Heavenly Hvar – A Picturesque Croatian Island

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It’s Hard to Resist Hvar!

Hvar is one of Croatia’s most popular islands, and with over 1,000 islands to choose from, that’s quite the accomplishment! Though, truth be told, only around 60 of Croatia’s islands are actually inhabited and not all are visited by tourists. Typically when we travel, we look for the alternative to the popular, yet we simply couldn’t disregard the postcard-worthy images we had seen of Hvar’s crystal clear turquoise waters and charming old town.

Boats in Harbor Hvar Croatia

Who could resist this view?!

Hvar was just one stop in the island hopping itinerary we personally created using the local ferry companies in Croatia. The second we stepped off the boat, we knew we had made the right choice! Allow us to take you on a photographic journey around Hvar and hopefully we’ll convince you to make it a stop on your very own Croatian island hopping adventure!

Boats in Harbor in Hvar Croatia

Picture-picture Hvar harbor

We purposely booked an AirBnB apartment about a 10-minute walk from Old Town to avoid staying near the busy city center of Hvar Town. Many people come to Hvar to party, so we did our best to stay far away from the thumping night clubs. Though we enjoyed being away from the hustle and bustle, especially at night, it was a little bit of a walk each time we needed to go to the store or into town. Normally a 10-minute walk would be nothing, but we visited in the first week of September and the summer heat hadn’t quite yet dissipated.

Boat in Harbor Hvar Croatia

The water off the coast of Hvar is crystal clear!

The beauty of Hvar certainly didn’t disappoint. Fortunately we encountered great (but hot) weather during our visit and the vibrant blue sky only enhanced the beautiful azure waters of the Adriatic. Million-dollar yachts dotted the palm-tree lined harbor, creating a swanky and glamorous Mediterranean vibe.

Palm trees near the harbor in Hvar Town

Palm trees lining the harbor in Hvar town

Rich History in an Old Town

Historic buildings remain intact in the Old Town from centuries ago and are navigable by narrow alleyways now lined with wine shops, souvenirs stores, and enticing restaurants.

Buildings in Old Town Hvar Town Croatia

Buildings in Old Town Hvar

In the heart of the old town lies the Pjaca, or Piazza, the largest town square in all of Dalmatia. The Renaissance-Baroque styled St Stephen’s Cathedral (pictured below) and the Bishop’s Palace lie at the east end of the square.

St Stephen's Square in Hvar Town Croatia. The largest square in all of Dalmatia.

St Stephen’s Cathedral in the Pjaca, or Piazza

An old fortress rests atop the highest hill in Hvar Town, reminding locals and visitors alike of ancient settlements, raids, and renewed prosperity.

Fortress Fortica Spanjola above Old Town in Hvar Croatia

Fortress Fortica Spanjola above the Old Town

Fortress Fortica Spanjola was built in the 16th century, under Venetian rule, to protect the city and its harbor. It replaced an older fortress destroyed by a fire caused by a lightning strike to the gunpowder magazine.

Fortress Fortica Spanjola overlooking Old Town in Hvar Croatia

The 16th century Fortress Fortica Spanjola

Fortress Fortica Spanjola overlooking Old Town in Hvar Croatia

City walls dating back to the Middle Ages

Beautiful Views Abound

To get to the fortress, just head in the direction of the hill and start climbing! There are plenty of alleyways with steps leading to the path of switchbacks guiding you toward the entrance to the fort. If you have mobility issues, you can also reach the fort via car or tour bus.

Climb the many stairs leading from Old Town to the Fortress Fortica Spanjola for wonderful views over Old Town in Croatia

Climb the many stairs leading away from the Old Town to get to the fortress

Pathway with a gradual climb leading from Old Town Hvar to Fortress Fortica Spanjola in Hvar Croatia

Once you reach the top of the stairs, follow the switchback path to the fort entrance

If you do venture up the stairs and take the walkway up to the fort, you will pass a lovely little church and have increasingly great views over the rooftops of Old Town.

Church on the way to Fortress Fortica Spanjola in Hvar Croatia

Stone church on along the path leading to the fort

Houses in Old Town Hvar overlooking the Harbor

Over the rooftops in Old Town Hvar

The fort itself houses a collection of amphora (transport vessels for olives, cereal, oil, and wine) and other exhibits from ancient past and the Middle Ages. It also offers great panoramic views over the old town, its harbor, and the surrounding Pakleni Islands.

Croatian Flag flying over Fortress Fortica Spanjola in Hvar Croatia

The Croatian flag flies over Fortress Fortica Spanjola in Hvar

View of Hvar Harbor from Fortress Fortica Spanjola in Hvar Croatia

Gorgeous view over Hvar harbor and the Pakleni Islands from the fort

View from Fortress Fortica Spanjola Hvar Croatia

Stunning view from Fortress Fortica Spanjola

Hvar Town Harbor

Hvar harbor, as seen from Fortress Fortica Spanjola

The Old Town also boasts a 15th-century Franciscan Monastery and Museum. There is a cypress tree in the cloister garden that is said to be over 300 years old! The adjoining church, Our Lady of Charity, contains many fine art paintings from the 16th century.

Monastery in Hvar Croatia after sunset

15th-century Franciscan Monastery and Museum

The Sunsets are Heavenly in Hvar!

Sunset is a truly magical time no matter where you are along the coast of Croatia, and Hvar is certainly no exception. As the sun gently slips below the horizon, whatever clouds remain in the sky will evolve into a pastel piece of art fit for a canvas!

Just after sunset in the Hvar Harbor Croatia

Just after sunset in the harbor

Grab a glass of local wine, sit back, and enjoy the view!

Sunset in Hvar Croatia

What a way to end the day!

There are so many great places to watch the sunset in Hvar Croatia

Croatian sunsets are unrivaled!

There are plenty of activities to do while in Hvar, ranging from watersports (jetskiing, kayaking, and swimming) to historical sites (Fortress Fortica Spanjola, the Franciscan Monestary, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral). You can also rent a boat or hire a captain to visit the nearby Pakleni Islands or the island of Vis. Or you can do as we did and simply hang out at the many beautiful beaches and relax! We’d also recommend you rent a scooter or take a bus/taxi to the village of Stari Grad, one of the oldest towns in all of Europe.

Want to know how we planned our very own do-it-yourself affordable island hopping itinerary? Check out our post on the Croatian Travel Blog, Chasing the Donkey, where we’ll discuss how we visited Hvar, Vis, and Korcula on a budget!


  1. I have to agree after being all over Europe and Asia that Croatian sunsets are unrivalled. By that I mean they are eve better than Santorini and alot better. I have seen numerous Sunsets in Croatia when the sky has been a mixture of orange and red…..amazing.

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