Not known by many travelers who’d rather spend time at a fancy resort on the French Riviera, Hvar is a summer paradise – the “Croatian Madeira” as some call it. It’s a sunny place, that welcomes travelers with fields of lavender, perfumed olive groves, and hilly vineyards. The shores are caressed by the blue waters of the Adriatic, and the quays are home to as many super yachts as you’ll only find in Saint-Tropez. Hvar is now Lonely Planet’s fifth favorite as a travel destination in 2012.
In Hvar, anyone can afford to feel like a celebrity. With an affordable rental system for boats and yachts, the magnificent Dalmatian coast and islands around Hvar can be explored at any time, regardless of your budget. Yes, this is Hvar, an Eastern European paradise, where every guest is truly a guest; a place that, aside natural beauty and a trendy coastline, is also blessed by thousand of years of traditions and culture.
Cuisine with authentic flavors, prepared with the finest of the natural produce grown on the island, is best experienced in a local konoba, rather than a fancy, touristy restaurant. And if you want to taste wines like no where else, go for homemade instead of ordering expensive labels – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Like any destination where the rich find a harbor, Hvar Island itself got a bit of the glitzy after dark party life, with trendy DJ tunes and late night cocktails, especially in its main cities: Stari Grad and Hvar City. But if you head north, Jelsa feels more authentic and it is less favored by tourists, while Sucuraj and Vrboska still boast gorgeous secluded bays, and peaceful nights.
An island is an island – and although there are enough things to do here to keep you busy for weeks, if you want to explore even more, take a water taxi to the nearby Pakleni archipelago, where you’ll find enough coves for diving, underwater fishing, swimming and water sports.
Images: Quay of Stari Grad at sunset © phant – Fotolia.com; Harbor of Hvar © Big Rolo Images – Fotolia.com; Vrboska © emberiza – Fotolia.com