Among cruise ports, Hvar, Croatia, has our attention as one of the new Eastern Mediterranean gems. Why? We think it’s a jetset cruiser’s dream with its craggy, purple-hued slopes (an abundance of lavender gives way to the island’s nickname, Lavender Island), quaint towns and vineyards.
Rich in history and heritage, Hvar boasts influences from ancient Greek and Medieval Italian culture, leaving the island central to Croatian literature, architecture, sculpture, painting and music.
Cruisers stopping in Hvar won’t want to miss the Hvar Theater, the oldest public theater in Europe, built in 1612 and restored in 1991. Other historical sites include Hvar’s cathedral and The Franciscan monastery.
Visitors rave about the 15th-century Fortica fortress, built above the old city and offering panoramic views of Hvar and nearby islands.
Hvar Town is widely considered the island’s premier shopping district, specializing in local goods and crafts (think wine, lavender oil, olive oil and handmade jewelry). Note: Hvar Town’s shops are within walking distance from the cruise port.
When it’s time to dine, the traveling gourmand will want to hit up Restaurant Park Hvar at the Hotel Park Hvar. We hear it’s a must. The waterfront restaurant has an indoor dining room as well as an outdoor terrace shrouded by local flora winding over trellises. Note: Fresh seafood tops the cuisine in Hvar, as well as pizza and pasta, due to the island’s proximity to Italy.
Have some extended time in port? We hear that Pakleni Otoci is a hotspot. This group of 20 islets is a quick trip from Hvar. Hikers and sun-bathers will love exploring the gravel and sandy beaches and hiking trails along these tiny islands.
Itching to go? Both Seabourn Cruises and Silversea Cruises make stops at Hvar. Seabourn’s 21-day Grand Italy & Adriatic itinerary, which departs from Venice on September 4 aboard Seabourn Spirit, features the city, along with other Croatian destinations Dubrovnik and Zadar—the latter a percolating hotspot, like Hvar. Silversea’s newest ship, Silver Spirit, will call at Hvar during a seven-day Venice-to-Athens itinerary that casts off August 7 from Venice. The cruise also stops in Pula, Croatia, a day prior to arriving in Hvar.