Sunday, November 11, 2012

Driving in Croatia: The New Road from Hvar Town to Stari Grad

There is more to Hvar Island than its trendy main town. An overview of things to see and do along the new road from Hvar Town to Stari Grad.
Driving in Croatia: The New Road from Hvar Town to Stari Grad - Joel King (http://)
While Hvar Town remains the focus of tourism on the island of Hvar, attracting the rich and famous and often referred to as the new St. Tropez, there is much more to this magical island that the glitz of its main town. Other tourist towns such as Stari Grad, Vrboska and Jelsa all merit a visit, while there are lots of hidden gems elsewhere, several of which can be accessed from the new road from Hvar Town to Stari Grad.
Milna, Malo Grablje and Henry VIII
With the opening of the new tunnel in 2000, the connection between Hvar Town and the car ferry terminal near Stari Grad became, quicker, more convenient – and safer. A trip on theold road from Hvar Town is an altogether more pleasant experience these days.
There is a steep ascent on the road out of Hvar, affording excellent views of the fortress and bay, before it winds along the southern coast. About 4km from the town, a right turn takes tourists into Milna, a delightful village popular for its excellent, child-friendly beaches and range of fine restaurants. The setting is idyllic and the various fish dishes do not disappoint.
Milna is a relatively new settlement, however, populated by previous inhabitants of the nearby abandoned stone village of Malo Grablje, where the most prominent surname is Tudor, giving rise to the local legend that there are descendants of Henry VIII in Croatia.
Beaches in Croatia: Dubovica and the Stone Village of Zarace
The road continues and straightens, passing the seemingly abandoned village of Zarace on the left. There are in fact signs of life, including the loving restoration of the first house in the village, which has been well renovated by its foreign owners, this after it had been on the market for years and was one of the most notorious properties on local agents' books. There is a restaurant in a quiet bay of the same name below the village.
Further on and just before the tunnel is one of the nicest bays on Hvar, the tiny hamlet of Dubovica, with its delightful beach. Access to the bay is on foot only, with parking on the main road by the telephone box, and is a fairly demanding walk down (read more on Top Ten Beaches on Hvar).
The Road to Sveta Nedelja
A long planned access road from Hvar Town to the south side of the island and the resorts of Sveta Nedelja, Ivan Dolac and Zavala has recently opened, thereby reducing traffic and pressure on one of the great road experiences in Europe, the Pitve - Zavala tunnel, although the road is not paved and is not wide in parts. Proceed with caution, but try and enjoy the views.
Through the Tunnel: Kerum and the Stari Grad Ferry Terminal
In stark contrast, the new tunnel is fast, modern and well lit. Emerging through the other side, the island of Brac and the Rudine Peninsula come into view, and it is a short descent to the ferry terminal at Star Grad, which handles most of the car and passenger traffic to Split(How to Reach Hvar Island from Split Airport). Opposite the terminal is a new shopping centre, whose main outlet is supermarket giant, Kerum - the biggest store on the island.

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