During my two week holiday in Croatia, I spent one day in Hvar Town, on the beautiful island of Hvar. Hvar is known for its glistening blue bays, glamorous parties and gorgeous views. It has drawn many celebrity visitors over the years, and unfortunately that does mean that prices have increased for things like accommodation, club entry and also some of the restaurants and cafes.
So, if you are visiting Croatia and are on a budget, or are simply just short on time, a day trip to Hvar from Split is the perfect option for you.
Also read: The best things to do in Split, Croatia
Hvar Town - a one day itinerary
In order to plan the perfect one day itinerary for your visit to Hvar, let's first look at how to get to Hvar from Split, and the best way to get around once you're there.
How to get to Hvar from Split?
Hvar is one of the best places to visit on a day trip from Split and getting to Hvar from Split is very straightforward. There are a couple of different companies that run crossings from Split to Hvar and timings vary from 50 minute to 2 hours, depending on the company and type of boat you are on. Ferries run regularly during the peak summer months, but if you are travelling out of season, check the ferry times as they are less often. Jadrolinija is Croatia’s main ferry company and is the cheapest, so if you’re on a budget, this company is the best choice. During the peak season, the last ferry departs Hvar back to Split in the early evening which means you can spend the entire day here and enjoy an evening meal and a couple of drinks before you have to leave.
You can also travel to Hvar from other popular destinations such as Makarska (though ferries only run once a day during the peak season), and Dubrovnik, however the journey time is much longer, so you would need longer on Hvar than just one day.
The main ferry port on the island of Hvar is in Hvar Town (although some ferries do take you to Stari Grad instead, so check first).
What is the best way to get around Hvar Town?
When many people think of Hvar, they think of Hvar Town. Hvar Town is the main town on the island of Hvar and is the most popular with tourists and daytrippers. If you want to explore the whole Island of Hvar, the best way is to rent a scooter or hire a taxi for the day. However, this guide is only focusing on how to spend the day in Hvar Town. Staying in Hvar Town for the day, there’s plenty to keep you occupied and you can explore the town easily on foot.
Now you know how to get to Hvar Town, here's some of the best things to do in Hvar Town in one day. The below suggestions have been written in an order suitable for you to follow as a DIY walking tour of Hvar Town.
Best things to do in Hvar Town in one day:
1. Start your day in Hvar Town with breakfast by the harbour
In order to make the most of your day in Hvar Town, catch an early morning ferry from Split and start your day with breakfast or coffee overlooking Hvar Town’s picturesque harbour. There are many restaurants and cafes along the waterfront promenade with great views of the port and it’s a great way to start your day in Hvar Town.
2. Visit St Stephens square and cathedral
In the centre of Hvar’s old town is Hvarska pjaca (Hvar's square), or often referred to as St Stephens Square. After your breakfast by the harbour, follow the promenade to the square and admire the architecture. This beautiful piazza is the largest square in the Dalmatia region and was (and still is) the focal point of all city life and activities in Hvar Town. Dominating the impressive square is the St Stephen’s cathedral, with its 17th century bell tower. Whilst Hvar old town is not as big as the old town of Zadar or historical centre of Split, it still has its own charm. Take some time to wander around this area of Hvar’s old town, exploring the cute little shops in the alleyways surrounding the square.
St Stephen's Church and bell tower taking centre stage in the Piazza
3. Climb up to the Spanish Fortress
Climbing up to the Spanish Fortress on the hilltop is one of the best things to do in Hvar Town. Leaving St Stephen’s square and cathedral, make your way towards Kroz Groudu, a small pedestrian alleyway at the front of the square and look for signs to ‘Fortica’ or ‘Spanish Fortress’.
Follow this path as it slowly climbs uphill towards the Spanish Fortress. There’s quite a lot of uneven steps up this path and it can get quite hot during peak season, so take some water with you. On the way up, you will pass the charming stone buildings of Hvar’s old town, as well as the Benedictine Convent. For a small fee, you can pop into the Benedictine Convent to visit a little museum dedicated to lace making by the nuns who live here.
The path from the Piazza to the Spanish Fortress
Continuing up the path, you will reach a main road. Cross over the road and follow the sign for the ‘Fortica / Spanish fortress’. The path zig-zags through trees, climbing higher until you reach the fortress at the top.
The viewpoint from the Spanish Fortress looks down onto the town and over the harbour, offering some of the best views in Hvar Town. The small Spanish Fortress dates back to the 16th century. For a fee, you can enter the Fortress and visit the small prison and an exhibition which displays middle-aged artefacts. You can also climb to the very top of the Fort, to enjoy the spectacular views over the port and out to sea.
The climb up to the Fort is moderate and most people with a good fitness level can manage it. However if you have mobility issues, or are unable to walk, you can reach the Fortress by car. Taxis can be found at the bus station, behind the main piazza.
The view from the Spanish Fortress across the port
4. Enjoy lunch in the piazza
After your walk up to the Spanish Fortress, you will have worked up a bit of an appetite, so make your way back down to the main piazza and enjoy lunch in the beautiful surroundings of St Stephen’s square. There are many restaurants and cafes to choose from here with outdoor seating. If you are on a budget, or just want something small and simple, there is also the Studenac supermarket in the square which sells snacks and fresh bakery items.
5. Stroll along Hvar Town’s waterfront
Make your way to the other side of the port, heading towards the Veneranda Fortress. This fortress is now used for private events, performances and as an open air cinema. Below the fortress is Hvar Park, along the waterfront. There is a small children’s playground here and also a few sun loungers on the rocks which you can rent out.
Continue strolling along this waterfront path for uninterrupted views of the sea. There are several rocky ‘beaches’ where you can sit and enjoy the views or take a quick dip in the sea. You’ll also find a few beach bars along this promenade. Hvar has a reputation for being a party island, but during the daytime, the vibe is more relaxed. Walking along this waterfront promenade, visiting the bars along the way, is a great way to spend an afternoon in Hvar Town.
Standing above the Veneranda Fortress with views of St Stephen's bell tower and the Spanish Fortress
6. Relax at Bonj Beach
Situated along Hvar’s waterfront promenade, Bonj Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Hvar Town. Like many Croatian beaches, Bonj beach is a pebble beach and there are also concrete bathing spots with sun loungers for hire. The water at Bonj beach is clear and calm, making it a great swimming spot.
7. Visit the Franciscan Monastery
Heading back towards the main Hvar Town harbour, continue walking past the harbour, along the seafront until you reach the Franciscan Monastery. The quaint, historic church overlooks the sea and is utterly charming. Inside, you can visit a small museum, famous for its paintings and art collection.
The Franciscan Monastery and Lučica beach
8. Cool off at Lučica beach
Just before you reach the Franciscan Monastery is Lučica beach. This beach can get busy as it is really quite small and is also the closest beach to the ferry port and piazza. But, the water at this pebble beach is beautifully crystal clear and has great views of the Monastery. Be careful of sea urchins here - if you have water shoes (which if you are holidaying in Croatia, is a must in my opinion!), make sure to pack them if you are planning on going in the water here. Even if you decide not to go in the sea here, the setting next to the monastery is beautiful.
9. Enjoy an evening meal in Hvar Town
As I’ve mentioned, Hvar is known for its nightlife, and many of the large, popular clubs are in Hvar Town. However, as many of the clubs don’t open until later in the evening, you are likely to miss out on the biggest parties if you are only in Hvar for the day. If you want to experience some of the best nightclubs on Hvar, then it is best to stay overnight.
If you are visiting Hvar on a daytrip from Split, there are still plenty of great places to spend your evening in Hvar Town before you catch the last ferry back. There are so many restaurants to choose from in Hvar Town, not only by the harbour or in the main piazza, but also tucked away down the side streets in the old town. If you are visiting during peak season, it may be best to book a table in advance as it can be busy.
After a full day exploring Hvar Town, you may feel like you want to freshen up before going out for evening dinner. If so, you’ll be pleased to know that there are public toilets with showers behind the piazza, near the bus station. You have to pay a small fee to use them, but it is worth it to wash off the suncream or sea water and have a quick change of clothes before enjoying your evening in Hvar Town.
I hope you’ve found this one day itinerary for the best things to do in Hvar Town useful. If you're visiting Croatia, I would really recommend a day trip to Hvar Town. Hvar is one of the most popular islands in Croatia and I can see why - I loved spending the day here.
The charming old town, beautiful scenery and range of great places to eat and drink make it a fabulous place to visit. Plus, it's small enough that you can easily walk around on foot and take in the sights at your own pace.
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