Hvar Luxury Yacht Charter Guide will reveal the popular, as well as the most hidden gems of this remarkable island in Croatia
The island of Hvar is a prestigious nautical cocktail mixed with most desirable ingredients. At the same time, this island is one of the many fascinating Top charter destinations in Croatia. Glamorous luxury yachts and small boats sail along its shores, because everyone discovering the joys of the Adriatic is delighted to get to know it.
How to get to Hvar?
The west coast of this 35 miles long island in Split archipelago – the longest island in the Adriatic – brims with coves, bays and inlets, and is dotted with popular anchorages and charming towns. The picturesque town of Hvar and the Pakleni Islands as one of the most desirable nautical oases of the Adriatic are main culprits for the popularity of this island. The eastern shores of Croatian island Hvar are straighter, with fewer natural coves, and are outside main yachting routes, but often visited by cruising yachts looking for the Mediterranean as it once was.
Unforgettable Hvar experience – things to do
In the town of Hvar, many boaters eager for fun and glamour spend more than a few days, which speaks volumes about the magnetic beauty of this Adriatic pearl. This little big town that never sleeps lures with its multitude of exclusive nightclubs, and with its many glamorous Hvar restaurants is also foodie heaven. The fortress of Španjola proudly towers over Hvar, offering fabulous views of the town, the picturesque port and the stunning Pakleni islands.
Harbors and marinas on Hvar island
There are only fifteen buoys and fifteen berths in the city port, but the latter are usually booked months in advance by elegant mega-yachts sailing the Adriatic.
The town port does not offer a safe haven from southerly winds, and it is also extremely busy during the day, mostly for the presence of numerous speedboats, impressive Hvar barcarioles (taxi boats) and regular ferry lines. Ferry boats are often the most elegant solution for tourists wondering how to get to Hvar. Besides, many local agencies organize Hvar sailing trips to the neighboring island of Vis, whose seaside you can get to know through our Vis Luxury Yacht Charter Guide.
Visit Pakleni islands by boat
Although a few miles away from the island, the Pakleni islands seem to be connected to the town of Hvar by the umbilical cord. This hellishly – as the name suggests – beautiful archipelago made up of 21 smaller and larger islands offers an island for any and all tastes.
Luxury restaurant on Hvar
On the largest island of Sveti Klement, ACI marina Palmižana offers safe shelter in all winds. On the south side of this island there are many azure bays, with Vinogradišće being by far the most visited. It is dotted with about forty buoys, and boasts one – very popular – lounge bar, Laganini, and a colorful restaurants to visit by boat.
The ones owned by the locally famous Meneghello family are inextricably linked to nautical tourism in the Adriatic. Buoys owned by these highly recommendable restaurants can also be found in the spacious bay of Soline and in the bay of Vlaka on the opposite, northern coast of Klement. Party animals will love Carpe Diem Beach Club in Stipanska bay on the island of Marinkovac and sea kayaking in these waters gives a unique perspective and interaction with the ambiance that no other vessel can match
Larger yachts usually drop anchors on the west side of this wild island, in the Ždrilac pass, or on the east side of Marinkovac, towards the islet of Jerolim. All yachts can, depending on the wind, count on a shelter on the leeward side of the island, and only have to choose one of the many bays – in their favorite shade of blue – that pleases them the most to drop their anchor.
Explore Hvar’s beaches and coves
The Pelegrin Peninsula is a nature reserve adjacent to the very town of Hvar, and everyone sailing from Split to Hvar makes sure to at least drop by. In this protected area and hunting ground, deer and mouflon can occasionally be seen from the deck. The peninsula itself boasts several charming natural and man-made anchorages – Mala Garška, Vela Garška, Parija, Duga and Vira.
Starogradski bay lies tucked deep into the mainland of Hvar, and offers several smaller bays on the inside. By far the most visited is Tiha, on the northern part of Starogradski bay. This uninhabited bay offers many tiny canals ideal for berthing on some of the 45 buoys,, with those leeward offering shelter in all winds.
Although the bay is called Tiha, Silent, in the peaks season it is anything but: be warned of the rowdy and loud local event Yacht Week. In the bay, family-owned Hvar restaurant Veli Dolac is famous for their excellent roasted meat and fish. The neighboring Zavala bay is the locals’ favorite spot for a day at the beach, and has ten buoys for boats up to 15 meters.
Hvar vs Stari Grad
Many visitors are surprised to learn that Stari Grad was the first Greek colony on Hvar and that this city was once the central place of the island. The unique charm of the town is best discovered walking through its winding streets that shy away from the coast. There are many ideas on what to do in the Stari Grad on the island Hvar, but be sure to visit the Petar Hektorović fortress as the most beautiful part of the town.
Since the construction of the new modern waterfront, Stari Grad has become a prestigious yachting destination and thus a key part of this Hvar Luxury Yacht Charter Guide. In addition to 70 berths, the port has 20 buoys, but waves get pretty high with westerly winds. Stari Grad is not protected from any wind, but fortunately for boaters, all but the westerlies here just tussle your hair.
Aerial photographs of the Kabal peninsula justifiably charm visitors from endless travel agency windows and promotional posters. Resembling stretched fingers, this peninsula is the natural continuation of the UNESCO-protected Starogradsko polje location. Nestled on the northern side of Kabal, Žukova bay offers respite from all winds expect for bora, when it wouldn’t be advisable to anchor in its central branch. There you’ll find just several vacation homes, a small beach and stone slabs made by Mother Nature especially for sun worshipers.
There are many attractive nautical destinations on the island of Hvar, but the most beautiful experience around still is sailing through the narrow, winding fjord at the end of which awaits Vrboska – the smallest town on the island. Dense pine trees whose branches descend towards the water unbothered by wind confirm this is the best sheltered bay on the island of Hvar. The wind around is the strong south wind and the levant, which might – albeit extremely rarely – create tidal waves.
The tiny village of Vrboska offers but two possibilities for mooring: at the very entrance, in the ACI marina Vrboska (85 berths), or a little deeper into the bay, at the village waterfront. The spacious bay of Soline, as an azure stepping stone to Vrboska, is a favorite anchorage of smaller and larger yachts.
Visit Jelsa and Hvar town
Jelsa has always been a popular destination for yachtsmen who want to feel the local pules, and in recent years this lively little town has become a favorite of the mega-yacht crowd, after the construction of their brand new waterfront. Completely unprotected from bora, Jelsa offers safe berths for 54 vessels. Jelsa is also home to several decadent Hvar restaurants and the nearby Tomić winery, very popular among all visitors. Our recommendation: a Mojito in the newly opened cocktail bar.
Sail the northern shores of the island of Hvar and discover the peaceful local vibe of this Hvar Luxury Yacht Charter Guide. All the while, keep in mind that Pokrivenik bay is the only safe anchorage on the stretch from Jelsa to Sućuraj. This larger bay actually consists of five canals, and by far the most beautiful of them is the one in the middle. This deeply set canal surrounded by impressive steep cliffs and hiding a beautiful pebble beach with in its center has more to offer than just safety from winds, with views of vineyards and olive groves.
You can anchor in this central canal at depths ranging from 6 to 12 meters, or move into the eastern canal if bora is afoot. There you will find a small pier with one hotel, Timun, whose restaurant serves typical local Mediterranean cuisine. Boaters are always happy to visit the nearby Pakomina bay for its many excellent family-owned restaurant and free mooring spots on the small waterfront, which, however does not offer good shelter from the ever-present bora.
Sućuraj is a small fishing village rarely noticed by yachtsmen while enjoying the Hvar sailing tour. With jugo or levant it will not provide a good shelter, and with south-westerly wind creating small, but unpleasant waves. Several vessels can be moored laterally inside of the breakwater, and about twenty vessels can expect to find berths in the northern part of the port, on pontoons along the waterfront. This village is nice enough for a walk, a visit to one of the local Hvar restaurants, a peek into a church or two, or a visit to the three-meter tall statue of St. Nicholas on the pier – to ask for calms seas, of course.
This Benetti Delfino 95 is a 28.95 m luxury motor yacht with an interior design by Achille Salvagni and an exterior design by Giorgio Cassetta.
From Sućuraj westward, small bays and beautiful Hvar beaches dot the coast like pearls, but consider them all suitable for anchoring only in calm weather. In Mrtinovik and Veprinova bays, many restaurants offer the possibility of mooring by their buoys, as well as excellent food on their picturesque patios. Leave the Šćedro Nature Reserve at the stern and sail at the foot of the highest slopes of the island of Hvar.
Many excellent wines come to life on these slopes, the most famous among them made by one Zlatan Plenković, owner of the small harbor in Sveta Nedjelja and the restaurant Bilo idro, which has a unique wine cellar under the sea. The nearby bays of Zarače and Borče, right next to Milna, attract the eye with their steep cliffs, beautiful pebble beaches, green vegetation and Caribbean shades of water.
In those bays, restaurants offer always fresh, always good food, and more often than not, the possibility of mooring on buoys. However, keep in mind that these bays should also be avoided with southerly winds.
When is the best time to visit Hvar?
The town of Hvar is only a few miles away, so sail on and end your adventure there, where we began our Hvar Luxury Yacht Charter Guide, surrounded by the charm of the biggest town on the island.
Text Josipa Vlahović Cikatić
Photos Ivo Pervan, Boris Kačan, Antonio Rosetti, TZ Hvar & Unsplash /Geio Tischler