Hvar, Croatia

Glittering turquoise bays meet rustic Mediterranean charm

Overview

It’s with no small degree of reluctance that I find myself suggesting Croatia’s island of Hvar as the perfect low season destination. Okay, well, if you promise not to tell, is this secret safe with you? Let the white-clad sun-kissed fashionistas teeter off and pack away their bags away until it’s time to grace the slopes of St Moritiz, and it’s your time, the time this gorgeous isle comes into its own. Welcoming 2800 sunshine hours a year, it’s Croatia’s sunniest spot, known for its quaint fishing towns, remote villages, sparkling coves, pebbled beaches, and steep hillsides carpeted in olive trees, grapevines, and rural architecture. Don’t be put off by a growing reputation for the summer hedonism of Hvar Town – the low season of March to May, and late September to October remain warm, the population reduces to its resident folk, prices fall and you’ll have an opportunity to truly know the island and experience its natural heritage and simple Mediterranean lifestyle.

Getting There & Getting About
Mainland ferries and catamarans service Hvar from Split and Dubrovnik. When the summer season ends, connections are less frequent but still depart daily, with the journey taking around an hour and 40 minutes. Once there, make use of the regular bus service, taxis or Uber. If you really want to get around, car or scooter hire is a good idea. If you are happy to chill in one area, pick wisely as there are significant distinctions. Hvar town is a popular spot, but try Stari Grad for a more laid back vibe and better prices. Families enjoy the quieter Jelsa, verdant Jagodna is great for outdoor adventures and Vrboska is known for its pretty canal-side homes and picturesque bridges.

Rich Culture
For a small island, Hvar makes quite an impression on the UNESCO stage. Recognition goes to the healthy Mediterranean diet; unique religious events such as the Za Križen Easter procession; lace made by Benedictine nuns; the skill of dry stone walling; the Stari Grad Plain; and Chora Pharou, the best preserved example of the Greek tradition of land division in the region. A favourite heritage feature is the Klapa, traditional polyphonic a cappella singing which is strangely moving. Low season travellers can catch May’s ‘Night of Song’ which brings Klapa groups together to perform this historic art; and October’s Forske Pulen festival, when elegant and traditional Hvar sailboats gather at Mandrać.

Outdoor Fun
Due to its mild climate, the low season is perfect for exploring. It’s warm and sunny, but without the stifling heat of the summer. There are a number of hiking and cycling paths connecting the southern and northern part of the island through olive trees, lavender fields, and vineyards. A popular climb is to the 16th century Hvar Fortress which offers stunning views of the town and the Pakleni Islands. Alternatively, the sea is still plenty warm enough in the low season to take to the water for kayaking, diving, rafting, or sailing, snorkelling, or paddle boarding. If you are feeling particularly energetic, the Otillo usually takes place in April and combines trail running with open-water swimming in a tribute to the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean.


Low Season Saving

From 35% versus Peak Season


Tourist:Local Ratio

Peak Season

Low Season

17:1
10:1


Flight Time from UK

2.5 hours

Low Season Months

Jan Feb Mar
11°C
69mm
6hrs
Apr
14°C
60mm
7hrs
May
18°C
40mm
8hrs
Jun Jul Aug Sep
21°C
61mm
8hrs
Oct
18°C
90mm
6hrs
Nov Dec

Hotels

Coming online very soon

Top Experiences

Za Križen Night Procession

Each Easter sees this 500 year old unique expression of piety take place as a barefoot cross bearer leads pilgrims on a 22km procession through the night to another five villages. It’s followed by traditional singing and is the highlight of the Easter festivities.

Olive and wine harvests

Low season focus shifts from tourism to the fields, where agriculture remains the mainstay of the local economy and culture. Help with picking to learn new skills, and surely be rewarded with produce and spontaneous Klapa singing.

Stari Grad Plain

The best-preserved system of ancient Greek field-architecture in the Mediterranean stretches over 6km and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy wine tasting at a local tavern paired with local dishes harvested straight from the plain.

Insider Tips

  • Beekeeping has a long tradition on the island, and there are currently more than 3000 hives and 100 beekeepers on Hvar, many of whom belong to the Lavender Beekeepers Society. Buy a jar or two to take home.
  • The Benedictine nuns whose order has made Hvar lace since the 1664, will not weave when the northern Bura wind is in full force, as it stretches the filaments, while the southern Jugo is preferred for artistic inspiration.
  • Orson Welles found Hvar the perfect setting to direct his thriller, The Deep, in 1967. Famously unfinished the plagued movie has nonetheless inspired film buffs to visit Hvar Town and its surrounding waters.

Good To Know

  • Fewer restaurants are open during the low season but many owners will be happy to open their doors to you for a pre-ordered meal. Make local enquiries and be open to eating whatever delicious produce is on offer.
  • October is a great month for squid-fishing. Try your hand or attend the late October Peskafondo, a squid-fishing championship supported by many of Hvar's businesses and attracting national television coverage.
  • A great day out is a visit to the nearby Pakleni Islands off Hvar’s southwest coast. Water taxis are reasonably priced, or hire your own speedboat so that you can explore at your own pace discovering hidden beaches.

Food & Drink

Heritage Dishes

££

Rich and savoury, pašticada is traditional slow cooked beef stew in a juicy red wine sauce served with gnocchi or homemade pasta. Or try pećica na tećici, a simple yet delicious combo of fresh goat’s cheese and honey.

Fine Wine

££

With a 2400 year old wine tradition started by the Greeks, Hvar cultivates some fantastic local varieties including Plavac Mali, Bogdanuša, Parč, Kuč, Maraština, Toscano Trebbiano, and Muscat. Take a winery tour to sample the best.

Lavender ice cream

££

Year round sunshine results in a magnificent lavender harvest and the delicately fragrant gelato available all over the island. Delicious served with honey, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it has to be tried at least once.

Reviews

Menu