The world’s stage. Hvar has been a holiday hot-spot for centuries. It’s the ideal destination for outdoors-lovers: hikers, cyclists—and divers. With clear water and intriguing underwater formations, Hvar has diving for all levels: shallower sites for beginners, and a wealth of deeper diving sites (66 ft/20+ m).
DIVING IN HVAR, CROATIA
Hvar’s scuba diving is turning heads. This place is known for its good visibility (72 ft/22+m), which makes it all the easier to admire the area’s wrecks, coral reefs, seagrass beds, marine life (octopus, moray eels, seahorses, and fireworms), and impressive rock formations. The underwater topography eclipses the topside in drama: walls, caves, mushrooms, and pinnacles, some with cold thermoclines. Most diving is from boats from Hvar or the neighboring island of Brač, with half- and full-day dives.
DIVE SHOPS IN HVAR, CROATIA
On Hvar, we dove with Aqualis Dive Center Hvar, a well-set-up shop staffed by an enthusiastic team located right on the waterfront. On Brač we dove with Big Blue Diving, which is especially well-suited for families. Both shops offer guided dives and courses.
THINGS TO DO IN HVAR, CROATIA
Hvar is made for exploring—on foot, by bike, or road-tripping around the island. This 42.3-mile-long (68 km) island is outlined with smooth-pebbled and sandy beaches, washed by the glittering emerald-sapphire Adriatic. The coastline and the interior’s rolling hills and flat, fertile plains are dotted with hamlets of cream-colored stone houses capped by fading coral-colored roofs, bleached by the almost-ever-present sun. (Hvar is one of the sunniest spots in Europe.) Hvar Town is the island’s capital and largest settlement, resplendent with Venetian architecture.
Island-hopping. The nearby island of Vis is worth a daytrip: it has Hvar’s historical feel coupled with Brač’s tranquility, with a little wildness thrown in. Check out Alternatura’s Three Caves Trip to the extraordinary Blue Cave, Green Cave, and Stiniva Bay.
BEST PLACE TO STAY IN HVAR, CROATIA
The Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort is modern with an old-school Mediterranean flair. It has a massive pool complex and is located right across the road from a beautiful ocean cove. (It’s worth splurging on a room with an ocean-side balcony here.) Easy walk to town.
BEST RESTAURANT OR BAR IN HVAR, CROATIA
Stori Komin (“old fireplace”) in Malo Grablje is a truly special dining experience. This atmospheric and rough-and-ready restaurant is located in a deserted medieval village about 10 minutes’ drive from Hvar Town. You have to ring in advance to book in and pre-order food so the owner has time to shop and cart the ingredients to the restaurant. Cash only.
TRAVEL ADVICE (INSIDER TIP)
Make sure you have your deep dive certification or have experience at depth to get the most out of diving here. Most shops dive to CMAS standards, so more experienced divers will notice deeper/decompression dives are more common here, although dives can be tailored to suit any level. September is an ideal month, especially for divers.