Adventures on Hvar, Croatia
A few years ago, I was watching The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian for some bizarre reason and fell in love with the scenery. Immediately my partner sprinted to our office and started Googling film locations and it turned out that the battle scenes were filmed in Bovec, Slovenia. Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with the countries that make up the former Yugoslavia and have visited many times, but it was only last year that we first went to Croatia.
Croatia has the largest area of coast of the former Yugoslavia, with around 526 Kilometres of mainly pristine, clear water. This year our adventures took us again to the island of Hvar, one of the largest off the coast of Croatia and apparently where the rich and famous like to spend their summers.
The island’s capital, Hvar town is stuffed full of history, massive multi-million dollar yachts and many restaurants which offer great food, but the main attraction of the island of Hvar can be found away from the glitz and glamour of the capital on the many quiet and peaceful beaches.
There are many beaches to explore on Hvar and the surrounding islands, with one of my favourites being the tiny port of Zaraĉe. This little secluded beach has everything the lover of water would want with fairly deep, crystal clear water, lots of marine life and a variety of areas to swim in, plus as the whole of Croatia seems to be fairly relaxed with the idea of nudity, wearing swimming gear is really optional, giving you the ability to get a nice all over tan.
If you want to see some truly spectacular sights, then head back to Hvar town and get on one of the many excursion boats which will take you out to see the Blue and Green Caves. First stop on the excursion is to the World famous blue cave, which was formed by the erosion of a Karst cave. The bright blue water inside the cave is made because of sunlight penetrating through a sub-water hole, which in effect gives an enormous amount of backlight to the naturally clear water. Getting in and out of the blue cave is a tight fit, most of the boats which are used are smaller craft which are licensed to go into this protected environment. Once inside, the visitor is blasted with radiant blue light from the still water inside.
No diving or swimming is allowed inside the blue cave, which is a pity. It’s a fascinating place which really would be a great place to get under and explore more!
Next stop on the trip is to the Green cave. This again is a partially collapsed Karst cave, made by erosion of the rock by water over many thousands of years. In the case of the Green cave, the colour of the water is accentuated by the shaft of light which penetrates from a hole in the ceiling of the cave. This shaft of light penetrates right to the bottom of this fairly deep cave and as diving and snorkelling are allowed you can get your flippers on and go right to the bottom to get some fairly spectacular video footage!
Moving onwards on the trip, we reach the cove at Stiniva. This is a fully collapsed Karst cave which has a narrow entrance to a shingle beach. Getting in and out can be a bit tricky in larger vessels, which is why many are in smaller craft or have anchored outside of the cove and got small inflatable tender craft to get them into the beach area. Calm waters and many shoals of fish here make for fantastic underwater footage and photos, so remember your camera! This would make a fabulously relaxing place to spend a few days if you had your own boat.
After a good hour swimming around and pestering the local marine life with my trusty Go Pro camera, it’s off to get a late lunch at a beach restaurant at the small bay of Palmizana. Lunch consisted of freshly caught John Dory with roasted vegetables and quite a few Radler beers before shooting back to Hvar town on our quite fast speedboat.
The rest of Hvar is dotted with fabulous beaches, many of which are family friendly. One such beach Glavika just outside of the pretty town of Vrboska has a children’s play area in the bay as well as a great restaurant/bar and lots of parking. For those who don’t like clothes, ‘Camp Nudist’ is a short stroll through the trees and for cyclists there are many miles of trails which are sheltered from the Sun by large pine trees.
All in all, I can’t recommend Hvar enough for those who love to be outdoors. Sun worshippers and those who love to be in the water alike will love this place and all it has to offer.