Judging by my Facebook feed, everyone has now visited Hvar. If I’d actually pulled my finger out, instead of working lots and gallivanting around, this blog might have been a bit helpful! Priorities, eh? Alas, it may not be. But I shall share the account of our visit to the lovely Hvar nonetheless…
Hvar is an island off the coast of Split, Croatia and thus, our next stop. There are lots of little islands off the coast, but we were sold on Hvar because it kept popping up on pinterest and tumblr as ‘one of the most beautiful islands in the world’, ‘places you must visit’ etc etc. We had high hopes, and we weren’t let down.
Now, if you have no interest in ferry schedules, scroll down and I’ll point out to you when it ends. Sorry, I just had to tell someone. It might help someone, maybe… I hope.
Getting to Hvar wasn’t one of those click our heels and we’ll be there, sadly, we had to contend with the challenging ferry schedule. Well, I had thoroughly researched it before hand and we knew which tickets we wanted, but my god, that took a lot of time. Thankfully when we got there, this meant we just had to buy them. We had heard that tickets sometimes sell out, so we went to the ticket desk (at the port), the day before we wanted to go. The woman spoke perfect English, and to be honest, it was almost as though we didn’t need to be there. She answered every single one of her own questions before we had a chance. I told her which boat we wanted to get and she did the rest: “How many of there are you? Two. There are two of you.” “Do you have a car? *Looks at car keys* Yes you have a car.” It was helpful, I guess.
Now, there are lots of different boats that can get you to Hvar, and a few different ports. We were staying in Hvar town, but to my knowledge, car ferries do not go to that port. So the next closest place for us was Stari Grad (Meaning old town – we found out after we hastily drove through it that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So in retrospect, I wish we’d stayed a bit), when we went the schedules were incredibly odd. You couldn’t really go there and back in a day and actually manage to do anything, in fact two days is a push, but we managed it: we got the 08:30 to Stari Grad (For which the woman told us we had to arrive an hour before. Joy), which got in at 10:30 and then disembarked and drove on to Hvar Town, which takes roughly 30 minutes, so all in all it took us about 3.5 hours to go from Split to Hvar Town (Ferry schedule – http://www.jadrolinija.hr/docs/default-source/red-plovidbe/2015/635-2015-ljeto-en.pdf?sfvrsn=2)
Getting on the ferry was equally really fun. We’d been in the queue for about 40 minutes, with a bunch of people driving in all different directions, and us keeping our fingers crossed we were in the right lane. Then as we approached the boat a man started shouting at me, and opened my car door in order to make me get out. Apparently only one person is allowed to drive the car on to the boat. So then poor Hamilton was forced to drive on to the boat by himself, whilst a man shouted at him to put our car in a weird space. I didn’t take a picture of it, but I can see why they only want one person to drive on. I probably would have been forced to clamber out Hamilton’s side.
That may seem like an incredibly dull account, but you don’t understand how much brain power it took me to go through everything and come to the conclusion that we did, and then actually make it where we wanted to. Of course, your life is ultimately much easier if you just don’t have a car at this point, as you can go straight to Hvar Town and back to Split Port. But seeing as we had one that we were paying to hire, and didn’t want to pay to park it, it seemed like the best option.
Anyway, the journey there was the simple bit. The journey back was what took some thinking: we knew we wanted to go ziplining in Omis, which is about halfway between Split and Dubrovnik, but we also needed to make it down to Dubrovnik, which is a bit of a drive. So we decided to zipline on the day we were going to Dubrovnik. Sadly, the Stari Grad ferry schedule was no help to us. In order to get to where we needed to be, we would have had to have taken the ferry at something like 5:30 in the morning, so we would gotten up at around 4 am, to drive to the port. This was a week off, and that was not something we were willing to put on the agenda. So, with zero knowledge of the island and surrounding towns, I looked up every single port and destination from the ports on Hvar back to the main land and settled on a car ferry going from Sucuraj (about an hour away, right on the other side of the island) to Drvenik (in the middle of Split and Dubrovnik), which left at about 9:45.
Again, the ferry ticket Lady (this time incredibly relaxed, with no real concept of anyone ever wanting to get anywhere) told us to get there for an hour before, “or we could just get the next ferry?” And so we did. And we were the second people there. And there was no need for us to be there that early. Seriously just get there like 15 minutes before or something, you’ll be fine. If you must get there early there are toilets and a little shop that sells ice creams. And a flag. So, it’s not the end of the world.
Basically, if you want to go to Hvar in a car, just make sure you’re there for a few days and are really chilled about getting there and back, otherwise it’s a bit of a mission and you’ll spend a couple of days getting up at like 6/7am when you’re supposed to be having time off. Also, these descriptions makes us seem like we’ve never encountered any issues before or got a ferry. We’d done both of those things, and honestly, it’s not the end of the world, I’m just trying to write this as a warning that you should look the schedule up before you go and buy your tickets as early as possible so you don’t get caught out.
BORING FERRY SCHEDULE STUFF OVER
Hvar was LOVELY and completely lived up to our hopes. We stayed in yet another lovely guest house, where the owner apologised for doing a bit of building work (didn’t bother us in the slightest). Obviously this was just before the start of the season, and apparently everyone has to get their work done on the island by the start of it so that tourists don’t have to see it happening. How good is that, eh? If you go in season, you should never have to see building work. One more out of the bajilion reasons why Croatia is fab.
Anyway, we parked our car and went straight on down to the beach, which was completely empty aside from one family. I think it must have been just before the passenger ferry got there, so we were some of the first tourists to arrive.
The one family on the beach was swimming, so we figured “It must be lovely!” It was boiling hot and the sun was out, so why the hell shouldn’t we swim too.
And so we did.
And we instantly regretted it… It was absolutely freezing. However, being British and considering a bus load of people had just turned up, we decided not to show our pain and we swam out to some of the buoys, paddled for a bit and pretended to enjoy ourselves (whilst we were slowly losing feeling in our extremities) and swam back. We laughed about it, but we equally could have cried a bit.
It’s probably a lot nicer to swim when it’s hotter. But ya know what? It was a lovely temperature to walk around in. So, it was kind of win lose.
We spent a bit longer on the beach and then wandered round between coves, before making our way up to our accommodation, where we were given a beer to drink whilst chilling out on the balcony. This then set the scene for the rest of our day. We walked back into the town, went to a fancy hotel to have a look around, dipped our feet again, walked up to the fort and watched the sun set, bought some more alcohol and then drank it on the balcony until we got hungry and went for dinner. We ate in the square by the port and it was beautiful. We did make the mistake of sitting outside when it was a bit cold, but there were blankets and yet again we weren’t giving in to the weather.
The fort by the way, was really fun. It’s a steep old walk, like, challengingly, but if you take it in your stride you’ll make it. We were all up for paying, but for some reason there was no one in the booth and no other obvious way to pay, so maybe it’s free in the evening. I’m not sure. There are beautiful views from the top though, and a little jail you can walk down into (with an equally lovely view – seriously there are worse cells to be kept in).
And that was pretty much our time in Hvar, after running around in different cities and finding our way onto ferries, it was really nice to have some time to chill out by a beach in the sun, with a beer. Sadly most of the bars etc were closed because it wasn’t that time of year yet, so if bars and clubs are what you’re after, going later on in the year definitely helps. But if you’re looking to chill out and not be surrounded by other people, out of season is probably better.
Ok, it’s not boiling hot, but it’s perfect for laying around as much as wandering, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.
That’s probably not the most exciting thing ever posted on here, but if it helps one person I will be delighted. If not, here are some pretty pictures:
Thanks for reading… tomorrow’s will be more exciting. We do ziplining and go to Bosnia. I don’t think I need to say any more.