Croatia is a rising star in the world of luxury travel destinations, with more and more people discovering the beauty and charm of the country and its cities. Hvar Island is fast becoming the next great attraction in Croatia. What was once a small sleepy fishing village has now become the newest Riviera with super yachts and catamarans mooring along the Hvar harbour side by side with the traditional local fishing boats. The Dalmatian Coast is now drawing the “jet-set” crowd to its shores and to its renowned beach clubs.
Aside from bathing in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic and sipping cocktails at one of the stunning Hvar beach clubs, there are plenty of options for elite travellers on this gorgeous island. Here, you can visit the pristine Pakleni Islands, swim in the azure waters, walk through aromatic lavender fields, dine on the freshest seafood or savour the local wines at a vineyard, explore the historic cobblestone streets and rough stone-walled buildings of Hvar town and get lost in its winding streets.
The best way to visit Hvar Island is by boat and there are many catamarans and speedboats departing from Split that can take you to the island, a pick up by Dalmatia Express from Split airport to the harbour and then on to the island by speedboat takes only 55 minutes in total and will set you back €360, which is economical if shared with others. Arrive in style with a sleek speedboat and begin your Hvar adventure!
This guide is perfect for those who are travelling to Hvar on a luxury. We will show you what to do in Hvar, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around, whether it’s a weekend in Hvar or a long term stay.
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The best time to visit Hvar
Hvar enjoys mild and pleasant weather all year round and enjoys around 260 days of sunshine annually. The best time to visit Hvar is during the shoulder seasons in Spring and Autumn, from mid-April to June and then again in the months of September and October. These are the least busy periods to holiday in Hvar and also the most economical in terms of flights and hotels.
Peak period is a popular choice for those who want to make the most of the parties and nightlife and lazy days soaking up sunshine on the beaches. Be prepared to jostle with the crowds in peak season as June to August brings swarms of tourists, up to 20,000 visitors per day! During the peak season, prices for hotels and flights are significantly higher and it is harder to avoid the crowds.
Luxury things to do in Hvar
Enjoy the views from the Tvrdava Fortress
With views over the skyline of Hvar’s red rooves and stone buildings to the turquoise sea beyond, the best views can be found from atop Hvar’s fort. Aside from stunning views, the fort has a fascinating history, it is also sometimes referred to as Trvdava Spanjola, meaning the Spanish Fort because of engineering contributions made to its infrastructure by Spanish engineers in the 14th century.
It was once a 6th century Citadel from the Byzantine era until it was converted by the Venetians into a fortress during the 14th century. The fortress duly protected the residents during an invasion by the Turkish army during 1571, when the city of Hvar itself was destroyed during the attack. Nowadays, the fortress is also a museum which displays historical artefacts of the city. It is a relatively gentle sloping walk from St. Stephen’s Square through picturesque pine forests and is definitely worth the visit! Entrance is only €5 per person.
Head to a beach club
Hvar is renowned for attracting crowds to its beach club scene, and if you’re here to party these are THE places to be. There is a selection of luxury beach clubs where you can rub shoulders with the local and foreign jet-set and dance until the sun comes up. One of the best beach clubs is the highly-exclusive Laganini Beach Bar & Restaurant where you can enjoy sipping on a cool cocktail and dine on some delicious freshly-caught seafood in the midst of a beautiful cove overlooking the Adriatic. It is well worth splurging on the cost of a cabana which will allow you to enjoy a whole day of lounging and taking in the relaxed vibes at this beach club.
Another stunning beach club is Bonj ‘les bains’ beach club which offers the perfect waterfront setting to relax and enjoy a day by the beach, eat the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted or perhaps indulge in a massage or spa treatment. For a truly luxurious experience rent out a stone cabana or even a floating private pontoon.
Cruise the Pakleni Islands
The Pakleni or Paklinski Islands consists of twenty small islets just across from Hvar. The name for these small islands originates from the word “paklina” which is the kind of resin once used to coat local boats. A private tour of the islands will allow you to enjoy the beauty of these local islands and plunge into the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Alternatively, you can opt for a private hire of a Pasara boat from the harbour which does not require a boat license and the vendor will give you a crash course on steering this vessel and you choose to explore beautiful bays such as Zdrilca beach and Mlini beach for only €54 at your own leisurely pace. Don’t forget to pack drinks and a picnic!
Explore Hvar’s local beaches
Hvar has some stunning beaches just a short stroll away from the town itself. Some of the very best beaches include Pokonji Dol, just 25 minutes by foot from Hvar with its inviting turquoise seas and smooth pebble beach, the beach is surrounded by small, charming restaurants where you can enjoy some cold beers while dining on the local seafood. Bonji Beach is only 10 minutes’ walk from the city as well and is where the stylish and hip Bonj Les Bains Beach Club is situated.
Another beach worth visiting is Mekicivica Beach, a small pebble cove surrounded by pine trees. To reach it you have to walk 20 minutes through a pine forest but once there, you can enjoy the pristine tranquillity of this nudist beach with a great little secluded restaurant just around the corner called Robinsons with its rustic feel and freshly-caught seafood dishes.
Lose yourself in the winding streets
Hvar is a charming city with winding cobblestone streets and is the perfect place to lose yourself and be transported to another world. Here you can take in the relaxed and local vibes of the old town and is the perfect way to escape the crowds. There is also plenty of people watching to be done in St. Stephen’s Square and around the Hvar Cathedral, which is the hub of social life and activity in the town. Enjoy a stroll whilst admiring the Renaissance and Venetian architecture or even catch a busking performance or two.
Visit the Franciscan Monastery
The beautiful 15th century monastery majestically overlooks a cove and is picture perfect, there is also a museum housed within the monastery where you can see their collection of coins from the Greek, Roman and Venetian periods. It is a beautiful place to take a relaxed stroll and enjoy the views from this historic building.
Visit the lavender fields
Hvar’s Velo Grablje is a 14th century village tucked away in the mountains a few kilometres from the town and can be visited by car. It was once the hub of all lavender production in Dalmatia and even in Europe, as well as producing high-quality honey, wine and olive oil. Nowadays, it has become a quiet, sleepy village due to emigration and a dwindling population.
There is a lavender festival still held every year at the end of June where locals harvest the flowers and a variety of concerts, exhibitions and workshops celebrating Hvar’s cultural heritage take place. For a truly authentic experience don’t miss the Lavender Festival.
If you visit outside of the dates of the Lavender Festival you can still enjoy a tour of the lavender fields with a local guide on a four to six-hour easy walking tour on the old roads of Milna. Prices for a guided tour start at €50 per person including transfers, snacks and local wine.
Hvar wine tasting at a vineyard
Explore the local wines with a wine tasting and vineyard tour. This three-hour tour will take you on a guided tour of Jelsa, a small coastal town near Hvar. Here you can learn about the family tradition and culture of winemaking with the Tomić family and discover the flavours of Prošek, a locally produced wine.
The tour will also take you to another family-owned vineyard where you can savour the flavours of Carič wines and discover their story to the accompaniment of some delicious local appetizers. The price starts from €80 per person and includes hotel transfers.
Where to stay in Hvar – Luxury Hotels
This gorgeous little boutique hotel is nestled in its own private bay and is a little slice of tranquil paradise, the perfect place to experience an intimate romantic getaway. The 15 rooms are bright and airy and look out over onto the Adriatic Sea. Rooms have private terraces and outdoor showers with panoramic views across the turquoise seas of the Adriatic.
Rooms are air conditioned and are decorated in a simple, modern style. The most luxurious room is The Terrace Suite which starts at €650 per night, including breakfast. The hotel has its own bistro, bar, spa and beach to ensure that you experience five-star luxury during your stay in Hvar.
This luxe spa hotel has stunning views over the local marina of Hvar and is only a short stroll from some of the town’s attractions including the Hvar Cathedral, Spanish Fortress and also Mekićevica beach. The hotel provides a variety of accommodation options including hip penthouses to casually decorated rooms, with some rooms offering balconies, hot tubs and even living areas.
The amenities of the hotel include a rooftop indoor pool, terraces, gym and spa where you can indulge in some relaxing massages, soak in the hot tub or relax in the sauna, the hotel also organises yoga classes as well. Hotel Adriana has a great on-site fine-dining restaurant as well as two bars including a marina facing bar with views of the stunning blue waters of the Adriatic. Prices start from €259 per room with breakfast included.
The stunning historic Heritage Villa Apolon offers views of the Adriatic from its many chic and elegant rooms. The hotel has a majestic feel and is adorned with Grecian statues, it is also a five-minute walk from Tvrdalj Castle. The rooms are equipped with all you could need and some have floor-to-ceiling windows so you can fully enjoy the vistas over the Adriatic Sea.
Some rooms are decorated with antique furniture and heavy wooden-beamed ceilings or even equipped with a living room, all the décor exudes elegance and luxury. The hotel has an on-site restaurant and wine bar tucked away in an exposed brick cellar. Rooms start from €139 per night including breakfast.
This quirky boho hotel is owned by an art collector immersed in nature, in a quiet, lush botanical garden where you can find some villas and bungalows decked out in rustic and arty décor. The six colourful villas and bungalows are painted in deep colours and decorated in vibrant art pieces.
The hotel also boasts an excellent seafood restaurant with a covered terrace that draws yachts to come and dine on their delicious freshly-caught offerings. The hotel is 10 minutes by boat from Hvar and is the perfect base where you can relax and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Prices for rooms start from €380 for a villa per night, a minimum of 3 night’s stay is required.
Luxury eats in Hvar
If you want a taste of traditional food from Dalmatia with a modern twist, head to the new and vibrant Giaxa. This creative restaurant has a rustic feel and prides itself on its signature seafood dishes such as grilled octopus served with fiery peppercorns and pine nuts, poached, scampi stuffed sea-bass and lobster served up with delicious white wine and tomato sauce. Try out their seasonal tasting menu to experience the best of local produce and flavours.
This exclusive restaurant is situated in Riva on the seafront promenade where you can take in the views of the crystal clear waters as well as the yachts gently bobbing on the moorings of the port. It’s main attraction on the a la carte menu includes freshly-caught seafood served up in traditional recipes such as salt-baked fish, Adriatic lobster and for meat lovers, there are also juicy succulent steaks. The sunny terrace is ideal for summer days and the meals can be enjoyed with an amazing selection of Croatian wines and champagnes. The restaurant also boasts a glass-floored interior dining room and its chic fine-dining has attracted people such as Giorgio Armani, Prince Harry and Roman Abramovich.
This restaurant situated in Jelsa is a wine-lovers’ paradise and is described by its owner as a “gastronomical fairytale”. This family-run restaurant has four storeys of terraces with a rustic design of wood and stone and the family have over 200 years of history in winemaking, as well as their own family vineyards and wineries. The dishes in the restaurant include specialties such as sea urchin caviar, the three-island burger which serves up wild boar meat with brac lamb and if you’re really hungry, try the seven-course menu paired with delicious Huljić wine. Booking is highly recommended.
Situated in the city itself, this restaurant also offers fantastic vegetarian options aside from the traditional seafood. The cuisine includes French, Mediterranean, Italian and Greek influences and can be paired with Croatian and European wines. For meat lovers, the beef steak served with truffles is to die for, there is also a divine smoked duck breast risotto and beef carpaccio on the menu. The views look out over Hvar and the Pakleni islands and it is the perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner.
This beautiful restaurant is built upon the Jelsa Riva and has quirky Konoba décor and serves up delicious Dalmatian classics as well as vegetarian dishes to the backdrop of the Adriatic Sea. The restaurant has a reputation for being one of Jelsa’s best and the innovative menu includes dishes such as squid stuffed with prawns, escargot stuffed mushrooms, truffle pasta and more!
This gorgeous tiny restaurant atop a hill offers up delicious local cuisine cooked with lots of passion, the recipes having been handed down over generations. With a background in winemaking, the owners serve up delicious Croatian wines as well as their own homemade wine or “Domace Vino”.
The menu is short but features excellent local traditional dishes made from homegrown vegetables and locally sourced meats and seafood. The platters are highly-recommended and are abundant in local paški cheese, plump olives and cured meats and hams. Don’t forget the traditional Pogoca, tomato stuffed homebaked bread, made with grandmother’s recipe.
Luxury tours to do in Hvar
Experience the beauty of Hvar’s nature with a private customised speedboat tour which will take you to secluded beach spots with your own private skipper. Visit the stunning Blue Cave, Stiniva Cove and Palmižana Bay and enjoy a day swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing on your private vessel. The charter starts at €670 for an 8 hour day trip and includes beverages, guide, tickets for the Blue and Green Cave and also a delicious lunch.
This six-hour tour combines the best of Hvar, you will explore the beautiful Green Lagoon near Milna and also to Zaraće to enjoy snorkelling and swimming amongst the fish, you will visit the beautiful beach and beach bar in Dubovica bay and even explore an underwater cave! Finally you will explore red rocks where you can snorkel and enter two caves before enjoying local food in the charming town of Sveta Nedjelja as well as savour some of the best wines in Croatia in their underwater wine cellar! The price for a boat charter and tour is €660 with a maximum of six guests.
For those who want to taste the best that Dalmatia has to offer with this guided tour of the traditional flavours of the region including olive oil, honey, chocolate and wine. This tour also takes you through the village of Brusje to savour the locally-produced honey, lavender and rosemary. You will also visit the nearby lavender fields. Afterwards, you will visit St. Mary of Mercy, a fortress church near Jelsa and taste olive oil in a local grove and the tour will finish with tasting of homemade chocolate made with local fruits and herbs near Jelsa Park. The price for the tour starts at €185 per person.
Recommended tours in Hvar
- Blue and Green Cave Speedboat Small Group Tour from Hvar
- Hvar Wine Tasting Tour
- Hvar Wine Tour and Dalmatian Dinner
- Hvar Hidden Gems Half Day Tour with Lunch or Dinner
- Hvar Island Tour and Olive Oil Tasting
- Hvar Abandoned Village Tour and Local Dinner
- Hvar City Walking Tour
- Discover Hvar and Pakleni Islands by Sea Kayak
- Sunset & Pakleni islands Speed boat tour from Hvar
- Private Transfer by Speedboat from Hvar to Split Airport