Hvar is also known as Croatian Madeira, offering a diverse and captivating experience both above and below the water. It is situated in picturesque nature, facing the southern, side of the world that has given it all Mediterranean attraction and cheerfulness; facing sea and having the unique nautical position, that gave it amazing and unforgettable history. Hvar is an inexhaustible treasury of the scenery, atmosphere and adventure, a unique fusion of luxurious Mediterranean nature, rich cultural and historical heritage, and mundane, tourist present.


How to Reach

Regardless of what transportation means you use to come to Hvar, undoubtedly you will experience a sea journey to island Hvar. When you see Hvar and start to enjoy in its benefits you will know that your journey has paid off.

The Island Hvar is connected with mainland by following boat lines:

Split – Hvar ( fastboat connection – taking no vehicles, only passengers) www.jadrolinija.hr & www.krilo.hr

Split – Jelsa ( fastboat connection – taking no vehicles, only passengers)

Split – Stari Grad ( ferry connection)

Drvenik – Sućuraj (ferry connection)

Dubrovnik – Hvar ( fastboat connection – taking no vehicles, only passengers) www.jadrolinija.hr & www.krilo.hr

If you are travelling to Hvar by car, after reaching Zagreb you should take the highway A1 and drive to Split (alternatively continue to Drvenik) where you have to take the ferry to Hvar (Split – Stari Grad or Drvenik – Sućuraj). You can also drive along the Croatian coast from Rijeka to Split or Drvenik.

The closest international airport if travelling to Hvar is the one in Split. The airport is 25 km distant from Split Harbour so transfers are organised by buses, usually connected to domestic flights, but there is also a local bus on a regular basis and taxi service available during the operating time of Split Airport. Alternatively you can land at Zadar Airport (160 km away from Split) or Dubrovnik Airport (230 km) and take a bus or rent a car from that point.

Croatia Airlines is the national airline company connecting Croatian airports to many European and overseas destinations..

Of course, there are lot of other airline companies flying to Croatia.

The railway connects all major Croatian cities (except Dubrovnik) with almost all European countries, more details on Croatian Railway . The train station in Split is right across the Split harbour, where you can take a ferry to Stari Grad, or catamaran to Jelsa and Hvar town.

Bus lines connect all parts of the country. Regular international bus lines connect Croatia with all neighboring countries, as well as most of middle European and west European countries. Bus departures between Zagreb and Split are frequent. For details visit Bus Station Split and Bus Station Zagreb.

The Island

Hvar belongs to the central Dalmatian archipelago, it’s the second biggest Croatian island and the longest one. The eastern promontory of Hvar is only 4.5 km away from the mainland, while the western one faces the open sea. It is 67,5 km long and a maximum of 10,5 km in width and covers the area of 299.6 sq km. Higest peak is St.Nicola which is 626 m high. There are 11,500 inhabitants on Hvar. Innumerable lavender fields, olive plantations and wineyards cover it. The islanders make their living mostly of tourism, viticulture, olive growing and above all, growing of rosemary and lavander, and fishing… Thanks to its position at the ancient sea route, Hvar has richer history than any other island on the Adriatic. Constant fights for the island confirm its importance and value of its territory… The Island of Hvar has numerous cultural and historical monuments – churches, town squares, local parks, caves, and Hvar’s Ager (valley). The Island of Hvar, with its cultural and historical heritage, is one of the richest regions of the entire Adriatic coast and Croatia. In 1997 it has been chosen by the „Traveller Magazine“ as one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world.

Hvar Town

With 3,500 inhabitants, Hvar is the largest town on the island. The old town is surrounded by walls, and the town’s historic center dating from the 15th Century has been well preserved. Its main square, the so-called “Pjaca,” is the largest town square on the Croatian coast. In 1612 the oldest comunal Theater in Europe was built on its eastern side.

The most impressive building in Hvar is definitely the Cathedral of St.Stephen, standing on the eastern side of the town square, at the far end of the Pjaca, where two parts of the town meet. St. Stephen’s, with a nice 17th-century bell tower, is a harmonious synthesis of the Renaissance, manneristic and early Baroque styles so typical of the Dalmatian architecture of the 15th and 16th centuries. The inside has quite a few late Renaissance paintings and a nice wooden 16th-century choir area.

The town Loggia lies at the western end of the Pjaca, looking out on to the bay. Together with Leroj (Clock Tower), the Loggia is the only remains of the former Governor’s Palace. After being damaged by the Turks in 1571, today’s Loggia was the work of the master Tripun Bokanić in the 16th century and represents one of the most beautiful Late Renaissance buildings in Dalmatia. The interior is decorated in a neo-Renaissance style and serves as a reception and wedding hall, as well as an exhibition room.

In front of the town Loggia lies a small enclosed marina Mandrać with Baroque pyramids on the walls around it. The stone paved quay, called Fabrika, is one of the oldest in Europe, dating from 1554. On the cape to the south of the town lies the Franciscan Monastery with a church of Our Lady of Mercy, built in the late 15th century. The cloister, with its monumental rounded arches with a well in the middle, dominates the whole of the Renaissance monastery. Being very acoustic, the cloister today serves as a small concert hall hosting to prominent musicians from Croatia and abroad.
Inside you’ll find a museum with a collection of sacral art. The museum opens to an idyllic garden with a view of the sea. The bell tower, in Renaissance style, is the work of an artist from Korčula.

The Archaeological Collection is displayed in the former Dominican Saint Mark’s church dating from the 16th century. The displayed items testify to the presence of man on the island of Hvar, starting from the earliest ones, dating from around 6000 BC, up to those dating from the end of the ancient period, i.e. 5th or 6th century. Prehistoric items include whole ceramic, vessels or their fragments, stone, flint, and bone artefacts and lumps of volcanic glass obsidian, all finds from Hvar caves (Markova špilja, Grapčeva špilja and Pokarvenik), as well as numerous prehistoric grave mounds. Items dating from the antique period include stone reliefs, ceramic vessels, brick fragments, oil lamps, glass teacups, money and decorative items made of metal, glass, and bone, mostly coming from unidentified archaeological sights. Other items from the antique period are amphorae, ceramic vessels, and nautical equipment and tools recovered from the sea around the island of Hvar.
The large 16th-century fortress Spanjola that stands above Hvar Town once was a medieval castle. The current structure, built by the Venetians, is worth the climb to see spectacular views of Hvar Town’s rooftops and its harbor from the ramparts. Inside the fortress you’ll find displays of amphorae found offshore; and you can visit a spooky dungeon.

Pakleni Islands ( Hell’s Islands ) or, more precise, Paklini Islands (Resin Islands) are located to the south of the town of Hvar. They are a small attractive limestone archipelago that abounds with stunning well-hidden bays and beaches, most of which can be accessed only by boats. The Palmizana sandy beach, Stipanska, Jerolim, Mlini are especially attractive. The Islands are easily reachable by taxi boats from the center of the town of Hvar or you can rent a boat.
Hvar gained glory and power during middle ages being an important port within the Venetian naval empire. Today, it is centre of island’s tourism and one of the favourite destinations in Dalmatian riviera – a town of smiling and courteous people, who are almost only dedicated to tourism. Along with Dubrovnik, Hvar is the most attractive tourist town of the Adriatic.



Since Hvar lies in the middle of the main sea routes, history has left many traces on it, maybe more than on any other Adriatic island. Constant fights over the island can only confirm its importance and value of its territory.. Each of the conquistadors left their traces in the history, a mark for the future…

The history of the island goes back into the prehistoric period, and the finds from two most important caves (Grapčeva and Markova špilja) prove that existence of the life on the island is at least 6000 years old.

Characteristic examples of painted pottery enabled us to identify the so-called Hvar culture (around 3500 to 2500 BC). The oldest description of a ship in Europe was found on a pottery fragment in Grapceva spilja (cave).
Some people believe that the Grapceva spilja was a place where Odysseus fought against Cyclops. The fragments from the legend: “…That was the land of the Cyclops about which Odysseus knew nothing. He just moored and saw a cave overshadowed by a laurel tree and a huge stone protected the entrance. There lived Cyclops, all by himself…”

The island was later inhabited by the Illyrians, who came into conflict with the Greek colonizers in the 4th century BC. On the east cape of island, near Sucuraj was the position of the Illyrian queen Teuta. Numerous tumuli on the island are of Illyrian origin.
The town of Pharos was founded in 385 BC by the Ionian Greeks, the Parans, as an agrarian colony. The map of land division of the fertile plain of Stari Grad is an exceptional document 2500 years old and belongs to that period. It is today one of 3 oldest plains in the world with preserved Greek land division.

Hvar played an important role in the Roman-Illyrian conflicts, when its rulers (Demetrije Hvaranin) tried to preserve its independence.
Pharos came under the rule of the Romans in 219 BC and was called Pharia. In the period of the Roman rule villae rusticae were built over the whole island, mostly in the town of Hvar, Stari Grad and around the present-day Jelsa.
In Roman times Hvar lost its earlier importance. On the collapse of the Roman Empire, Hvar came under the Byzantine rule, as well as the entire Dalmatia. In the 7th century it came under the Nerentani (Narentini), with whom it joined the Kingdom of Croatia in the 11th century.

In the following centuries Hvar recognized the sovereignty of the Croatian-Hungarian ruler, the Bosnian King Tvrtko, the Split Duke Hrvoje, the Dubrovnik Republic.
From 1420 till the fall of Venetian Republic (1797), Hvar was governed by Venetians. Hvar became the main Venetian port in the eastern part of the Adriatic. From that time dates the oldest communal theatre in Europe built in 1612 in Hvar.

Later on Hvar came under the Austrian rule (1797) until the arrival of the French (1806), and their constant fight marked that period. The Austrians reoccupied the island in the 2nd half of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century bringing a period of relative prosperity. Around that time all the island ports were rebuilt.

The first meteorological station in Croatia was established in the tower of the monastery of Veneranda in 1858. Weather conditions helped to promote tourism on Hvar. As a result, in 1868 “The Hygienic Society” of Hvar was founded – as one of the earliest “tourist boards” in Europe, it’s purpose was providing “good care for visitors”

In 1918 the Italian army occupied the island and the occupation lasted until 1921, when Hvar, along with the whole of Croatia, joined the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, succeeded by the Republic of Yugoslavia after the Second World War. In 1991 Croatia was recognized as an independent state.

Outstanding palaces and churches, valuable paintings and sculptures, important literal and music works have been created over a long period, and still the artists find the inexhaustible inspiration in the beautiful island…

The island is characterized by mild Mediterranean climate; gentle and moist winters, warm summers and many hours of sunshine, The air temperature in the winter months is 9.1°C, an average air temperature in January is 8.4°C and in July 24.8°C. Maximum temperatures are never too high to render agriculture impossible (the highest recorded temperature of 37°C was reached in 1935). The average annual air temperature is around 16.5° C, while autumns are warmer than springs, which prolongs the growing period. Hvar has the most hours of sunshine on the Adriatic coast (2,718 hours of sunshine a year), an annual average of 7.7 hours sunshine per day and 3.8 hours of cloud (by comparison Dubrovnik has 7.0 hours of sunshine and 4.4 hours of cloud; Nice /South of France/ 7.2 and 4.2 respectively). Snow occurs very rarely; in January there are five snowy days in ten years and in February only three. A general belief in the health-giving effects of sunny regions led to the discovery of this “Adriatic Madeira” as early as the 19th century. The forest vegetation, which in the past comprised the entire island, has been cleared in dolomite valleys and flysh belts, adequate for farming. Bare rocky ground is interspersed with underbrush and garrigue; lower belts are covered with holm oak, Aleppo pine and other species.
Take a walk along the sunniest Mediterranean island and enjoy the scent of spices and taste of fruits enriched in traditional Mediterranean kitchen by diligent Hvar people… Authenticity and unpolluted environment of the island of Hvar are the guarantee of top quality products and at the same time, blessing to the development of traditional Mediterranean kitchen. With so much love for the natural resources and a little bit of creativity your meal becomes a hedonistic ritual… Enjoy your meal! The cuisine of Dalmatia and the islands follows the trend of modern nutritional norms. The brief thermal preparation of foodstuffs (mainly boiling or grilling) and plenty of fish, olive oil, vegetables and self-sown herbs found near the sea is why this cuisine is considered to be very healthy. Dalmatian wines, like olive oil and salted olives, have been highly esteemed since ancient times. Famous wines include Dingač and Postup from the Pelješac Peninsula, then there are Pošip and Grk from Korčula; Plavac from the island of Hvar, and also Prošek (a sweet dessert wine), the very strong grape (loza) and herbal brandies (travarica, grapes with medicinal herbs). Although even today every area has its own way of preparing certain dishes, the cuisine of the islands represents a separate world, their distinguishing features having been discovered only recently, such as the cuisine of the islands of Hvar, Korčula, Brač (vitalac, a dish made from lamb offal wrapped in lamb gut and spike-roasted), Vis (spike-roasted pilchards, as during the Ancient Greek period; flat cake with pilchards from Komiža and Vis, related to the modern-day pizza). Fresh sea fish (gilt head, sea-bass, grouper, mackerel, pilchards) grilled, boiled or marinated; then there are mollusks (squid, cuttlefish, octopus), crustaceans (shrimps, lobsters) and shellfish (mussels, oysters, date-shells) boiled in a fish stew or as a risotto. Of the meat dishes, prosciutto is unarguably unrivaled – pork leg smoked and dried in the bora (from Drniš), served with dry, mostly sheep’s cheese (famous sorts of cheese are those from Pag and Dubrovnik) and salted green and black olives, capers and pickled onions. Lamb is also very highly valued, especially boiled or baked on an open fire; also, dried mutton (kaštradina), roast beef, Dalmatian stew (pašticada) with gnocchi, offered by many restaurants. Lightly boiled vegetables are also favorite dishes (Swiss chard with potatoes, tomato sauce) often a mixture of cultivated and self-sown vegetables, spiced with olive oil and wine vinegar, or served with meat (manestra – pasta with minced meat; arambašići – stuffed vine leaves). Typical Dalmatian desserts win the heart with their simplicity. The most usual ingredients include Mediterranean fruit, dried figs and raisins, almonds, honey, eggs (rafioli, mandulat, smokvenjak, the gingerbread biscuits from the island of Hvar, rozata from Dubrovnik). Source: Croatian National Tourist Board, www.croatia.hr

Hvar photos