Hvar is to Croatia what Ibiza is to Spain. It’s the party capital of the Dalmatian Coast and the entire country. Think yacht parties and ritzy clubs filled with wealthy 20-somethings. This island, a 90-minute ferry ride from Split, is the place to be to celebrate anything in Croatia – whether it be a bachelorette party, a birthday party, or just a fun getaway with your girlfriends.
Beyond the party scene and glitziness, you’ll discover a charming, historically rich, and delightfully scenic island with a beat of its own. While 24 hours doesn’t seem like much time to spend in Hvar, the island is small enough for you to take in the main sights, try the delicious seafood, and get your iconic Hvar photo at the top of the island. Whether you’re hopping off here on a sailboat adventure or just taking a day trip from Split, here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of one day in Hvar.
Want to read more about Croatia? You’re in luck! This post is a part of the Croatia series. Here is the complete 15-part series:
Krka National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Krka National Park, Croatia
Plitvice National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Plitvice vs Krka – Krka vs Plitvice National Park: Which One Should You Visit?
Mljet National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Mljet National Park, Croatia
Hvar: Know Before You Go
Let’s review some logistics to ensure you’re prepared to maximize your day in Hvar. From timing to transportation, we’ll walk you through how to plan your trip to Hvar so that you have a memorable experience.
The Best Time To Visit Hvar
The best time to visit Hvar depends on what you plan to do. That said, certain times of the year are better than others in terms of weather and activities available. The island offers something for every type of traveler, no matter what time of the year you visit. Here are the factors to consider to decide when to visit Hvar.
Like the rest of Croatia, Hvar has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and mild winters. The peak tourist season is from June to September when temperatures are high and rain. It’s nothing major – just a few drizzles here and there. If you prefer cooler weather and smaller crowds, you might enjoy visiting in the shoulder seasons of April to May or September to October.
Hvar offers a range of activities, from beach lounging and water sports in the summer to hiking and wine tasting in the fall. If you have a specific activity in mind, check to see when it is offered and plan your trip accordingly.
Hvar hosts several festivals and events throughout the year. Perhaps the most significant one is the Lavender Festival in late June/early July. Lavender is a major part of the island’s culture and tradition, and you can see the beautiful lavender fields and locally grown lavender products. The annual Hvar Lavender Festival celebrates the island’s lavender heritage and features a range of events and activities, including lavender picking, workshops, and music performances. If you’re interested in attending a particular event, be sure to check the dates in advance.
The Hvar Summer Festival happens in July and August. This annual festival celebrates the island’s culture and art, including music, theater, dance, and visual arts. During the festival, the town comes alive with a wide range of cultural and artistic performances, from traditional Dalmatian singing and folk dancing to jazz and pop performances.
The events are held in various locations around the island, such as the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Hvar Theater, the Franciscan Monastery, and the Arsenal building. In addition to the performances, the Hvar Summer Festival also includes exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. You can attend workshops on painting, photography, and sculpture and participate in lectures on cultural and historical topics related to the island of Hvar and Croatia. To get a full list of upcoming events, visit the Hvar Tourism Board’s events calendar.
How To Get To Hvar
There are several ways to get to Hvar, depending on your starting point and preferred mode of transportation. Here are some options:
Ferry: The most common way to get to Hvar is by ferry from Split. The ferry ride takes about 90 minutes to two hours, depending on the route and ferry company. There are several ferry companies that operate daily during the peak summer season. During the offseason, the ferry options dwindle.
Catamaran: Another option for getting to Hvar is by catamaran, which is a faster and more expensive option than the ferry. The catamaran service operates from Split and connects Hvar with other islands in the Adriatic, such as Brac, Korcula, and Dubrovnik.
Private boat: If you sail in Croatia, your boat captain can arrive in Hvar and dock at one of the island’s marinas or ports. This is the option I went with for the convenience and built-in itinerary. I participated in Girls Love Travel’s 10-Day Sailing Adventure in Croatia onboard, which took the guesswork out of coordinating transportation.
Helicopter: You can take a helicopter from Split Airport to Hvar for a luxurious and fast option. This option offers stunning views of the Adriatic and is ideal for those who want to arrive quickly and comfortably.
How To Get Around the Island of Hvar
Hvar is a small island with some hilly areas. You get around the island a few ways, depending on the distance. Much of the attractions on the island are concentrated within the Old Town, which is walkable. Here are the transportation options when visiting Hvar:
Walking: Hvar Town, the island’s main town, is small and pedestrian-friendly, with narrow streets and historic buildings. Walking is a great way to explore the town’s many attractions, such as the Hvar Fortress and St. Stephen’s Square. Several walking trails and paths connect the town with nearby villages and beaches.
Bus: A public bus service on Hvar connects Hvar Town with other towns and villages on the island. The buses run several times a day and are relatively affordable. However, the bus routes can be limited and infrequent, especially during the offseason.
Taxi: Taxis are widely available on Hvar and can be a convenient way to get around the island. However, taxi fares can be expensive, especially if you’re traveling long distances or during the peak season.
Car or scooter rental: If you want more flexibility and independence, you can rent a car or scooter on Hvar. There are several rental companies that offer a variety of vehicles, from small scooters to larger cars. Keep in mind that some of the island’s roads can be narrow and winding, so driving can be challenging, especially for inexperienced drivers.
Boat: If you want to explore the island’s many beaches and coves, you can rent a boat or join a boat tour. There are several boat rental companies that offer a variety of boats, from small dinghies to larger yachts. Boat tours are a great way to see the island from a different perspective and visit some of the more secluded beaches and bays.
One Day in Hvar: Morning
Enjoy a healthy breakfast at Kantun Cafe
Start off your day by grabbing a bite at Kantun Cafe. Tucked away in a narrow street in the Old Town, this quaint coffee shop serves a variety of delicious pastries, from vegetable quiche to almond croissants. This cafe is widely regarded as having some of the best coffee in town, especially its espressos. There will be a lot of walking and climbing during your 24 hours in Hvar, so you must be wide awake.
Explore the Old Town of Hvar
Old town Hvar is the historic heart of the island, known for its charming atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and cultural heritage. Here are some of the main attractions of old town Hvar:
Getting to the Spanish Fortress requires a bit of a trek uphill to the top of the town unless you opt for a taxi. Located on a hill above the town, the Hvar Fortress offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding islands. The fortress dates back to the 16th century and is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Hvar.
St. Stephen’s Square
The main square of Hvar is a lively gathering place surrounded by historic buildings, cafes, and restaurants. The 17th-century St. Stephen’s Cathedral dominates the square, which features a beautiful bell tower and a baroque interior.
The Arsenal is a historic building that used to serve as a naval warehouse and shipyard. Today, it houses the Hvar Public Library and the Hvar Theatre, which hosts cultural events and performances.
The Franciscan Monastery is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the town, with a beautiful cloister, a garden, and a museum. The museum houses a collection of artworks, manuscripts, and artifacts from the island’s history.
The Bishop’s Palace is a grand Baroque building that used to serve as the residence of the bishop of Hvar. Today, it houses the Hvar Heritage Museum, which showcases the island’s cultural and natural heritage through exhibits and interactive displays.
One Day in Hvar: Afternoon
Relax at Hvar Beach Club
The Hvar Beach Club is an upscale environment to relax and unwind in the heart of the town. It is a popular destination for visitors to the island who want to enjoy a day of sun, sea, and relaxation. You can go swimming, sunbathing, or sit and have drinks. Rent a beach chair and lounge by the Adriatic Sea.
Have Lunch at Dva Ribara
Located right at the center of the Old Town, Dva Ribara is the best restaurant I had the privilege of dining at in Hvar. This family-owned restaurant serves a variety of delicious seafood dishes. The star of the show, though, is their Black Risotto, a creamy and succulent creation with cherry tomatoes and shrimp. It is one of the most flavorful foods I’ve eaten anywhere. If you’re not in the mood for Black Risotto, there’s a long list of fish dishes and Croatian staples like Cevapici.
Hvar is known for its lavender production because of the island’s ideal climate and soil conditions. The Mediterranean climate, combined with soil that is rich in minerals, provides perfect growing conditions for lavender. As such, you will see lavender goods everywhere – from essential oils to soaps to perfumes.
Lavender products would be the perfect souvenir to pick up from Hvar. As you stroll through the Old Town, you’ll see kiosks and shops selling all sorts of lavender goods in addition to hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, towels, and other souvenir items. Be sure to pick up a few things as memorabilia and a reminder to return to Hvar.
One Day in Hvar: Evening
Dinner at Dalmatino
This eatery, which specializes in steak and seafood, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Dine on decadent dishes like octopus salad, truffle gnocchi, and steak tartare while you’re treated like royalty by the attentive, friendly staff. Located right off the main town square in Hvar, this establishment is consistently booked. That’s why it’s a good idea to stop earlier in the day and make a reservation.
My clubbing days were long behind me, so I didn’t go out with the other ladies from my sailboat at night. I only heard tales of their clubbing experiences the next morning. They don’t call Hvar the party island of Croatia for no reason. If you’re up for dancing and fun, Hvar may have too many options. Here are three options depending on what kind of scene you’re in the mood for.
Jazz Barrr is ideal for you if you’re in your 20s or 30s and love to drink. This establishment is the sort of place you go for a wild night of drinking, dancing, and making out with a cute guy from Spain. The electronic music is loud, and the drinks are super cheap. There are even some poles to dance and let off steam after a few drinks. Caution: this place is far from a jazz bar. The only thing close to jazz is the paintings of saxophones on the walls.
Central Park Club
Central Park Club is a casual live music venue that’s sort of half bar and half club. This place features musicians from around Croatia in a dimly lit, intimate setting. It’s a great option if you’re like me and don’t do any hardcore clubbing. This is a somewhat upscale environment along the Hvar waterfront with an extensive cocktail menu. You’ll find people singing along and dancing to the live music. It’s a chill atmosphere that’s perfect for people of all ages.
Passerola Night Club
Tucked away in the corner of the Old Town, this nightclub is a haven for R&B, Hip Hop, and DanceHall lovers. A friend of mine accidentally discovered this place and ended up staying there until 5 am. That’s how good the music was! This place has the atmosphere of a typical nightclub, but the playlist differs from your average nightclub in Hvar.
Go Bar Hopping in Old Town Hvar
The Old Town of Hvar is littered with bars. I think the best way to experience the bar culture is bar hopping. Start in the town square and then walk along the narrow streets adjacent to it. You’ll see every type of bar imaginable, and they are open until the early hours of the morning. Sample a cocktail in one place and then move on to the next. You could probably visit five bars on the same street, but I would move around to sample a wider variety of bars.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do in Hvar in one day?
There’s so much that you can do in Hvar in one day. For the sake of time, it’s best to narrow down your activities to see the highlights of the island, especially in the Old Town. Start the day with a delicious breakfast at one of the many cafes, like Kantun Cafe. Then take a stroll through the Old Town, exploring the narrow streets and visiting historic landmarks like St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Spanish Fortress, and the Franciscan Monastery.
In the afternoon, explore the pristine beaches, clear waters, and beautiful natural scenery with a trip to Hvar Beach Club. You can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy drinks at this upscale establishment. You can also grab lunch at an excellent seafood restaurant called Dva Ribara.
In the evening, you can enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of Hvar’s many excellent restaurants, like Dalmatino. Then hit one of the island’s many bars and clubs to dance the night away. You can dance until the early morning and then get back on the ferry and crash when you return to your next destination.
Is one day enough in Hvar?
It’s ideal for spending a couple of days exploring the island of Hvar because there’s so much to see and do here, from exploring the Old Town and visiting historical landmarks to enjoying the stunning beaches and natural scenery. That said, you can get a taste of the best that Hvar offers in a day as long as you carefully plan your itinerary and prioritize the activities you’re most interested in.
How much time do you need in Hvar?
A full day is sufficient to see the highlights of Hvar. If you are able to spend 2-3 days, that’s even better.
Is it worth visiting Hvar?
Hvar is definitely worth visiting. As one of the most-visited islands in Croatia, it has a lot to offer, from delicious seafood to vibrant nightlife.
Is Hvar or Korcula better?
It depends on what you’re looking for. Korcula is a quieter island known for its wineries, cobblestone streets, and historic Old Town. Hvar, on the other hand, is known as the party island of Croatia and has a variety of bars, clubs, and yacht parties. Neither is better. It just depends on the type of experience you want to have.
Can you get around Hvar without a car?
Yes, you can get around Hvar without a car. The island is relatively small, and many of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other. The old town of Hvar is pedestrian-friendly, and visitors can easily explore its narrow streets, squares, and historic landmarks on foot.
Also, several transportation options are available on the island, including local buses, water taxis, and bicycles. Local buses run regularly between the main towns and villages on the island, and visitors can purchase tickets at the bus station or onboard the bus.
Water taxis are another popular way to get around the island, and they provide a unique way to explore Hvar’s coastline and nearby islands. Visitors can take a water taxi to secluded beaches and coves or the Pakleni Islands for a day trip.
Finally, renting a bicycle is another great way to explore Hvar. The island has several cycling routes that offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and coastline. Bicycle rentals are available in the old town and other main towns on the island.
Travel Essentials I Can’t Live Without
The CabinZero 36L Backpack – this trusty backpack has been my go-to luggage for domestic and international trips since 2018. I’ve used dozens of backpacks over the years and keep coming back to this one. I almost never check-in luggage, so I need a carry-on bag that is spacious, sturdy, and comfortable, with a laptop compartment. The Cabin Zero 36 L fits the bill. The size makes it small enough for a weekend getaway and big enough for a month of backpacking in Europe. The bag also comes with a tracker in case it gets lost. How convenient! Check out my complete review of the backpack.
Travelwifi Portable Hotspot Device
Travel WiFI Pocket WIFI Device – With portable WiFi, you can say goodbye to ridiculous roaming charges and SIM cards for good. I’ve been using the Travel WiFi Portable Hotspot device for years and love the peace of mind it gives me. The device provides 3G-4G WiFi for at least 6 hours and works in 100+ countries. In my experience, it lasts 9 hours. It also works in a variety of landscapes and terrains. Using my device, I even filmed a Facebook Live from a boat in the Atlantic Ocean. I can also use Google Maps, request an Uber, call my mom, and do many other things I couldn’t do before. A quick tip: turn off the device when you’re not using it so the battery can last longer.
Booking.com – Booking.com is my go-to website for booking discounted accommodations around the world. What I love most about Booking.com is the variety of properties you can find, from luxury apartments to treehouses to university housing. It’s hard to beat the insanely low prices. The website also has a flexible cancellation policy, which is great if things come up or you change your mind.
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