Exclusive Croatia: Which Celebrities Have REALLY Visited Hvar?
Croatia's premier island is often linked with A-list celebrities, some of whom have never been to the country. A credible list from the town's tourist board
For a Dalmatian island that has traditionally eked out a harsh existence based on olives, wine, lavender and fishing, Hvar has an exclusive image which has attracted many celebrities. Home to the oldest organised tourism in Europe, Hvar Town has been receiving distinguished guests since the arrival of Hapsburg Emperor Franz Josef I in 1875.
Many famous names have been cited as regular visitors to the island, but one organisation in possessions of the facts, the Hvar Town Tourist Board, has given some details about illustrious visitors in the past.
Hvar: A Relaxed Atmosphere for Celebrities
It is worth noting that one of the attractions of Hvar for celebrities is the laid-back reception they receive from local people, and hounding by papparazzi is rare. The tourist board respects and protects the privacy of its more famous guests, keeping prying journalists away where possible, which is probably a major factor in Hvar's continued popularity on the celebrity circuit.
With its stunning scenery and historical towns, Hvar is an ideal film set (Indeed ex-Croatian President Mesic and Ashley Judd were both filming here last month, the former in a new Croatian, the latter for her new ABC series, Missing), one which could command an all-star cast from its previous guests.
A-List Stars from the World of Film
Ever since Orson Welles filmed The Deep on Hvar in the 1960s, the island has attracted A-list stars from the world of movies. Visitors have included Clint Eastwood, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, Jodie Foster, Eva Longoria, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stephen Spielberg, George Clooney and Jack Nicholson, while Kevin Spacey made world headlines during his visit in 2008.
The James Bond Appreciation Society
Local observers could be forgiven for thinking a British espionage conspiracy was afoot on the island given the number of secret agents that have holidayed on Hvar. No less than three James Bonds - Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan have soaked up the rays on Europe's sunniest island, as have at least two Bond girls, Gemma Arterton and Michelle Yeon.
Sporting Stars on Hvar
From sport, Hvar seems to provide a particular attraction to tennis players, with Croatian legends Goran Ivanisevic and Iva Majoli spotted on the waterfront, as have been Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati and Gabriela Sabatini. Other sporting stars who have spent time on Hvar are David Beckham and, from the world of motor racing, Bernie Ecclestone, Eddie Jordan and Michael Schumacher.
Continuing the Royal Tradition
The royal tradition has been continued by King Abdullah of Jordan, Prince Klaus of Holland and Princess Caroline of Monaco, and some of the world's richest men - Bill Gates and Roman Abramovich - have sailed into the Hvar harbour.
From the world of music, Hvarites have glimpsed Simon Le Bon, Beyonce and Jay-Z, as well as other celebrities Nicky Hilton, Ivana Trump (whose ex-husband owns a large hunting concession on Hvar) and Saif Al-Islam, son of the current Libyan leader.
The relaxed approach to celebrities is good news for holidaymakers to see someone famous. With Hvar making the recent Sunday Times list of Top 100 Affordable Places on the Med, there can be few other places where backpackers can mix so freely with the stars.