Travel advice for Hvar, Croatia!
It’s unbelievable how long it’s been since I wrote my last blog on here! I’ve therefore been determined to make sure this one got written soon after my holiday so I didn’t end up leaving it for months and months and forget about all the important details.
For those of you who don’t have me on Instagram, I have recently returned from a holiday to Hvar, in Croatia, where I went with my housemate Emily. It was quite a last minute decision to go there, and we had basically just wanted to have a week away somewhere hot, picturesque and with good nightlife.
In the end, Hvar ended up fitting all of our criteria and I would definitely return there again, however there are things i’d wished i’d known prior to booking the trip that would have made the overall experience even better.
So firstly, it is important to know that Hvar doesn’t have its own airport and instead, you have to fly into Split and then get a ferry or Catamorang transfer over to Hvar port. Our first mistake was not realising having a late flight which arrived in Split later than 5pm meant that you had to wait for the 1:30am ferry from Split as boat transfers by catamaran stop mid afternoon.
Even though we had prepared ourselves for this very late transfer, with just our bad luck we ended up having a nightmare of a journey there instead due to being given ‘alternate transfer’ vouchers from our travel agent. On arriving into Split at 7pm we were given these vouchers and were driven five minutes away from the airport and dropped off at a port in the complete darkness and pointed which direction to go to find the boat. After 45 minutes of sitting near this boat and having nobody acknowledge us, we decided to ask somebody on it if we could board yet to which he responsed ‘ the boat is broken, it won’t be fixed by tonight or tomorrow, and the other port to catch the ferry is a 50 minute drive away’. This resulted in us having to get hold of emergency Jet2 to be saved, which by the time they responded and sent a rep back out to find us (who had all gone home by this point), we had walked back to the airport and sat where we were in the first place. Luckily after this we got our proper transfer to the proper port and had dinner in Split before finally getting the Ferry and another transfer to our hotel.
Because of having to do the late night ferry journey ourselves, I would definitely not recommend getting a late flight to Split if you’re traveling to Hvar, as if you get the night ferry it takes up to three hours and anchors in a port about an hour away from Hvar centre. An earlier flight which would get you a place on a Catamorang only takes an hour and a half, and will drop you off right into Hvar!
Despite this, If you do end up having to spend a few hours in Split before your transfer there or back, or spend a few days travelling there, it is quite a nice place to spend a few hours and has loads of restaurants and bars which are open late (and are cheaper than the restaurant prices in Hvar). We went to a rooftop bar called Bar68 which served amazing food and drink and also has more of a club-style area at the back.
Where we stayed
After making it to Hvar FINALLY we arrived at our hotel which was called Hotel Pharos. This hotel had been recommended on multiple websites due to its great location, and we managed to get a really good deal which included breakfast in the price. If you were wanting a slightly more expensive hotel, there is a stunning hotel near Pharos which is called Amfora hotel. This is definitely worth researching.
- The hotel was literally a five minute walk to Hvar town/port (down some steps) and took you out to a sport’s bar, and all the bars and restaurants. If you walked out of the hotel and turned right and walked about five minutes and down some steps you then ended up at the sea, and if you carried on walking to the right for another five minutes you ended up at Hula Hula beach bar!
- The hotel breakfast buffet was amazing and included everything from continental breakfasts, to full English breakfasts, to freshly made omlettes. There was also coffee machines where you could get unlimited refills of several different types of coffees.
- The rooms were really spacious and had great air conditioning which was included in the price
- There was a safe and wifi included in the price
- There were very few cons of the hotel, however if I had to critique i’d have said the pool was quite small and could be crowded
- Make sure you pay for a room with a balcony – we didn’t realise the room we got was cheaper because it didn’t have a balcony!!
What we ate
Not gonna lie Hvar is one of the most expensive places for drinks I’ve been to in Europe when on holiday with my friends. Food is reasonable and there are lots of lovely restaurants around the port which are open late at night and serve a good selection of food. There were lots of seafood restaurants, however due to mainly my uncultured diet we largely went to pizzerias. We would recommend food at Hula Beach Bar during the day, and a nice restaurant we found in the evening was a family run restaurant called Alviž.
If you wanted the choice of making your own meals, there were a couple of supermarkets in the centre at very reasonable prices, and alternatively, if you wanted any fast food there were about a million little shops selling pizza slices and wraps. (overconsumption of these meant I’d prefer never to see another fast food pizza slice in my life again!).
We definitely opted for a relaxed holiday during daytimes and so i’m not the best person to give advice about day trips! We spent most days by the pool and then headed down to the sea for a swim. Even though I’m slightly terrified of the sea, Hvar is somewhere where the sea was ‘safe’ to swim in, as in was calm and did’t have reports of jellyfish stings ect. There were also loads of water activities to do including paddle boarding, kayaking, and hiring out boats. We found out that Hvar is one of the only places where you don’t need some kind of license to take a boat out, and so most people we spoke to talked about having hired out boats or saying they were planning on doing this. We found that the thing that appealed most to us was paddle boarding as it looked really easy and everyone we had watched doing it looked super graceful. We booked this from a guy near to Hula Hula beach bar and you could hire the boards out for either 1 hour, 2 hours or a full day.
We were so so wrong. Paddleboarding is literally so much harder than it looks and I lost count of the times I fell back onto the board when trying to stand up. Emily picked it up quite quickly and by the end of the hour I managed to as well. Steering it was super easy when sat up on your knees, but trying to steer against the tide whilst stood up was a different story!
A main attribute we wanted a holiday destination to have was good nightlife. We had heard that Hvar was quite a party place but were completely clueless on where to go, how much things cost, and how dressy places were.
On our first night of the holiday we ended up going to Carpe Diem beach club. We had seen this online and on Instagram as a place you couldn’t miss when visiting Hvar. We had walked to Carpe Diem Bar earlier in the evening and realised that the nightclub was in fact on another island and that you had to travel there by boat! The first boat across from outside Carpe Diem bar was at 00:30 and took about 15 minutes to get there. Carpe Diem is really impressive when approaching it as it is all lit up, and just as amazing inside with a massive DJ area, food stalls, a massive dance floor and beach club decor. It was the equivalent of £15 to get in, however was worth it just for the experience of going. (The boats to and from the beach club were free.)
The only slightly annoying thing was the prices of drinks there, as pretty much every beer/wine/spirit and mixer available ended up being around £10. Although this is probably normal for some places in the UK, I just didn’t expect it would be expensive in Hvar and so the next time I would definitely take double the money to allow for more of a comfortable night out. We found out it is common for people to stay at this club all night and watch the sunset in the morning, however due to the extremely long journey we had had the day before we ended up going home to sleep and missing it!
Another place we visited was Hula Beach bar, which was open all day every day until 10pm. This was an amazing place to hang out and relax all day in your swimwear and then come back for the sunset, by which point it has turned into a mad party!
Hula beach bar was my favourite place by a mile; it had fantastic music, an amazing atmosphere and was literally right next to the sea! Again with Hula, it was very expensive for drinks, but was free to get in which was great.
Unfortunately it closed at 10pm every night and so was more of a place you would go before your full night out- I’d have happily stayed there all night if not though!
Me and Emily decided to get changed after swimming in the sea all day and put proper shoes on, which was lucky due to the amount of people standing on your feet. It got really crowded so I definitely would NOT recommend staying in your flip flops all night!
For the only way to truly see how incredible these places are, remember to head to my instagram Hvar Highlight and watch the videos!
The rest of the places we went out were just a few of the bars At Hvar town port. A few had happy hour on cocktails which was an okay deal, and they all really kicked off after midnight and had a great atmosphere!