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Apr
26

Cheap flights to Dubrovnik-here’s your blackbook for Hvar

When you book a cruise you do your research right? You make certain the ship is the right size, the bed is the right bed and of course the restaurants onboard will serve the food you want to eat. But do you ever research the port towns you will be visiting? Do you just go where they tell you to go?

passengers disembark

passengers disembark

Most do and they come back frustrated. The restaurants were not good, they were a rip off, stuffed with tourists instead of real life living locals- we kind of expect them to be there the same way we expect animals to show themselves at the zoo. And where were all the monuments?!

One of the most popular cruise destinations is, of course, Croatia.  Whether you’re taking a flight to Venice and picking up your cruise there or you’re hopping on a flight to Dubrovnik- and boy do we have some cheap flights to Dubrovnik!- this part of the Adriatic has been reserved and preserved by communism. I swear it’s the only good thing that came of it, because it is pristine and clean. While Venice suffers from the pollution and wreckage of decades of cruise shipitis, Croatia’s forests and waters are as clean as an undiscovered island- think the 1940’s.

perfection

perfection

The island of Hvar is one of the hot spots to go. It’s extraordinarily green and lush, filled with lavender, heather and pines and the coastline is a series of lovely coves. This is one of the most popular islands, and it’s filled with people in the summer. But, and here’s the question- when you’re dropped off in Hvar Town and you’re shuttled past the palm-lined seafront promenade by tender where the heck should you go?

old town

old town

Yes, by all means, hit the historic center. It’s pedestrian-only – wear comfortable walking shoes as you’ll have to navigate cobbles and lots of stone steps if you want to see all the main attractions.  And believe me, just coming to Hvar is worth the flight to dubrovnik. But when it comes to the serious stuff, the food, the drinks, where to go?

how about here?

how about here?

Here it is your list for Hvar- before you leave on your cheap flights to Dubrovnik, stick this in your wallet:

Where to eat and drink


Zlatna Školjka

Zlatna Školjka

Zlatna Školjka

Hidden away in the courtyard garden of a 14-century palazzo, this Slow Food restaurant is one of Hvar’s top gourmet eateries. Owner-chef Ivo Buzolić comes to your table to help you choose your meal, prepared with local produce – think sirloin steak stuffed with goat’s cheese and capers, or amberjack in saffron sauce.

Address: P.Hektorovića 8 (one block back from the main square)
Contact: 00 385 98 1688797, www.zlatna.skoljka.com
Opening hours: Apr-Nov, Mon-Fri noon-3pm and 7pm-midnight, Sat-Sun 7pm-midnight


Palmižana Meneghello

Palmižana Meneghello

Palmižana Meneghello

On the lush islet of Sveti Klement, this bohemian eatery is decorated in deep red and hung with artwork by contemporary Croatian painters. The menu features fresh seafood and local dishes such as Hvarska gregada (fish and potato casserole), all beautifully presented and prepared with fragrant herbs.

Address: Palmižana, Sveti Klement island (a 20-minute taxi-boat ride from Hvar’s seafront promenade)
Contact: 00 385 21 717270, www.palmizana.hr
Opening hours: Apr-Oct, daily 11am-11pm.


Konoba Menego

konoba luviji

konoba luviji

This wine bar, with exposed stonewalls and wooden beamed ceilings, and try the  platters of tasty Dalmatian dishes such as octopus salad, prosciutto and goat’s cheese, plus a carafe of homemade wine. You’ll never want to leave.

Address: Groda bb (up a flight of stone steps, just off the main square)
Contact: 00 385 21 742036, www.menego.hr
Opening hours: May-Oct, Mon-Sat 11.30am-2pm and 5pm-11pm, Sun 5pm-11pm.

What to see and do:

hvar cathedral

hvar cathedral

Cathedral

Overlooking the main square, which claims to be the largest piazza in Dalmatia, Hvar Cathedral is memorable for its lovely trefoil façade and elegant bell tower. It was built between the 16 and 17 centuries on the foundations of an earlier monastery.

Address: Trg Sv Stjepana bb, old town
Contact: 00 385 21 741152
Opening times: Daily 7am-noon and 5pm-7pm

Fortica Španjola

Fortica Španjola

Castle

Known to locals as Fortica Španjola, this 16-century Venetian-era hilltop castle presides over town, affording fantastic views down onto the harbor and out to sea. To reach it, follow the stone steps off the main square

Address: Groda bb, old town
Opening times: Jun-Sep daily 8am-midnight; Oct-May variable

Franciscan monastery

Franciscan monastery

Franciscan monastery

Set in gardens overlooking the sea, the walled 15-century Franciscan Monastery is where I want to end up. I’d renounce all, take a vow of poverty and chastity-hell, who needs sex and money when you can live here!. From here, you enter the old refectory, which is now a small museum. The magnificent 17-century painting of the ‘Last Supper’, measuring a whopping 2.5 m by 8 m is enough to make you stop and stare for as long as you can.

Address: Križa bb (a 10-minute walk south of the main square)

And finally….Excursions:

Pakleni islets

Pakleni

Pakleni

These tiny pine-scented islets are just a short taxi-boat ride from Hvar Town and there’s some major nude sunbathing.

For a little glamor, hit Carpe Diem Stipanska, a beach club in Stipanska Bay on the island of Marinkovac, with two pebble beaches, a pool with a wooden deck, a scuba diving school, a massage pavilion, and a lounge-bar and restaurant.

Humac

humac

humac

Don’t miss seeing this string of semi-abandoned 16-century stone cottages  on a hilltop high above Hvar’s isolated south coast. To reach it, drive 26 km east of Hvar Town to Jelsa, continue another 8 km east towards Sučuraj, until you see a wooden sign ‘Humac’.

From here, the village lies a 5-minute walk down an unsurfaced track. Most people come to Humac specifically to eat barbecued lamb at Konoba Humac. There’s no electricity so everything is cooked over charcoal. Experiencing all this, even if you’re just coming to Hvar and the surrounding islands and not leaving on a cruise is really a dream holiday and we’ve got such cheap tickets to dubrovnik, you simply must go!

Keep in mind, to reach the tiny Pakleni islets, take a taxi-boat from the harbor. To reach Humac you’ll need to rent a car. See www.travelsupermarket.com to compare car prices.

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