13 best things to do in Hvar town – the ultimate guide to the town of Hvar

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Hvar was our home for a month and we absolutely fell in love with this little mediterranean town! We loved getting lost in the winding narrow streets, scouting for the best restaurants, getting to know the locals, discovering its history and busking in the sun on its beautiful beaches.

Hvar town is the biggest town on Hvar Island and a true mediterranean gem full of Venetian architecture, charming cobblestone streets, fantastic restaurants and the getaway to some of the island’s most beautiful beaches.

 

13 best things to do in Hvar town

Hvar town is infamous for its wild party scene, the night clubs, the beach bars and all the glitz. But we’re here to tell you that there is so much more to it than meets the eye!

 

1. Climb up the Spanjola Fortress

Perched above Hvar, the Fortica or Spanjola Fortress is quite a sight!

To get to the fortress follow the signs from town and make your way up the many stairs until you reach a winding footpath lined with pine trees and aloe vera plants. As you keep climbing up the views keep getting better!

Location: Spanish Fortress
Opening times:
9 AM – 9 PM, open until 10 PM on Saturday
Entrance fees:
50 kuna or 80 kuna for the combined ticket (fort, theatre, arsenal, clock tower)
Insider Tip: Visit in the morning for the best light and photos, in the evening you’ll be shooting against the sun

 

2. People watch at Saint Stephen’s Square

Saint Stephen’s Square is at the heart of Hvar town and where you’ll find some of the most impressive buildings of Hvar. With its 4500 square metres this is the largest square in Dalmatia. The square used to be part of the bay but was levelled out and paved in the 18th century.

On the southern side of the square you’ll find the Arsenal and, on the second floor, the historic Hvar Theatre which is considerde to be the first European public theatre which was also available to the lower class.

Facing the sea and Hvar’s little harbour is the Saint Stephen I. Cathedral with its adjacent renaissance bell tower. In front of it a large elevated platform serves as the meeting grounds for locals and tourists alike.

On Saint Stephen’s Square (also referred to as Pjaca), you’ll find a great selection of bars and restaurants. This square really comes to life in the evenings when everyone gathers here for a scoop of ice cream, dinner or drinks. Grab a seat and watch the world go by.

Location: Trg Svetog Stjepana
Insider Tip:
People watch in the evening, take photos in the morning

 

3. Meander the laneways and stairways of Hvar old town

Hvar has some of the most charming stone streets lined with beautiful old houses, loads of potted plants and beautiful hidden corners. One of our favourite activities in Hvar was to just get lost and explore these little alleys, find new bars, shops and restaurants.

I’d recommend you tackle these stairs and alleys early in the morning or in the evening so that you’ll be able to really enjoy them. The town of Hvar is built over two hills, with a maze of narrow alleys and many many stairs. I swear, those stairs get steeper and multiply every time the temperature rises so avoid them in the peak of the day.

Insider Tip: Skaline od Gojave is the cutest and most instagrammable stairway in Hvar lined with beautiful Bougainvillea flowers

 

4. Enjoy the best craft beers and cocktails at BackLane Craft Bar

It was on one of these strolls through the old town with no that we stumbled upon BackLane. Little did we know this would soon become our favourite bar in Hvar. The staff instantly made us feel at home!

They brew their own beer on the island and the IPA was absolutely fantastic, just the right amount of bitter versus fruity. You can also choose from a vast array of delicious cocktails and enjoy live music in a beautiful stone alley.

Location: CackLane craft bar
Opening times:
9 AM – 1 AM

 

5. Spend a day exploring the Pakleni Islands

The Pakleni Islands are a chain of rocky islets that dot the sea just off the coast of Hvar. This beautiful archipelago is only a short boat ride from Hvar town and while the name, Pakleni Otoci, literally translates to Hell Islands, in our experience, they’re more like Paradise Islands!

Across the Hvar Strait, on this small archipelago, you’ll find picturesque coves, stunning beaches, hip bars, and beautiful nature. The Pakleni Islands are the perfect place to bask in the Mediterranean sun, swim in the clear Adriatic waters and discover new bays and just have a bloody good time!

You can do a guided tour or catch a water taxi to the islands but we wholeheartedly recommend that you rent a boat and explore on your own pace.

Rent a boatBook a private tourBook a group tour
Read next:
The ultimate guide to the Pakleni Islands

 

6. Watch the sunset from the Napoleon Fort

While the Spanish fortress takes all the glory and all the tourists, the Napoleon fort takes all the sunset views with none of the crowds.

While you can’t actually enter the fortress, you’ll get breathtaking views from the carpark and viewing platform in front of it. Sitting on top of the tallest hill around, the fortress boosts breathtaking views over Hvar town and the peninsula to the West, Brac island, Pakleni Islands, all the way to Vis island, and it offers a direct line of signt over the horizon to the West. Watch the sky turn orange, the cliffs on Brac reflect the colorful light until the Sun drops into the ocean.

Location: Napoleon
Insider Tip: Pack a picknick and arrive in the late afternoon to see Hvar town basking in the golden light.

 

7. Grab ice cream at L’amore Per Il Gelato

Oh boy, my mouth starts watering just thinking about this creamy, rich, delicious gelato! This is the best ice cream we had in all of Croatia and it would be a sin going to Hvar and not trying it. If there’s a line it’s totally worth the wait, the ice cream is absolutely delicious. And! They also have a branch in Stari Grad as well which is equally as good.

Location: L’amore Per Il Gelato
Opening times:
10am – 11pm

 

8. Admire the Franciscan Monastery in the golden light

This 15th-century Franciscan monastery sits on the little peninsula just around the corner from the Hvar Riva with the pretties little beach rigth in front of it and surronded by a lush green garden. The monastery houses a small museum and the gardens make for the perfect quiet stroll under Cypress trees.

In the evenings, as the sun starts to set, the white stone walls of the monastery and the park walls lit up in the softest orange light while the boats gently sway with the tide. A peaceful and beautiful sight.

Location: Franciscan Monastery
Opening times:
9am–3pm & 5–7pm, closed on Sunday

 

9. Grab sunset drinks at Falko bar

Hvar Island is hilly, the bays are deep and it’s orientation just doesn’t allow for many sunset spots. Most places just get in the shade some time after 5pm when the sun hides behind the hill. And then there’s Falko bar.

Falko bar has the perfect location at the tip of the peninsula where you can actually see the Sun drop into the sea (well, at least in spring) while you chill on a sunbad on the rocky shores with a delicious cocktail in hand.

Location: Falko Beach Bar & Food
Opening times:
11 AM – 9 PM

 

10. Go fancy at Bonj Les Bains

Bonj beach is among the most popular Croatia party beaches and is known for a lively beach bar scene and for the exclusive Bonj Les Bains Beach Club. Bonj beach is by far the most accessible beach from Hvar town, and consequently the busiest, but Bonj Les Bains stays exclusive, opulent and by no means crowded. Here you can rent day beds, sip cocktails, show off a little and bask in the Mediterranean Sun.

Location: Beach Club Hvar
Opening times:
11am–7pm
Read next:
The best beaches on Hvar island

 

11. Jump in the clear blue waters at Pokojni Dol beach

Pokojni Dol (or Mustaco beach) was our go to beach on Hvar and one of the first bays we really fell in love with. I still remember walking down the footpath and catching the first glimpse of this gorgeous blue bay! Pokojni Dol is so easily accessible and incredibly beautiful that it quickly turned into our go-to beach for an afternoon dip.

Location: Pokojni Dol beach
Insider Tip:
You can drive to Pokojni Dol or take the shortcut and walk over the hill rather then around.
Read next: The best beaches on Hvar island

 

12. Go au natural at Mekicevica beach

Just a short walk around the corner from Pokonji Dol you’ll find one of the prettiest little bays around Hvar. Mekicevica beach is a true oasis of peace and quiet where clothes are optional, but a swim is a must!

Location: Mekicevica beach
Insider Tip:
Wear decent sandals or water shoes as the path ther is a bit of an ankle breaker.
Read next: The best beaches on Hvar island

 

hvar-croatia-dubovica-bay.jpg

13. Explore beyond Hvar town

While Hvar town is absolutely fantastic and we loved every moment of our month in Hvar, we have to admit that most of our favourite corners are actually beyond the city of Hvar.

Rent a scooter, a car, or even better, a quad or a boat and adventure beyond Hvar town. Stari Grad and Jelsa are within easy reach and the island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and bays we’ve ever seen!

Insider Tip: The roads in Hvar are something else. If you want to explore deeper, consider renting an ATV so you can drive on gravel roads or explore the bays by rental boat.
Read next:
Your guide to Hvar island

Where to stay in Hvar

Hvar town is small and walkable, and almost every house has at least a room for rent so there is plenty of choice!

When picking where to stay keep in mind that there are hills and parking can be an issue. The old town is a pedestrian only zone and in the peak of summer the party scene is lit.

We’ve written a whole article on Hvar accommodation which will help you choose the best town (and area) to base yourself on Hvar island.

Read next:

Where to stay on Hvar: Best locations and accommodation on Hvar

Best hotels on Hvar: 13 Hvar hotels you must check out

If you choose to stay in the centre of town we recommend Hektorovic house just off the main square.

We stayed at Apartments Ivanovic and loved it, it was clean, spacious and quiet. What we didn’t necessarily love is the walk up the hill, but this was a necessary evil in order to have secure parking in front of the house.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel rather than an apartment then Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel is the perfect choice smack in the middle of town.

Hektorovic house

AFFORDABLE & CENTRAL

Just off the main square these stylish rooms are perfectly located to explore Hvar.

CHECK PRICES

Hotel Moeesy

BLUE & GREEN OASIS

Sleek, modern design, stunning ocean views, and exceptional service.

Check prices

Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel

CENTRAL AND LUXURIOUS

With gorgeous views, excellent service, and fabulous amenities.

Check prices

 

Getting to Hvar, Croatia

There is no commercial airport on Hvar and in order to reach the island, you’ll have to take a boat or a ferry from Split, Drvenik or one of the surrounding islands.

 Most visitors come to Hvar from Split, and if that’s the case with you, make sure to check out my Split itinerary to make the most of your time in Split Old Town and its surroundings.

Car ferry

There are two ferry lines connecting Hvar to the mainland; Split – Stari Grad and Drvenik – Sucuraj. While you can usually just rock up at the port and get a ferry ticket there, in high season it’s better to book it ahead of time.

Book your car ferry.

 

Passenger ferry to Hvar town

The passenger ferry is much faster than the ferry and it will drop you off in the centre of Hvar town. This is the best option if you do not have a car.

Book your boat trip to Hvar.

 

Private transfers

Private transfers by speedboat are the fastest way of getting to Hvar and often include pick up from the airport.

They’re a fabulous option for bigger groups, late arrivals and anyone wanting to take some extra precautions with social distancing and Covid safety. Private transfers are also a lot more flexible in terms of drop off points and can get you much closer to your chosen accommodation on Hvar.

Book your private transfer here.

 

Getting around Hvar in Croatia

Hvar is almost 70 kilometres long and as soon as you venture past Jelsa the roads get narrower and windier. And parking is an issue in most of Croatia.

There is also plenty of places on Hvar that are only accessible over gravel or dirt roads. Most rental car companies won’t allow you on gravel or dirt roads and these are often the most beautiful places you won’t want to miss out on!

 

By car

Despite exploring the island by car ourselves, this would not be our first choice if we had to rent one on the island. Some roads (if you’d like to explore deeper) are just too narrow for two way traffic and parking is an issue in most places in Croatia.

That being said, a lot of people explore the island by car since it’s cost effective and very easy to get it over by ferry and there certainly is something to be said about AC!

 

Hire a scooter

A scooter is a fabulous way to explore Hvar! It’s easy, affordable and the island is just small enough that you can get almost anywhere by scooter. OK, maybe not Sucuraj or you won’t be able to feel your ass by the end of it.

Navigating the narrow roads and parking is a lot easier when you have a scooter, just make sure you get one that’s strong enough to get you over the hills before you get old!

Hire a 125cc scooter

 

Hire a Quad (ATV)

As we mentioned before, there’s plenty of gravel and dirt roads on Hvar d certain areas are better explored with a 4×4!

We’d recommend you rent an ATV for the Kabal Peninsula and to take the shortcut (past Zi’s favourite beach) to Sveta Nedilja. On top of that you’ll be able to discover loads of other bays and beautiful viewpoints you can’t access otherwise.

Rent an ATV

 

Hire a boat

A day on the boat is an experience in itself but a boat is also a great way of getting around and exploring some of the most secluded bays and beaches on the island!

We highly recommend you rent a boat and explore Pakleni Island, the Red Rocks and drop anchor in any bay that calls your name.

Rent a Betina 20hp boat

Read next: Renting a boat on Hvar – tips, rules, suggestions

 

Use public transport

There are several busses per day that connect the main towns and villages on Hvar island as well as water taxi services you can use.

Where to eat in Hvar

We tried many restaurants during our month in Hvar and we’re happy to report that we never had a disappointing meal! That being said, there are a few meals and restaurants that really stood out.

Konoba Kokot for authentic Dalmatian hospitality. If you have the time (and wheels) we urge you to book a table at Konoba Kokot. This is our absolute favourite restaurant on the island!

Stajun for a fancy dinner. If you prefer to stay in town, Stajun has the cutest crockery and the best burratta we ever tried, and we tried many! While we were in a hurry and went for a single course, Stajun is actually famous for their set 3-course meal.

Junior for fabulous seafood. We also really loved the fish platter at Junior, a small family run fish restaurant that serves the daily catch and fabulous wine.

 

Best time to visit Hvar island

The best time to visit Hvar is in the shoulder season (April till mid-June or in September and October) when the crowds are manageable, the weather is warm and pleasant, and the prices more affordable. If you visit in Autumn you’ll also have the benefit of the warmer sea.

Hvar claims it gets the most sunshine of all the islands and it is a popular summer holiday destination and becomes very crowded, loud and expensive in the peak of season (late June till the end of August).

As a rule of thumb we would advise you to avoid Croatia in the peak of summer. It just get too hot, too crowded and too expensive and we believe you’ll have a much better experience visiting in late spring or early Autumn.

During the winter months Hvar is very quiet and most bars, restaurants and shops are closed.

 

Planning a trip to Hvar?

Hvar is a beautiful island and we’re sure you’ll love it! To help you plan your trip to Hvar Island we’ve prepared a series of travel guides for you and for an easy plug and play solution, feel free to swipe our Hvar itinerary!

 

 

Hvar travel insurance

Good travel insurance is an absolute must when travelling abroad, and we’ve learned that the hard way!

Now we always get insured before we leave and Travel Insurance Masters is our go to platform to find the best insurance options for the specific trip.

The TIM platform works as a search engine and suggests the best insurance company and insurance plan for your criteria so you don’t end up paying more for things you don’t need! It also takes into account your age, nationality, destination etc. which can greatly impact the final price.

You can get your quote & provider recommendations here.

 

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Zi @Craving Adventure
Zi @Craving Adventure

Zi is the Founder and Editor in Chief behind Craving Adventure.

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