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Frequently bulling itself as one of the sunniest spots in Europe, the island of Hvar has proven to be endlessly popular with holidaymakers – and is often listed among the top 10 islands in the world. With hillsides covered in pine forests and the landscape dotted with vineyards, olive groves and lavender fields, Hvar has a truly Mediterranean vibe.

As one of Croatia’s most popular tourist spots, Hvar has something to offer each and every visitor, from beautiful beaches and quaint shops to cafes and famous historical sites.

Culture and history

The island of Hvar is thought to have been inhabited since prehistoric times – initially by Neolithic people and later by the Illyrians. These influences on local arts and crafts such as pottery are still seen within the culture of the island today.

Located halfway down the Balkan coast, Hvar has long been a popular stopping point for trade travelling up and down the Adriatic. The city of Hvar itself was important part of the Venetian Empire due to its selection as a major naval base. As an island, Hvar experienced a tumultuous history until the 20th century, when its popularity as a tourist destination truly took off.

Hvar has long been one of Croatia’s cultural hotspots, with one of the first public theatres in Europe and many fine buildings and architectural sites. Now the island attracts many celebrities and visitors looking for a little slice of luxury.

Things to do

Pay a visit to Stari Grad, which is the oldest town in Croatia and wonder at the extensive archaeological artefacts housed within the town museum. Take in some of the island’s rich lavender-growing history at one of the many small villages or, if you’re lucky enough to visit in June, head to Velo Grablje for the annual lavender festival.

Head to the hills above the town to visit the Venetian fortress on the site of an Illyrian settlement dating back before 500BC. Or, closer to the main square, marvel at the Church of St Stephen, built in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Alternatively, take to the water and enjoy a boat trip around the Pakleni Islands or perhaps a sunset sail to end the day on a high note. For those looking for something a little more adventurous, the crystal-clear waters around Hvar are perfect for diving – or even just a gentle swim.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.