There are many reasons to sail to Hvar island because there’s something for everyone here. Fun, adventure, beauty, and history await you every step you take on this attractive Croatian island.
From celebrities to small groups of travelers and individuals, Hvar attracts worldwide sailing lovers. Its turquoise water and gorgeous bays, backed by pine forests and mountains, can dazzle even the savviest travelers.
The Hvar island was voted the most beautiful in Europe by Condé Nast Traveller magazine readers in 2019 and 2021. After living on Hvar island for over a year and sailing there for more than four, I would vote the same.
Hvar is the longest Adriatic island, with almost 70km (44 miles), and it offers some interesting contrasts. Rich Mediterranean vegetation is especially characteristic for the south side of the island. While on the northern side, once in 20 years, you can experience even snow. It’s a magical thing to see. The whole island has a rich cultural and historical heritage dating from prehistory to today.
Tourism plays an important economic role. But so too do winemaking, fishing, farming, rosemary, and lavender production. If you come in June, you can see the purple lavender flowers at their best.
After reading our 13 reasons to sail to the island of Hvar, you’ll be booking your sailing holiday in no time.
1. THE AMAZING WEATHER PERFECT FOR SAILING
What would Hvar be without its glorious weather? The longest island in Croatia has mild winters and hot summers. Everyone knows Hvar island as the Sunny Island because of well above 300 sunny days per year. Blue and green color, constant sunshine, and summer breeze make sailing relaxing for everyone onboard.
The weather is so magnificent that visitors come during the whole year. February was a revelation to me. I drank coffee with a light jacket on a terrace, enjoying the sun. Coming from the cold capital of Croatia, Zagreb, it was refreshing. Of course, it is not time for sailing holidays until at least April. It’s a bit cold to swim in April, but it’s the perfect time to learn how to sail and enjoy delicious Croatian red wine. Apply lots of sunscreen from June to September, and enjoy temperatures of around 30C wherever you’re sailing.
2. FASCINATING HISTORY
This area’s first proof of life goes back to the pre-historic age when a specific Hvar Culture was defined (3500-2500 B.C.). The Greeks colonized Hvar island in 384 BC, and after the Greeks came the Romans. During the 7th and 8th centuries, Croatians settled here. Smart people.
The earliest pre-historic inhabitants chose this island because of the many possibilities. Hvar was well-suited for cultivation, defense, and construction. Its balmy climate, valuable harbors, and fertile land seemed like paradise.
The oldest public indoor theatre in Europe was established in Hvar Town in 1612. It was the only theatre that accepted citizens of every social status. Back then, it was unheard of. What an advanced society! For many centuries, Hvar theatre was the center of the town’s social activities. I’m happy to hear that it is used even more after the last renovation.
The island of Hvar was the birthplace of organized tourism in Europe which started in 1868. Back then, it was well known as a health resort. Today it’s known for outstanding architecture, beautiful nature, crystal clear sea, scenic vistas, and pure hedonism. Before Covid, the town of Hvar was known as the best party destination as well. If you don’t believe me, ask Prince Harry.
Many different civilizations and their influences marked island Hvar. As you can imagine, the island has acquired a rich story to tell over the last 3000 years. Curious minds never get bored exploring Hvar.
3. OUTDOOR APOTHECARY
The island Hvar has abundant and diverse vegetation. Lavender fields, wildflowers, and many aromatic and medicinal herbs are scents you’ll remember for a long time. In Hvar’s outdoor apothecary, you can find sage, thyme, wild oregano, rosemary, fennel, milk thistles, dandelions, and many more.
At one point, Hvar was the 8th biggest lavender producer globally. The precious lavender oil is prized for its medicinal purpose. So if you want an original gift for a friend back home, you can’t beat a bottle of organic lavender oil.
4. SIGHTSEEING AROUND THE HVAR ISLAND
Even though the city of Hvar is the best-known place, the whole island is worth exploring.
The Hvar island has a rich network of charming small towns and rural villages. Old local island roads are still in their original state if you want to rent a car or a scooter and have fun driving around. You can see stone shelters in the hillside fields from your yacht called Trims. These trims of Hvar are real masterpieces of dry stone masonry. Next to them, you may see a cistern for holding water. They were built to catch and store rainwater.
Sailing around the island offers many options to drop an anchor and spend a day in a bay or dock in one of the charming villages. Sailing holidays make it possible to truly discover the magnificent sights of Hvar with the breeze in your hair.
5. SAILING AROUND THE ARCHIPELAGO
Pakleni islands are the Hvar’s miniature archipelago perfect for sailing. 18 islands and islets stretch along the southwest side of the island Hvar. There are countless breathtaking bays to explore during your sailing holiday.
The name comes from ‘paklina’ -aromatic melted pine resin. In the past, the resin was used for waterproofing boats, among other things. Today, shipbuilders use polyester wax instead of resin.
The most significant island in the archipelago is St Klement where you can dock in Marina Palmižana. It’s a tropical islet covered with thick pine and cactus forests with many aromatic herbs. There are three villages on the island, a beautiful marina, excellent restaurants, and one of the most gorgeous arboretums of exotic plants in South Europe.
6. FIVE CHARMING SMALL TOWNS AND VILLAGES TO DOCK
From Hvar Town to Stari Grad, Vrboska, Jelsa, and Sućuraj, there is so much to explore, taste, and places to sail. So you can come here for years and experience something different each time you set sail. To read more about these 5 charms, click here.
7. THE BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES WHILE SAILING
For those of you who seek active recreation, Hvar is the right place. You can enjoy fishing, hunting, diving, tennis, volleyball, basketball, climbing, cycling, running, and hiking. All the hiking paths come with incredible views.
The rocky shore of Hvar island hides a diverse life under the sea, ideal for snorkeling. It’s not as colorful as Carribeans, but the sea is so clean and clear, it’s incredible. Witness the rich flora and fauna and wide array of fishes. You will want to use the mask, snorkel, fins, and dip in the Adriatic as fast as possible. It’s fun and safe!
If you enjoy diving, we can take you to the underwater cave near Ujedinjeno Gasko and underwater walls off the island of Veli Vodnjak.
There is plenty of space around the Hvar island for water sports. Choose between paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, or any other water sport that comes to your mind.
8. DOLPHINS, TURTLES, AND SHARKS?
Sometimes the dolphins appear and make a show around the boat. They come to visit and say hello. From my experience, no matter how many times you see dolphins, they always make you happy. Turtles are a rare sight while sailing but an amazing one. There are only three turtle species in Croatia, and all three are highly protected. One time a guest asked me if I could make turtle soup. The answer is no- if you ate one, you would be committing a felony.
To answer the most common question – only if you sail far away (which we won’t!) can you maybe see a shark. However, sharks in the Adriatic pose no threat to humans and tend to keep to themselves, avoiding contact with us.
Since the Ancient Greeks sailed into the island, Hvar has been a wine paradise. Sailing around Hvar island offers spectacular vineyard sights. Wineries and vineyards dot the landscape. Steep, rolling vineyards hills seem impossible to harvest. And the winemakers can’t access them by machinery. That’s why they choose hand-picking. It’s not easy, but it’s the only option to harvest grapes on steep terrains.
Exciting wines, indigenous wine sorts, and beautiful surroundings are what make Hvar so special to visit. It’s always fun to pronounce and exciting to learn about the indigenous wine sorts like Prč, Maraština, Bogdanuša, Plavac Mali, and Darnekuša.
Here you can visit some of the best wineries to learn about traditional winemaking with a modern approach. You can try the only Croatian wine featured in a 3-star Michelin restaurant. It’s a rich autochthonous red wine Plavac mali from the hot, rocky slopes of Hvar produced by the Carić winery.
The only Master of wine in Croatia chose the island Hvar to make wine. Isn’t that a good reference?
Besides wine, crops like olives, lemon trees, organic fruit, and vegetable farms are some of the reasons why Hvar has an excellent gastronomy offer. Mouth-watering fresh seafood feasts in local restaurants result from rich fishing history. The rich fishing knowledge is passed down through generations. But don’t worry if you have some questions; people here are always happy to share information.
The cuisine on the island is Mediterranean – high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, grains, fish, and lots of extra virgin olive oil. Did you know that Hvar’s Mediterranean Diet was listed as intangible UNESCO heritage back in 2013?
Almost every family on Hvar grows its own food in a family field. That bond to the land and emphasis on the freshest seasonal produce is the heart of the island’s gastronomy.
Of course, Hvar has its own specialties, and ˝Hvarska gregada˝, a type of fish stew, is possibly its most famous dish. But, if you have a sweet tooth and an eye for traditional souvenirs, don’t miss ˝Starogrojski paprenjak˝. It’s a honey-flavored biscuit woman created for local sailors around 800 years ago.
11. OLIVE OIL
Olive trees have been grown on Hvar island since ancient times.
We season almost every dish in Croatia and the Hvar island with olive oil. Sometimes, we use it for baking instead of butter as well. So it’s no wonder Croatia is one of the leading producers of high-quality olive oils in the world.
There are more than 200,000 olive trees on Hvar island. Yet one tree stands out. In the village of Zastražišće, you can find one of the 10 oldest olive oil trees in the world, estimated at around 2500 years old. It’s been under heritage protection since 1964.
12. CRAFT BEER
According to winemaker Andro Tomić, beer is actually a tradition on the Hvar island. Even the ancient Greeks grew wheat on the public land of ancient Rome to make ale. So it was about time to revive beer-making on the island. It’s so refreshing to have a glass of beer while sailing.
Vunetovo Craft Beer, the only microbrewery on the island, did the job. The owners of the brewery and excellent hosts are Anna and Joško. The brewmaster Anna only uses natural ingredients in her beers. The carpenter Joško is behind all the woodwork that makes the property so charming. If you’re a craft beer fan, you have to taste this excellent beer from Hvar and the rest of Croatia at this location.
13. CELEBRITY- SPOTTING
Not exactly guaranteed, but celebrity sighting is part of the fun of being in Hvar. Hvar, Dubrovnik, and Vis are the top celebrities’ hubs in Croatia.
Long before Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Tom Cruise visited, royal raver Prince Harry was dancing the night away with friends in 2011. Eva Longoria holidayed in Croatia and the island of Hvar with her husband Tony Parker and a group of friends.
Ukrainian boxer Vladimir Klitschko, world No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic, former president of Formula 1 Bernie Ecclestone, and many other sports celebrities enjoyed the pleasures of Hvar. Steven Spielberg, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Giorgio Armani, and others were maybe relaxing with a glass of wine on the same table you will choose next summer.
The list of celebrities that visited Hvar is longer than the Hvar’s main promenade. But Hvar Tourist Board has a strict policy of neither confirming nor denying the presence of famous people. So do we! We take the privacy of guests seriously.
I hope this article inspired you to choose a sailing holiday for your next summer adventure.
If you have questions about our itineraries, our packages, or yachts, we are happy to respond to any of your inquiries. We take pride in prompt email and phone correspondence, regardless of your time zone.
Taste and Sail Croatia team is looking forward to helping you choose your best sailing holiday yacht, itinerary, and crew! We will make it happen. In the meantime, don’t forget, whatever option you choose, you will have a holiday to remember.
We hope to have you sailing with us soon! Being on the water on any yacht in Croatia is beautiful.
Visit our Website, Instagram, and Facebook page for more inspiration. Contact us today so we can start planning your dream sailing holiday. Write to [email protected], and someone from the team will get back to you. You can also write to me directly: [email protected]. I read every letter sent.
Author: Vedrana Radanović