Hvar is an island located off the coastline of Croatia, on the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic Sea.
Several ferries reach the island from Split and Dubrovnik, and on the island itself there are several ports, so make sure you look at which port is closest to your accommodation so you don’t have to take a taxi across the whole island!
I got to Hvar from the Split ferry port, and there were countless ferry options to Hvar Town on Hvar.
I managed to find a ferry for 100 Kuna (£12) and don’t stress if you miss one, there are several companies that sail out to the island and they run quite frequently, until the evening.
This was going to be a very different style of travel for me for a couple of reasons:
1. Normally I wouldn’t spend such a long time in one location, especially if there isn’t too much to do there.
2. I haven’t been on a beach/ relaxing / lounging around holiday for roughly eight years, since I was a teenager!
Jon had already been there for a couple of days, as this was his style of holiday and as a couple, we both try to compromise so that the other can have the opportunity to travel how they wish. Luckily for me Jon allows me to go off on my own travelling the world and usually is happy to sacrifice a beachside resort holiday for city breaks or exploring unique places since meeting me.
We were staying at the Amfora, Hvar Grand Beach Resort, and on my first day we spent the better part of the day by the pool reading, listening to some travel podcasts and relaxing. It was a weird feeling, but a lot of my travels do make me exhausted by the time I get home, so it was good to relax for once and recharge.
Hvar town is the largest of all the settlements on the island of Hvar, and while it doesn’t have too much to see it was lovely to go for a walk around the coastline.
The port is always filled with boats and superyachts for those with a lot of cash to splash on their holidays (I doubt I will ever make it onto one for a party). You can certainly tell that Hvar is a ‘party island’ – there are lots of busy bars and many (too many?) Brits revelling late into the night.
Within the old town there are a lot of restaurants offering a selection of Mediterranean food. Around the port you will come to Franciscan Monastery. There isn’t much to see but walking through the tiny back streets was fun to try and get lost within.
Just before sunset we took a walk up to Tvrđava Fortica (Spanish Fortress) which had some lovely views of the port, sea and town below.
After a couple of days relaxing in Hvar, Jon and I were back on a ferry for our last stop in Croatia, Split. Although I had passed through Split a couple of days earlier, I hadn’t had a chance to explore the city.
I was able to purchase tickets for 100 Kuna each again for the one-hour ferry back to the mainland. Split is a hub for tourists to take ferries out to the islands scattered across the Dalmatian Coast. It is a very busy city (although not as crowded as Dubrovnik) with people also heading to this popular destination for hen and bucks’ parties, so be warned at night people can get a bit rowdy.
Even though this city does have a lot to offer for those looking for a party holiday, there are also some great spots to see within the area. As we got off the ferry and headed towards where we were staying we walked along the Riva, which is a popular promenade with plenty of seating, views out onto the bay, and many restaurants to have some great meals.
Our stay in Split was a hot one (Or had I just become accustomed to British weather?) and one stop that is great to visit and relax was Park Josipa Jurja Strossmayera. There was plenty of shade for us to rest and several sites within it.
The bell tower and the chapel of the Holy Arnir is a freestanding site overlooking the park, which unfortunately you could not go up, and then there was the Statue of Gregory of Nin. I got quite frustrated as I tried to take a picture of it from a certain angle, but of course some tourists are oblivious to others and stand right in front of you so they can get there shot.
Make sure you are never like these tourists when you travel! The Gregory of Nin statue that towers over you depicts a Bishop in Croatia that was strongly opposed to the Pope and introduced the national language into Croatian services. Just by his statue is the Golden Gate, which is the entrance into the old town of Split.
The streets are narrow like many other old towns across Europe and filled with tourists and locals bustling through to see the sites or get out of the chaos.
The key thing to see in Split is the UNESCO World Heritage site Diocletian’s Palace. This fortress-like palace served as the home for the Roman Emperor and his military garrison during the fourth century.
At the top level there is an open square with columns on all sides. The hidden gem is still to be seen, with a staircase right at the end of the square that lead down a level to a corridor-like tunnel that is filled with venders trying to sell their trinkets for tourists on each side.
At the very end of the tunnel near the exit, if you go left you can pay to see some of the underground rooms from the Roman period.
A ticket gives you access to several rooms from the cellars to the temple. They even have the old Roman sewage line on display (How delightful). There are quite a few rooms for you to walk through and read about their history and it is certainly worth it.
Right by the Diocletian Palace you will find an assortment of ruins in the old town, from bell towers to churches. For a couple of Kuna, you can also go into Jupiter’s Temple, which was built in the 3rd century by the Romans to worship their gods, but since then been converted into a Catholic Church.
It is well decorated and beautiful to look at. Your ticket also includes the crypts underneath however, I personally don’t think its worth going down to see as there is nothing but a small room with a well. Unfortunately, at the time I had an exam the following week, so I didn’t have time to take a walk through Marjan Forest Park.
There is a great walking track with scenic views over the coast which I was recommended to see but wasn’t able to make it out to. Next time I pass through Split to visit other parts of the region it certainly will be high on my list.