Sunday, November 11, 2012

Exploring Croatia: Day Trips from the Island of Hvar

There is plenty to do on Hvar, but restless souls looking to discover more of Croatia have options for day trips: Vis, Brac, Split, Mostar and Dubrovnik.
Zlatni Rat in Bol on Brac: Popular Day Trip from Jelsa - Luka Tambaca (
Hvar is surrounded by numerous islands and many tourists like to explore a little more of Croatia while on holiday. There are several options for day trips, depending on the location of one's base on Hvar.
Bol, Island of Brac: The Zlatni Rat Beach from Jelsa
One of the most popular day trips is to neighbouring Brac and Croatia's most famous beach, Zlatni Rat, in the resort of Bol. The closest connection is from Jelsa, where there is a daily catamaran each way, costing just 22 kuna for a single.
While the price may be cheap, the early start from Jelsa - 6am - puts off many tourists, who prefer the slightly more expensive option of the tourist boats which depart at the more sociable time of 0900-1000. Although slower, the tourist boats offer some outside seating, good for photographs and the not uncommon sighting of dolphins swimming next to the boat.
Split and Diocletian's Palace
With most tourists keen to start their island holiday immediately and waiting until the final moment to leave, the road from Split Airport to the ferry is all that many visitors see of Dalmatia's biggest city. With connections ranging from 50 minutes to 2 hours from Hvar Town, Jelsa and Stari Grad, a day trip to Split is easily achievable, especially as the most interesting site, Roman Emperor Diocletian's 4th Century Palace is 100m from the ferry.
Pakleni Islands from Hvar Town
The picturesque Pakleni Islands in front of Hvar Town offer a stunning view from the cocktail terraces of Carpe Diem and Hotel Adriana at sunset, but they are an excellent way to escape the crowds of the main town. Numerous hidden coves in the pine forests make it an ideal getaway, while the Carpe Diem Beach Club at Stipanska is a great place to chill. Naturist lovers should head for the island of Jerolim.
Vis and the Blue Grotto from Hvar Town
Organised day trips from Hvar Town to the Blue Grotto at Bisevo followed by a lazy day in Komiza, the second town on Vis and one of Dalmatia's prettiest, is a popular day trip. Around 11am each day rays of the sun penetrate through to illuminate the cave in a spectacular luminous blue light. Best experienced in isolation, so avoid July and August for maximum effect.
Island of Scedro from Zavala
Holidaymakers based on the southern coast can take a boat from Zavala to the largely uninhabited island of Scedro, which boasts a 15th Century Dominican monastery and some stunning nature. With only one family resident full time, the choice of refreshment is limited, but the Kordic family have developed a very welcoming pension and restaurant.
Makarska, Mostar and Dubrovnik from Sucuraj
With its closer proximity to the mainland, Sucuraj is an ideal base for day trips to the mainland. The ferry crossing to Drvenik is just 30 minutes, and there is a bus stop on the main Split to Dubrovnik road a five minute walk from the ferry. Tourists taking their car across will have more flexibility, and there are numerous places of interest within driving distance, of which the popular resort town of Makarska (30 mins), Dubrovnik (2 hours) and the Bosnian town of Mostar with its iconic old bridge (1.5 hours) are the most obvious.
While it is good to have the choice and many visitors arrive with serious intentions of wider discovery, the reality tends to be that the relaxing cappuccino way of life on Hvar's many squares makes it harder to muster up enthusiasm for active excursions.

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