Hvar, pronounced Var, is a small Croatian Island that is spreading a lot of love around European holiday makers. Croatia is fast becoming one of the most visited countries in Europe, with millions of tourists flocking to the nation each year. Areas such as Dubrovnik and The Dalmatian coast have seen an influx of development in recent years, to meet the demands of tourists and eagle eyed holiday makers are constantly looking for new places to try.
The island of Hvar is to Croatia what Sicily is to Italy: an absolute jewel in the country's crown. Island life is laid back in most places, with tourists relaxing in their luxury hotels. A very picturesque island, Hvar is easy on the eye and a treat for the senses as you sniff in the aromas of the flora, including the luscious lavender that make Hvar a sea of purple. A taxi boat can be taken to Split, where you can explore the history and heritage of this revolutionary country.
The oldest town on the island is Stari Grad, where tourists can explore its ancient Greek history and soak up the atmosphere of the town. Swanky hotels are popping up all over Hvar Town and smaller regions on the island, like Zavala and Jelsa, are joining suit in order to cater for the increase in traveller traffic each year. Hvar is not just for couples, with resorts like Milna catering for those looking for family holidays as well.
The island’s central hub can get very busy during summer months, with tourists flocking to this hip town. The bay is small but perfectly formed and is happy to pack everybody in to have a truly special time. The city is made up of 13th century walls that surround amazing Gothic palaces and pedestrianised marble streets. Visitors can take in the atmosphere of the main square, and explore the sights and sounds of the maze of streets that have traditional houses, churches and unique shops at every turn.
Party lovers can head over to the small Pakleni Islands where all night parties can be enjoyed by those with hedonistic tendencies. Fun, frolics and fantastic memories can be made on the island and can turn a regular beach holiday to one that you simply cannot forget.
The old town of Hvar has long been a safe haven for sailors and the harbour is still a busy port to this very day. The streets of Stari Grad are lined with pine trees and lavender, making a walk through the town a delight for the senses. Holidaymakers looking for a cosmopolitan place to stay will love the mixture of history, tradition and modern amenities on offer.
The areas around Laterna Beach have lots of apartments and small hotels that look out to sea and are surrounded by wonderful gardens. Cobbled streets and winding roads create a quaint village like feel to the town, with bars, cafés and tavernas dotted around to sit and relax as you go about your day. Octopus salad is a favourite on Hvar, with tavernas in Stari Grad serving up some of the best on the island.
Jelsa is a picturesque town surrounded by the two highest mountains on the island, St. Nikola and Hum. This mountainous area makes it an ideal place to stay for nature lovers. There are opportunities to go on walks and climbs or you can simply get outside and explore the wonderful array of flora and fauna to be found in Jelsa, taking great holiday snaps as you go. There are lots of green spaces in Jelsa, with parks that are ideal for picnics and al fresco dining. The oldest hotel on the island, Hotel Jadran, was built in 1911 and still entertains hundreds of guests each year.
Modern hotels, apartments and villas have popped up in Jelsa, offering everything you will need for a traditional European holiday. Beaches in Jelsa are relatively small compared to others on the island and they are made up of gravel and pebbles rather than sand, nevertheless you can enjoy long walks along the dramatic coastline and the seas are calm enough for families to swim in safely.
Couples wanting a quiet place to relax and make the most of quality time together will enjoy staying in Zavala. It is a small harbour town that is sleepy by day but is packed full of traditional beach holiday fun. Lazy days can be spent at the beach and evenings can be spent enjoying local restaurants, with fresh fish the go to item on every establishment’s menu.
Across the sea from Zavala is the island of Scedro, a wonderfully picturesque island; while the villages of Ivan Dolac and Sveta Nedjelja are located in the immediate vicinity.
Milna offers traditional beachside fun and is a great place to stay for families. Think long days at the beach, playing football, building sandcastles and riding on donkeys. Whilst quaint and traditional, a stay at Milna is lots of fun and has a vintage feel that will bring a nostalgic edge to your holiday.
The town boasts two sandy beaches and is surrounded by wonderful pine woods that give Hvar its name. Traditional bars and cafés line the main streets and nightlife is slow but still plentiful, so a few beers and cocktails can be enjoyed along the way.
Hvar may be the ‘new kid on the block’ but it is giving established holiday destinations a real run for their money. Take a chance of something different by holidaying on this amazing Croatian Island and you will not be disappointed.