A Day Trip to Hvar

For someone who has never had much interest in a beach vacation, the Croatian coast was probably a strange choice of destination for me this year but there was method in my madness. I have long been a fan of neighbouring Slovenia and decided that it was time to venture further south. In any case my international trips had a tendency to be rather exhausting, being largely taken up with hiking and adventure sports and I thought it was time to slow down and relax.

 

My base in Croatia was the small town of Podgora on the Makarska Riviera which proved to be a great choice as there were plenty of great beaches and the location offered easy access to both Dubrovnik and the gorgeous Biokovo Nature Park up in the mountains. Podgora was also just down the road from a ferry connection to the island of Hvar and that proved to be a very good thing indeed.

I spent the first few days relaxing and enjoying the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic but I couldn’t stop gazing across at Hvar in the distance. It looked like a delightful and serene place and eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I headed off to the ferry port at Drvneik to spend a day on the island. A day isn’t much time but it was enough for an exploratory mission and provided all the evidence I needed that a return would be inevitable!

After disembarking I decided to make my way to Hvar Town, famous as a playground of the rich and famous. It was a slightly hair raising 77 km drive from the port along winding and sometimes narrow roads but the journey gave me the chance to see the stunning interior of the island and to grab many wonderful views of the beautiful bays and coves along the coastline.

The island is now a Unesco World Heritage site due to the Greek walls dividing the agricultural land on the fertile coastal plain, a legacy of the islands diverse and fascinating history. The landscape is punctuated by small villages, some long abandoned, and the principle settlements are on the coast.

The interior proved to possesses a wonderful serenity and there was a complete lack of any attempt at commercialism. There were small wineries and crofts offering tastings of local produce which I couldn’t resist and I was in severe danger of drinking too much to drive! I have always loved buying local crafts and produce, especially in remote areas like islands where you tend to find a charm and authenticity rarely available elsewhere. If you visit Aran then you have to buy one of those famous jumpers and on Hvar it is wine, olive oil and lavender.

 

Hvar Town proved to be a stunning, historic and really rather gorgeous place. There was plenty of activity and many luxurious yachts moored in the bay. It was a lovely area to take a stroll and people watch but it was Jelsa a little further south that stole my heart. Jelsa is a stunning harbour town offering wonderful views of the island of Brac and boasting several pretty coves for bathing nearby. I really loved this little town and it was Jelsa that made me resolve to return to Hvar and return I will next year! This time I intend to stay for two weeks which should be enough relaxation to see me through an entire year!