Yesterday I visited the beautiful island of Hvar. Getting back and forth to the island from Split is a full day’s outing beginning with a high-speed ferry ride to Hvar. The return involves catching a bus to Stari Grad Port and taking a car-ferry back to Split.
Hvar is on the central Dalmatian archipelago and the longest and sunniest Croatian island on the Adriatic Sea. It’s truly a beautiful place! St. Stephen’s Cathedral dominates a large square of the same name. The incredible structure has elements from the 14th to the 17th century in Renaissance-baroque style. St. Mark’s Church is another beautiful building in the square.
I visited the beach and walked around town. Took a short hike to an old stone fortress on the top of the island and enjoyed incredible panoramic views of the harbor.
During the 16th and the 17th centuries Hvar was a center for Croatian literature and its architectural and cultural monuments show the artistic traditions of the island. Hvar is famous for its lovely Mediterranean climate and the cultivation of rosemary and lavender – the smell permeates the air.
Other Croatian islands near Hvar include:
The bus ride to Stari Grad Port on the back side of the island passed through uninhabited hills with vineyards and lavender fields. If it weren’t so difficult getting back and forth I would enjoy spending a few more days exploring that part of the island called the fertile Big Field (Velo Polje).
“In the 7th century Hvar came under the Principality of Croatia. In the following centuries Hvar recognized the sovereignty of the Croatian-Hungarian ruler, the Bosnian King, the Split Duke Hrvoje, the Dubrovnik Republic, Venice, France, Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia and, finally, Republic of Croatia (since 1991).”
It was a warm but partly overcast day with light rain during the two-hour ferry trip back to Split. I met some interesting people on the ferry, including three young Chinese students from Hong Kong who had traveled for a month as a graduation present. They were in Prague during the worst of the flooding. I sat in the back and enjoyed watching agile sea gulls play with lift from the ferry’s speed.