You need to book a sunny getaway to this Dalmatian island

  • Dramatic entrance

    Traveling to Hvar, Croatia’s sun-drenched island, is an exciting visitor experience in itself. Accessible only by sea, you can take a ferry (together with your rental car), catamaran, private boat or even an UberBoat, to reach its golden shores. The island is much more than the celebrity-spotting, party scene Croatia has become known for, and a visit outside the popular summer months will reveal this fact. Boasting four UNESCO heritage distinctions, Hvar is celebrating its 150th anniversary of organized tourism this year.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Ancient history

    The island’s largest town, Hvar, is one of the oldest towns in Europe, having been formally founded by the ancient Greeks in 384 BC. It was taken over by the Romans soon after, and through the centuries became part of the Venetian Republic as well as the Austrian empire. The impressive St. Stephen’s Square stretches from the harbor to the cathedral, and is one of the largest old squares in Dalmatia.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Tasty pastries

    Hvar’s traditional pastries are unique, as they're handmade using methods that go back centuries. Local bakeries take pride in carrying on this tradition, and there’s nothing better than relaxing at a café, sipping a coffee or tea, and fortifying yourself for your next adventure on this magical island.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • A photographer's dream

    Needless to say, an island as old as Hvar has some unique photo opportunities. Whether you're a casual or professional photographer, this is indeed the place to take home some memorable photos.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Life's a beach

    You can also opt to soak in the sun and swim in the crystal clear waters that surround the island of Hvar. Dubovica Beach is located 10 minutes from Stari Grad, a stop on the main road that circles the island. Park at the top of the road and trek down to explore hidden coves and a pristine beach.

    Photo courtesy of Truc Nguyen

  • A jewel of a town

    If you're in the market for jewelry, you’ll never find such a collection of one-of-a-kind creations as on Hvar. Boutique galleries throughout Old Town feature exquisite designs. Coral laced with silver is a favorite theme among local artists, but you can find many pieces exquisitely crafted using precious stones, pearls and other gems.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Bicycle heaven

    Hvar is a bicyclist’s paradise.  You can tour Old Town by bike for a more leisurely experience. Or you can opt to cruise up hills 1,400 ft. above sea level, through ancient roads with views on lush vineyards and purple lavender fields. It's a bicycling experience you’ll never forget.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Local color

    You’ll find everything to be 21st century on Hvar, but it's always a rewarding visitor experience to come across scenes of the Old World. Here in St. Stephen’s Square, a local woman continues the age-old tradition of selling her handmade lace to passersby.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Bird's-eye view

    It’s interesting that Hvar, often acclaimed as one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world, has two sides. One is the go-to place for glitterati and celebrities, from Prince Harry to Beyoncé. The other is an island of unspoiled natural beauty and centuries-old history. For an unforgettable view over Hvar’s magnificent bay and islands, make a visit to the formidable 16th century Spanish fortress located high on the hill above Old Town.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Lavender dreams

    Hvar is known as one of the highest quality lavender producers in the world. This is due, to a great extent, to the island’s unique climate and year-round sunshine. Not only is this herb prized for its scent, but also for its ability to promote relaxation and relieve muscle pain. You’ll want to take home this healthy souvenir, to be sure!

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Harbor view

    As you look across the picturesque Riva Harbor and marina, you’ll see colorful fishing boats hugging the shore. Not only do those boats make great photo ops, but the fruits of the sea they capture from the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic contribute to Hvar’s international reputation for outstanding seafood restaurants.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Adriatic flavors

    Speaking of seafood, one of Hvar’s most exclusive restaurants, the Laganini Lounge Bar & Fish house, is located off the coast on beautiful Palmizana Island. Gourmet aficionados and celebrities have been coming to this restaurant for years to savor the award-winning cuisine of celebrated Chef Hrvoje Zirojević, whose outstanding dishes are served alongside breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea. The chef uses fresh local seafood and ingredients to recreate centuries-old traditional dishes – with a modern touch – for his guests.

    Photo courtesy of Laganini Lounge Bar & Fish house

  • ATV adventure

    If biking isn’t your thing and you want to bounce along the backroads of Hvar on an ATV, it’s no problem. Several local companies offer this exciting experience of exploring the island’s interior on a variety of vehicles.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Amazing lace

    For 350 years, Hvar’s Benedictine nuns have made lace from the agave plant (yes, the plant that Mexicans use to make tequila!) which grows prolifically on the island. Visit the Benedictine convent – tucked away in Hvar’s Old Town – and take home one of these intricate and delicate lace creations. Due to its rarity (this is the only place in the world where this is made), it is a prized and unique souvenir.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Raise a glass

    You may not think of Hvar, or Croatia for that matter, as a producer of outstanding wines. If so, think again. The Greeks planted the first vines more than 2,000 years ago on the Stari Grad Plain in the island’s interior, a foundation for Hvar’s outstanding viniculture that continues to thrive to this day. Friends raise a toast to health and happiness at a wine-tasting in the Romanesque cellars at the Tomić Winery in Jelsa, located in the heart of Hvar’s wine-growing region.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Renaissance treasure

    The Venetian Loggia and Clock Tower is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture on the island of Hvar. It also serves as a picturesque gathering point for locals to enjoy a leisurely stroll, shopping and family outings.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • A place for art

    Hvar’s Old Town is a mecca for artists, as evidenced by the number of fine art, craft and jewelry ateliers that thrive in this small town. Colorful, hand-hewn wooden fishing boats are a popular souvenir item.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Sip and stroll

    Late afternoon is a magical time to take a leisurely stroll through the ancient streets. Or stop at a picturesque cafe for a coffee or glass of wine, and people-watch to your heart's content. You may even spot a celebrity or two.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Until we meet again

    The evening view as you leave the island of Hvar is a repeat of the magic you experienced sailing in. It’s a sure bet you’ll dream of returning to this beautiful destination, a true jewel in the heart of the Adriatic Sea.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona