When people think of Croatia, they mostly think of its coast.
They picture a vast blue sea with sunny beaches and lots of islands. The sea people connect Croatia to is the Adriatic, more precisely its eastern coast.
These waters are regarded as one of the cleanest in Europe and are warm – the temperature of the Adriatic never falls under 11 degrees Celsius.
With its many coastal cities, small towns and over a thousand islands, the Croatian coast offers a wide variety of tourist destinations you can spend your vacation on.
The island of Hvar is situated in the southern part of the Adriatic, off the Croatian coast, and between islands of Korčula, Brač and Vis. It receives the most amount of sunshine per year, and it’s often called “the sunny Hvar”. The annual average is 2726 hours of sunshine per year, whilst the highest number was recorded in 2003, when the city of Hvar counted 3053 sunny hours. That’s 127 days of sun all together!
The Greeks named it Pharos, Romans changed it to Pharia. The Italian name was Lesina and the Croatian name is Hvar. This long list is the consequence of Hvar’s complicated historical development. Due to its very good geographical position, the island of Hvar stood on the crossroads of many naval and trade routes throughout history.
It was established in 1612 by the duke Petar Semitecolo. The aim of the project was to enable people of all feudal classes to visit the theatre and enjoy the show, a rather democratic thought for 17th century Europe.
Today, agava lace is being produced only by the sisters of benedictine monastery in the city of Hvar, who were the first to establish this rare sort of lace making. This process is very time consuming and hasn’t changed in the last 100 years – it involves special handling of agava nets in order to make lace. According to the story, Neolithic inhabitants who lived in the Gupčeva cave on Hvar also used agava nets to catch fish from the sea.
Apart from other usual souvenirs, you can buy lavender souvenirs for your friends and family here. The production of lavender and its oil used to be the Hvar’s biggest export.
Located on the town square in the city of Hvar, the Cathedral of St. Stephen is the most impressive building here. Built on the site of an earlier 6th century Christian church, it is today a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Its construction was divided into a few stages, from 14th to 17th century; that is why visitors can today witness an interesting variety of styles.
Visit the Tvrdalj Castle in Stari Grad on Hvar. Tvrdalj was built in the 16th century as a summer residence of one of the most important Croatian poets – Petar Hektorović. During the Ottoman invasion it was fortified and served as a shelter for the local citizens. This is a well-preserved Renaissance building, with a facade on the seaward side, to protect it from attack.
The interior courtyard contains a sea-water fishpool, surrounded by a vaulted and arcaded terrace. Many inscriptions are set into walls of the Castle in both Latin and Croatian. Thus, for example, one of them says: “Petar Hektorović, son of Marin, built this at his own expense and by his own efforts, for his own and his friends’ use”.
This is typical Mediterranean cuisine, based on olive oil and fish dishes. A shot of home made Prošek is a good start of every dining experience. Don’t miss out on “Gregada”, made of several kinds of fish, boiled with potatoes. As a dessert, try “Rožada”, a tasty pudding, one of the most popular dishes of Croatian food.
One of Hvar’s most famous citizens is a former football player Igor Tudor, who spent much of his career at the Italian Juventus.
Have you visited Hvar, Croatia? Tell us about your experiences below.