Hvar Panorama

Arriving at Hvar was the highlight of our trip. We sailed into the harbor passing perfect, tiny Croatian Islands that you could almost have to yourself for the day, however, we were looking forward to living a little ‘large’ for a couple of days. This was the ‘chi-chi’ part of our sailing holiday and Hvar has clubs, shops and super restaurants and we were ready to do it all!

View from the Tvrdava Spanjola fortress, Hvar

Our plan was to moor in the main harbor, we were only here for two nights but it is almost impossible to get a spot at the Marina unless you arrive early and wait for a bouy or mooring to become available. Anchoring in Hvar harbor is not allowed and your Captain has to be pretty determined to find a mooring; it’s a first come first serve method and the moorings are gone by noon.

After we secured our spot we all rushed into town to shop, sit in the Piazza, have a coffee and watch the scene. The square is dominated by St. Stephens cathedral and there are many cafés to choose from.

Cafés lining the quay side

Just to reiterate about the shopping here; there are no really great shops. There are some random boutiques but they are not even up to Ibitha standards (wishful thinking), in Ibitha they are all ‘one off’ boutiques and uber cool. To be honest, that’s ok, it’s still fun to wander in and out of the stores looking for a ‘hidden gem’ !

The yacht scene is worth checking out. Hvar hosts moorings to some fabulous boats and the photo op’s are endless.

View from the path above the beach club

Walking around Hvar is a great experience. The alleys wind up from the town towards the Spanish Fortress, Tvrdava Spanjola. This is quite a walk and you are rewarded with a panoramic view of the bay. Alternatively take the slightly lower road through the town out towards the Beach Club, Bonj Les Bains and then head back along the lower road to town. There are great views on this walk also.

Beach Club Bonj Les Bains

This beach club is very different from the other club, Carp Diem, so if you are here for a few days do try both. We really loved the indoor rooms that you can book with the chairs, great views from a sheltered spot in seriously upscale cabanas.

Lunch time at Bonji

Lunching for me was super in Hvar. Lunch is the most social meal in Europe and the restaurants here are suitable for long lunches with rosé wine and endless conversation. Although this is a more chi-chi island, this is still the land of beach hair, bikini and a sarong; there really is nowhere to wear your nice shoes (sob, sob) so leave them at home.

Bonji from the water

If you have had enough of the sun, wandering the back alleys in the late afternoon is really fun. The venetian architecture with touches from the renaissance era is interesting and there are many opportunities for great photos. Finish off at one of the Shady cafés and bars dotted up and down the steps. Perfect.

Stunning views!

If you have time to see other parts of Hvar, Jelsa is a smaller port on the North of Hvar. Sandy beaches , olive groves and vinyards create a very ‘mediterranean’ atmosphere. There are a few fun places to hang out here. Clubs, restaurants and hangouts go in and out of business quickly on this quieter side of the Island; so check for the latest openings before you go. If you want to go further afield there are also regular catamaran ferry services from the port between Hvar and Split, Brac, Korcula, Lastovo, and Vis.

Shady cafés and bars line the back alleys

We preferred to stay in Hvar exploring. This little lunch spot is a gem. Nothing except a simple restaurant on a tiny Island set on the edges of Hvars harbor. Heaven.

Simple Island restaurant, Hvar harbor

As a complete contrast, for those that want to start clubbing early, Carp Diem has lunch time events. You must book ahead or be prepared for the long lines of people waiting to get in. The lunchtime crowd is definitely less sophisticated than the evening scene!

Lunch time lines for Carp Diem. 

The town is really popular stop over in the summer months for yachts sailing in the Adriatic. Make booking well in advance for restaurants and clubs, particularly for large parties and do secure an email confirmation and someone’s name to support your reservation! We ate at Restaurant Gariful, it was in a great location but the food was so-so, we didn’t regret it as the view was lovely.

Restaurant Gariful

Our boat was moored a little way out from town, closer would have been better due to all the coming and going, however there are water taxis available. Just remember the water taxis stop running at 2.30 am so if you are at the Carp Diem beach club past 2.30 am you need to arrange your own dinghy to collect you!

The moon looked amazing as we ‘dinghyed’ our way over to Carp Diem to parteeee! Best nights at Carp Diem are Thursday, Friday and Saturday— the best DJ’s are there on those evenings. Cost was 5000 kuna for a table for 10- 800$, drinks were included in this -I think we got 2 Veuve Clicquot, three grey goose Vodka and a bottle of cranberry and a quite a bit of beer and water. AGAIN, forget getting in without a table if you have a large party. Sadly no dance floor here though, if you need to dance you have to wait till 2.00 am and head to the beach club.

There are two Carp Diem clubs. I tell you this to save confusion. The main club is on the wharf next to Restaurant Gariful. We had reserved a table and stayed till the close of the club at 2.30 am. At this point the party seperated. Those that needed to keep the party going went across to the Carp Diem beach club which starts at 2.00 am and goes on till 5.00 am. Note: This was almost past the point of water taxi availability. Still later, in order to get home, these same few jumped on some random boat, went past our boat to a completely different island– it cost MANY KUNOS to get back. (Angry growling sound). Best to arrange a dingy pick up buy a ‘non party’ member or Captain.  The others went on, into town, despite the crowds and enjoyed champagne in the Piazza before returning in the dinghy.

Things looked very different back at the beach club in the morning. Quite bright and very red.

Enough said. That being said…the Carp Diem beach club during the day is really THE place to be.

For a Croatioan scene in the sun this is as close to a St. Tropez experience as you will get. I admit, there is no sand but that’s okay! The stone is very white and as long as tread carefully you won’t notice the pain. The Carp Diem Beach Club it gets busy by 11 sun beds can only be reserved until 11.00 am. Email ahead and Ask for Patrick to reserve you front row for 70 kuna each about 12$ with umbrellas with partial shade. Full shade is at the back which isn’t as good a view. If you want full sun you can do the plastic sun beds at the very front on the rocks for less money. These are very close together and not as comfy. The reserved ones allow you to see over the top. And you won’t be next to any undesirables. Bottle service is slow; Patrick does everything so be patient.

Lunch is so fun! Sit at the tables rather than the sun beds.

Lots of choices for lunch spots!

Before heading back to the boat have a well deserved massage in the tented area behind the sun beds. The therapists are fabulous. Book this early as SOON as you arrive at the club.

Un-glue yourself from the sun bed and swim back to your boat at the end of the day, it’s the only exercise you will have on a FAB day like this one!

Off we sail to Korcula and Brac. Quite sad to leave, I could have easily repeated these exact two days for about a week 🙂


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