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DAY 5: HVAR

 
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DUBOVICA BEACH & INLAND HVAR

There can’t be too many beaches on Hvar – or in all Croatia, for that matter – that have quite the same charm as DUBOVICA BEACH. Lying around the hillside, out of sight at first, this sublime little spot is reached down an uneven path from a parking bay just off the main road, but it’s well worth the bit of effort to get here. Backed by a dinky disused church and bookended by old stone houses, the bay opens out into the Adriatic from a curve of white-washed pebbles, an enticing sight from the dusty pathway down. The water is incredibly clear, and your kids will enjoy spotting the flashes of silver fish as they snorkel along the rocks at the beach’s far end. The parking bay for Dubovica is on the left, about 1.5km after you emerge from the tunnel on the D116 from Stari Grad to Hvar Town; it’s pretty small and this is a popular place, so you’ll probably have to get here fairly early to secure a space.

After lunch, it’s worth venturing into Hvar’s INTERIOR to see another side of island life, away from the beaches and the harbourfront towns. You can take a nice drive through the Stari Grad Plain and then up into the hillside villages of Svirče, Vrisnik and Pitve, but it’s an even better bike ride – Hvar Life, at the ferry terminal near Stari Grad [open daily until 8pm], rent mountain bikes and electric bikes by the hour [80kn/120kn] or day [250kn/280kn]. It’s a short ride along the D116 to the turn-off to Stari Grad, from where you follow the road for 2km before taking the (yellow) signed left turn to Stari Grad itself at the crossroads and then the right turn 500m further on, as the road bends round towards town; this is the start of the gravel tracks that cut arrow-straight through the STARI GRAD PLAIN, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the locals still cultivate their crops in exactly the same way the Ancient Greeks did when they were here nearly 2500 years ago. Dine on meals made solely from organic local produce at Hora-Hvar, which enjoys a gorgeous setting in the middle of lavender fields in the heart of the plain (it can be popular with groups, so book in advance), or, with older kids, push on up into the hills (you might be thankful for an e-Bike for this bit!) for a loop of the traditional villages nearby. You can stop to taste local olive oils and wines in both SVIRČE (2.5km from the D116, via the village of Vrbanj) and VRISNIK (2km further on) before finishing in PITVE, 1.5km to the east, for an early dinner at the delightfully rustic Dvor Duboković [open daily from 6pm from June 1], the perfect place to try a pot of peka.


TOP TIP If you just wanted to spend the whole day on the beach, then you could also make the 45-minute boat trip to ZLATNI RAT on the neighbouring island of BRAČ. The beach’s name translates as “Golden Horn”, which is an apt description for this tongue of fine shingle that extends into the sea just west of Bol. As with most places in Croatia, Zlatni Rat gets crowded in summer, but you can mix your beach time with a go on Aqua Park Bol, a Total Wipeout-style inflatable obstacle course that’s set up in the shallows [open daily until 8pm | 90kn for 1 hour]. Wooden taxi boats run daily between Jelsa, 10km east of Stari Grad, and Bol, from where it’s a twenty-minute walk or so along the coast to Zlatni Rat (in summer, you can also catch a tourist train instead); the boats leave Jelsa at 9.30am and return from Bol at 4.30pm (80kn). Note that in May, June and September, the boats run on Mondays and Thursdays only.





THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN

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OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY IN CROATIA

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CROATIA ESSENTIALS

Pre-trip practicalities, including getting there, visas and passports, health and safety and how to get around


 

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