The island of Hvar
The respected Forbes magazine rated the central Dalmatian island of Hvar neck to neck with the Carribean, the Maldives, Hawaii and the Bahamas in one of its issues. This island was, more than once, put on lists of the most beautiful islands of the world by the world media. It is famous for its indented coastline, clean beaches and plenty of sunshine, untouched nature, smell of lavender, olives and wine. It is precisely the island of Hvar that has the most hours of sunshine in Europe – 2700 of them a year.
The Greek colonization chose this island as an important strategic and nautical centre. Its name today comes from the Greek word Pharos – lighthouse. After that the Romans turned it into Pharia, the Dalmatian Romans changed it to Fara and in the early Middle Ages the Croatian immigrants re-named it to Hvar.
The longest Adriatic island of Hvar has plenty of beaches, so every guest can find a beach suited to their needs.
For parents with children the ideal beaches are Soline, Grebišće and Mina, while for larger groups and more entertainment the best beaches are Petarčica, Mlaska, Palmižana, Ivan Dolac and the town beaches Laterna and Banj. For couples the best beaches are Maslinica, Dubovica, Pern and Bonj, which was listed among the most beautiful beaches in Europe by the British newspaper The Times. Lovers of nudism will enjoy the beaches Glavica, Zečevo, Stipanska and Šćedro.
Underwater fishing is forbidden in the Hvar area, but divers are recommended diving around the islet Vodnjak and cape Stambeder. The canal between Hvar and Brač is ideal for windsurfing and on the south side of Hvar there is a cliffbase, a garden for climbing, located above the sea. Mountaineers will also have plenty to do in Hvar. There is a steep climb through vineyards and olive groves to the 626 metre high hilltop of Sveti Nikola.
Hvar is widely kown for its nightlife and has gained world fame thanks to crazy fun its visitors have in the nightclubs like Carpe Diem – a favourite among the elite, Club Veneranda, Beach Bar Hula Hula, Nautica Bar, Kiva Bar, Splash Beach Bar and Vertigo Club.
The inland of the island is completely different to the tourism orientated coast. Here there are villages with preserved rural architecture with small shops, narrow streets, stone houses with small yards and church bell towers. Along 20 km, there are the villages of Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj and Dol
This island is an island of excellence in many ways. And it’s an excellence that transcends borders, as Hvar is reckoned among the top ten most beautiful islands on the Earth. Plenty of sunshine (indeed, the largest amount of annual sunshine) is just a small feature of its attractive mosaic. You will get a more complete picture of the island and its value if you visit its largest town. In Hvar town is the largest square in Dalmatia along with the Cathedral of St Stephen. The square is named after the same saint as the cathedral, though the people of Hvar call it ‘Pjaca’.
The theatre in Hvar was one of the first municipal theatres built in Europe. It was founded in 1612 and is located in the Arsenal building.
The lace, originally from Tenerife, has been present here since the mid-19th century and it is now protected by inclusion on UNESCO’s list of Intangible World Heritage. Another intangible cultural property from here that is on the same list is the procession Za križen, a ritual that involves six towns on the island: Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj, and Vrboska. During the night between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the cross bearer is accompanied by believers and pilgrims, and makes the eight-hour journey of over 25 kilometres with a cross weighing 18 kilograms. In 2008, the World Heritage List accepted the inclusion of the Stari Grad Plain based on several criteria, among them as being an example of a very old traditional landscape and as an agricultural region that has continued cultivating the same crops for thousands of years. You can taste the fruits of this area in such local specialities as lavender-flavoured desserts and highly-esteemed wines. One of the oldest delicacies is starogrojski paprenjok, a delicacy mentioned in Peter Hektorović’s main work ‘Fishing and Fishermen’s Talk’. The Renaissance home of this writer, Tvrdalj Castle, is the most famous monument in Stari Grad itself.