The slender Croatian isle of Hvar is a pretty patchwork of pine forests, olive groves, and lavender fields trimmed by a rocky coastline. Most ships anchor near Hvar Town, whose lovely Renaissance buildings and cobblestoned streets attract visitors from around the world, including the rich and famous (we’re talking Beyoncé and Prince Harry). Look for fancy yachts parked along the harbor.
What We Love
Stari Grad: About 15 miles from Hvar Town, the island’s oldest settlement dates back to the 4th century B.C. Check out the picturesque boat-lined harbor, the 15th century Dominican monastery, and the Renaissance villas.
Delicate Lace: Nuns from Hvar Town’s Benedictine convent have been making lace with the white fibers of agave plants forever. A gift shop sells their intricate work.
Best Known For
St. Stephen’s Square: A stroll along the cobblestones in this Renaissance-era square that stretches out in front of the 17th century cathedral is a perfect entry into Hvar Town.
The Hilltop Fortica: Climb to the top of the citadel built in the 16th century to protect the harbor and town from invaders. There’s a café for savoring your surroundings and breathtaking views in all directions.
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Who It's Best For
History Buffs: One of the best-preserved spots along the Croatian coast, Hvar’s main harbor was vital for Venice’s Adriatic fleet between the 12th and 18th centuries.
Lovers of Café Life: People-watch from the cafés in Hvar Town’s main square and along the harbor while sipping kava (Croatian coffee) or a bottle of Osjecko — the local beer has been brewed since the 17th century.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Pebble Beaches: They’re photogenic and covered in scantily clad sunbathing Europeans who don’t seem to mind the stones, but ouch. You might not want to lie down unless you have a straw mat.
Crowds: At the height of the summer months, Hvar won’t just be teeming with cruise ship passengers, but also backpackers and yacht-owning jetsetters from around the globe.
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.