Sveta Nedjelja

The old stone towns of Hvar, Stari Grad, Jelsa and Vrboska are among the most popular destinations on the island, but the south side of Hvar has some real gems as well, none more so than Sveta Nedjelja.

Literally translated as 'Holy Sunday', Sveta Nedjelja is wine country and home to one of Croatia's most famous producers, Zlatan Otok. A quick look around the imposing and steep vineyards towards the peak of the island at Sveti Nikola will give you an immediate insight into the complexities of grape harvesting here, and donkeys are still used in some cases at harvest time due to the difficulties of transportation.

These vineyards are among the best in the world for Dalmatia's prime red variety, Plavac Mali, a relative of Zinfandel. Having taken in the view, head down to the Zlatan winery for a tasting, and if you are lucky, you will be shown the underwater wine cellar at the waterfront Bilo Idro restaurant, which is a favourite mooring point for sailors on the south side in summer.

The imposing cliffs above Sveta Nedjelja offer a natural challenge for climbers, and a local agency called Cliffbase offer a range of rock climbing options for from beginners to more advanced. With the perfect backdrop of the pristine Adriatic, you will be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque rock climbing destination in the world.

Hikers are also drawn to the village, with one of the favourite walks up to the "church in the cave" high above the village, where one can see the remains of a 16th century church and monastery. While enjoying the magnificent views, one can only wonder at the labour required to construct the buildings, and the way of life that the monks endured.

Sveta Nedjelja was once rather inaccessible by road, but things are slowly changing. The traditional route is via the Pitve tunnel, followed by a 15-minute drive, but a new road is now under construction, connecting the village with the main road to Hvar (just before the Stari Grad tunnel). The road is passable at the moment, just, but nervous drivers may want to wait until the works are completed.

*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Romulić & Stojčić multimedia studio