Hvar Town travel guide
An architectural gem with a fine 16th/17th century townscape but also a celebrity destination with a vibrant nightlife
Hvar is one of the most beautiful and most fashionable towns in Croatia. It is small and relaxing, but it is full of great Italianate medieval architecture, 700 years old city walls, dominated by what is arguably the most beautiful ancient town square in Croatia. Paved with ancient stone slabs the square is and surrounded by renaissance palaces from the 15th and 16th century. Amongst the most beautiful of these is the old 17th century theatre and a Venetian loggia. Narrow streets with old houses and villas radiate away from the town square, and several grand hotels from the bygone age are facing the square. Lively restaurants and bars are another attraction for tourists and many grand yachts jostle for a position in the little harbour lined with palm trees.
On top of the hill is an old fortress from which there is a spectacular view of the sea and islands. Walking along the harbour front to the town square to relax in the cafes, bars and restaurants, enjoying a cappuccino, an ice-cream, a cool beer or a lunch of grilled fresh fish and marvellous olive oils and local wines, whilst the world lazily passes by. These are the simple pleasures of holidaying in Hvar.
Hvar is unique in that it both relaxing and restful, whilst at the same time having a lively atmosphere. There is history, architecture, superb dining, walks along narrow cobbled streets, all kinds of sports, as well as smart nightclubs, beaches and swimming. It is popular with the sailing community, young adults and family groups, not to mention European royalty and Hollywood celebrities. There is really something for everyone. Many good restaurants and bars are dotted all around the town of Hvar, serving either simple fresh seafood and pasta, or providing a full-on gastronomic experience, such as Macondo restaurant in one of the small Hvar side streets. Seasoned party goers recommend the Carpe Diem nightclub in the harbour, which is furnished with exotic Arabian furniture and decor and provides cocktails and champagne until small hours of the morning.
More superb restaurants are located on the nearby Pakleni islands, which can be reached reach by taxi boats running from the town quay. Our favourites are Patak (also known as Kod Patka) and Meneghello, the latter in a lush tropical garden and decorated with exotic art work; they are both restaurants which provide great cooking and a magical location.
There are swimming areas and small beaches as you walk along the coast path around the town. Some of the most beautiful beaches are to be found on the Pakleni islands such as Palmizana and Stipanska beaches, reached by taxi boat from Hvar town.
Other towns on the island
and Vrbovska, on the north side of the island are all delightful harbour towns with the typical stone houses, busy harbours tight with local fishing boats and visiting yachts. Waterside restaurants and cafes surround the harbours and nearby beaches provide excellent swimming. Inland, smaller villages such as Dol, Zavala and many others are also worth a visit.
Hvar is reached by regular car ferry service from Split to Stari Grad and from to Drvenik to Sucuraj at the eastern end of the island. Catamaran passenger ferries operate to Hvar Town and Jelsa.