Discovering the Magic of Croatia (Part 2): Hvar Island Paradise

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Mrs. Enchumbao here, your FI-friendly travel agent. If you missed Part 1 of this adventure, including our visit to Zadar, Trogir and Split, you can review it here. In this Part 2 of our 18-day visit to Croatia, I’ll cover the magic of Hvar Island. Then, in Part 3, I’ll take you on a tour of Dubrovnik and Zagreb. To get oriented, you can see our full itinerary on the map below.

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Days 9 to 12 – The Island of Hvar

Getting to Hvar

We left the port city of Split on a ferry, and about an hour later, docked at this beautiful island. As you can see on the map, there were numerous islands pertaining to Croatia, and I researched a lot before deciding to go to Hvar. I can’t provide a comparison yet, but I can definitely tell you that Hvar is worth a visit, period.

Lodging in Hvar

Once we got off the boat, we looked at our Google Maps and did our best navigating to the place we rented: Apartments Teo Petric. Looking back at that 20 minute journey, it was quite comical. We were rolling our suitcases up stairs, then uphill on a vehicle road, without sidewalks or road name signs, and asking locals we happened to find, where to go. Have I mentioned already that we recommend buying backpacks instead of rolling suitcases? Otherwise, you’d be dragging hell on wheels like us.

Long story short, we found the apartments, and thankfully, Teo, the owner, was there. The best part was that he was surprised to see us! He asked us how we found it, and laughed at our determination. Apparently, he expected us to call him from the pier area tourist office, so he could conveniently pick us up in his car. Well, better to know later than never, right?

He was super friendly and accommodating, and welcomed us with much needed cold beer. He also gave us a bottle of local red wine made in Hvar, a true host. It was yum!!! We ended up buying several bottles before leaving Croatia to take home for us and some friends.

We stayed in apartment #1, which was very cozy and right in front of the entrance gate. It was a two-bedroom, but we only needed one. The kitchen was small, but it had all the essentials to cook. The bedroom and bathroom were clean and nice. Nothing fancy, but very cozy. It felt like we were visiting family. The best part was the porch, where we had our meals overlooking nearby homes downhill, and it was very private and serene.

The apartment was up on a hill, but we learned of a more direct route through the cobblestone streets, and the hike was about 10 minutes from then on. We enjoy the exercise, so we welcomed it.

Exploring Hvar

While Hvar has plenty to see and many places to visit, we ended up only checking out the historic old town on the main island. It is super charming, and has plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to explore. We were there every night.

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The ten minute decent into Hvar’s Old Town. It was certainly easier than the ten minute ascent on the way back, in a tipsy state. 🙂

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We thought this bar in Old Town was particularly intriguing, considering the amount of people that simply hang out outside of it.

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The charming Old Town in Hvar.

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One of my favorite things about shopping abroad are street vendors with unique items. I love getting costume jewelry from every place I visit, and when people compliment me on what I am wearing when back home, there is a story to tell for each piece.

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Famous castle overlooking the Old Town. It’s a museum now, which occasionally hosts fancy private parties (think celebrity weddings). Before, it used to be a club, and our host, Teo, was the DJ there. How cool would it be to party in that place?!

By day, we ended up exploring nearby small islands, as the closest beach to the pier was tiny and not very cozy. Water taxi boats, conveniently located right at the pier, take you to your island of choice for the day. We had the chance to visit two islands: Palmižana and Mlini.

Palmižana Island

Fun fact: You know Beyonce, yeah, the megastar. Turns out she and Jay-Z loved this Blue Ivy plant they saw when visiting this island, and named their little munchkin after it. Are you googling the plant image yet? Go ahead, let your curiosity stretch.

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This is where we arrived on the taxi boat. A little pier and a restaurant are there in case you are waiting for the boat on the way back.

There aren’t enough words to describe the beauty of this island. So, I’ll let the pictures do the job.

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You have to go over the hill to get to the nice part of the island, where you can lounge. This fork in the road puzzled us at first, but it turned out that all roads lead to Rome, as it’s a very small island.

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Well, this sign is just priceless if you are Dominican. Go ahead and look up the slang meaning of it. We just had to follow this path.

 

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The five minute hike over the hill was so worth it once we got a load of this view!

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This beach is very pebbly, so you can rent the lounge beds. The FI-minder travelers, like us, may choose to rough it out. There was a shaded cliff near the beach and we spent the time there, reading books and playing music.

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IMG_1764The water was so transparent, I could see sea urchins and other life in the stones below when I was very still, even without snorkeling equipment. You see private boats and yachts pull up to the island and anchor there for the day. That’s probably the best way to explore the many islands of Croatia, but we need to find friends with a boat first. 🙂

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We had a light lunch at one of the few restaurants on the beach. The prices were steep due to minimal competition, but the views were spectacular!

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We spent the afternoon on the island and caught the water taxi back around 6 p.m. Just make sure you check the departure times of your particular taxi boat. Since you pay for a round trip, you need to get back on the same boat or with the same company.

Apparently, Hvar and Palmižana are quite the party islands in the summer, but since we arrived on September 1, we got the more mild tourist version, which worked well, since we are not into the crazy college student party scenes.

Beach tips: bring a snorkeling mask. The water is so transparent and there is great coastal life to explore. And, wear water shoes–all the beaches are stones and pebbles, plus, there are sea urchins everywhere, so you want to protection on your feet just in case. Watch where you step  and be safe.

Mlini Island

The next day, we checked this place out. It was even more virgin, with only one restaurant and one cafe on the whole tiny island. The cool thing about it was that there was a mini island within a short swim of the beach, where you could get on it and walk around. Again, be careful of where you step, there were many sea urchins and those suckers are no joke.

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The docking pier on Mlini Island. You have to walk for a few minutes to the beach where most people swim.

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The tiny island you can swim up to in on the right.

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We caught the sunset on Mlini before heading back, and it was spectacular.

Savoring in Hvar

We ate a several restaurants in Hvar and the neighboring islands, but nothing stood out to rave about, it was just solid. The typical dishes they have are consistent with the rest of Croatia: fish soup, pizza, pasta, meat and fish entrees. This was yet another place that made us salivate over our favorite gem of a restaurant discovery back in Trogir…ahhhh…

Departing Hvar

This was a sad moment for us, as we realized that three nights in Hvar was not nearly enough. We even tried to see if we could shrink our stay in Dubrovnik, the next city on our list, but the cancellation policy called for a more advanced notice. Teo gave us a ride down to the pier and we left on the same ferry boat back to Split. Tear drop…

Are you in love with Hvar yet? I think it’s like the Vieques of Croatia, and we plan to be back after we reach early retirement, so we could spend several months getting to know the beauty of Hvar even better!

Have you visited Hvar or Croatia? What’s on your bucket list of must-see destinations?

Please like & share:
Discovering the Magic of Croatia (Part 1)
Discovering the Magic of Croatia (Part 3): Historic Dubrovnik and Modern Zagreb

Mrs. Enchumbao

I’m a salsa-dancing, globe-trotting, people-watching ball of energy. I challenge the status quo and empower others to do the same.

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