We enjoyed three, perfect days on the island of Hvar, and I wanted to share the highlights. The order of operations isn’t important here, but I highly recommend taking full advantage of this beautiful place. We didn’t get around to wine tasting, so throw that in there, too, if you can. Read on and start planning your trip!
Arrive on a morning ferry, and meet your Airbnb host at the port. Quickly make your way out of the hustle and bustle, up some gently sloping stairs, and around the corner to an old, stone house. Chat and drink wine with your host for over an hour while you get oriented and relax. Dig out your swim suits and prepare to take on the day
Head out to lunch at Dalmatino, one of the 10 Best Restaurants in Hvar. Enjoy the impeccable service, flavorful, fresh food, and numerous complimentary beverages that accompany your meal. Walk around the harbor and down the coastline until you arrive at a little, pebble beach. People watch and sip local beer while dipping your toes in the chilly but crystal clear water.
Once you’re sufficiently chilled out and crispy, walk a bit further down and find Hula Hula bar perched over the water. Spend way too much money on one round of fancy cocktails, then resolve to drink only “cheap” beer. Have several while observing the growing chaos and revelry building up at the bar. Make friends with strangers who ask you to take their photos or who simply want a moment of quiet at the edge of the hubbub. Bond with them over wedding planning and shared loves of Ireland.
Pry yourself away from the stunning scenery post-electrifying sunset and get ready for dinner. Wander down some stairs to the adorable and cosy Fig Café, tucked down a side street a couple blocks from the main square. Barely snag the last table and enjoy feasting on light and spicy Mexican-Dalmatian cuisine while sipping local wine. Eavesdrop on the group next to you who are waiting for a table and discover two of them are from the Bay Area. Start talking to them, invite them to join you, and learn that a couple are scuba diving instructors. Make friends with the restaurant’s owner and chef, stay long after closing time, and then hang with them and aforementioned new friends until well past midnight. End the evening at a Jazz club rubbing shoulders with locals while drinking one too many Karlovačko beers.
Sleep in. Wake up with a surprisingly minor hangover (thank you copious amounts of water and Advil!) and remember that you agreed to go diving with your new friends around noon. Grab a quick lunch on the square – there’s a great bakery right there – and make your way down to Viking Diving. After climbing far too many stairs in the rising heat, you wonder why you agreed to this.
Arrive at the dive shop with renewed energy – you made it, and are going diving! Catch the enthusiasm of the group of amped up divers who have just returned from a boat dive while cramming on Diving 101 with your instructor. Suit up quickly (those wet suits are thick!) and drag your now extremely heavy self down to the beckoning water below. Plunge in, drop down, and enjoy all the beautiful fish, giant clams, starfish, and the occasional octopus if you’re lucky. Return feeling refreshed and generally stoked.
Enjoy a simple and quiet lunch on the main square at Pizza KOGO while sipping better-than-average house wine. Head back to your Airbnb, have a nap, and fully recover from your epic first day. Plan something quiet but romantic for dinner – Passarola is nice, and serves excellent seafood and wine by the glass. Their open, retractable roof, courtyard design, and white cafe lights make you feel like you’re on a terrace in Italy. Indulge in a digestif by the bay or simply make your way home to a much-deserved, early night.
Avoid feeling guilty that you’ve done nothing historical yet and hike up to the fortress on the hill above town. Reviews will tell you that it’s not worth it to go inside, but do it anyway – you’ll be glad you did. Take in the unmatched views of the old town and harbor surrounding Hvar, descend into the well-preserved dungeon, and climb up to the uppermost tower. Read about the shipwrecked goods in the tiny (one-room) museum and how they were plundered.
Since you’ve indulged in several nice meals over the last few days, grab a quick and somewhat healthy lunch at Hello fast food. Their smoothies are delicious and their salads are quite large and fresh. Walk down along the harbor to the left, past the famous Carpe Diem club, and continue around to the next little bay outside of the old town. Feel the spray as the waves crash over slabs of flat rock into the seawall.
If you’re staying in our Airbnb (Sime’s Guest House #2), and if you’ve made friends with Sime and Marta, your hosts, prepare for dinner at their new property up in the mountains. Meet them by the bus stop and they will drive you up – but not before stopping at Sime’s parent’s house to procure (beg for, successfully) the last of the family’s homemade grappa to accompany dinner.
Drive up the winding, scenic road just past the village of Brusje and you’ll find the loveliest stone house and pool overlooking the sea. Sime and Marta’s friends will join – one Italian-Croatian, the other Bosnian – and they’ll become your friends as well. Sit out on the porch, wrapped in fuzzy blankets if it’s chilly, drinking wine, grappa, and brandy – you can’t just have one drink! Help Sime make and stoke the fire for the traditional peka you’ll be enjoying later. Practically die of happiness as you taste Marta’s divine bruschetta and tomato soup (both made with their own, homegrown tomatoes). Much later, fill up on the hearty main dish while chatting and drinking the night away. Get a ride back into town with your new friends. Sleep.