Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast have really caught on with travelers in the last few years. With miles of stunning coastline, reasonable prices, and a great blend of natural beauty and history, it’s easy to see why.
Dubrovnik and Split are the most popular towns. And both can be overwhelmed with tourists when the cruise ships are in port. But the island of Hvar, which has the sunniest climate in the Adriatic, still has plenty of places where you can escape the masses.
Equal parts sleepy fishing village, and jet-set playground, Hvar is a delightful place to spend a few days.
Over the centuries, the island has been under Greek, Roman, and Venetian rule, and you‘ll find remnants of all those cultures on the island. Even the Hapsburgs reigned here. But for most of the 20th century, Hvar was part of Yugoslavia.
Today, the 50-mile long island is noted for its lavender fields, red and white wines, and the hill-top fortress which provides hikers with terrific views of the Adriatic coastline and islands. To reach Hvar, take a ferry from Split or Dubrovnik or from the Italian ports of Ancona and Pescara.
Built around a 16th-century pizaza — the largest in Croatia — Hvar town is the island’s main hub. The action here centers around the central square and the harbor where the passenger ferry docks.
Car ferries arrive and depart from the town of Stari Grad. But because much of Hvar town is closed to automobiles, you should think twice about bringing a car. You can get almost anywhere with a rented motor bike.
Most of the Hvar hotels have either been built or renovated within the last few years, so amenities like wireless Internet access, LCD TVs, and in-room safes are pretty common. While many of the places to stay in Hvar are expensive for Croatia, they’re much less than comparable resorts in Ibiza or the South of France.
Hvar has some of the best nightlife on the Adriatic. And it goes until the wee hours. If you want to party the night away, stay near the harbor. If you want to enjoy a good night’s sleep, choose a Hvar hotel that’s a mile or two out of town.
Here’s our list of the best Hvar accommodations:
The most expensive Hvar hotel, and certainly the most posh, the Adriana is Croatia’s only member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World. From the rooftop terrace with heated salt-water swimming pool and sky bar to the 15,000-square-foot Sensori Spa, everything here is stylish and polished. Located right on the harbor, the Adriana is in the heart of the action, so it’s not always quiet. But the rooftop deck has smashing views of the harbor and the islands, the Val Marina terrace restaurant has terrific ambience, and outdoor massage cabanas and an outdoor whirlpool let you take your pampering outside. A member of the Suncani Hvar Hotels group, Adriana guests can also enjoy Bonj les Bain, Suncani’s private beach club. Surrounded by a pine grove on the shore of Amfora Bay, Bonj les Bain has private rental cabanas and pontoons built around a white, stone colonnade that dates from the 1930s. Book through Suncani.
Also on Hvar‘s seafront promenade,Riva Yacht Harbor hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels group. Opened in 2006 in a 100-year-old, protected building, this luxury boutique hotel is party central. The open-air terrace overlooks the yachts in the marina and it’s probably the best place in town to watch the sunset on the islands. The rooms are decorated in a chic, modern style. And Roots Restaurants serves fresh Mediterranean cuisine. There’s a pebbly beach nearby, but no pool. Since the Adriana opened, the Riva is no longer the place to stay, but it’s a better value. Book through Suncani.
If you want to snag one of the 15 rooms at Hotel Park Hvar, you’ll have to reserve well in advance. Located in a 16th-century palace that was renovated in 2006, it has one of the best locations in the old town. Many of the accommodations have a bedroom and a living room, and some have balconies overlooking the sea. With a beautiful garden to the south and courtyard to the north, it offers a little oasis of calm. There’s no pool, but it’s just steps from Hvar’s attractions. Make reservations at Hotel Park Hvar.
About a 20 minute walk from town by lovely coastal path, Hotel Podstine overlooks a small cove and tropical garden. If you’re arriving in Hvar via the passenger ferry, they’ll send the shuttle to pick you up. Their Spalmaris Spa is surrounded by palms and citrus trees, and the restaurant and terrace café have fresh seafood and great views. Rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors have ocean-view balconies with deck chairs and umbrellas. This is a great choice if you want a beach and don’t want to pay for Suncani’s expensive Bonj les Bains private beach. Visit Hotel Podstine for information or reservations.
With its cascading, heated swimming pool complete with swim-up bar and dining pavilions, Amfora is the ocean-front choice for the young and active. DJ-hosted Apres Beach parties in the late afternoon get the action started. And there’s a pool-side climbing wall and an open-air restaurant that serves grilled fish and Dalmatian specialties. It’s a 2-minute walk from Bonj les Bains and a 15-minute stroll from Hvar town. Book through Suncani.
If you’re traveling with a group, you can have lovely Villa Rosmarinus all to your self. The villa, which sleeps a total of 12, is perched in a pine grove overlooking Podstine Bay. You can also rent the 2nd and 3rd floors, which sleep six. With parquet floors, terraces with sea views, and private parking, this is a nice spot away from the hustle of Hvar town. Individual rooms are also available. Visit Villa Rosmarinus.
Any list of Hvar hotels has to include the Hvar Palace. Located right on the piazza in the palace of a Venetian governor, it’s the oldest hotel in Hvar. The location is hard to beat, but even the “renovated” rooms are tired and if you stay here, you’ll likely be disappointed. But do come for a cocktail at the Venetian Terrace, one of the best spots in town.