Croatia is known as the land of 1,000 islands. Which isn't 100% accurate, because technically there are 1,246. Plus, only 50 of them are inhabited (but a private island doesn't sound all that bad either TBH). As much as I'd love to visit each one of them, I'm only here for a month, so I had to pick and choose. And the one that stood out the most? Hvar. If you're planning a trip to Croatia, make sure to schedule a weekend trip to take in the history, beaches, and beautiful sunsets on this breathtaking island.
The island of Hvar is about an hour boat ride from Split. We decided to go the economical route and take the ferry. Just make sure to arrive early, because the ferry port is huge - anddd we may or may not have missed our boat because we couldn't find it 🤷 This is what my fellow Remotes like to call "level 3 fun." But it worked out, and we made it to island just a little behind schedule (as usual).
When you think of visiting an island, you probably picture sandy white beaches and miles of coastline. If you're looking for that type of weekend, try Bol. Hvar has some pretty bomb beach spots, but it's better known for the rich history and culture. The moment you step onto the island, you're greeted with the traditional Venetian-style architecture that mirrors an old European seaside town.
Hvar's town square has serious storybook fairytale vibes. It's the largest square in Dalmatia, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and the famous St. Stephen's Cathedral and Bell Tower.
Choose an alley, any alley, and you're instantly welcomed by charming spots with lots of greenery. Below is the v dreamy entrance to our favorite Hvar restaurant, Paradies Gardens, which was so good, we actually went there twice.
I've been in Croatia for a little over two weeks now, and I can say hands-down that the food at Paradise Gardens is the best seafood I've tried. Start with the squid, and order the tuna. You won't be sorry 👌
While we're on the subject of food (one of my favorite topics), the other restaurant in Hvar I'd highly recommend is Butchery and Wine. Located right off the pier in the center of town, it's situated close to all the bars - making it the perfect spot for a late dinner.
What makes this place a total crowd-pleaser (on top of the location) is the variety of dishes outside of seafood. You can usually find meat or pasta at other restaurants, but that doesn't always mean it will be done well. Butchery and Wine was delicious across all types of cuisine. Everyone left very happy and very full.
Naturally I got sidetracked by food, but I have yet to talk about is the sunsets. They are literally UNREAL and unlike any I've ever seen.
If you're looking for the most epic place to watch the sunset, head to the top of the Forteresse de Hvar, or the Spanish Fortress that sits atop the island. If you only do one thing when you visit the island - this should be it.
It's quite the climb, but SO SO worth it. Even the views on the way up are pretty damn breathtaking.
To get inside the fortress, it's 40kn (or about $7 USD) and I'm glad we decided to do it. On top of amazing 360° views, there's also a gift shop, cafe, and occasional live music.
But I'd go for the sunsets alone 😍
BRB, taking a million pictures.
Once you've hiked up 25+ flights of stairs, what sounds better than a night out dancing on the town?
Disclaimer: we didn't do this all on the same day.
Hvar is known for the nightlife, but if you're looking for a true island experience - venture off to Carpe Diam Island. It's a short 10 minute boat ride that brings you to the most rad outdoor party on the Adriatic.
After dancing our lil booties off, it was back to our sweet little Airbnb for the night. Then, we finished our trip off with one of the most delicious, healthy, and colorful breakfasts I've ever had... and this time we made sure we didn't miss the boat.
Ciao Hvar, until next time ✌️