Hvar, one of the larger islands off of the Dalmatian coast, is unofficially the sunniest place in Croatia.
Hvar (pronounced “hwahr”) offers the typical tourist trifecta of shopping, drinking, and lounging in the sun, but does it with such grace, such style, that those who normally don’t choose a “spring break” style trip, might forget that they are in danger of slothing through their entire vacation.
There is more than one way to enjoy Hvar—there are enough adventure tour companies offering trips to fill even the longest weekend—but most abandon those options in favor of lying in the sun during the day (with one eye open for celebrity sightings) and waiting for darkness to grant a certain anonymity to the nightlife.
Not that the entire island is devoted to drinking and debauchery. Europe’s oldest theater—erected in 1612 and still in use today—adorns the island, and the gentle, untouched setting has inspired some of the more delicate and rhapsodic words ever written.
From Ivan Gundulic’s “Osman”:
O, beautiful liberty, dear and sweet,
Thou heavenly gift where riches all meet…
He goes on like this at length.
Also inspiring rhapsodic whimsy are the vineyards on Hvar. Famous for their red and white wines, which generally come from opposite sides of the island, the absence of industrial production and pollution on Hvar gives the wines a pure taste although only the most committed oenophiles can tell the difference. While Vineyards on the southern side are famous for their red wines from the Plavac Mali grape, the more northern central plain is known for its white wines.
Hvar is home to a fair number of galleries and museums, including Hvar’s archeological museum and lapidarium, the Arsenal Gallery of Modern Art, and the Natural history cabinet, but the most authentic historical site may be medieval Hvar. Ornate stone carvings line narrow streets in the medieval part of town, showing the influence of Venetian rule on the island city.
If you’re looking for uninterrupted sun, Hvar is the best bet in Croatia. Averaging 2,700 hours of sun each year, the island’s hotels are so confident in the weather they offer discounted rates for cloudy days, and in the rare event of snow, the stay is free.