All the Best Things to Do in Hvar Croatia in 2024
Wanting to get the most out of your trip to Hvar Island? Here’s our guide to all the best things to do in Hvar Croatia.
Hvar Island is one of Croatia’s most picturesque summer destinations. There’s something about it that immediately captures you, whether it’s the spectacular view of Hvar Town as the ferry nears the shore, whether it’s the sunsets or those too-good-to-be-true beaches.
If Hvar Island isn’t yet on your Croatia itinerary, you’ll definitely be jotting it down after you read this guide (I hope). From the cobblestone streets and Renaissance architecture of Hvar Town, Stari Grad, and Jelsa to the spectacle that is the lavender fields in full bloom, there are so many things to do in Hvar Croatia that’ll you need a good few days on the island.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to visit Hvar Island from planning your trip, and all the things to do in Hvar Island to where to stay.
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Before You Go
How many days do you need in Hvar?
Most travelers spend a couple of nights on Hvar which is probably enough to scratch the surface, especially if you’re also planning to head to some other Croatian islands.
I’d probably say that 2 full days is the minimum you need on Hvar Island to experience it well. That means getting out and going beyond just Hvar Town.
However, you could easily spend about 4 or 5 days slowly exploring the island and its magnificent beaches, swimming spots, charming streets, and great dining scene.
What are the absolutely unmissable things to do in Hvar Croatia?
If you only have one day make sure not to miss exploring Hvar Town and Stari Grad, taking in the most beautiful beaches by doing the coastal walk from Hvar Town to Milna and catching the sunset from the Spanish Fortress.
Do you need to rent a car in Hvar?
If you want to explore past Hvar Town, which I highly recommend, you’ll need to rent a form of transportation.
You can rent a car or a scooter (or even an ATV) on Hvar Island to visit those dazzling spots that are located a little further afield. Places like Stari Grad, the Hvar Lavender Fields, Jelsa, and Vrboska are best reached on your own wheels.
There are many local places in Hvar town which you can rent from but I found that waiting until the last minute isn’t a great idea. We wanted to rent a car in October and most places were sold out. If you’re visiting in the high season and you want to rent a car it’s a good idea to book one in advance.
If you’re after a scooter, they are much more readily available than cars and probably can be rented as you arrive on Hvar Island.
How to Get to Hvar
Considering Hvar is an island, the only way to get there is by ferry. Most travellers arrive in Hvar from Split but also from Dubrovnik and Korcula Island.
From Split, there are multiple ferries per day, from Korcula and Dubrovnik there are fewer options.
Ferry tickets can be bought online, this is an especially good idea in the summer months when they tend to sell out. Use Bookaway and book your ferry tickets online, without fuss.
25+ Amazing Things to Do in Hvar Croatia
Hvar Island Croatia has so many great things to do that, honestly, you’ll be spoiled for choice. From exploring the beautiful towns- it’s not all about Hvar Town either by the way- to relaxing on some of the best beaches you’ll find in Croatia or even the entire Mediterranean.
Catch the Sunrise in St. Stephen’s Square ( Trg Sv Stjepana)
Early morning is the best time to head to St. Stephen’s Square, Hvar Town’s most important cultural focal point. On it, you’ll find the imposing St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Arsenal, as well as many shops and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to sip a coffee and people-watch in the early morning.
Spending some time in St. Stephen’s Square is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the heart of Hvar’s vibrant culture and soak up the island’s charm.
Whether you visit during the day or at night when the main square is beautifully illuminated, this bustling hub is one of the best places to visit in Hvar Town. It most certainly is a great starting point.
Pop into St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The focal point of St Stephen’s Square is the magnificent St Stephen’s Cathedral, an architectural gem that dates back to the 16th century and was built during the Dalmatian Renaissance. Its impressive bell tower dominates the skyline and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the town and the sparkling Adriatic Sea.
Head inside the cathedral and you’ll see its high vaulted ceilings, intricate stonework, and exquisite artwork. The are also some pretty impressive 15th Century choir stalls.
You might need to wait until a little later in the day as the Cathedral sadly doesn’t open too early. It is, however, the kind of place you will, no doubt, walk past a few times.
Spend the Day Beach Hopping
I have to say that Hvar Island had some of the most beautiful beaches I saw on this entire trip to Croatia. Hvar’s beaches are mostly of the rocky or pebbly variety- you won’t find any large sandy beaches here- but that does mean that the water is incredibly clear.
You can easily spend a whole day just beach hopping around the island, and I highly recommend you do. Feel free to discover some beautiful hidden coves or just go with my top picks below. If you don’t have too much time and just want to best of the best make sure to visit the following.
This beach is one of the best beaches in Hvar Island and it’s walking distance from Hvar Town which means you don’t need to rent a scooter or car to get here.
Most people walk the Coastal Trail and stop at Pokonji dol Beach, which is also good but very crowded. If you continue you’ll get to the stunning Strand Mekicevica. It’s a small pine-backed stone cove with beautiful turquoise water you can’t help but dive into the minute you arrive.
Down as ‘Beach Robinson’ on Google Maps, this gorgeous beach is right next to Strand Mekicevica. It’s really chilled and low-key and not too crowded. You could easily spend a few hours relaxing here.
This beach also has a restaurant, ‘Robinson Hvar’ which is an ideal spot for lunch right over the water.
Plaza Malo Zaraće
Right in the village of Zaraće, you’ll find two beautiful beaches Malo Zarace and Velo Zarace. You’ll need to descend down to these beautiful beaches along quite a steep road but they are 100% worth it. Secluded, inviting with a beautiful mix of turquoise, azure, grey and green.
These two beaches are a must when on Hvar Island.
Dubovica Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Hvar and for good reason, it really feels like something out of a James Bond movie. You’ll need to park at the top of the hill and descend down on foot but once there you’ll find the most beautiful sheltered cove flanked by heritage stone buildings and pine forest.
There’s also a restaurant and a great beach bar perfect for spending the day on. Make sure to get here early in high season as the beach isn’t that big and it can get crowded.
Spend a Morning in Stari Grad
Stari Grad was probably my favorite of all the towns in Hvar and if you prefer the slow, quiet life I also suggest basing yourself here too. The pace of life in Stari Grad is just much slower and there’s a real local atmosphere here too. It feels like a world away from the party scene in Hvar Town.
Stari Grad Town is a charming little town, nestled on the northern coast of Hvar island. It’s brimming with history and charm within its narrow stone streets that are full of lovely restaurants, cafes, and boutiques.
Stari Grad, meaning “Old Town,” is the oldest town in Hvar and one of the oldest settlements in Croatia, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Its rich history is evident in the well-preserved architecture and ancient ruins scattered throughout the town.
Some of the top things to do in Stari Grad are to visit Tvrdalj Castle, a fortress-turned-palace built by the renowned Croatian poet Petar Hektorovic and go for a stroll on the waterfront. You can also wander around and enjoy the timeless beauty and serene atmosphere of this wonderful town.
Explore Hvar Town
With its steep staircases and winding narrow lanes, Hvar Town (Hvar’s main town of the same name) is a maze of timeless beauty. While it’s quite easy to stay on the waterfront, the winding back staircases are full of historic corners, hidden konobas, and little churches that beg to be explored.
As you walk around, head up the stairs to Ul. Higijenickog Drustva, the main street that runs along the top of the town for great views, and don’t forget to also pop into St. Mark’s Church. Hvar Heritage Museum is also a lovely little place in the old town to learn more about Hvar’s history.
Visit the Franciscan Monastery
Perched right on a small peninsula in Hvar Town is the Franciscan Monastery, a historic church with relics, a small museum, and beautiful cloisters is one of the best things to do in Hvar, Croatia.
The highlight of the 15th Century monastery is undoubtedly the stunning Renaissance-style cloister, with its elegant arches and intricately carved columns. You can’t see it from the outside and it’s easily missed so make sure to come inside.
The monastery also houses a fascinating museum, where you can discover a wealth of religious artifacts, historical treasures, and ancient manuscripts. There are also quite a few paintings by Venetian artists which are worth a look.
Sail Around the Pakleni Islands
One of the most breathtaking experiences you can have on Hvar Island is sailing around the mesmerizing Pakleni Islands. These stunning islets, scattered along the azure Adriatic Sea, just off the coast of Hvar, offer a paradise-like setting that is simply irresistible.
The islands are pure heaven with secluded coves, hidden beaches, lush pine forests, and the clearest, turquoise water you could imagine. There are many popular spots on the islands such as the famous Palmižana Bay which offers beach clubs and bars, especially in the summer months.
It’s easy to get away from the crowds however if you want to go off and discover your own secret coves to anchor in and spend a few hours just relaxing and swimming.
The islands can only be accessed by boat, either by renting one yourself or going on a group or private tour. You don’t need a boating license to rent a small boat but it does help to know what you’re doing.
If you don’t feel comfortable renting a boat, you can organize a small group or private boat trip tour of the Pakleni Islands.
Check out this half-day, Small Group Sailing Tour to the Pakleni Islands or this Private Tour where you can organize your whole itinerary.
Visit a Winery
While often overshadowed by Korčula and Vis, Hvar does have some pretty amazing wines made right here on the island. Hvar boasts a rich winemaking tradition, thanks to its ideal climate, fertile soil, and passionate winemakers.
Visiting a vineyard will allow you to learn about the wine-making process and what makes Hvar wines different from others. You’ll also be able to do a guided tasting where you can try some of the best wine produced on the island that you can also take home.
Some of the best vineyards to visit are Zlatan Otok, Tomić Winery, and Duboković Family Winery in Jelsa. Make sure to reserve your visit and tasting online first as the vineyards tend to have quite selective opening hours.
Click here if you prefer to head out on an organized wine tour and visit two wineries (Dubokovic and Lacman Family Winery).
Visit the Lavender Fields
If you’ve always wanted to see that sea of purple that is a fully blooming lavender field, you might be in luck. Hvar lavender is famous all over Croatia and if you look closely you’ll find many shops selling it. You can even find lavender flavor ice cream all over the island.
During the lavender season you’ll be able to visit the lavender fields, have the opportunity to take some pretty photos, and of course, buy some local lavender from the producers to take home. While you’re there you can also learn about the traditional cultivation and distillation methods.
Lavender normally blooms in June and July so if you’re in Hvar then make sure to add this to your Hvar bucket list. Unfortunately, we visited in October which is much too late in the year for lavender.
You’ll need a car or scooter to visit the Lavender Fields or you can also book this Hvar Lavender Tour on which, apart from seeing the fields, you’ll also learn a thing or two about Hvar island from the knowledge guides.
A visit to the charming town of Vrboska is a delightful addition to your itinerary when exploring Hvar Island. Located on the northern coast, this picturesque fishing village is often referred to as “Little Venice” due to its narrow canals and quaint stone bridges.
One of the highlights of Vrboska is its idyllic waterfront promenade, lined with colorful fishing boats and charming cafes. One of the best things to do in Vrboska is take a leisurely walk along the promenade, savoring the views of the crystal-clear waters and the bobbing boats.
You can also indulge in a cup of coffee or a refreshing gelato as you soak in the relaxed atmosphere. A visit to Wine & Oil Bar right on the promenade is a great way to sample local products and Hvar’s wine.
Other impressive spots to visit in Vrboska are the Fortress Church of St. Mary, just up the hill over town, and the Fisherman’s Museum for a spot of local culture and history.
Drive or Bike through the Stari Grad Plain
Taking a trip to the Stari Grad Plain is like taking a trip through Hvar’s rich history. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to the island’s agricultural traditions, dating back over 2,400 years.
The Stari Grad Plain is a vast, flat area full of fertile fields and vineyards that have been farmed for centuries. Today you’ll be able to see many different varieties of grapes growing here as well as olive groves and local produce.
The Stari Grad Plain really is part of the Hvar identity and one of the best things to do in Hvar Croatia for those that want to go deep into its cultural roots. The Plain runs between the towns of Stari Grad and Vrboska so you can easily drive through and explore when travelling between the two.
Alternatively, you can also rent bikes in Stari Grad and cycle the Plain.
Spend the Afternoon in Jelsa
Jelsa is another beautiful town that’s a must-visit in Hvar. The small, adorable town is full of charming streets, a laid-back atmosphere, and just timeless beauty.
One of the best ways to explore is to start on the waterfront. You can stroll along the picturesque promenade, dotted with cafes and restaurants that offer stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. Make sure to also explore the little alleyways of the old town that are full of crumbling stone buildings and lovely boutiques.
If you’re ready for a swim just head out to Mina Beach just outside Jelsa, it’s a great place to cool off for a while.
Jelsa is also known for its thriving wine scene and a number of Hvar’s wineries are based here. Take the opportunity to visit a local winery and indulge in a tasting of the island’s renowned wines while you’re here.
Climb the Spanish Fortress at Sunset
If you’re looking for that perfect sunset spot in Hvar Town, the Spanish Fortress is where to go. Standing tall over Hvar Town, the fortress, dating back to the 16th century, stands as a reminder of Hvar’s strategic importance throughout the centuries.
Time to visit the fortress a couple of hours before sunset, where you can explore the grounds and all the hidden chambers and corridors before enjoying the view as the sun goes down. This is one of the best views in town so visiting the Fortress really is one of the best things to do in Hvar, Croatia.
To access the Spanish Fortress, head to Saint Stephen’s Square and take the alleyway and staircase right next to the Cathedral and keep going up.
Trek to Napoleon Fortress
For the more adventurous, you’ll be pleased to know there’s actually a higher point you can trek to than the Spanish Fortress. Towering high above the Spanish Fortress is the Napoleon Fortress, another historical stronghold on Hvar Island.
The views from here and simply beautiful and the hike up here isn’t too challenging either. It’s the perfect spot for an early morning or late afternoon hike.
From the Spanish Fortress, keep following the path upwards until you get to the trailhead here.
Try the Local Food
Croatian food is just spectacular. It’s fresh, and seasonal, and much of it is locally sourced, especially on an island like Hvar. Croatia’s rich gastronomic history is influenced by its history and diverse regional influences.
In Hvar, you can expect to see a lot of fish and seafood on restaurant menus. There’s also a lot of pasta, rice dishes and salads, especially in the summertime. Make sure to pair your meal with some delicious local wine, much of it coming from Hvar island itself.
For the best restaurants in Hvar make sure to snag a table at Macondo for seafood, Konoba Bunar and Konoba Menego for beautiful local food, and BioMania Bistro for plant-based food.
Also, don’t miss kava37 for the best specialty coffee in Hvar town. I literally lived here every morning.
Take a Walk Along the Riva at Sunset
One of the best things to do at sunset is to walk along the Riva or waterfront. As you walk around the old harbor in town you’ll find that the waterfront walkway just continues going past Hvar town all the way to FALKO Bar and beyond.
The walkway will take you past some lovely little hidden coves, small beaches, swimming spots, and beach bars. If you fancy a little sunset stroll, this is one of the best places for it. The Riva is also a great spot for an early morning run.
Go for a Cocktail
If you’re a regular at Roam & Thrive you’ll know we’re not really anywhere for the party and there’s no denying Hvar does have a reputation as a party island, especially during the high summer season. If you’re like us and you still love the slow life, hidden spots, and a cocktail or two, there’s no shortage of bars for a sundowner.
In fact, there are some gems when it comes to grabbing a drink on the island. Here are some of my favorites:
Adriana Roof Top Bar– the rooftop bar of the Adriana Hotel right on the harbor in Hvar town. It’s a sophisticated yet chilled spot great for a drink with spectacular views of Hvar town and the waterfront.
FALKO Beach– After a sublime walk along the water from town you’ll get to FALKO, a beautiful beach bar with a privileged view of the sunset. The vibes here are great, it’s super chilled and a spot you can relax in for ages. You can also order food here and it’s pretty good.
Tramonto– If you find yourself in Stari Grad at sunset, don’t miss Tramonto where you can grab a cocktail right by the water and even go for a sunset dip if you like.
Do some Watersports
Given Hvar Island’s beautiful coastline, what better way to explore it than on a kayak or SUP? You can either rent a kayak or SUP and head out alone or even do a tour of the nearby Pakleni Islands.
Not only is it great exercise but you’ll be able to uncover some of the best little coves and bays and just float and enjoy the sounds of the sea.
You can rent a SUP here, which also includes a dry bag for all your stuff, and take to the water for a few hours of exploration.
Walk the Coastal Trail from Hvar Town to Milna
One of the best things to do in Hvar Croatia is this under-rated walk from Hvar Town to Milna. This was one of my favorite things to do and I couldn’t understand why we didn’t see more people doing it.
This stunning trail is a small rocky path that hugs the coastline taking you from Hvar Town to Milna. It takes you through the edge of pine forests and past the most picturesque beaches and coves on Hvar Island. The walk truly is heavenly and is one of the best things to do if you’re looking for spectacular beaches.
The path starts here. This small road will take you to the gorgeous Pokonji dol Beach but you’ll want to continue on the small path on the other side of the beach. It will take you all the way to Milna. You could easily spend the whole day just walking the path and stopping to swim at each spectacular cove.
Take a Day Trip to Vis…
Located just southwest of Hvar Island, you’ll find the small island of Vis.
Vis Island is known for its unspoiled beauty, secluded coves, and crystal-clear waters. You can easily spend days exploring the stunning beaches, from the popular Stiniva Beach to the pristine Srebrna Bay.
Taking a dip in the refreshing sea, going snorkeling to discover vibrant marine life, and simply relaxing on the sun-soaked shores are must-dos on the island.
The best way to explore Vis is through an organized tour where you can get to see all the hidden coves and caves by boat. Check out this Full Day Vis Island and Blue Cave Speedboat Tour for one of the best small group tours from Hvar.
…and Visit the Blue and Green Cave
Most tours to Vis Island will include a visit to the spectacular Blue and/or Green Cave located on the nearby island of Biševo. The Blue Cave is a natural wonder that’s a real delight, where the sunlight reflects off the water, creating an ethereal blue glow that illuminates the cave’s interior.
While not as stunning as the Blue Cave, the Green Cave is a good stop too on a day-long adventure on the pristine waters around Hvar.
If you want to visit both caves as well as a few other great spots, check out this small group cave tour.
Check out the View from Hvar Clock Tower
If you want some of the best views of the island but don’t really fancy the walk all the way up to the Spanish Fortress, you can also make your way to the top of the Hvar Clock Tower. From here you’ll get some of the best views of Hvar Town, it’s beautiful port, and the Adriatic Sea.
Located in Hvar Town, this 16th Century, historic tower was once a very important part of Hvar’s defense system- a bell would sound signaling the closure of the city gates. The clock face is a later addition to the tower, added in the 18th Century.
Where to Stay in Hvar
There aren’t too many hotels on Hvar Island, the majority of accommodation seems to be private rentals. Here are our top picks for where to stay on Hvar.
Palace Elisabeth Hvar Heritage Hotel – This hotel is a top-rated luxury hotel in Hvar and it’s probably the only of its kind on the island. Located in Hvar Town in a 13th century Venetian building, this Renaissance palace has been resorted to perfection. Large rooms, stunning balcony views, and top-notch service. Check rates and book here.
History Hvar Design Heritage Suites– For those looking for the perfect rental these beautiful suites in Hvar Town offer heritage stone walls, modern decor, large spaces and a perfect location. Check and book here.
Maslina Resort– One of the best hotels in Hvar Island, this time in Stari Grad, this hotel offers beautiful Japandi-style architecture and decor, beautiful ocean views, and brilliant service. This is the choice for anyone wanting to get away from it all in style. Check rates and book here.
So which top things to do in Hvar Croatia do you plan to add to your itinerary? Let me know below, I’d love to hear from you.
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