Our time in Hvar was wonderful. Our apartment was so centrally located and our hosts were so helpful with their recommendations – all of which were completely amazing. Hvar is a beautiful city, on a beautiful island, but I was unprepared for just how much of a backpacker/party destination it was. I guess I should have known, what with the famous Carpe Diem club being there and all, but I didn't realize Yacht Week was such a big part of the culture there (it's a program that is in essence a big party on a boat that stops in at different cities to party) – the boats would come in almost every afternoon to drop off a big group of very drunk people, some of whom, as one local told us, “don't know how to behave”.
Trust me though, I'm not complaining. We still had an incredible time. It was just up to us to make our stay in Hvar our own, and we went about it in a slightly different way than those folks. On our hosts' recommendation, we spent most afternoons at the beach on daybeds (when we could get them, they were often reserved!) at the further away and less crowded Falko Bar beach. All the daybeds on all the beaches were technically owned by the individual bars nearest to them, but happily you didn’t have to buy anything to use them.
One day, we rented a car, and I drove (eek!!) on the narrowest mountain road with extremely few road barriers (double eek), through narrow tunnels that looked to be simply chiseled from underneath the mountain, along gorgeous cliffs with amazing vistas, all around Hvar island. On a whim I pulled into a driveway off the narrow old road, and found an abandoned old house with colourful beehives alongside. When we were wandering around, we heard a bell ringing and decided to follow it (all the while wondering if we should be creeped out or not..). Eventually we turned a corner, and a donkey came over the hill towards us!!! He was the friendliest. It was such a good omen for the rest of our trip. That day we also bought 1.5L of red wine from a roadside stand for about $5, where the winemaker recommended a beach (Ivan Dolac) to us that was just beautiful. We sang and toured and found fresh figs and abandoned houses. It was a great day.
A couple days later, we rented a boat! A tiny little one, which I kept messing up the steering on in our initial (very casual) tutorial (nobody was overly concerned we'd never driven a boat before). Adrienne mastered it though, and we were off to explore the islands! It didn't go very fast, but we were fine to putter around, letting the ginormous yachts pass us. Another good omen – on our way out of Hvar harbour, we passed a little Island with – you guessed it – a donkey on it! Donkeys are the mascot of our trip, we have decided. After touring around a bit, we pulled into a little secluded inlet and went swimming around the boat in the blue blue water. We eventually took off again, with me driving this time (yep, managed to master it!!!) until I felt a bit seasick.. After I sun burned my back and ended up throwing up overboard (whoops!!!), I felt better and we had lunch and dropped anchor at a beautiful little beach (Robinson Beach) where we spent the rest of the afternoon reading and swimming. It was magical. Those two experiences were enough to make me feel like I experienced more of Hvar than just the harbour and nightclubs – though we definitely experienced those too! It was really fun to walk down by the main strip and ogle all the enormous yachts parked right up alongside.
Hvar was a mix of adventure and relaxing beach days. We ate some amazing restaurant food but also packed a picnic lunch of snacks most days, since the produce from the daily farmers market in Hvar was amazing. Unfortunately, we both ended up with head colds, which we are still fighting as I write this, a couple days later in Split. They're almost gone though, hopefully with one more good sleep we'll have kicked them!
We loved our time in Hvar. We loved walking around the city and soaking it all up.
- Restaurant Marinero: this is located right around the corner from Kiva Bar, which is a really fun bar (pretty crowded) for dancing – they play great music – and right downstairs from a hostel. But the food is amazing (we went back a second time) and very reasonably priced.
- Restaurant Luna: literally almost right beside our place, the food here was delicious and the service was excellent.
- Falko Bar: great vibe, really relaxed. There were always dogs around, and good music. We never tried the food, but it looked great.