Hvar, or how a locals would call it „Hvor“ or even „For“, is by all means one of the greatest travel destinations in Croatia and entire Adriatic Sea. But the reason I took this destination to be my first Travelicious Article is not its undeniable beauty, its Paklina Islands (popularly translated as Hell’s Islands) or its medieval stone buildings and walls. No. This was the place where I went to a honey moon with my beautiful wife. So here goes the story about it. About Hvar, of course, not about our honey moon.
Road less traveled
So, to start this journey we had to make decision about how to get here. There are two ways to get to Hvar. Oh, I fogot to mention – Hvar is both a name of the island and a name of the biggest city on it, settled on a west end of the island. To get to city Hvar you can either go directly to it via ferry line from Split or you can travel to it by car. To go by car first you have to get to Sućuraj on east end of the island via ferry line. We decided to take a ride. Why, I’m not exactly sure. It was some kind of romantic thing as if we felt we wouldn’t deserve to get to Hvar by being simply put to it. No, we decided to take a road less traveled and by saying this I’m not using a English language slang. This way to get to Hvar is really a way less taken because it’s kind of not really safe. To get to Hvar from Sućuraj you travel one of the greatest rides there are – you literally go through vineyards, through countless olive plantations, incredibly blue-ish lavender fields, beautiful coastline… The trip to Hvar from Sućuraj was, as we use to say, half of our adventure. But to get to Hvar this way, you have to survive one of the narrowest roads I’ve ever driven. There are parts of it that are normal, but there are parts of it when you go through vineyards and olive plantations that are risen above ground for about one meter without any side walls or any kind of protection. Literally, when another car comes from a opposite directions, you have to almost stop to be sure no one would get off the road. But, it’s totally worth it. Oh, and don’t forget (although I’m not sure this is allowed or even legal, but we did it) – pull aside and get your self some lavender. From that moment lavender scent will always remind you of that trip and of Hvar.
Once you set your foot to city you are swept of your feet. It’s medieval buildings catch your eye instantly and you start to feel as if you’ve always belonged there. That feeling stays with you all the time and you might have a hard time leaving it when a time comes to that.
Once you settle, depends on a type of person you are, there are a tons of things and places you can visit. If you’re a architecture enthusiast or a historian or just a guy or a girl who wants to have some fun, Hvar is place for you. My wife and me decided we just want to relax, so we went exploring Hvar’s buildings, little narrow streets, it’s fortress, bars, little restaurants, etc.
Fortress was built around 1200 and just by knowing that you feel an awe and you could almost hear numerous ancient battles that took place there, since Hvar was, during his history, under many conquerors. Below the fortress is harbor and a famous square Pjaca, which is largest square in entire Dalmatia. Most of the old buildings were built around 1200’s when Hvar was ruled by Venice.
Island Hvar is sometimes referd to as a “blue island” and once you step on it you will know that’s more than a true, but you will not be sure how it got that name. Is it for intense lavender color, or crystal clear sea or the bluest and clearest sky in all the Adriatic. Yes, Hvar is also known for being a place that has the most sunny days in whole Craotion shoreline. Hopefully, you’ll be luckier than my wife and me, because the summer of 2014 had more rain than any other year anyone on Hvar could think of.
Luckily, out of our 14 days vacation, rain was falling for “only” five days, so we had plenty of time to visit what we came for – Hell’s Islands (Pakleni islands).
Well to be honest with you, they’re not really called that, but literal translation of what their name sounds like is equal to this translation. Their name comes from a archaic word “paklina” which means tar and refers to the pine resin used to coat ships that was harvested on these islands. Sure, some of the small islands have no or very little vegetation on them so it could be a hell on earth for anyone who would get stuck on them during a hot day, but lets not dwell on that.
Once you get to city harbor every few steps there are boats that can take you to one of the islands (there are 16 of them). Nearest one is only half an hour away, while some are an hour or even more away. What’s guarantied is that where ever you go, to which ever island, you will witness a beauty that’s very rare. Sea is unnaturally clear and there are thousands of peaceful coves for diving, underwater fishing or swimming. It would help if you have your own yacht, because duration of these excursions is limited and you would not want to leave with first ship.
When it comes to beaches there are numerous different ones. There are bars on beaches with tons of day and night parties, there is a beautiful city beach, which was known for being a prettiest beach of that type in entire Yugoslavia (former country that Croatia was part of), and there are small intimate coves that you can go to and enjoy far from anyone else. One of our favorite was a beach in Pokonji dol. To get there you could walk or drive, but the best way to get there is by a bike, which you can rent on several places throughout the city. There is a little bar that serves all kind of different meals, from a hamburger to some fancy fish or steak. More importantly there’s a lot of shade where you could sit and enjoy your beer after a long bike ride.
So to put an end to my first article, I will say that Hvar is one of the best destinations I’ve visited so far in Croatia.