I had no idea if I would enjoy the trip or not, but upon arriving, I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected wonder of Hvar Island, Croatia. Croatia itself was stunningly beautiful, but Hvar took the cake.
One arrives in Hvar via the ferry at the main port area in the center of town. The esplanade is conveniently stocked with tons of outdoor restaurants and other retail establishments, as any tourist town would be. However, there is a natural order and beauty to it all. It doesn’t feel crowded like Venice. It feels natural. More about the town later.
My girlfriend and I had rented a flat outside of town in a small village and the taxi ride was quick and uneventful. We soon were sitting on the balcony overlooking the crystal blue water of the Adriatic. The olive groves ran up the hillsides around us. Lemon and lime trees dotted the hillside. Wild rosemary and lavender were everywhere. In short, the small bay where we were located was simply a new Garden of Eden.
The flat was well furnished, not over the top, but functional. The location was amazing. Walking down the hill from the dwelling was a small, rocky beach with a wonderful restaurant among the olive trees. We got to know the owners quickly and the food was amazing. The beach was only a few meters away.
We enjoyed the time we spent relaxing in our new found paradise and getting lots of sun; but wait, the best was yet to come!
One afternoon with nothing to do, we decided to rent a scooter and see the island. This was easy enough to do and the roads are very safe. A half hour later touring through the mountians, we stopped at an overlook to see the sights. There spread out before us, which we were unaware of before coming to Hvar or even that it even existed, was a terraced garden that literally enveloped the whole mountain range. Come to find out, the Greeks developed this land thousands of years ago and the Romans simply took it over. One could imagine slaves working the olive plots and building this magnificent structure so long before. It was simply stunning and an amazing example of what the human spirit can accomplish.
We continued on the scooter adventure and soon were on the other side of the island at Starigrad. A nice small harbor and a great spot for lunch. We watched the yachts slowing make their way to port over a nice bottle of Chianti. Simply stunning! After lunch we took the road all the way out to Jelso. This was the only let down of the trip as the much talked about beach was really just a concrete barrier – so don’t waste your time. The trip back through the hills was an adventure as we made the entire trip around the island. Riding through the peaks of the terrain with natural fields of lavender everywhere was an amazing experience. My girlfriend loved it. It was quite special. (guys if you’re looking for the perfect romantic afternoon to set the mood, this is it!)
The next day we toured the town before picking up groceries and visited the old fort that protected the island’s residents from the many invaders over the centuries. If you love history, this is for you. I happen to love old castles and this was a good one. Kids will love to climb through the dungeons.
All in all, Hvar was one of the best trips I’ve taken. I highly recommend Croatia and Hvar in particular. The food, view, adventure, and romance simply can’t be beat.