Coastal Resorts in Croatia: South-Facing Zavala on Hvar Island
Drive through the Pitve tunnel and Hvar's southern side opens up, a sun-seeker's delight with southern orientation, beaches, vineyards and sun, sun, sun.
The southern coast of the island of Hvar has long been a favourite for many tourists, with its excellent swimming, numerous beaches and superb views of the islands of Korcula, Vis and Scedro. Far from the more crowded resorts of Hvar Town and Jelsa, it is a great place to relax, with the village of Zavala proving to be one of the more popular destinations.
Tunnel Transforms Zavala to Tourist Resort
Originally a small stone village in the hills, whose residents eked out a harsh existence from wine, olives and fishing, Zavala's fortunes were transformed with the construction of the Pitve-Zavala tunnel which began in 1962 as a means of transporting water to the south side. The resulting tunnel was then used for regular traffic, providing a lifeline link to the more developed parts of the island for local residents, as well as much easier access for tourists. The opening of a second road from Hvar to Sveta Nedelja recently has further improved access.
The old stone village has been expanded considerably with the addition of newer housing closer to the beaches and the village location was much sought after in the property boom of 2004. Sloping vineyards from the island's peak provide a stunning backdrop as the road winds to the small jetty and main beach at Zavala, a small pebbly affair, suitable for children and equipped with cafe and a pizzeria. Tourists wishing to visit neighbouring Scedro can negotiate a boat transfer from the jetty.
Skalinada and Vino Vitalis Wellness Centre
A nice way to wile away a lazy afternoon at the beach is to lunch at Skalinada, which offers great fish, has a cocktail bar and is only 20m from a family-friendly beach. Just next door is the Vino Vitalis TIPI wellness centre, with its tents and offering a range of massage and wellness products. To reach the restaurant, descend to Zavala from the tunnel and turn right halfway down (there is a sign for Skalinada and Vino Vitalis).
Stella Mare Restaurant in Zavala
Another good place to try is Stella Mare, close to the entrance of the village. This family-run restaurant and pension offers very good homemade Dalmatian fare, with fish not surprisingly a speciality, as well as a good selection of local wines. Stella Mare is also a good place to try to arrange sporting activities and excursions.
A Visit to Gromin Dolac
One of the most picturesque and largely abandoned stone villages on Hvar – Gromin Dolac – is only accessible by road from Zavala. Coming through the village, the road swings round to the right with a large unfinished orange church on the corner. Immediately after the turn, there is a sharp turn to the left onto a rough road which leads to Gromin Dolac. Lovers of old stone villages will enjoy the serene setting and ruins. Although largely deserted, it is possible to find accommodation there – a Belgian national has bought a house there and welcomes guests through the Couchsurfing website when he is there, usually in summer.
Zavala is all about the beaches and the sun, both of which it has in abundance.