20 May 2009

Hvar


























The island of Hvar claims to have 5,000 days of sunshine annually (or something equally ludicrous). That notwithstanding, the island is home not only to excessive weather hyperbole, but also the aptly named Hvar town - possibly the best destination in Croatia. It is a beautiful town paried with the gorgeous Pakleni Otoci (Hell Islands - very misleading name). And the visitors match the setting – at least those in Hvar Grad (Hvar Town). Other spots of interest on the island include Jelsa with its marina, Stari Grad, and Vrboska with the bizarre church-fortress Sv. Marija (pictured). Hvar Grad, however, has the best of the crowds – good looking and out for fun. Basically two groups: those stopping in on their yachts, and the young dumb and full of c... eurotrash. Valentino sat two tables down from us in a café (yes he did). The prices reflect the clientele but well worth the cost. Skip the beaches on Hvar and take one of the water taxis (about 30HRK return) to Sveti Jerolim or another of the Pakleni Otoci - Carpe Diem's new beach club on Stipanska is recommended, and is actually part of why Hvar was named one of Conde Nast's Sexiest Beaches for 2009.

And between your beach time and partying, don't forget that the island is also reknowned for its lavender - if you are here in season, take a drive down the island with your windows down - the lavender wafting across the fields is great.

Hvar town tourist association, the Italian language SunnyHvar, and Hvar island are all useful websites. Thalassa Tourist Rentals is one good bet for finding accommodation (Križa b.b., +385 (21) 742 908 or +385 (91) 503 5020, email: thalassa@st.t-com.hr)

Hotel Riva

Riva bb
+385 (21) 750 100
Trendiest hotel in Hvar, and prime location on the harbour just down from Carpe Diem. Book ahead – and get your checkbook ready. It could be better just to stop by for drinks in the bar, as M concurred that the Riva does not deserve its prices – and wouldn't you expect the hotel to have parking arranged somewhere for those rates? The same company, Sunčani Hvar (Sunny Hvar) also runs the Adriana Marina Hotel & Spa which is also getting rave reviews.

Palmižana -Place Meneghello
+385 (21) 717 270
Amazing is all we can say. Bungalos and even cooler villas minutes across the water in the Pakleni Otoci. Even if you don't book in here, at least hop a water ferry from Hvar Grad to Palmižana island and head to Restoran Meneghello – absolutely worth it! Very highly recommended – one of the best places for romance on the coast or a group weekend. Book well in advance, particularly for July or August.

Jadrolinija
has three main ports of entry on Hvar - Hvar Grad, Stari Grad, and Sućuraj. If you are coming by car from Split, most likely you will be on the Split-Stari Grad route. If you don't care for boats, the Sućuraj ferry is the shortest, running from Drvenik on the mainland, but then to reach Hvar Grad you have a good hour's drive along the island - beautiful, but winding. When the lavender is in bloom it is gorgeous.
Jadrolinija Hvar Grad, Riva bb +385 (21) 741 132
Jadrolinija Stari Grad +385 (21) 765 048

SplitTours
Runs catamarans to/from Split/Hvar/Bol/Jelsa so if you aren't bringing a car a good way to zoom around. Also car ferries Split/Ancona and Split/Sumartin (Brac)

Carpe Diem
Riva bb
+385 (21) 717 234
The best bar on the Croatian coast. Bar none. Stop by after the beach for drinks and dancing, and then after 11 for more. Book your table in advance. And if you tire of sunning on Sveti Jerolim, head to Carpe Diem Beach on Stipanska.

Veneranda
Gojava bb
+385 (21) 742 493
Disco in the remains of an old Venetian fortress. When everyone leaves Carpe Diem, follow along across the bay and up the hill and dance off those alcoholic calories.

LUSH Cosmetics
Trg Sv. Stjepana
In case you ran out.

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