Hvar – The Adriatic’s island of lavender

The island of Hvar has been famous since antiquity, and not just for its scenic beauty. It was also a major reloading and transfer site for both goods and visitors thanks to its strategic location on important trade routes in the Mediterranean. Today, Hvar is once again a little-known insiders’ tip on the Adriatic coast, but it won’t stay that way for long: with its wonderful landscapes, crystalline waters, traditional lifestyle and mild, sunny climate, Hvar ticks all the boxes for getting back on the tourist map. Some people are already calling Hvar the Madeira of Croatia – regardless of whether or not that’s true, the island is most certainly a hidden gem amid the wonders of the Mediterranean.

Only around 11,000 inhabitants live on this small island, which is just 10 km wide and 60 km long; the main town is Hvar with around 3,000 inhabitants. What sounds like a tranquil fishing village is actually a small jet-setting town on the eastern Mediterranean with plenty of sailboats and yachts. A mixed clientele of locals and tourists mingle in the cafés and bars.

The soft scents of rosemary and lavender

Those who come to Hvar come mainly for its unique nature: visitors report that the whole island is as fragrant as a herb garden. The scent of rosemary, lavender, oregano, sage, lovage, anise or fennel perfumes the air, blending with the resinous aroma of the pine trees and the smell of hot chalk. No wonder, when you realise that the island is one of the biggest producing areas for lavender and rosemary. Fresh sprigs, dried herbs and valuable oils are available on every street corner. Olives and vines also grow in abundance here, and those who want to can take home cold-pressed oil that is every bit as good as the Italian varieties. Overall the landscape is wildly romantic and diverse, and hiking enthusiasts are sure to get their money’s worth here. The plateau Velo Polje, which has been cultivated for over 2,400 years, is the biggest and most fertile of its kind and for this reason has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. Mainly wine and olives are grown here.

Of course, visitors to the island are also eager to head down to the sea: here too Hvar leaves nothing to be desired with its idyllic beaches and crystal-clear water. On one hand, it offers gorgeous sandy beaches, which are the perfect invitation for relaxing and sunbathing, while its rocky pebble beaches provide excellent opportunities for snorkelling and diving. Cuttlefish and other larger fish can be observed here, even if you only have a little bit of equipment. Lots of fun to be had for the children, and definitely a particular highlight!

Fresh fish straight from the grill

The sea is a reliable source of fresh fish, which is then served up in all sorts of tasty variations together with the island’s stocks of herbs. Fish and shellfish from the grill, spaghetti with seafood, and scampi are the classic dishes in Dalmatian cuisine, which is cooked in the island’s many restaurants. Hvar is the Adriatic island with the most hours of sunshine, so it’s not surprising that its wines are reputedly some of the best in Croatia and perhaps even the Mediterranean. The Dalmatian variety Plavac mali is particularly coveted by connoisseurs.

The journey to Hvar is usually via Split, which is served by Condor, HLX or Air Croatia. A catamaran ferry or speedboat will then take you on to your destination. The island is best explored by car, which can also be rented on site. A holiday house is a great place for accommodation, as you can profit from the cheap island prices.

More information about Croatia
All holiday houses and apartments on the Central Dalmatian Islands
All holiday houses and apartments in Croatia