Activities in Croatia: Water Sports on the Island of Hvar
There is an excellent range of water activities on Hvar, from sailing and scuba diving, to sea kayaking and picigin, or swimming the Faros Marathon.
Tourists looking for a more active holiday on the island of Hvar have plenty of options to choose from, and for those looking to get a little more from the inviting Adriatic Sea, there are several water sports to choose from, from the curious traditionalgame of picigin, whose main aim is to keep a tennis ball out of the water, to more serious activities.
There are some excellent local tourist agencies who are island specialists, such as Secret Hvar and Hvar Adventure, who have great experience in dealing with the needs of foreign visitors. Here is an overview of water sports which can be easily enjoyed on Hvar.
Sailing around Hvar
Sailing in Croatia is growing more popular every year, and Hvar is one of the main destinations on the sailing circuit. While the bigger yachts are to be found in the harbour of chic Hvar Town, the main marina is actually in Vrboska, on the northern coast.
There are plenty of sailing opportunities for tourists without a boat, with a range of sailing packages from half a day to a week and more. Typical sailing routes are to the Blue Cave in Vis, to Brac for some windsurfing, touring the stunning Pakleni Islands in front of Hvar, and discovering Korcula and Dubrovnik for sailors with more time.
There is a sailing school as well, with courses tailored to the skill level of the client, from elementary to advanced, as well as the option with Hvar Adventure to crew with them on one of the Adriatic Regattas (experienced sailors only).
Scuba Diving on Hvar
Scuba diving is a popular summer activity on Hvar and there are many centres dotted over the island. A Croatian diving permit, valid for one year, is necessary to dive legally, and these can be obtained from dive centres. Beginners' courses are also available.
Some of the most popular diving is around the stunning Pakleni Islands opposite Hvar Town, especially Vodnjak with its underwater canyon, the Baba Reef and the Paulina, a 19th Century shipwreck.
Sea Kayaking: the Pakleni Islands, Vis and Split
An excellent way to discover the bays and hidden gems of the island is by sea kayaking, and there are several programmes to meet tourist demand, ranging from a kayak tour from Hvar Town around the Pakleni Islands to a stunning sunset kayak tour. Longer tours are also available, where one can take in the delights of neighbouring Vis and go even as far as Split.
Rowing in Jelsa: Veslacki Klub
There is a strong rowing tradition in the resort of Jelsa on the north coast, with the local Veslacki Klub celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2008. Contact the local tourist office for more information.
Swimmers looking for a challenge should head to Stari Grad in August, where they can take part in the Faros Marathon, a 16km race that has occurred every year since its inception in 1976. It is the oldest swimming marathon in Croatia and attracts local as well as international competitors, with this year's race scheduled for August 27. The race begins at the water front in the town and goes out to the cape of Kabal and back. More information is available from the Stari Grad Tourist Board.
And then there is the beach. For some, watching all the activity from a sun lounger with cocktail in hand is as active as a relaxing holiday should be. This is one of the major attractions of Hvar as a tourist destination – there is something for everyone.