Hvar Town is the main town on the island of Hvar, Croatia. It was nothing like I expected it to be but I don’t know what I was expecting or why it failed to meet those expectations.
Hvar Town is a little bit like a quaint village. It’s full of limestone walkways, narrow alleys, boutique shops, and average (read: touristy) restaurants. It’s a place where random steps lead directly to the sea.
The main square is pretty and lined with restaurants and shops, albeit very touristy.
It’s also a playground for the wealthy and I’m not only referring to older generations of built-up wealthy. There were plenty of very rich young adults accompanied by other very rich young adults, all living their very best and very rich young adult lives.
Whilst in Hvar, I spent many hours watching rich young adults do their thing while sipping on $7 USD bottles of Corona that were garnished with stupid lemons.
I feel like I need to make it my personal mission to educate the world that limes (aka “green lemons”) taste nothing like lemons and there is a time and place for each of these fruits. Lemons in Coronas is not the time nor place.
Around every corner of Hvar Town was an opulent display of wealth – Giant yachts, flashy jewelry, really ugly designer clothing, obvious plastic surgery, etc.
We learned shortly after arriving in Hvar Town that The Yacht Week had just blown through the island which probably explained the concentration of wealth.
Hvar has recently been compared to a pre-Bardot St Tropez, whatever that means. I’m not rich enough to know or care.
Two years ago, Jay-Z and Beyonce visited Hvar, probably on their yacht with a helicopter pad. I knew none of this prior to stepping foot on the shiny and slippery limestone walkways of Hvar Town.
I thought we were going to a casual island destination where people walked around in board shorts and Havaianas.
Our first night in Hvar was uneventful but at least we had all of our luggage. We ate dinner, drank some wine, wandered around the town, and took photos here and there.
The following day, we needed to kick things in gear because we only had three nights (two full days) in Hvar and needed to make the most of it.
The following morning, we went to the Hula Hula Beach Bar which was a short walk past the harbor and near the site of the Ultra Europe music festival – another thing I did not know existed until we arrived in Hvar.
I approached a Hula Hula employee and enquired about renting sun loungers. The nice lad informed me that loungers that had stones on them were reserved and that we could take any lounger that did not have a stone.
He informed us of the daily rental fee and told us that someone would be around to collect the fee and get anything we needed.
We found two sun loungers that were next to four beach bums. It was obvious that the bums had partied all night long and decided to sleep on the loungers.
This was a first for me.
We learned later in our vacation that many youngsters travel from Split to Hvar to party all night and then travel back to Split the following morning.
Nearly TWO HOURS after sitting our bums on the sun loungers, a Hula Hula employee came around, but not to “get anything we needed.” I mean, I had needed something, anything for the past two hours. He was just coming around to collect the sun lounger fee.
We asked him if we had table service and he informed us that we did not because our loungers were “too far away from the bar.”
It took Peter precisely 11 seconds to walk from our loungers to the bar.
Customer service across Europe does not have a great reputation but the customer service in Croatia was some of the worst we’d experienced.
Peter returned with our self-service Coronas and then we self-serviced another round and another and another. After four self-serviced Coronas each, I needed to pee but was too scared to go into the water. The shoreline was jagged and rocky and we did not have shoes suitable for traversing the rocks.
Prior to traveling around Europe, a beach to me was a flat, soft, sandy area next to a body of water. This is not what most beaches are like in Europe. In fact, the European beaches we have visited are the opposite of my definition of a beach.
In Dubrovnik and Hvar Town, the “beaches” were rocky and slippery. Do not waste any money getting a pedicure prior to traveling to Croatia if you plan to spend time at a beach.
In the few times I braved entering the sea, I managed to break or chip every one of my toenails. It was pathetically comical.
Peter and I both fell one time clawing our way back onto the beach. Peter scraped his lower back and I scraped my knee. After falling and scraping my knee, it became clear to me why so many people were walking around with gauze bandages around their toes, knees, and shins.
Overall, our Hula Hula beach experience was not great but I did enjoy staring at the colors of the sea. I mentioned in a prior post that the colors of the Adriatic Sea are pretty much indescribable. You must see it to believe it.
The Adriatic Sea off of the coast of Croatia is the most beautiful open body of water I’ve ever seen and is far more beautiful than the esteemed shoreline of Santorini, Greece. Those two locations don’t even fall into the same category as far as I’m concerned.
At the shoreline, the water was clear and as you looked out from the shore, the water gradually transitioned from clear to green to teal to aqua to a very deep blue. It is the deep blue color that is so mesmerizing.
We left Hula Hula as soon as the younger crowd started to arrive. We then proceeded to get very intoxicated on a self-guided bar crawl followed by a few hours at a wine bar located just off of the main square.
A brief hangover arrived in my body the following morning but because hangovers don’t exist on island destinations, it subsided quickly.
After a quick bite to eat, we decided to go on a day trip to the nearby island of Palmizana. We boarded a medium-sized boat in the harbor and arrived at the island a short while later.
Arriving on Palmizana island felt like we were in an episode of Gilligan’s Island. The boat dropped us off at the main dock and then we hiked along the paved paths through the woods, branching off into different beachside restaurants and bars.
Somehow, someway, Peter was able to secure two sun loungers at a restaurant/bar where the staff were salivating at the opportunity to “get us anything we needed” and earn tips. It was a welcome change of pace from what we’d experienced thus far in Hvar.
We lounged on Palmizana until 6pm and then boarded our boat back to Hvar Town. We were both pretty tired from being in the sun all day, and generally, tired from our vacation. We realized we had planned this trip like Americans.
That evening, our last in Hvar, was as uneventful as our first evening. We once again ate dinner, drank some wine, and turned in early – our catamaran to Split departed at 6:30am the following morning. Ugh.
Our final day in Croatia was unpleasant because it was yet another full day of travel (Hvar-Split-London). It was the third full day of travel of our six-night vacation. We learned a valuable lesson with the itinerary of this vacation and will never again book a vacation where 50 percent of the days are spent traveling (aka “traveling like Americans”).
We arrived at the catamaran departure area at 6:15am. I am not a morning person nor a good sleeper, so this was very painful for me.
What I saw shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. There were a lot of drunk people waiting for the catamaran. I’m not talking about one or two or even six drunk people. I’m talking about 50-75 drunk people.
Some were drinking beer. Some were stuffing their faces with kebabs and pizza. Some were sleeping on the limestone walkway and on nearby benches. It was like a war zone of people getting out of the club.
In addition to the large number of drunk people, I was surprised to see so many people standing outside the catamaran ticket office. In Hvar Town, it’s possible to buy next-day catamaran tickets beginning at 8am the prior day.
I assumed that everyone standing outside of the ticket office was waiting to purchase tickets for the following day. This early queueing explained why the more desired, late-morning, catamaran departure was sold out when we went to the ticket office the day prior at 8:45am. Simply put, if people start queueing for tickets at 6am, then we had no chance of getting tickets for the later catamaran when we arrived at 8:45, which is how we ended up on the 6:30am catamaran!
Then, suddenly, the doors to the ticket office opened and all of the drunk people flooded into the office, out of the office, and to the catamaran departure area. It hit me. All of the drunk people were buying tickets for the 6:30am catamaran. But wait. Where was their luggage?
And then it clicked. The partiers arrived in Hvar Town, without luggage, on the evening ferry, partied all night long, and were taking the catamaran back to Split where they would crawl back to their accommodation and sleep the day away.
My age was very apparent to me at that moment.
After a short wait, our catamaran arrived, we boarded and everyone except for me passed out. Words cannot describe the smell of the seating area in the catamaran. It was a mixture of stale cigarettes, beer and alcohol breath, and body odor. It was nauseating.
Approximately one hour later, at 7:30am, we arrived in Split. All businesses, cafes, and restaurants were closed but lucky for us, there was a large park next to the catamaran/ferry dock with benches and pretty flowers.
This park was as good of a place as any to practice being a beach bum. We had a huge chunk of time to waste before we needed to be at the airport.
Naturally, we became temporary beach bums. We, along with everyone else in our situation, sat in the park for the next FIVE hours.
I pulled out my beach towel and tried to nap on a bench, feet propped up and over my giant checked bag. When napping failed, I walked around and took a few photos. I people-watched for a bit. I became upset when a man sat at the bench across from me and started feeding pigeons (aka rats of the sky).
As exhausted as I was, I could not fault the views.
Around noon, we ate lunch and then wandered around Split, however, wandering was limited because we had all of our luggage and it was very hot. Somewhat defeated, we decided to call it a day and boarded a bus from Split to the Split airport.
Our third and final leg of our travel day was to fly from Split to Munich to Heathrow. We arrived at Heathrow at 8:20pm. It was a long and exhausting day of travel but I don’t know how we could have made it less painful with the exception of catching the late-morning catamaran from Hvar Town to Split. This would have allowed us to sleep in and check out of our Airbnb at an acceptable time of day.
In conclusion, our vacation in Croatia was like a HIIT workout – extreme travel days followed by extremely lazy days at the beach. We’d return to Croatia, however, if we could only take one more trip to either Greece or Croatia, we’d choose Greece. Why? The food better fits our taste and the hospitality is 10/10.