The Mediterranean as It Once Was

The island of Hvar is known for its diverse tourist destinations, and its beauty is that one can choose between a vibrant Hvar Town in peak season and a deserted idyllic beach just a few minutes walk away. An island which has a destination for everyone.

The northern town of Vrboska is undoubtedly one of the island's jewels, and for tourists looking for an authentic Dalmatian experience in one of its prettiest settings, Vrboska is worth checking out. Known as 'Little Venice' for its small and picturesque canal and exquisite stone bridges, Vrboska is the main marina on the main island of Hvar (as opposed to Palmizana on the Pakleni Islands), and its deep bay has afforded sailors protection for centuries.

Towering above all of course is the remarkable fortress church of St Mary of Mercy, whose views from the roof are truly spectacular. The fortress church is in the centre of the old town, whose warren of streets make for pleasant strolling, and don't miss the opportunity to taste local wine in one of the most authentic konobas in Dalmatia at Pinjata, at the back of the old town. You will see a sign in the square by the fortress church.

Vrboska has a rich fishing tradition of course, and the excellent Fisherman's Museum (which is sadly under threat of closure) has many fascinating artefacts from traditional Dalmatian fishing life, while the former sardine factory on the other side of the harbour (now in private ownership and with stalled plans to turn it into a retirement home) has seen better days, but serves as a reminder of better economic times in the town.

One of the main attractions within walking distance is one most tourists completely miss, the Stari Grad Plain. The UNESCO World Heritage Site may have adopted the name of the neighbouring town, but it is accessible on foot from Vrboska as well.

The beach at Soline is one of the most popular family beaches on Hvar, but Vrboska is also an important destination for naturist tourism, with Kamp Nudist (secluded through the pine trees) one of the most important FKK camps and beaches in the region.

And while Vrboska in isolation is a ray of sunshine, it is also the starting point for one of the prettiest and most popular walks on the island, the 3km coastal route to Jelsa, walking around gorgeous coves (where you may be tempted to stop for a swim), before relaxing with a coffee on Jelsa's timeless main square, before heading back in the opposite direction.

Discover Vrboska, truly the Mediterranean as it once was.

*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Rafael Janic Photography