Hvar is an island that sits off the Dalmatian coast, reasonably close to Split, but usually shielded from view by Brač, situated just north of Hvar.
The island has a very, very long history, being home to a neolithic culture all its own from some 5000 years ago. In more recent ancient history, the Greeks colonized it and named their main settlement Pharos, so I presume there was a lighthouse there for navigators.
Rome took control very early in its history, after the Second Illyrian war in the 3rd century B.C., and it remained under Roman and Byzantine control for a very long time, after which it fell under the considerable influence of the Republic of Venice.
Most of its architecture and look comes from Venetian influence, and if we are honest, there could hardly be anything more fitting for a place like this.
Today, Hvar is a rock star of the tourism scene. You want five star luxury? Hvar’s got it. Need a private anchorage for the megayacht you use to transport your harem? Hvar has plenty. Have a desire to spend entire nights partying? Hvar’s your spot. And with ferries running to the island multiple times a day from Split, we absolutely had to go. We skipped the clubbing and the harems, but it’s impossible to skip Hvar’s stunning beauty.
We took the ferry from Split to Hvar – the city – and we spent our time there. There are certainly other places to visit on Hvar, including Stari Grad, but Hvar is a must.
Among the things to check out in Hvar are St. Stephen’s Square, the Riva, and the “Spanish Fortress,” on the site of an earlier Venetian fortification, which was the only place to hold out against the marines of the doomed Turkish battle fleet that raided the island before their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
If you’re more interested in lounging around with a cocktail than climbing to a fortress, I’d recommend the rooftop of the Adriana Hotel. It’s hard to beat this view.