When Beyonce, Prince Harry and George Clooney are seen in Croatia, it's usually in Hvar Town. With that comes its reputation as an expensive party spot with an area of hotels and clubs not found on other islands. So I pondered skipping this one, then thought I might always wonder what I missed.
Upon arrival, I wandered a bit into a "locals neighborhood" where I was renting an Airbnb studio for 4 nights. I must have looked confused as a young Croatian man stopped to point me in the right direction -- a positive first impression of Hvar. While there is a high-level of service in this country that depends on tourism for its livelihood, the Croatian people offer a genuine kindness, too.
For a day-and-a-half, I simply wandered through the historic town square, along the waterfront, by the tourists on tour, and felt almost invisible (or wanted to be). There's definitely a different energy level here than Bol with clans of 20-somethings about, day tourists following their leader, and the infamous selfie-takers in infamous spots. On my first full day, I sat by the sea, people watching; yes, perhaps practicing fjaka -- the art of doing nothing -- then decided to go to St. Stephen's Cathedral when the doors open to tourists at 5 pm. At 5:30, we were a group hovering by the door, so I headed to the Info Centre to find that they were "looking for the person with the key." I was quite amused by that and decided the Cathedral tour would wait another day.
Somehow my third of just four days here arrived, and what had I done? Hvar Town is a maritime port encircled by 13th century protective walls, and on the hills above there are two massive fortresses. So, I climbed to the top for the view, as much as the tour, which began my day of visiting the Benedictine Convent's Lace Museum, the 16th century Arsenal, and the newly renovated Arsenal Theatre. In the evening, I had the pleasure of a concert in the cloister of the Franciscan Monastery. The performance, music selection (from classical to spiritual to Lean on Me!), and atmosphere place this evening at the top of my three most memorable experiences in Hvar Town.
Suddenly, it's my final full day and duh, I decided to head away from Hvarska pjaca, and walked along the coastline toward Mustaco Bay. What a pleasant surprise to find that there's a rough path by the sea that brings me to gorgeous bay-after-bay with just a handful of people in sight. There's areas of woodland, then stretches of rocky coast, and always a spot to dip my weary feet in the warm Adriatic. Had I a clue of this, I'd prepared for the two-hour walk to the next town of Milna.
While waiting for the catamaran the next morning, I realized that I never did see St. Stephen's. Yet, I didn't move from my comfort zone with an espresso and spinach-and-cheese burek in hand. Fjaka? or have I gone from travel to vacation mode? On to Korcula.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover