A big thank you to Croatia Tourism, Hotel Riva Marina, Palace Elisabeth, and Maslina Resort for showcasing your restaurant and hotel highlights so we could provide this detailed review of our experience.

Sunny Hvar may be best known for jet-set crowds and yacht-week parties, but this Croatian island with historic cobblestone streets and jewel-like clear blue waters is also a place to easily turn up the romance. Plan a sizzling vacation in Hvar, Croatia’s resort island on the Adriatic between the islands of Brac, Vis, and Korcula.

Tip: To avoid major crowds and still have great weather, visit in late spring or early fall, preferably at the end of September into the first two weeks of October.

Get high for sunset

Climb to the hilltop fortress for amazing vistas. The stunner of the town is the 16th-century fortress that sits above the harbor. The steep winding climb through the old town is well worth the views from various vantage points and levels at the former medieval castle complete with a creepy dungeon. Watch the sunset splash over the Adriatic and Pakleni Islands – this may be the most memorable sunset moment of the whole trip.

Savor sunset cocktails at Hotel Adriana’s rooftop bar. For an extraordinary view of Hvar, take the elevator to the top of Hotel Adriana to witness the shimmering harbor at night. This island view is the town’s best position, perfect for sunset cocktails or a lingering dinner of seafood or steak.

Dine on local delights

Book a dinner reservation at Palace Elisabeth’s restaurant San Marcos. Located in the island’s 5-star heritage hotel Palace Elisabeth, in the heart of the town above the city hall and overlooking the main square and port, dining outside on the terrace is a memorable affair. Expect innovative Mediterranean cuisine at San Marcos, with fresh local ingredients. This extraordinary dining setting complete with stellar views of yachts and sailboats will wow the senses and palette – with dishes of scallops and mushrooms, carpaccio, beetroot and goat cheese risotto, dry-aged seabass filet – and dessert creations like honey and orange ice cream with almond crumble topped with a honeycomb shaped cookie.

The history of Palace Elisabeth dates back to the 13th century and in 1899 it was rebuilt under the name Spa Hotel Empress Elisabeth after the famous Austrian Empress Sisi who was a generous patron of the hotel’s construction and known for her exceptional travel lifestyle. In respect to the hotel’s rich history and tradition, the hotel bears her name.

Spend a lingering lunch at Konoba Bunar. Stumble through the maze of romantic charming cobblestone streets to find the freshest homemade delights and our favorite lunch in Croatia at Konoba Bunar. Dine in the small charming alley over Mediterranean and Croatian dishes like grilled squid, seafood risotto, Greek salad, and a vat of clams bathing in garlic broth. Complement the meal with Croatian wine and tip the friendly waiter.

Explore the off-the-beaten-paths

Take a swim and discover the coves. Hvar is considered the sunniest spot in Croatia and where the who’s who of the world like to rendezvous. A walk on either side of the island from the port will uncover numerous coves to swim in, many with little platforms or ladders to slide into the refreshing warm crystal-clear sea. In high season, rent a lounge chair for the day at Hvar Beach Club, where food and drinks can be delivered to your sunny spot; or pay for a small boat in the harbor to whisk you to the local islands for a swim.

Meander the Old Town. Wander around the inside of the 13th-century walls and come upon little romantic delights at every turn. Admire the Renaissance era Hvar Cathedral in the main square and pop in the many stores selling olive oil, lavender items, wine, gelato, and jewelry.

Find a place to sit overlooking Hvar Town’s harbor for sunrise or sunset and watch the boats and colors splash. Historic sites easily overlooked include the oldest first public theatre in Europe and the Franciscan Monastery where the nuns use agave plants to make lacy crochet decorations. Don’t miss popping into the newly restored Arsenal, built in the 14th century, used as a space in the 17th century to repair the galleons, and as a warehouse for maritime accessories.

Stay in town or extend your vacation on the quieter side

Hotel Riva Marina

Stay right in Hvar Old Town port at Riva Marina, a 4-star boutique hotel perfect for watching the mega yachts from the room or outdoor terrace with a bottle of fine Croatian wine. A lingering breakfast on the same expansive terrace enhances any morning with a la carte menu items and an over-the-top breakfast spread – French toast topped with fruit, Turkish poached eggs, shakshuka, towers of pastries, fruit, donuts, yogurts, and dried fruits with local specialties and various milks, teas, and cereals. The elegant arrangement of morning options on various vintage furniture pieces even includes a Bloody Mary bar.

Newly refurbished in 2022 but paying respect to its original architecture, rooms at Hotel Riva Marina are fresh and modern with windows thick enough to block out any noise. Riva Marina is ideal for exploring and it’s only a short few feet hop from the ferry.

Maslina Resort

This 5-star wellness resort was designed to blend in with the environment and makes the perfect retreat to get away from it all, as the Relais & Chateaux property embodies mindful luxury.

Newly opened in 2020 mid-pandemic, Maslina Resort offers a selection of 50 rooms and suites and 3 standalone villas with 4 and 5 bedrooms (perfect for a nanny suite or several couples) with splendid sea views from each suite (that feel more like a house). The best thing to do here might be to embrace doing nothing. Relax and swim in the Adriatic and laze away the days, choosing between the serene pool setting or the sea.

A consultation at the beginning of a stay allows guests to meet their wellness or fitness goals. Guests can Zen out with Reiki, sound or dream therapy, massages outside, and complimentary yoga or pilates daily at 9 AM. Perfect for honeymooners, couples, or families, the season at Maslina begins in May and ends in October. A speedboat can whisk guests from Split in 45 minutes to Hvar’s main port town, although the drive to the property from the Old Town is cliffside stunning with jaw-dropping beach coves below.

Besides the Malibu-esque vibes and view, Maslina’s Michelin-recommended restaurant serves dishes just as artful and stylish as the setting, as the menu is inspired by the land and sea. It’s easy to fall in love with every detail here especially as the sun dips, with a glass of Croatian wine in hand, like Nerica’s Posip from Korcula.

The beauty of Hvar is that you don’t really need a plan. Wake up and choose how your day will evolve on this enchanting island located off the Dalmatian coast.


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