noon, 5-7pm daily; winter 10am-noon daily; 10kn) containing two late Renaissance paintings. The Arsenal is used as a contemporary art gallery, as well as hosting sundry cultural and prestigious local events. Above stands the Venetian Citadel (Španjola, 021 741 608; open summer 8am-midnight daily; 25kn), with a display of Greek and Roman finds, and a view from the ramparts. All is a stroll from the terrace cafés on the square. Today the most prominent sight in Stari Grad is the summer retreat of 16th-century poet Petar Hektorović, the Tvrdalj (021 765 068; open June-Sept 10am-1pm, 6-8pm daily, 10kn), known for its inscribed walls, gardens and fishpond. Nearby, a 15th-century Dominican monastery houses a museum (open summer 10am-noon, 4-7.30pm Mon-Sat; 10kn) containing other Hektorović artefacts, Greek gravestones and a Tintoretto, The Mourning of Christ, claimed to feature Hektorović himself. More Greek, Roman and maritime items are on display at the Bianchini Palace (021 766 324, www.stari-grad-museum.net; open May, Jun, Sept 10am-1pm Mon-Sat; July-Aug 10am-noon and 7-9pm Mon-Sat, 7-9pm Sun; 20kn) by the Tvrdalj. Hektorović never saw his Tvrdalj finished. As a pr
A lovely dining experience, partly thanks to the starlit roof terrace (accessed via the ‘stairway to heaven’) and the brightly painted dining room with walls adorned with driftwood – and partly thanks to an adventurous and well-priced menzoru. The dumplings in a mushroom and truffle sauce and flat pasta with clams, olive oil, garlic, white wine and parsley, are wonderful. And there’s not a customer – those who can afford it – who hasn’t raved over the Lobster Lunatic: lobster in tomato, white wine and brandy sauce (560kn/kg). The buzzy staff in neat blue uniforms provide patter and a gratis pâté starter with warm toast.
The heart of a growing funky scene in Stari Grad, Antika is part traditional, part laid-back modern. A hodgepodge of dining-room furniture crowds pine floors upstairs and stone tiles below; candlesticks overflow with years of coloured wax under wooden beam ceilings; and plaster walls with framed photos and faded paintings fill a house built in 1566. Outdoor tables line the alley and piazza round the corner. The food veers from grilled fish fare without subjecting you to pizza. Starters include tuna carpaccio and chicken breast salad; mains (45kn-85kn) shark in a sour cream and chives sauce, and made-to-order steak in a garlic, green pepper or stroganoff sauce. Opposite, Antika’s café-bar serves cocktails (25kn-35kn); White Russians are the speciality. Pull up a converted tractor seat downstairs or have the friendly staff pulley up your drink to the breezy terrace as you lounge on the faded orange cushion of a brown wicker couch.
Where to stay on Hvar
This four-star Sunčani makeover overlooking the yacht harbour is small enough to retain an intimate boutiquey feel but boasts serious amenities: a big spa complex with all the treatments and programmes (including yoga); a rooftop terrace with heated swimming pools indoor and out; and a panoramic bar. Rooms come in shades of lavender-purple in tribute to the island’s most famous herb crop; those with sea views come with excellent views of the old port. The Adriana is one of the Sunčani Hvar hotels earmarked for all-year-round opening.
Unique island retreat a taxi-boat journey from Hvar town, dunked amid the exotic botanical garden of cacti, palms and Central American succulents planted by Eugen Meneghello in the years before World War I. Still run by the Meneghello family, it’s a complex designed for relaxation, with 13 bungalows stuffed with examples of the family’s art collection, art shows on the verandah, and a stellar restaurant. Palmižana beach, just below the Meneghello’s place, can be busy with day-trippers during the day, but in the evenings and early mornings you have the whole of this uniquely calming island to yourself. You can also go diving, sailing or take an art workshop, all in one day. Stays of seven days are preferred in high season. Note also the newly opened Villa Meneghello in Hvar town.