Whether you like beautiful scenery and fresh seafood or partying and adrenaline activities, the Croatian islands that hug the central part of the Dalmatian coast have it covered. Here is our top 5.
5) Party in Hvar
If sun, cocktails and dance music is your thing then Hvar is the place for you. As you arrive in Hvar Town on the ferry, you are greeted by the beautiful harbour and huge yachts. Backpackers who arrive in Hvar, this is your chance to live it up like a celebrity. Please prepare yourselves for higher prices than the rest of Croatia, as this is a popular island and the prices reflect that (Blame Jay-Z and Beyoncé!). As a rule of thumb, hit the East side of the harbour for more chilled vibes and the West side of the harbour for the more lively bars. Check out Hula Hula bar for unrivalled sunset views to the soundtrack of popping champagne bottles, KIVA bar is a great pre-drink bar before everyone descends upon Carpe Diem. If you ask people what to do in Hvar, most people reply with two words. Carpe Diem. Grab a Carpe Diem ticket from one of the hostels in town for 250 Kuna, which includes 1 hour all you can drink on a boat followed by a shot and limbo competition in Jazz Bar and then over to Carpe Diem (Tickets for Carpe Diem alone cost 200 Kuna). Boats ferry hoards of partiers back and forth to the island where Carpe Diem is until 6am. Don’t book any transport for the next day!
4) Explore Korcula Old Town
Korcula Town offers a great contrast to the busy streets of Hvar Town with it’s relaxed, chilled out way of life. The island of Korcula can be accessed by ferry (Jardolina and Krilo) during the summer months and there are far fewer tourists that in Hvar or Brac. As with many towns along the Dalmatian coastline Korcula has fortified walls which were used to defend against the many invaders such as the Venetian, Austrian and Ottoman empires. Korcula Town is particularly well preserved and is often referred to as ‘Little Dubrovnik’ but without 20,000 people descending upon the town each day. You can walk around all of the narrow streets easily within a morning or afternoon and grab yourself some local souvenirs of olive oil and lavender. I would recommend eating at Konobo Mareta (One of Marco Polo’s favourites apparently), followed by an Ice Cream and watch the sunset at Massimo Cocktail Bar which is up one of the towers on the city walls where drinks are brought up to you by a pulley system. What more can you want.
3) Hire a scooter in Hvar
Hiring a form of transport on the islands gives you a great sense of freedom. Grab your backpack, your phone, your wallet and your glasses and you are all set for a day of exploring on your 50CC scooter. Days don’t get much better. From Hvar there is the new main coastal road which offers amazing coastline views as you ride with the wind in your hair. Along the way there are plenty of hidden bays and pebble beaches which offer a welcome break from the hoards of tourists. One of the most picturesque is the beach at Dubovica which is a beautiful bay with an awesome beach bar to eat and drink the day away (If you want instructions for how to get to this hidden beach just send us an email). A great tip from a local guy was to take the old mountain road back from Stari Grad to Hvar. This epic winding road hugs the side of the mountain and offers unparalleled views of sea to the north of the island and across to Brac. I literally saw no one along the way so there was plenty of opportunities for shameless selfies and reckless driving. Ever wanted to visit an abandoned Croatian village? Well this is your lucky day, as you get towards Hvar Town you pass Malo Grablje, a village abandoned in the 1950’s as people migrated towards the larger towns.
2) Get your adrenaline going!
Kitesurfing, Sky diving, snorkelling, scuba diving, jet skiing, rock climbing, banana boating, mountain biking, Hvar has it all. Take a break from sunning yourself and wining and dining and do something you will never forget. I would highly recommend the sky diving by Sky Diving Croatia which was voted as one of the best in the world. It really did not disappoint and the staff were brilliant. Combine this with the day you hire the scooter to save a lot of money on transport.
1) Boat tripping around Vis and Bisevo
From the Fortica Spanjola you can witness the stunning beauty of the meandering Pakleni islands below. However, a visit to Split/Hvar would not be complete without getting on a boat and exploring the surrounding islands. Around the harbour of Split or Hvar Town you will find dozens of touts selling tours of varying quality. If you are with a group of friends you can hire a boat for reasonable prices. If you are a solo traveller or in a pair I would recommend an organised tour. After doing plenty of research I went for the trademarked Illirio’s Three Cave Tour. This tour was brilliant. The communication prior to the tour was great and the skippers of the boat were so knowledgeable and friendly. The tour included Stiniva Bay, snorkelling in caves on Vis, bathing in natural pools, cliff jumping on Bisevo, a local lunch at a secluded beach bar on Bisevo and the crown in the Jewel; the blue cave. This day at sea was truly memorable and you will not be disappointed.