Island Time; Hvar

by Anna

Marija (our B&B owner): Would you like to try some of our homemade wine?
Johnny & Anna: Yes, we’d  love to! You make your own wine? That is so cool.
Marija: Of course! Who doesn’t?!

For this and many other reasons, we loved Hvar.
Feeling a little sad to leave Korcula, and having heard the words “ritzy” and “party island” thrown out about Hvar, we weren’t totally sure what to expect. But we soon found that Hvar, although a little more pristine with its Venetian influenced architecture, sparkling main square and small lineup of yachts and sailboats in its harbor, had the exact same laid-back, easy-going and fun-loving attitude as Korcula with all the beauty and insanely friendly people to match! It also lived up to its reputation as the “sunniest and greenest” island. We were thrilled that we had a whole eight days to spend there!

Hvar
Hvar’s main square
Hvar’s busy harbor

When Marija picked us up from the 6am ferry boat on Monday morning, she told us that Prince Harry was in town living it up at the local nighttime hot-spots. She also told us that she had family in Laguna Beach…what a small world!…but wait, it got smaller…we figured out a few days later over some homemade wine that her cousins are our friends Nick and Hillary Brakovich! Just when the world seems infinitely vast, it always seems to contract again and you find friends in the craziest places.

It may look like apple juice, but it was actually homemade wine!

We had been dying to rent a boat, so on our first full day we found a friendly guy in the harbor named Igor and rented a little canopied boat from him. The slower the boat, the lower the price, so needless to say we putted across the Adriatic while other speedboats flew past leaving us bobbing in their wake. But we loved our little boat, and it was the perfect way to explore the Pakleni islands that form an archipelago just off the coast of Hvar. We found a nice secluded cove and anchored for the day, taking dips, using our new snorkel mask (yes, just the mask, we were too cheap for the snorkel) and snacking on chips and salsa. The Croatian islands are all known for having nude beaches, and the Pakleni islands had no shortage of nudists…on the rocks, on boats, etc. Johnny and I had to laugh as we passed by a small fishing boat filled with about six old, stocky naked men. They looked like professionals, because they showed no signs of tan lines! I read before getting to Croatia to “not get too excited over the nude beaches, because most of the nudists you’d rather see with their clothes on.” I can attest that this is indeed a fact:)

Heading out to sea with Captain Johnny!
Enjoying our boat “Snorkeling”
Coming back into the harbor

Speaking of nudists, the guy who we rented a scooter from another day told me that the first time he rode a scooter when he was a teenager, he was riding down the coast and saw a naked lady on the beach. He was looking at her and not at the road and went right over the edge and broke both his arms! Well, luckily, that did not happen to Johnny and me. Johnny picked up maneuvering the scooter like a pro, and we set off down the coast. The island is known for its amazing farming climate, and we rode through olive and fruit orchards, vineyards and fields of rosemary and lavender, while also stopping to hike down to some beautiful beaches and coves. Another amazing sight on our way to Stari Grad, a town on the north side of the island and also one of Europe’s oldest towns, dating back to its settlement by the Greeks in 384 BC, was the Stari Grad Plain. This UNESCO protected area represents “one of the best preserved examples of ancient Greek agriculture throughout the Mediterranean.” It has remained in tact for 24 centuries and is still in use today. The land is divided geometrically by ancient stone walls and shelters that were put in place by the ancient Greeks. The walls blend so well with the natural landscape that it takes a minute to realize that as far as the eye can see, the land is blocked into small squares.

Scooter time!
Looking out at the Pakleni Islands A view from the road
Hiking down to Dubovica  The church and “restaurant” in Dubovica
Dubovica
Part of the Stari Grad Plain


The town of Stari Grad was also an amazing place that we reached after about a 45 minute ride down a winding, steep road above the sea. I think we reached it right around siesta time, because we wandered the narrow winding streets feeling like we had the whole place to ourselves. We settled down at a café on the bay and after some scampi risotto and grilled squid, we were ready for the journey back to Hvar Town. Once back in town, and relieved that we hadn’t run out of gas (!), we settled in on some rocks by the water and read our books and took dips till the sun set. We rode back through the warm pink dusk and reluctantly returned our scooter.

A local working on fishing nets in Stari Grad
Pit stop in Stari Grad Stari Grad
Reading time Not a bad spot for a good book
Urchins on the rocks Almost sunset
The photographer
An amazing sunset

Another day we sought out a beach where we heard there was a good lunch spot called “The Mustache.” We figured any place called The Mustache had to be pretty bombtastic, so we loaded up our backpacks and found the cove with Il Mustaco after about a 40 minute walk down the coast. We rented beach chairs for the day, had an amazing pizza, finished our books and floated on my newly purchased raft (best purchase ever!).

Il Mustaco

On another day we caught a boat taxi to the Pakleni islands again, specifically to Palmizana where we heard you could hike to an unforgettable restaurant called Dionus. It truly was an unforgettable experience, and therefore deserved its own blog post (click here to read about it!).

On our last night we tried a tapas place called Luviji on one of the narrow back streets in the old town. We had met a chef from Finland who was also staying at Marija’s place, and he recommended it, so we thought we’d try it out. We had such a great time, chatting with our server who was from Ljubljana but who fell in love with Hvar and had moved there. She told us that everything they served was homemade, including the wine (of course!), which she said she had gone to collect grapes for at 5am that morning at the restaurant’s vineyard on the Pakleni islands.  We had some delicious homemade red wine and Prosek, vegetable spreads, “meat rolls,” octopus salad, grilled fish and bread made from the seeds of the Cannibus flower (head-y).

Rooftops in the old town
Mmm…tapas Enjoying our last night in Hvar

It’s probably pretty obvious by this post that we had an awesome time on Hvar. I hope to be back many times!!

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2 Responses to “Island Time; Hvar”

  1. Great pictures, you look like a scooter pro!

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