... when is actually the best time to visit THE island ...

The answer of course depends on what you are looking for, but for many September is the month that holds a special magic. Peak season is over, the party tourists departed, and the focus of many islanders turns to the fields for the grape harvest. 

There is a subtle change on the roads too, as the ubiquitous scooters give way to an increasing number of bicycles - Hvar as a shoulder season cycling destination is growing in popularity.

The sea is still inviting, the beaches much less crowded, and everywhere there is a feeling of calm after the peak season tourism storm. Nowhere is this more true than with the local people, who can finally start to relax a bit after all the stress of dealing with two months of constant and intense dealing with the needs of thousands of tourists. 

And the smell of freshly harvested grapes is in the air. A veritable army of Renault 4s, Zastavas and Golf 1s take to the roads, parking at the side by family vineyards (it is a month to be a little more vigilant when driving as a result, as this correspondent can testify), as the precious grapes of the harvest are gathered.

This is a fun time for tourists too, who are welcome to come and help pick grapes, a rewarding experience to add to the magic of a Hvar holiday. Simply register your interest with any waiter in a cafe, and he is sure to have a cousin who could use a little help. 

September too is the month where the slow transition from Hvar's summer tourism madness to the realities of the oncoming winter takes place. It is followed by the olive harvest and then winter proper, during which time the main activity is waiting for the new season. 

Hvar in September ... an extraordinary experience of natural beauty, relaxation and stress-free living.

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