A short water taxi from Hvar Town takes you to the beautiful islet of Marinkovac, the highlight of which is not the amazing, sheltered bay in the southern corner, but rather the small, blink-and-you'll miss it bar by the taxi pontoon.
Having missed our boat we had to console ourselves with a glass of their own wine and were invited by the owner to take a walk around the vineyard from which the grapes came. Truly locally sourced.
The owners are wonderfully enthusiastic and knowledgeable about wines, and it was a pleasure to settle in and miss a few more boats while we chatted with them.
Take the water taxi from Havr Town to Marinkovac, the bar is right next to the pontoon.
Google map: bit.ly/LuIS1k
Though Hvar is known for its posh port and brilliant beaches, those with steel knuckles and a set of wheels can go for a joy ride on the narrow, twisted back lanes of the island's old roads. Not for acrophobes, the summit near the charming village of Grablje reveals heart-stopping panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea and Croatian mainland. Ancient stone walls mix uniquely with modern patchworks of lavender bushes and olive trees; dense pine forests nestle below the horizon. Back at sea level, stop in tiny Milna where inexpensive fresh fish, delicious omelettes, and perfect white stone beaches reward hardy souls in the only open-air alfresco cafe.
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!
The catamaran from Split to Hvar takes one hour, and the ferry takes just over two.
If you're not pressed for time (they cost the same - 38kuna or £3.50), take the ferry as you can sit on the top deck and sunbathe as you pass by beautiful islands.
from Split harbour, Jandrolinja ferries/catamarans
If you are planning on staying a little further out of Hvar centre and renting a scooter or car to get into town or see more of the island, be aware that there only seems to be one company that rents them and it's very expensive!
We were shocked to pay £32 a day for a banged-up old scooter which could hardly make it up the hills (we paid £7 a day last year in Greece). Cars were £56 a day.
Having said that, it is worth it for at least a day, to visit some of the beaches, and to take the old road via Brusje on the way home, gorgeous view from top of Hvar looking out towards Brac as the sun sets.
Rent scooters from the bus station at Hvar
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
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