5 Days in Hvar, Croatia

Sunday, October 11, 2015

After an incredible 4 days in Dubrovnik  we were so reluctant to move on but excited to see Hvar, which everyone had told us was one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. We took the ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar, which takes 3.5 hours and at £17 is roughly the same price and much quicker than the bus plus a ferry from Split. It also eliminates the wait time and risk of not getting on a ferry from Split to Hvar, so if you're travelling from Dubrovnik to Hvar, it's definitely the best way to do it.

Pulling into Hvar at night on the ferry is also like balling into St Tropez on a luxury yachet (kinda). So that's an added bonus. Hvar is the super luxe place to stay in Croatia; the port is filled with yachts, upscale lounge bars and sexy rich people, so obviously we chose to blend in like a treat.

All this luxury does mean one thing though: Hvar is not cheap. If you fancy Croatia as a cheap holiday, go to Split, which is much cheaper than Hvar. However though it's not cheap to eat and drink, its affordable enough that you can still find cheap accommodation, just make sure you bring a little extra for meals and all important vino.

Hvar is a magical little island made up of medieval grey stone, cobbled backstreets and stunning craggy shores. As there were 8 of us and we wanted an affordable villa with a pool to ourselves, we rented a place through Airbnb high up on the top of the hill. Approaching the top of the hill, minivan straining to drag all of us and our baggage up the ever-steepening slope, I wondered briefly if we'd made a major error not staying in the centre. Those worries evaporated though, when we rounded the corner and spotted this incredible view waiting for us. 

Has there ever been a more perfect spot for an infinity pool? We stayed in one of Tony's hilltop villas (you can use my code to get £13 off on your first airbnb!) and by a stroke of luck, we spent the first 4 days with the pool all to ourselves as no one was using the other two smaller apartments. 

Spot that cove down there in the first photo? It looks like it would be miles to get down but it was a 2 minute walk straight on to our own private pebbly cove. All the other schmucks could only get there by boat, so it was forever quiet. And check out that water!

And when we got bored of the quiet, we could slip around the bay to a larger beach, which backed on to a campsite - which tells you all you need to know about how chilled this place was.

This place also provided us with a low-key bar to grab a drink and enjoy a beer on the beach.

Without a shadow of a doubt though, our favourite beach side restaurant was on our quiet private cove. It's called Konoba Arsenal and I'd recommend leaving the centre of Hvar in a taxi or hiring a boat to reach this cove just to visit this restaurant - I promise it's worth it! It sits literally right on the beach, with wooden decking jetting out over the crystal clear water. We ate here 3 times in just 5 days and every time we had incredible food, service and just spent an lovely amount of time over our food, which was so nice after so many 'al desko' lunches in London.  

Being so close to the sea, you'd be sort of crazy not to try the catch of the day...

Or my particular favourite, the prawns a la buzara. Even if we did have to rip the prawny heads off. This and a whole basket of bread and you've got one happy Ellie. 

Though it may not seem it, we did choose to escape our private little idyll occasionally. One day, we hired a boat from the marina and visited nearby Brac, as well as sailing slowly around the Palenki islands. I think I'll save that for another post though, so I'll just leave you with a little more food. On the recommendation of our taxi driver, we went to Paradies Garden, where we enjoyed delicious steak and bottle after bottle of red wine (and I wonder why I thought it wasn't cheap?!)

The food and service were incredible, and we wound up our evening in Red Red Wine bar round the corner. Too many bottles of red wine later, we found ourselves aboard a boat heading to Carpe Diem Island. If you haven't heard of Carpe Diem, it's a club on a small island a 5 minute boat ride away from Hvar. It's completely outside, under swaying palm trees and with its own private pool. Pretty good if you're completely smashed, enjoy techno music and insalubrious activities in the pool. My recommendation? Stick to the bars by the port! Cheaper, more fun and you don't have to fear for your life on a boat back to shore.

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