Beach Town Escape: Hvar

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The Best of Both Worlds

Croatian beachside glam with a dash of country life.


By Alex Crevar

Celebrities and mega-yachts call on this Central Adriatic isle for glitzy beachside bars, but Hvar has managed to hold on to its original calling cards: vineyards scattered among lavender fields, salty fishermen setting out in wooden skiffs, and families spending free time in shoreline coves. 
When to Go
For those looking to see and be seen, July and August are the months for Hvar Town. For everyone else, May or September is best.

A mile west of town center, Villas of Distinction’s four-bedroom Villa Dane melds modernity and nature with an outdoor pool, an open floor plan, satellite television, and Internet access. Perhaps the villa’s biggest draw is its garden terrace just 150 feet from the sea.
“Simple” best describes Hvar’s culinary scene, so chefs distinguish themselves with the island’s great ingredients. Take a 15-minute water taxi ride to Palmižana Meneghello in the Pakleni archipelago, just off Hvar’s western tip, for an outdoor terrace that frames views of the bay. Order a plate of Dalmatian olives, cheese, and pršut (dry-cured ham), followed by grilled škarpina, a type of grouper. An easy 30-minute stroll east from town along a trail, Restaurant Robinson hides in a pebbly cove on Mekic'evica Bay. Place orders at its beachside hut and sunbathe until lunch is ready. In town, reserve a table on Restaurant Luna’s moonlit rooftop and try the lobster and linguini in tomato-white wine sauce.
Drink and Dance
Hvar Town’s popularity rivals that of its most famous club, Carpe Diem. This chichi spot still sets the island’s party tone with après-beachers – kaleidoscopic cocktails in hand – dancing to DJ sets between the portico’s Venetian columns. Two coves over, on the west side of town and below the Villa Dane, beach club Hula Hula Hvar provides a more relaxed experience with breakfast, cocktails, DJs, sunsets, and waterfront chaise lounges.
Beach Town Tips
  • Best Beach for Snorkeling: About four miles east of Hvar Town, the cliff-framed coves around the town of Zarac'e are home to a dramatic underwater seascape.
  • Best Beach for People-watching: Take a taxi boat to Carpe Diem Beach (Stipanska Bay) on Marinkovac Island – an expansion of the club that’s optimum for a day in the sun, with a restaurant, lounge bar, pool, dive school, and spa services. Families take note: There’s a clothing-optional section here.
  • Souvenir: Browse Darko Šoša’s upbeat, colorful paintings, sculptures, and ceramics at Šoša Gallery. Croatian wines are making a name for themselves, and Hvar has some of the country’s best reds. Seek out a bottle from Andro Tomic'.
  • Give it a Try: Stay out late, but don’t sleep through Hvar’s great outdoor adventures: Take a sailing course, bike around the island, or go sea kayaking.
  • Sunset Spot: The crown atop Hvar Town, sixteenth-century Španjola Fort presents peerless panoramic photo-ops.
  • Barefoot Factor:  Sea urchins abound—bring reef walkers.
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Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, March 2013.