Hvar Travel Guide

Hvar is one of the most well-known Dalmatian islands and each year, it welcomes thousands of tourists to its sunny shores. If you’re looking to kick back and relax by the water or want to enjoy some of Europe’s best outdoor nightclubs, there is something for everyone on this beautiful island. Hvar is also known…

Island History

Hvar was first inhabited by the Greeks in 384 BC, and the island was originally called Pharos. The name Pharos refers to the Greek word for the lighthouse, which is an accurate description of the sunny island of Hvar. There are many ancient settlements and forts located throughout the island that serve as a reminder of Hvar’s rich history.

Hvar Island’s popularity can be traced back to the 12th century, when the Venetian Republic colonized the island and introduced wine production, solidifying Hvar’s position in tourism for centuries to come. It’s believed that Hvar was one of the first places to instigate tourism in Croatia, with the first foundations of organized tourism being registered on the island in 1868. Today Hvar Island is a tourist destination with a population of just over 11,000 people.

Best way to get to Hvar

There are a variety of ways to travel to Hvar from the mainland, including passenger ferries, car ferries, and high-speed catamarans. If you’re coming from Split, the quickest option is the daily catamaran, which takes just under two hours. You can also take a car ferry from Split to Stari Grad if you’re travelling with your vehicle. Dubrovnik and Hvar are also connected, though the journey of around 3.5 hours is longer than if you’re coming from Split.

You can browse our selection of Cruises in Croatia to find the one which offers the Hvar in the itinerary.

What to do while I am on Hvar Island?

Visit the Old Town

Hvar’s old town looks like it came straight out of a fairytale! With stone, marble floors and alleyways adorned with vines and flowers, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular tourist destination. There’s something for everyone here, from quaint shops to hidden restaurants serving up the best food you’ve ever tasted.

The square in Hvar’s town centre is known as Pjaca and is still used today for official town events. It is the largest square in all of Dalmatia, measuring 4,500m2, and is surrounded by many restaurants, stores, bakeries and cafes. The open space and beautiful architecture make it the perfect place to enjoy a coffee while people watching.

Hvar’s St. Stjepans Cathedral is located at the end of Pjaca on the east side of the Town Square. The Gothic cathedral and striking 17th-century bell tower are impressive sights that set the backdrop for the town. The current appearance of the cathedral was developed over the 16th and 17th centuries, however, it was originally built on foundations from the 6th century. Today, St. Stjepans Cathedral is an integral part of Hvar’s architecture and a prominent feature of the town.

Explore the Spanjola Fortress

If you want to see the best view of Hvar Town, you need to visit the Spanjola Fortress! This fortress, built in the 16th century to defend against Turkish invaders, is now a museum with a collection of amphorae and antiques, a cafe bar, and an incredible view of the island and nearby Pakleni Archipelago. Navigate through the Old Town alleys and stairs to find the winding path up to the fortress. The climb is moderate but definitely worth it!

Visit the Hvar Lavender Fields

Hvar Island is well known for its lavender fields. The fragrant lavender has been grown on the island for many years, and you can find lavender products everywhere you go! Lavender oil, lavender ice cream, and lavender honey are just some of the delicious treats on offer. If you’re visiting Hvar, be sure to take a walk through the beautiful lavender fields in full bloom! The best time to see the fields is late June when they are blanketed in a sea of purple.
Take a trip to a lavender field that is run by a family, buy some lavender oil to bring home, or enjoy some lavender ice cream that is local!

Discover the Pakleni Islands

This group of 19 islets located off the southeast coast of Hvar Island is known as the ‘Hell’s Islands’. This name refers to a pine resin used in the past to coat ships. These stunning islands are anything but hellish, and offer something new and exciting for visitors. Some of the islands are popular among naturists, while others have been transformed into open-air art galleries, restaurants, and seaside bars. With some of the best swimming spots in the region, these islands are a must-see for anyone visiting the area!

Savour local wine

Viticulture and grape cultivation has been present on the island of Hvar for over two millennia, with the first vines being planted on the Stari Grad Plain in 384 BC. The Stari Grad Plain is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcasing just how long viticulture has been present on the island. This makes Hvar the perfect place to go wine tasting, as you can sample some of the very best wines that Europe has to offer.

What about accommodation in Mljet?

Hvar offers a variety of accommodation options, from hostels with shared dorms to luxury hotels. Whether you’re looking to stay in Hvar Town, Jelsa, Milna or Stari Grad, there’s sure to be a place that’s perfect for you.

Towns on Hvar island


Jelsa is a town with a long history, dating back to the 1300s. It was once a thriving trading port for wine and olive oil from the island. Today, it is a beautiful town with plenty of restaurants and bars, some with views of the harbour, and other hidden away in side streets. Jelsa is about 25 minutes from Hvar Town by car and is worth a vis


Milna is a beautiful village located in a small cove, known for its stunning beaches. There are 4 beaches in total, as well as pine forests and a few restaurants. Milna is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for peace and tranquillity, being only 4 kilometres from Hvar Town.

Stari Grad

Stari Grad is an ancient town located in Croatia, dating back to Greek settlement in 384 BC. The town is situated approximately 19 kilometres from Hvar Town and consists of a charming network of old narrow streets and small squares around the harbour. Vineyards and olive groves surround the town and the nearby Stari Grad Plain is definitely worth a visit on your way to this picturesque town.