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Ever since the pandemic took over the spotlight and ended all of our travel plans, the very notion of a sea-based vacation has become even more appealing. We all crave getting away from all this stress, chaos, and covid-related worries, eager to find some sense of serenity while basking in the sun and sand, preferably away from the crowds. While 2020 has been dismal in terms of travel, we can, at the very least, hope to prepare ourselves for a more travel-friendly 2021.
With these hopes in mind, there's one particular European country that should find its way to your must-see bucket list for the upcoming year. The beautiful shores of Croatia are some of the most diverse and most alluring this part of Europe has to offer.
In particular, an island that will be in our focus today is Hvar, famous for its unrivaled beauty and a treasure trove of hidden alcoves. Perfect for nature enthusiasts, lovers of authentic seafood dishes, and those smooth Mediterranean vibes, Hvar should be your pick for your next summer getaway, whenever it may be.
Perched atop the city, you'll find the beloved Fortica fortress, also known as the Hvar fort, built in the 13th century. Where a Byzantine citadel from the 6th century once stood, Fortica fortress is a testament to the locals' love for history and their appreciation of their cultural legacy.
The view is simply breathtaking, as you'll be able to enjoy the sea breeze, overlooking the port, with blue stretching as far as the eye can see, and the Pakleni Islands speckled in the distance. The cascading view of the white stone houses and cobbled streets is yet another memorable part of the panorama, so bring your camera and snap away.
Of course, there's no visit to Hvar without spending your days in the sizzling sun, listening to the waves. This island is known for its many irresistible beaches, from the well-known Dubovica, Pokonji Dol which is the easiest to reach if you're staying in Hvar Town, all the way to Ivan Dolac beach, a more secluded option that's an hour away from the town, and not packed with tourists at all.
Ask the locals for directions, and you'll discover beaches that few maps can show you, and a slew of alcoves that will provide you with an intimate hideaway for you and your escapade partner.
The beauty of Hvar lies in what you cannot discover so easily. Hvar's most precious treasures make you go the extra mile to get a glimpse into the island's true beauty. Living up to its reputation as one of the most stunning coastal destinations in Croatia, Hvar hides many isolated alcoves, caves, and hidden beaches.
The easiest way to explore them is to find local all-inclusive yacht charters and spend a day discovering the archipelago of islets, alcoves, and otherwise unreachable inlets. Such an experience will give you, even more, privacy and serenity, as you can steal a beach just for yourself for a day. The perfect closure to a day like this is to head back to the city for a traditional gregada.
Dalmatian cuisine is unique in many regards. One of its outstanding qualities is the blend of flavorful, locally sourced meats and produce, and seafood that brings you the aromas of the Mediterranean. One signature dish you should try in Hvar is called gregada. It is a humble but delicious fish stew with potatoes, onions, white wine, and a few herbs and spices to enable the flavor of the fish to come to life.
The olive oil used in the recipe is also a specialty. You should certainly order a bottle of local wine to turn an ordinary meal into an unforgettable feast.
Much like Dubrovnik and its beautiful Stari Grad, Hvar also has a part carrying the same name. Under UNESCO protection, Stari Grad reflects the preservation of its old architecture and spirit alike. The cobbled streets, the stacked houses, and the Stari Grad Museum hide stories thousands of years old. Not a single façade will leave you indifferent, and you'll want to stop by every little restaurant and café that is hidden among the white stones and vines.
Now that you know the beaches and you've basked in a sunset, you should book a diving experience. Discover another Hvar's wonder: diving among the shipwrecks in the translucent turquoise of the sea! Merely half an hour offshore, you'll be able to see an English merchant boat by the name of Paulina, now home to a variety of local marine life.
Much like the authentic dish of gregada, you'll find Hvar to offer a slew of ideas for those with a sweet tooth. The island is famed for its lavender, so you won't be too surprised to learn that you'll also find delicious lavender ice-cream in Hvar.
A renowned local patisserie by the name of Nonica, which is an endearing name for grandma, serves delightful cakes and treats you simply won't be able to resist. The house in which it's situated was built in the 15th century, further adding to the charm of the place. The honey-cakes are simply divine, while a selection of old-school cake recipes will give you a glimpse into Hvar's past.
The entire island is riddled with spectacular historical monuments. Some of them with religious roots and others are merely built by the locals and preserved successfully to retain the island's unique culture and heritage.
Tvrdalj Castle once served as a fort against the Ottoman Turks, and it stands to this day as a testament to perseverance and beauty. You'll find it in Stari Grad, so make sure to take a moment and appreciate its enchanting power. A perfect example of rural architecture remains in the hamlet of Humac, with houses made of stone, uninhabited, with no electricity. This is where you'll find Konoba Humac, where you can have a meal prepared over an open flame, romantically served under the stars, with candlelight, perfect for two.
We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.