Vacationing in Croatia must be added to your bucket list if it is not already on it. The clear, turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea have attracted visitors for centuries. In addition to swimming in the sea and basking in the sun, you can hike in the mountains, explore ancient historic sites, visit museums and art galleries, and indulge yourself with both modern and old world shopping experiences.
Whether you stay on the mainland or visit one or more of the 50 inhabited islands, your Croatian visit will provide you a lifetime of cherished memories. Rockstar’s Top Picks for your Croatia travel experience include the seaside town of Split and the island of Hvar.
The island of Hvar may be the most beautiful place in all of Croatia. Throughout the ages, it was ruled by Romans, Greeks, and Venetians, all of whom left their mark on the island architecture. It has three main cities, Town Hvar, Stari Grad, and Jelsa, along with several smaller villages.
Hvar has the best of everything Croatia has to offer. You can participate in water sports in the crystal clear sea water; explore the mountains; walk on the walls of the old town; enjoy quiet food and beverages at the Spanjola Fortress which is perched high on a hill overlooking the town. Or, you can party, party, party.
#1 The Lavender Fields
Hvar is nicknamed “the Lavender Island.” Lavender fields are a feast for the eyes, especially in July. Everywhere you go, you smell the lavender in the air. Buy lavender scented soaps, oils, sachets and pillows. If you are a bit daring, you can even try lavender ice cream.
#2 St. Stephen’s Square
This is a good starting place for your daily exploration. Take in the harbor view, watching the sailboats come and go, as you sip a cup of coffee or a cold drink before setting off for the day. Whichever direction you decide to go, the path will lead you down an old intriguing, perhaps cobblestone street or alleyway, or even to the sea.
#3 The Beaches
Beaches in Hvar are mostly pebble beaches, which means you can see to the bottom of the sea. The beach along your seaside hotel will provide you all the luxury you need as you bask in the sun or lounge in the shade of your cabana all while being pampered by the hotel staff.
#4 The Pakleni Islands
Take an excursion boat to the nearby Pakleni Islands for swimming and snorkeling. Beaches are beautiful and many are secluded in private coves. Keep in mind, before you stop to lap up the waterside beauty, beaches on Pakleni Islands may be clothing optional. You will also find restaurants for lunch, or you can dine at a beach club where you can relax in a beach bed or treehouse while sipping a cool beverage brought to you by the attentive staff.
#5 Party, Party, Party
You are not required to party. There are plenty of places on Hvar where you can spend your evenings if you want to maintain serenity and peace. But, Hvar has been called “the happening island.” You can hang out at a simple bar along the seaside, or go to the well-known Carpe Diem, known for its VIP visitors, its party music, late hours and general upbeat atmosphere. Veneranda is another night spot open until the wee hours of the morning. It has a series of tent-like structures where you can sit and sip, or sit on its terrace to watch the sunset as the partying begins.