HVAR TOWN & THE PAKLENI ISLANDS
Historical HVAR TOWN, in the island’s southwest corner, makes a great destination for your first full day on Hvar. The trendiest town in the Adriatic, it blends a swanky, yacht-filled harbour with cobbled medieval backstreets and easy access to the picturesque PAKLENI ISLANDS. Save the town itself for the afternoon and head straight out to sea and to this backbone of beach-fringed islets scattered just offshore. Some of the Pakleni’s beaches (Stipanska, Palmižana) can get very busy in season, so aim for one of the quieter spots – good choices include the secluded sandy beach at PERNA, on Sveti Klement (there’s nothing in the way of facilities here, so you’ll need to bring your own snacks and/or picnic) and the more developed ŽDRILCA, on Marinkovac, which has shallow bathing and a number of good restaurants. Water taxis run regularly to both of these, departing from the Riva in Hvar Town (expect to pay around 40kn to Ždrilca, more for Perna, which is further away). It’s much more fun, however, to paddle yourself across and explore the islands’ coastlines under your own steam – Kayak & SUP Hvar rent single and tandem sit-on-top kayaks (from 100kn per hour, including life jackets, dry bags, snorkels and map) from the beach in front of the Amfora Hotel, a 10-minute walk along the seafront west of the Riva, so you can plot your own mini expedition.
Back in HVAR TOWN, grab an ice cream or two for the wander around the RIVA, the town’s waterfront promenade, admiring the flotilla of super-expensive superyachts that are usually moored up along the dock, vying for your attention. You can climb up through the stepped alleyways that lead off the town’s main square to the FORTICA [open daily until 4pm in April & May, until 9pm from June to September | 40kn] that dominates the hillside behind; it takes about 45 minutes to get up here, but the reward is fabulous views over Hvar Town and out across the Pakleni Islands. On the way up, look out for the BENEDICTINE CONVENT [open daily except Sunday 10am–noon & 5–7pm | 20kn] on Matije Ivanića (the alleyway opposite the tourist office), where the nuns weave intricate lace from agonisingly thin threads of agave plants, a laborious task that has been recognised by UNESCO.
THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN
Delve deeper with our tips on what to read and watch before you go, foods your kids must try, and some key cultural advice
From traditional Dalmatian cottages to guesthouses in Dubrovnik’s Old Town – our pick of the most memorable places for families to stay in Croatia
NEED TO KNOW
A handy overview of Croatia’s weather and climate throughout the year, with recommendations for the best time to visit
Pre-trip practicalities, including getting there, visas and passports, health and safety and how to get around
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