This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure
Are you looking for the best things to do in Hvar? Nestled in the Adriatic Sea, a short ferry ride from the city of Split, sits Hvar, one of the most popular islands in Croatia. Best of all, there is plenty of fun things to do on Hvar Island, whether you are visiting for a day trip or spending a few days soaking up the rich history!
Located on the stunning Dalmatian Coast, Hvar is perhaps most well-known for its lively party scene and popularity amongst celebrities. However, there is so much more to this charming Croatian island, from scenic old towns to secluded beaches and some of the loveliest day trips as well.
When it comes to planning a visit to Croatia, you can be quite spoilt for choice with so many nearby island day trips and historic old towns, filled with Renaissance architecture.
Hvar is certainly no exception and while it might not be the first place you think of when planning a Croatian island day trip with kids, you will find plenty of fun things to do on Hvar for all ages!
Even if you’re looking for a quiet getaway from the bustling historic sites of mainland Croatia.
More than just a party island, Hvar Croatia is perfect for a beach vacation with kids too, with so famous beaches and the beautiful island vibe!
In this article, we will share with you some of our favourite things to do in Hvar Croatia, including the best Hvar tours and tips for planning your visit to Hvar Island.
1. Explore Hvar Old Town
The town of Hvar on the island’s southern coastline is a real spectacle in itself. Cobbled marble streets are lined with ancient monuments and buildings, oozing with character and history.
Old town Hvar is protected by 13th-century walls and atop them is an incredible fortress.
The small town of Hvar is ideal for grabbing a bite to eat and enjoying a bout of shopping. There are numerous narrow alleyways just waiting to be explored, each one offering something unique.
In terms of monuments, the Franciscan Monastery, just south of the main town, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, at the end of the main square, are the most spectacular.
A number of delicious eateries can be found in Hvar town. Our personal favourite is Dalmatino which serves impeccable cuisine and has equally fantastic service.
2. Day Trip To Pakleni Islands
Just visible from the harbour of Hvar town is the Pakleni Islands, a small chain of 14 rocky islets which are easily reachable by boat.
These quiet islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches and snorkelling spots in all of Croatia! Here you will find crystal clear waters and stunning natural beauty.
You can reach the Pakleni Islands via either water taxis, a boat tour or by renting your own boat. A boat ride to the islands typically takes between 10 and 20 minutes.
Another option is to rent a kayak or paddle-board in order to reach the closest of the Pakleni Islands.
Sveti Klement Island is the largest and most popular island in the Pakleni chain and is made up of countless secluded bays. Taršče Bay is one of these bays and is perfect for a spot of snorkelling. Here you will find an abundance of marine life from fish to shellfish and you may even be lucky enough to spy an octopus!
Another popular island is Marinkovac, home to the infamous Carpe Diem beach club. The club sprawls out over a large swathe of the island and is a great place to stop for some cocktails.
3. Climb to Fortica Fortress
Overlooking the town of Hvar is Fortica Fortress (also known as the Spanish Fortress), a 16th-century fortress with the most incredible panoramic views of Hvar Old Town. This is one of the iconic landmarks on Hvar Island.
The fortress can easily be reached on foot from Hvar town.
A series of steps and then a sloped path leading from the back of the town all the way up to the fortress. The climb is tiring but the stunning views at the top make it well worth the effort.
There are beautiful segments of the climb that help break up the walk, such as walking beneath an incredible archway that is part of the fortress. There are also benches beside the path where you can stop for a rest or simply admire the incredible views of Hvar town and the Pakleni Islands.
4. Wander Through Jelsa Town
On the north coast of Hvar Island is a picturesque town called Jelsa. Surrounded by pine trees and olive groves, this charming town is home to a beautiful Old Town, an ancient village of stone houses and scenic beaches.
There are lots of things that make this quaint town unique, including a donkey statue in the harbour which was built as a symbol of Dalmatia.
Wander down the seaside promenade beside the harbour and you will find a plethora of cosy restaurants and bars. A restaurant here that boasts exceptional reviews is Me & Mrs Jones (Napoleon) which serves freshly caught seafood in a lively atmosphere.
Best of all, you can enjoy the stunning coastal views while you dine and drink. Jesla is quite well known for its wine, so this is a great place to also enjoy a wine tasting!
Jelsa is also home to some beautiful monuments including the Church of the Assumption, a 13th-century church near Jelsa’s main square, and the Church of Saint John, a 17th-century church surrounded by narrow cobbled streets.
The other popular activity in Jelsa that is great for families is to hire bikes and go cycling through the vineyards, olive groves and pine forests. You can easily visit the great beaches nearby by bike or on foot too.
5. Unwind on One of Hvar’s Pristine Beaches
Hvar Island is home to an abundance of beautiful beaches. One of the most popular beaches on the island is Dubovica Beach, a curved pebble beach tucked away in a cove with majestic mountains beside it.
The clear waters that lap upon the shores of Dubovica Beach makes it the perfect place to go swimming.
There is a small parking area just off the main road above the beach. From there it’s a steep, but short walk down to the beach as well as the tavern and beach bar that sits behind it.
Zlatni Rat Beach is a must-visit spot on Hvar for many, known for its unique triangular shape. This one is very Instagram-worthy from above!
Another picturesque beach is Malo Zarace Beach, a small stretch of pebbles surrounded by pine trees and towering cliffs. The clear waters provide a great place to snorkel. You can also walk upon the nearby rock which juts out to sea for exceptional views over the small cove.
Lucisca Beach is a secluded and unspoiled pebble beach located on the northern coast of Hvar, near Jelsa, surrounded by pine trees and crystal-clear waters. Accessible only by boat or foot, it’s an ideal spot for those seeking a peaceful and secluded place to relax and unwind.
Insider Tip:There are no facilities here, so make sure you bring your own food and drink, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.
There are a number of small beaches near Hvar town as well which are ideal to visit if you plan on spending just one day in Hvar. In front of Hvar Park, you will find countless rocky beaches which have gorgeous views over the Pakleni Islands.
6. Stroll Around Vrboska Town
Also referred to as ‘Little Venice’, Vrboska is a charming fishing town on the north coast of Hvar. A number of stone bridges arch over a water channel that winds through the town, hence the Venice vibe it gives.
Another unique icon of this gorgeous town is a tiny island in the middle of the harbour which houses a single palm tree.
The laid-back streets of Vrboska are lined with bars, cafes and restaurants. Kapar’s restaurant is a fantastic place to grab a bite to eat.
Not only is the restaurant conveniently located on the waterfront but the food is all homemade.
Hidden away from the waterfront is perhaps the main attraction of Vrboska, the fortress-like Church of St. Mary which dates back to the 16th century. Architecturally, it’s incredibly unique due to its fortress features.
7. Take A Boat Trip To The Green and Blue Cave
On the island of Vis is a natural phenomenon known as the Blue and Green Caves. The waters in these individual caves glow brilliantly in vibrant colours.
The colours are caused by an underwater opening to the caves which allows sunlight to illuminate the waters.
The Blue Cave and Green Cave are in fact two separate caves, however, most boat tours will take you to both.
The caves can be visited via a boat trip from Hvar town harbour or from Split and Trogir islands.
There are numerous tour operators offering visits to not only the caves but other nearby attractions as well, so you can easily make a full-day trip visiting a host of beautiful islands and nearby attractions.
Insider Tip:In order to have the most vibrant colours in the Blue Cave and Green Cave, it’s best to visit on a bright, sunny day.
8. Visit The Historic Town Of Stari Grad
Spend a day exploring the ancient town of Stari Grad, situated on the northern coast of Hvar. Stari Grad is one of the oldest towns in all of Europe, founded by the Ancient Greeks and so rich with history.
You will feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you wander down the narrow alleyways and old town squares, with stunning, well-preserved Renaissance buildings and Baroque churches.
Sample the famous local wine and dine with views of the ocean. You could easily spend a full day here or stay a couple of days right in Stari Grad.
9. Enjoy The View From The Hvar Clock Tower
We are always big fans of getting the best views in town and Hvar Clock Tower is a great option for seeing Hvar from above!
Built during the 16th century, this historic tower once played a key role in the town’s defence system, with a bell signalling the closing of the city gates. The clock face was added in the 18th century and still keeps time.
These days you can climb to the top for breathtaking views of Old Town Hvar and the shimmering Adriatic Sea.
10. Visit The Lavender Fields
Hvar is often affectionately referred to as the Lavender Island due to the many lavender fields. While the lavender production on the island has dwindled over time, it’s hard to believe that Hvar was once responsible for up to 8% of the world’s supply!
If you are visiting during June and July, this is the best time to see the lavender fields in full bloom.
Hvar Island also has a 2-day annual Lavender Festival held in Eko-Ethno village each year. This is a fun chance to learn about lavender production, taste lavender products like ice cream and join in all the fun family activities.
It can be a little tricky getting to the lavender fields yourself so taking a lavender tour is a great option!
Family-Friendly Things To Do In Hvar With Kids
Hvar Island is a great destination for families, with plenty of activities that kids will love. Some of the best family-friendly activities in Hvar include:
Go swimming: Swim at one of the many beautiful beaches or try snorkelling in the clear waters.
Visit the Franciscan Monastery and Museum: Featuring a collection of paintings, artifacts, and other exhibits. This is an educational experience for the whole family.
Take a guided walking tour of the Old Town: You can learn about the history and culture of Hvar.
Sea kayaking tour: A fun and active way to explore the coastline and nearby islands.
Visit the Hvar Observatory: You can learn about astronomy and view the night sky through telescopes. This is the only observatory in Croatia.
Adventure Park Hvar Jelsa: With loads of fun activities, from paintball to buggy races, bocce and zorb football to name a few.
Aquapark Jelsa: This is loads of fun if visiting during summer. There are several inflatable water parks around Croatia, including one in Dubrovnik we visited with kids.
Go on a cycling tour: There are plenty of cycling routes on Hvar that are perfect for families and you can rent bicycles.
Tips for Visiting Hvar Island
Hvar is a popular destination, particularly during the summer months. If you’re planning to visit during peak season and want to stay in Hvar town, it’s a good idea to book accommodation in advance.
Insider Tip:The Old Town of Hvar can be quite hilly, so make sure to bring comfortable shoes and be prepared for some walking.
Best Places To Stay On Hvar Island
There are many different accommodation options available on Hvar Island to suit different budgets and types of travellers. Here are some of the best places to stay on Hvar Island:
Villa Nora Hvar – Located in Hvar Old Town, close to attractions & highly rated by guests
If you are spending a few days on Hvar Island, you will have plenty of time to explore beyond the island itself. Here are some of the best boat tours from Hvar and activities to do on the island itself:
For the best day tour from Split, check out this 5 island tour that includes Hvar, Budikovac Blue Lagoon, Blue Cave, Stiniva Cove and Komiža. There is also an option to depart from Trogir, which is one of our favourite Split day trips!
FAQS FOR VISITING HVAR ISLAND
Is Hvar worth visiting?
Yes, Hvar is definitely worth visiting, with its stunning beaches, historic towns, cultural heritage, and range of activities and experiences for all types of travellers.
What is the best way to get to Hvar?
The best way to get to Hvar is by taking a ferry or catamaran from Split, as there are no airports on the island, and the ferry ride offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and the nearby islands.
When is the best time to visit Hvar Island?
The best time to visit Hvar Island depends on your travel goals, with summer being the peak tourist season for beach activities and water sports, spring and fall offering mild temperatures and seasonal activities, and winter being the quieter season for exploring the historic towns and trying local cuisine.
How many days do you need in Hvar?
The ideal amount of time to spend in Hvar would be around 3-5 days to fully experience the island’s beaches, culture, history, and activities.
What is the best way to get around Hvar?
The best way to get around Hvar is on foot or by bike. You can rent bikes in town, and there are plenty of bike paths and trails to explore.
Those are a list of top recommendations for when you visit Hvar Island. There are plenty of fun things to do in Hvar and it certainly isn’t all about partying! If you are planning on visiting Croatia, we highly recommend adding Hvar to your list. It was one of the highlights of a Croatia trip alongside the Krka waterfalls and Plitvice Lakes.
What is the thing you would most like to see in Hvar?