Hvar Island – A Fantastic Daytrip

| January 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

My two buddies Gerard and Stephen arrived the night before to join me for the final few days in Split. I enjoy solo travel but if I’m honest, I enjoy it much more if I can share it with someone. Having the lads join me for the weekend provided the familiar company I needed. On Friday, we booked the fast fifty minute ferry from Split to Hvar Island. After a very smooth crossing, we arrived at the lovely Hvar town, dominated by an imposing fortress perched high above the town. Hvar is apparently a great magnet for celebrities and the rich. After a nice breakfast, we decided to walk up the steep hill to the fortress to get a good view of the town. Steep steps led through narrow alleys flanked by colourful shops selling artwork, jewellery and other tourist souvineers. The views of the ocre-roofed town surrounded by stunningly blue waters forced me to pause and gasp on many occasions. The area is famous for olive oil and wild cactus plants with bright red flowers lined the path. The sweeping view from the base of the fortress was brilliant but we decided to skip a tour of the fortress and instead save the money for beer – an easy decision.

Hvar town

Back in Hvar town, we studied maps trying to figure out how to get to a beach. The lads hadn’t yet had a swim in the lovely Adriatic and it was a perfect day for the beach. The harbour was lined with water taxis and after a bit of deliberation, we paid one to bring us to a beach on one of the outlying islands. The short crossing brought us to the first island with a small beach on the other side. Most Croatian beaches consist of pebbles rather than sand and this was no exception. Nevertheless, I wasted no time in getting changed and diving into the crystal-clear waters for a swim. It felt amazing after the sweaty climb to the fortress earlier.

“Watch out for the sea urchins,” said a woman swimming nearby. “They look like small, black stones and if you step on them, you’ll know it. That’s why people wear swim shoes – they’ll be all along the coast.” She had drawn up close enough to me to see she was naked, which was a mild surprise. I thanked her as she swam towards the ladder leading out of the water. This was where my friend Gerard had decided to stand to take a photo of Stephen and myself enjoying our swim. As she left the water, he didn’t know where to look! We nearly drowned with the laughing. The lady joined her equally naked husband on the beach towels a bit away from the other sunbathers. Not sure how we missed the large sign on the way in but apparently it was a famous nudist beach.

After we dried off, we made our way over to a small rustic bar made from driftwood, serving cold beer and simple snacks. What a feeling it was to be drinking cold beer with my friends in the shade after a swim with the sun beating down. We thought about people at home at that time in offices or working from home and smiled. This is another apex travel moment, one of the reasons I travel at all. For moments just like that.

“Are those nets out there,” Stephen said, pointing to a faint barrier surrounding the outer perimeter of the beach. “Could it be a shark net,” I wondered aloud? It was only after that I confirmed it was indeed a shark net, designed to keep any predators away from swimming areas. Although rare, sharks do attack people in those waters, something I was totally unaware of. Ignorance is bliss sometimes.

How did we miss this Steve?

We caught the 6.30 ferry back to Split and met up after a shower. We picked a place in the Old Town called Neptune which served seafood. I satisfied my curiosity about black ink risotto which was lovely. I also had a seafood dish which again wasn’t exactly overloaded with seafood but tasted lovely. Prices for dishes in the old town are much the same as home.

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Category: Croatia, Split

About the Author ()

John Dwyer is a travel writer and blogger. His first book High Road to Tibet: Travels in China, Tibet, Nepal and India became an Amazon best-seller. His latest book Klondike House: Memories of an Irish Country Childhood recalls his years growing up on a rural farm in Ireland.

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