Lonely Planet Top Regions 2012: Hvar Island in Croatia Number 5
The increasing popularity of the island of Hvar is recognised by Lonely Planet, who name Croatia's premier island in their top 10 destinations for 2012.
Influential travel website Lonely Planet announced their top ten recommendations for tourist destinations on October 27, 2011, with the Croatian island of Hvar making the list at number five.
Hvar: Celebrity Attraction
It is the latest piece of positive publicity for the island, which has enjoyed a high profile season, with the celebrity antics of Prince Harry and Beyonce in particular. Footage of the British prince jumping fully-clothed into a swimming pool at top outdoor nightclub Veneranda was beamed around the globe, quickly followed by images of American popstar Beyonce revealed her baby bump at the Hula Hula Beach Club in Hvar Town.
"Come high summer, there’s no cooler place in Croatia to get your groove on than Hvar Town on its namesake island. Fabulous suntanned bodies flock to this drop-dead gorgeous spot for round-the-clock fun. Think après-beach parties as the sun dips below the Adriatic horizon, full-moon shindigs and designer cocktails sipped seaside to fresh DJ-spun tunes," wrote Lonely Planet contributor, Anja Mutic.
While Hvar's vibrant nightlife and expensive yachts draws most of the headlines, this only tells part of the story of Europe's sunniest island, which was also voted in the top ten islands in Europe at the Conde Nast Readers' Choice Awards earlier this month.
Hvar: Superb Climate and Aromatic Nature
The island is well-known for its excellent recuperative climate, and boasts the oldest organised tourism in Europe, with the founding of the Hvar Health Society in1868. Away from the main towns, which include Stari Grad - the oldest town in Croatia, founded in 384 BC by the Ancient Greeks - the fields of Hvar are an aromatic delight, with rosemary and lavender prevalent, the latter celebrated by the annual Lavender Festival in Velo Grablje.
"For island bliss unmarred by glitz and bling, get into your birthday suit on the Pakleni Islands just offshore and – bikinis back on – explore the island’s coastline and dreamy interior, with its endless fields of lavender, stretching sea vistas, towering peaks, scenic canyons and abandoned hamlets," continued Mutic.
Top of the Lonely Planet list was Coastal Wales, which may raise a few eyebrows, as did the top recommendation in 2011 - Albania. The Welsh Coast was followed by La Ruta Maya in Central America, Northern Kenya (whose popularity may have been affected by recent events) and Arunachal Pradesh in India, all above Hvar.
The list was completed by Sicily in sixth, the Maritime Provinces in Canada, Queenstown and the Southern Lakes in New Zealand, Borneo and Poitou-Charentes in France.