Sunday, November 11, 2012

Things to Do in Croatia: Off-Road Jeep Safari on Hvar Island

Tired of the beach and sitting in waterfront cafes on Croatia's premier island? Why not head for the hills and undiscovered Hvar with an off-road Safari?
Things to Do in Croatia: Off-Road Jeep Safari on Hvar Island - Miranda Milicic Bradbury (http://)
While the many focus of most holidays to Hvar is the stunning coastline and plentiful beaches, there is much to discover inland on Croatia's premier island, described by Forbes Magazineas one of the world's sexiest islands. One of the most rewarding ways to spend a day discovering Hvar off the beaten track is to take an off-road Jeep safari.
Secret Hvar Jeep Safaris
The day-long tour, organised by experienced local guides, Secret Hvar, take clients away from the popular tourist resorts, on an intoxicating voyage of discovery through the aromatic hills of rosemary and lavender, through the various hilltop villages of the island, and along tracks off-limits to most vehicles.
Malo and Velo Grablje
Departing from Hvar Town at 0900, the tour commences with the short trip to the two inland villages of Malo and Velo Grablje, the former completely abandoned and the latter in serious decline after once being the most important centre for lavender production in Dalmatia.
Malo Grablje has a special feel to it, abandoned by its residents en masse several decades ago in favour of the local fishing village of Milna down the road. One of the curious facts about Malo Grablje is the fact that all property owners have the same non-Croatian surname - Tudor - leading to the legend that the villagers are possible descendants of Henry VIII.
Restaurant Vidikovac and the Sveti Nikola Peak
Continuing along the spectacular old road from Hvar to Stari Grad, the tour pauses for refreshment at the isolated Restaurant Vidikovac, a stunning spot which boats sea views to the south of the island from one side, and equally picturesque northern sea views from others, before ascending to the island's highest point, Sveti Nikola, from where panomaric views of the island take in the neighbouring islands of Brac, Vis and Korcula.
Stari Grad Plain
An examination of the UNESCO-protected ancient Greek agricultural colony known as the Stari Grad Plain is next on the itinerary, an extremely well-preserved area to close to Hvar's oldest town, where the farming of olives and grapes continue in must the same way as they did in Greek times.
Humac, the Abandoned Shepherd's Village
Lunch is taken in the eco-village of Humac, a shepherd's village long since abandoned by its inhabitants, but one of the most atmospheric places on the island. Konoba Humac, at the front of the village, has been sympathetically restored, and offers outstanding organic food prepared according to traditional methods.
Best Croatian Beaches: Soline in Vrboska
After an excellent lunch, the tour makes its final stop, to one of the island's nicest beaches at Soline, near Vrboska, a chance to dip into the water and contemplate the sights, sounds and smells of the off-road Hvar experience.

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