Heaven After the Peak Season
It has been another fantastic summer on Croatia's premier island, and there is still plenty of life left in the season. The nightlife may be toning down a little and the kids heading back to school, and so the time is ripe for what for many is the perfect time to visit – autumn on Hvar.
The beaches are less crowded, the water still inviting, and September and early October on Hvar are one of Europe's best-kept tourism secrets.
There is also another secret ingredient as to why autumn is such a divine time to visit – time.
Time with the locals. Tourism on islands such as Hvar is concentrated, and local people quite often are doing several jobs at the same time during the peak tourism months, working so hard that they barely have time for a coffee with their friends, never mind engaging tourists in meaningful and extended conversation.
That all changes as autumn approaches. Locals have made their money for the year – or not – but there it time to finally relax and enjoy the company of the island's visitors. Hvar people are a welcoming bunch when they have the time, and a chance coffee with a waiter can often lead to a more authentic holiday experience.
Like grape or olive picking, for example. Wine and olive oil are two of the products for which Hvar is justifiably famous, and August's waiters can be found in September's vineyards and October's olive groves, helping to bring in the family harvest. It is hard work, but more than a little rewarding, offering an insight not only into this essential Dalmatian way of life, but also a wonderful way to enjoy Dalmatian hospitality close up.
As the peak season temperatures drop, so too do the prices, and there are great deals to be had this time of year. The bulk of the island's restaurants and cafes are still open, and the more relaxed way of life – locals call it "laganini" – is both an afforable and enjoyable way to pass the time.
Hvar, of course, is an island of diversity, and also one of the great activity playgrounds of Europe. August scooters give way to September bicycles, as cyclists take advantage of the cooler temperatures to explore cycling terrain that has had Hvar named in Europe's top 10 coastal cycling destinations.
And let's not forget that special ingredient which gives any island its being – the sea. Hvar is a sailing and kayaking paradise, and early October sees a number of events on the water, including the Palmizana Big Game Fishing Cup, and the annual Peskafondo squid fishing championship in Hvar.
There is only one thing missing in autumn on Hvar – the crowds.
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Romulić & Stojčić multimedia studio