Places to visit around Hvar
• Paklinski Islands
This is one of world’s most beautiful island chains made of 21 islands, islets, reefs and narrow passages forming a green and white line separating the open sea from Paklinski Channel. Legend says that the Paklinski Islands came into existence as a result of a secret love between the sea god Poseidon and a nymph. Even today it’s easy to see why this lovely necklace of little islands that surrounds the town of Hvar is so special. Spend a day away from the crowded beaches, enjoy the sun in the serenity of hidden coves, swim in a clear-blue sea and relax in the untouched nature of the Paklinski Islands.
• Šćedro Island
Perhaps the award for the quietest island in all the Mediterranean goes to Šćedro – located just a 30 minutes boat ride from Hvar, just eight square kilometers and just one place to stay! Wander through the remains of an ancient Dominican monastery, discover the island’s wild landscape, vineyards and olive groves and then hit the beach for an exhilirating swim! As a natural harbor there are no shops or facilities, just a beautiful landscape to absorb and enjoy.
• Brač Island
Although many consider Brač to be an island of olive growers, winegrowing and winemaking it is truly a small paradise on earth. Situated close to the mainland this island made mainly of karst it is also known for its tradition of sculpture, local supple white stone has been used by finest sculptors worldwide. Brač is one of the few Adriatic islands to have its own airport, 15 km northeast of Bol and nowadays the local community is working on the project by which the island airport would operate year round and serve as the base to connect the Adriatic islands in close proximity by hydroplanes. The most visited place in Brač is located on its southern coast and is its oldest town – Bol. Home to the famous fine pebble beach Zlatni rat, Bol is a small cosmopolitan haven and Zlatni rat location should be a must see point on your bucket list. Notice the unique geological formation of the beach and take a dip in the gorgeous clear blue water that has become Bol’s trademark. Back in the town there are plenty of entertaining bars and restaurants while any shopping splurges can be quenched by a perusal of the open air market and many boutiques that line the harbor.
• Vis Island
Vis island has a special place in the hearts of many Croatians who consider this a truly unspoiled example of the best of the Dalmatian coast. Its designation as a military base under Tito froze its development for more than 40 years, allowing farming and fishing to remain the dominant activities. Now tourism is taking over this remote island, one of the farthest from the mainland in Croatia. Vis has become a hot destination among those in the know who want a quiet getaway amid a gorgeous patch of clear sea which provides great fish, swimming and diving. Vis town was created through the union of two seaside communities joining the working harbor area with the neighborhood of food, fun and night-time action. The more secluded village of Komiža feels slightly more bohemian, it is a place where you can enjoy an easy-going Mediterranean pace and excellent pebbly beaches. The main tourist sight in Komiža is the palatial Venetian fortress and tower Kaštel. In Vis town you can find historic remains of Greek vessels, Roman baths and Baroque Austrian architecture. Worth mentioning is also the nearby islet of Biševo with its singular attraction – the Blue Cave. To visit the rest of the island it is best to hire a scooter and explore the inland with its building built in the mountains.
• Korčula Island
After spotting Korčula’s adorable tiny houses, as you approach the island the scenery will make you dream of simple living. Korčula is the sixth largest island in the Croatian Adriatic and one of Dalmatia’s most relaxing getaways. Its main attraction is the main town; guess the name – Korčula with its majestic maritime views featuring silky silhouettes of the neighboring islets and its historic centre. During the 15th century Korčula was renowned for the stone-carving skills of the local men. Fortunately some of the best work can still be seen on the facades of the town’s buidings. Korcula is one of the last places where the Moreska, a traditional sword dance can still be seen. An interesting fact concerning the island has raised a lot of steamed discussions around the provenience of Marco Polo, for which is believed that it was born on the island. According to this theory his father was a merchant from Dalmatia named Maffeo Pilic, who Italianised his surname to Polo when he established himself in Venice.
Superb beaches, including the not easy to find sandy beaches, are to be found at Lumbarda and in the secluded coves of the south coast. This wooded green isle is beautiful to look at, even if you decide not to stop and explore what it has to offer.
• Split (approximately an hour from Hvar)
Split is the main city in the Dalmatia region and one of the largest on the Adriatic coast. Teeming with culture, it is perfect to wander around and enjoy the beautiful architecture the city has to offer. Punctuate your time here with some well-timed stops at the numerous bars and cafes filling the streets. The city’s Diocletian’s Palace is one of the visual and cultural highlights. Small shops and houses still fill the enveloping walls with over 3000 occupants living within them; it is one of the best preserved examples of architecture from this period.
Split harbor is a lively marina with plenty of bars and restaurants ideal to spend the afternoon drinking the local beer while looking out over the boats and yachts drenched in the sunlight.
Trogir is a picturesque town arranged with parks which was first settled by Greeks from the island of Vis in 300 BC. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town reflects the influences of subsequent Roman, Hungarian, Venetian, French and Austrian rule. Trogir is situated on the Adriatic coast 30km north of Split. Its medieval core is placed on a small island between the island of Čiovo and the mainland; connected to the mainland by a small stone bridge and with the island of Čiovo by a drawbridge.
Trogir with its many palaces, churches, towers, and fortresses in every way deserves to be called ‘the Stone Beauty’.
This formerly rather frumpy seaside town has in the last few years attracted some of Croatia’s most visionary initiatives: the Garden club and its various festival offshoots; landmark public installations such as the ‘Sea Organ’ and ‘Greeting to the Sun’; and the Arsenal, an arts centre in a beautifully-restored Venetian armory. Zadar is a historical Croatian town with a history dating three thousand years which connects the north with the south Croatia. Zadar is attractive for its looks and hospitable citizens, for many travelers and artists it can be compared with Venice and Dubrovnik. It is a city of rich spiritual and material culture and tourist tradition which treasures its archaeological riches and monuments of ancient, medieval and Renaissance periods. The tow is built around the roman forum with well-preserved ancient walls. It is full of archives, museums, libraries and literary and musical heritage. It is the city with the oldest university in Croatia (1396) and the birthplace of the first Croatian novel and first newspaper written in Croatian language. City cultural institutions and events feature music evenings in St. Donat, puppet shows and entertainment and sports spectacles. Despite taking a battering from the recession, Zadar’s nightlife scene shows no sign of letting up, with a rash of new bars filling the gaps left by businesses that didn’t quite make it through the crisis.
The City of Dubrovnik, located in the southern part of Croatia, is one of the rare pearl of the world`s cultural heritage. Dubrovnik and surroundings boast splendid vegetation, dominated by cypresses, pines, olives, oaks, vineyards, plantations of orange and lemon, aromatic plants and flowers, palms, agaves and cacti. Dubrovnik is the backdrop for HBO’s “Game of Thrones“and it’s hard to tell the real city from the fictional one. The Pearl of the Adriatic, as Dubrovnik is known, has prospered and persevered in equal measure since its birth in the 7th century and boasts exquisite physical perfection, with the Old City, jutting out into the sea, renowned for its intact defensive wall, towering forts, a characteristic red-tiled roofs cape and narrow, climbing streets.
Mljet is one of Croatia’s hidden-gem islands. Situated about 70 minutes by ferry from Dubrovnik, Korčula or the Pelješac peninsula, the elongated island is home to one of Croatia’s most beautiful Natural Parks. The island which is 32 kilometres long and about 3 kilometres wide rises like a sleeping green giant from the pristine waters of the Adriatic and believed to be the place where St Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome and is also reputed to be the bolt-hole of Odysseus and his nymphette Calypso. The island was once home to many poisonous snakes (vipers) but the problem was rectified by the introduction of the non-native mongoose, whose descendants can still be seen running between the trees of the thick pine forests.