Have you also been dreaming of a balmy Southern European summer, with that youthful atmosphere, amazing culture, and of course, postcard-ready swimming spots with medieval castles for view just begging to be explored?
Ibiza may sound like the most obvious pick, with its azure waters and year-round events, but if you’re looking for a Mediterranean island that can be both quaint when it’s sunny out, and bustling with activity when night falls, perhaps you should consider this lesser-known Croatian island instead:
Is Hvar Bound To Become Europe’s Party Island?
Hvar is a small offshore Adriatic settlement that’s often touted as the ‘next Ibiza’.
Similarly to the famous Spanish island, it has a historic capital sitting at the bottom of a heavily-fortified citadel, where most of the action is centered, scenic beaches, and a rural hinterland.
Unlike Ibiza, however, Hvar is much smaller.
While Spain’s Balearic island covers an area of 221 square miles, jam-packed with luxurious enclaves, danceterias, and leisure centers, Hvar is only 42 miles long, though the tourist offer is by no means limited.
Hvar Town has a burgeoning party scene, with numerous bars, beach clubs, and all-night discos to pick from.
One of the island’s trendiest, Carpe Diem, is open from 9 AM to 2 PM, operating as an upscale restaurant and cocktail dar by day and as a club by night.
The Veneranda Club is also a favorite among locals and tourists alike. A short 2km walk from downtown Hvar, it hosts techno parties and DJ sets led by household names like Tom Novy, Norman Doray, and Dirty Dutch.
Other nightlife spots include the atmospheric Nautica disco, Hula Hula, a well-frequented oceanfront beach bar with an energetic crowd and thrilling music, and Central Park Club, highly sought-after among live music and jazz lovers.
If you’d rather hit a local bar for a chill night instead, whether you’re alone or joined by friends, then the Atelier (most commonly known as Archie’s Bar) is where you should be headed.
The friendly staff will make sure you feel welcome, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy the creative cocktails on the menu.
Hvar Is One Of The Most Beautiful Islands On The Adriatic
When it comes to beaches, the top-rated ones on Google are:
- Pokonji dol Beach, a sandy crescent just outside Hvar Town
- Strand Mekićevica, a quieter bay with heavenly-blue seas
- Žukova, a pebbly cove bounded by turquoise waters tourists
- Jagodna, a lesser-known, paradisaical spot only 2.6km away from the town of Sveta Nedjelja
- Bonji Beach, a development zone lined by resorts offering access to the Adriatic
Whether you’re basing yourself in Hvar Town or staying farther away in a more secluded area, accommodation options are varied, from budget guesthouses to luxurious private villas and oceanfront wellness retreats.
June rates for the newly-opened Hotel Moeesy, Blue & Green Oasis average USD $4,000 weekly, while more modest B&B stays range between USD $550 and USD $1,745 when booked in advance through Booking.com.
Although it is smaller and not necessarily cheaper than Ibiza now that Croatia has joined the Eurozone – quite the contrary – Hvar is still a gem worth exploring, if not for the beaches and nightlife, then for its inestimable cultural wealth.
An Underrated Cultural Destination
Though it’s been inhabited since prehistoric times, it only flourished as an Adriatic port under Greek control in 384 BC, when Pharos, now called Stari Grad (Serbo-Crotian for Old Town), was founded.
The Greeks were responsible for laying out the well-structured agricultural divisions of the Sari Glad Plain, which is still visible to this day and listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Other points of interest on the island include the Fortress of Petar Hektorović, the Franciscan Monastery, St Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Tvrdava Fortress towering over Hvar Town.
The closest airport to Hvar is located on the neighboring island of Brač, though it hosts only a handful of domestic flights and chartered international flights from smaller European hubs over the summer.
The easiest way to get to Hvar is by flying in via Split, the largest city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and the second-busiest airport in Croatia after Zagreb International.
From Split, a fast-ferry to Hvar Town takes just over an hour and costs on average of USD $10. Ferries remain operational year-round, linking the island to the Croatian mainland, though frequency is usually higher over summer, with daily service and more competitive fares.
Important Changes Travelers Should Know Ahead Of Flying To Croatia
If you’re flying to Croatia this summer, you should know the country has recently adopted the Euro, which has led to an increase in prices in touristy spots like Hvar, Split, and Dubrovnik.
Additionally, it ascended to the borderless Schengen Area. When traveling between a fellow European country signatory to the Schengen Treaty and any Croatian airport, you will no longer have to undergo border control.
Arriving from outside the Schengen Area, such as flying direct from the U.S. to Croatia, you will need to present yourself before border officers in order to get an entry stamp.
It is also worth reminding that, since Croatia joined Schengen, any visits to other Schengen countries count towards your 90-day visa limit as an American or Canadian national traveling in Croatia.
You are only allowed to remain in Schengen for 90 days out of any 180-day period.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com