While the towns and beaches of the island may be popular, there is much of undiscovered Hvar that rarely attracts tourists, with the Kabal Peninsula - that bulbous head with green spikes hitting the Adriatic, north of Stari Grad - among the least known destinations. Hvar is a very long and thin island, and only above Stari Grad does it become a little taller.
It is one of the most depopulated parts of the island, boasting just two small villages of Rudina. Mala Rudina is perhaps the most pictureque little hamlet in all Dalmatia, a gorgeous collection of stone houses in serere nature. With a full-time population of just two, it is an ideal getaway from the crowds for people looking for an authentic Dalmatian experience.
Close by is what was supposed to have been the first luxury villa project on the island, but more than ten years later, the unfinished Male Rudine villas are a sad testament to the downside of the 2004 property boom. The contrast with the nearby village could not be starker.
Velika Rudina is a different story altogether and probably the most unusual village on Hvar, and certainly the most modern, with so many newer houses built around the small stone centre. Sometimes known as "Little Bosnia", there has been a large influx of people not native to the island, and it is one of the friendliest places on Hvar.
One of the beauties of Kabal is its wonderful beaches, which are off the main tourist radar. Žukova and Zavala (not to be confused with the resort village on the south of the island) are but two examples, but the further you drive up the 12 kilometre stretch to the tip, the more remote the options. Take the wrong turning and you might find yourself at the doorstep of ER heart-throb Goran Višnjić, who was forced to partly demolish his property recently after building without permission.
Continue to the tip and park, following the size for the cave and you will reach one of Hvar's more unusual attractions - Tito's Caves. Built into the rock to guard the entrance to the Stari Grad Channel (look out for it next time you are on the ferry), the caves are a concrete shelter, complete with rooms (and bats aplenty) and one of the best places in Dalmatia to experience a sunset.
Of course, with those gorgeous bays and rugged coastline protruding into the sea, the best way to experience the Kabal Peninsula is from the air. And with European Coastal Airlines offering a special price of just 99 kuna for tickets purchased by December 31 (for flights to the end of March), the time to book is now!
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Romulić & Stojčić multimedia studio