All of a sudden there has been a craze in the market to travel to Croatia’s coastline. It is absolutely no wonder, considering Croatia boasts some of the most stunning coasts in Europe. I came across this beauty a couple of years ago and loved it so much I went again this year.
What I loved most about the islands (especially the first time) is the serenity and lack of built up resort style beachfronts that can be found everywhere else in the world. No matter how spectacular a place is, if its panorama is filled with man-made constructions and obstructions that I could also find on the Gold Coast, Ibiza, Cancun etc., then it has lost the unique splendour and appeal that I love about Hvar, Mljet or The Elaphite Islands.
With the Croatian islands still being relatively untouched like this, my travel tip is to see this place yourself. Don’t pay a tour guide or company to show you around! You don’t need to! With fresh fruit markets and ample accommodation in the townships (no matter how small) you save yourself a fortune, compared to paying for your stock standard tour group, which hardly compares to exploring these islands using your own aptitude. The islands are small enough to see on your own and the transport between islands is common, cheap and only a short distance!
You can get a ferry in the morning and be at the next place well before lunch. Hire a moped or bicycle and see more of the islands then any tour could show you. On many occasions I found myself on a beach that was not only magical but I was the only person there. Travel this seaside paradise with no time limits, stay on the islands you love and move on from the locations that you don’t. Explore these islands, use only a small amount of effort and less money than you would spend on the weekend in London - and you can find so much more than you bargained for!
Both excellent restaurants for fresh fish. You sit outside in the lovely old streets of Hvar. Listen to the waiter for the days catch and he'll put together a wonderful platter of fish tailor made for how hungry you are!
Walk up from the town square and waterfront and you will find these two places close together on Niksa Budrovic.
Its a restaurant (like tapas, but Dalmation-style) and I recommend it because the staff are lovely, the food is outstanding (try the drunken figs!), and best of all, you sit at upturned half-barrels and drink local wine out of tumblers in the candlelight - there are no electric lights in there. Perfect.
Hvar Town, wander and you'll find it. I think its near sweet and pretty zimmer frei bar (the one with the white laundry hanging outside - love the bloomers).
Ok so its not exactly off the beaten path, however Hvar is beautiful nonetheless. For the best seafood ever and fun, friendly staff go to Palladini restaurant in the backstreets behind the main square. The beaches in Hvar are rocky, but for a £3.50 return fare in a taxi boat you can explore some of the neighbouring islands such as Palmizana and Jerolim for the nudists.
As far as nightlife is concerned, the main bar is Carpe Diem, which is fun but pretty expensive.
Find accomodation through the tourist office www.hvar.hr. The general standard of private accommodation on is very high; we stayed at apartments Konstantin and experienced true Croatian hospitality.
Go to Sveti Klement (Saint Clement), an island near Hvar. It’s a half hour boat trip away, and then you have to walk for another 20 minutes (there isn't a road but a path sorts) to get to Konoba Dionis, restaurant in the middle of the fields. Bit of a trek, but it's worth every penny once you get there. The food is delicious, fresh sea produce of course, and the views are stunning.
Last summer a group of us stayed the whole afternoon there and had a wonderful time. We ended up paying what the guy 'approximately' charged us because they knew the owner (I think he stopped counting how many brandies he served us after a while) and leaving a lot more in tips.
See pictures here: www.menego.hr/?lang=cro&ctg=2&in=dionis&path=img/dionis/&page=0 (Croatian language website)
A stunning 20-minute costal walk from Hvar Town, rooms here come with sea views and a liberal dose of style. The hotel's garden restaurant cascades right down to the sea - perfect for watching the sun go down over a cockail. It costs slightly more than you need to pay in Croatia, but is worth every penny.
Tel +385 21 740 400
Luca rents out rooms in his house overlooking the harbour in beautiful Hvar. Let him look after you and you'll be treated to fish feasts with homemade wine and olive oil. Be his friend and you'll leave with handpressed family-grown lavender oil too!
he'll be waiting when you get off the ferry in a white t-shirt and blue jeans :-)
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