Hvar town is simply stunning. It has a chic sophistication you won’t really find on the rest of the island, but of course that comes with a price tag. I’m personally quite glad I wasn’t staying there, as everything from a bottle of water to a simple lunch costs twice as much as it would elsewhere on the island, but it’s a wonderful place to spend a day exploring.
The Spanjol, a 16th century fortification on the top of a hill is definitely worth the trek to visit as it boasts stunning views over the harbour and Palenki islands. Hvar Town probably had the best selection of shops, boutiques and art galleries; definitely worth a browse. Bol
On our last day we made the short ferry journey (only 30 mins) over to Bol, on the island of Brac to catch a glimpse at its famous beach. Bol felt much more developed and touristy, and probably more suited to families than Jelsa. There was water sports for every age and ability, from windsurfing to banana boat rides and pedaloes. There were a few little gems to be discovered in the town though, like the Branislav Dešković art gallery, which celebrates Croatian artists. The curator was so friendly and he took the time to show me all around the gallery.
What to eat:
The food in Hvar has a definite Italian influence, which I’m certainly not complaining about! I had a lot of excellent pizzas and pasta dishes. The gelato is also to die for, and at only 60p a scoop you can’t say no.
Not surprisingly the sea food is outstanding. I ate so much fish, prawns and squid during the week, all of it wonderfully fresh. One of my favourite dishes was a brudek, a traditional dish of white fish cooked in a rich tomato sauce in a paper parcel. In Jelsa there was an abundance of excellent restaurants, all if which were very good value.
What to buy:
The three main things that Hvar produces is lavender, olive oil, and wine, and they all make great gifts to take home. Everywhere you go in Hvar you see little carts with ladies selling sachets of lavender and bottles of essential oil. At one of the fancier stalls in Hvar town I picked up some beautiful lavender and camomile tea.
There are plenty of places selling homemade wine and oil, and you can quite often go in for tastings. I picked up a bottle of herb infused oil from an old man in a tiny shop, who was handwriting all the labels and sticking them on with pritt stick.
Surprisingly there are a few vintage shops on hvar, though they certainly aren’t cheap. There are trendy vintage and designer shops in Hvar town, that rival any found in Shoreditch. There is also a small vintage and antique shop in Stari Grad. My favourite was a vintage stall on Bol where I picked up two lovely plates for a tenner.
Where to stay:
If you’re planning a holiday in Croatia find an apartment through Airbnb. I can’t recommend it enough! Support the local communities by staying in their homes and experiencing the wonderful Croatia hospitality!