From Summer to Autumn on Hvar
And then, in a flash, it was gone.
Another magical summer of pristine swimming, lazy days at the beach, the finest food, culture and nightly entertainment, and summer passes over to autumn on Hvar.
The onset of October may not be a beach lover’s dream, although people are still swimming, but the subtle changes in the makeup of the island’s population make it one of the most enjoyable times to visit Hvar.
The island focus moves slowly from tourism to traditions which are dear to islanders’ hearts – life in the field. The grapes are in, and now attention will turn to the olive groves ahead of the impending harvest, a time which sees extended families coming together to catch up after a busy season, bonded by olive picking and the associated grilling which accompanies it. For now there is time, time to relax after yet another busy season, time to share tales of the summer with friends and relatives one has barely seen in the peak season months.
The makeup on the roads is a little different too. Gone are the queues for the ferry, the expensive cars from all over Europe overtaking on the road from Jelsa to Hvar. In their place, the stock island cars, the Golf 1s and Renault 4s, making their short journeys to the field. Gone too are the scooters and colourful Beetle rental cars, which add an additional dash of colour this already stunning and varied island. In their place, an increased number of cyclists, for the roads increasingly belong to the sportsmen on two wheels in the autumn months. The temperatures are lower after than most roasting of summers, and it is a reminder of one of the great strengths of the island of Hvar – its diversity. For some a beach and nightlife destination, for others adventure tourism or culture. It is all here.
This being the sunniest island in Europe, your chances of an Indian summer are greater here than elsewhere, and the coastal walks from places such as Jelsa to Vrboska are idyllic at this time of year. Bars and restaurants are still open, the waiters more relaxed and with time to chat after the busy summer months, the welcome all the more friendly.
For tourists visiting in autumn, an altogether different Hvar awaits. Gone are the parting tourists and (for the most part) the sun seekers on the endless outstanding beaches, and in their place come visitors keen to explore the wine, the culture and the rich choice of adventure tourism on offer. Hiking, cycling, rock climbing, sailing and kayaking are all available, but without the crowds. And what better way to fall in love with an island than through its excellent wines? Wine tourism is on the rise on Hvar, and with very good reason – its winemakers now export as far away as China and California, their wineries increasingly equipped for your visit, and a wonderful experience is ensured.
Strolling around the 2,000 year-old streets of Stari Grad or the historic heart of Hvar Town is a lot more enjoyable once the main tourist season is over. Apart from having them more or less to yourself, the lack of crowds increases their Instagram appeal. It is also a great time for people watching, observing locals in their natural habit without the pressure of the tourism season. Things happen slowly…
And the good news for autumn visitors is the accommodation prices are a lot lower in July and August? Seen an ideal villa on the Villas Hvar website which was out of our price range in the summer? Look again, and the price may well surprise you.
One thing is for sure, Hvar is slowly becoming a 12-month destination, and for those looking for a Dalmatian experience beyond the beach and nightclubs, Hvar in autumn is hard to beat.
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Majda Moškatelo