You chose Hvar for your holiday destination?
Congrats! You chose wisely.
And in case you feel more like Robinson Crusoe than Paris Hilton let us tell you a bit more about southern side of the island.
You got off the ferry and you are heading south. By the way, we hope you have your car with you, but in case you don’t – no problem what so ever – you can rent one in our agency.
So, where were we? Yes, you are heading south and after a short ride through this beautiful, picturesque, little village of Pitve you enter the tunnel which somewhat resembles the Batman cave.
The tunnel is 1400 m long and has a purpose of not only transferring you to the other side of the island, but also of transferring you to the whole different kind of life. A life in which you are able to leave all your worries behind and enjoy the world where Mother Nature is kind and loving and where lives are lead in accordance with and to the soundtrack of nature.
Once you are out of the tunnel you stumble upon this breathtaking view of the islands Šćedro and Korčula, as well as Pelješac peninsula. You are able to see pebble beaches, pine forests, houses by the sea and vineyards on such steep slopes that they are almost defying gravity.
To make the long story short – you enter paradise!
The southern side of Hvar is the tale of wine. All true connoisseurs of wine (as well as those who like to think of themselves as such) should go on a pilgrimage to southern Hvar at least once in their lives, as Christians take their holy expeditions to Rome or as Muslims visit the Mecca.
Ivan Dolac is a little village by the sea on the southern side of Hvar. The path to Ivan Dolac is somewhat challenging, but definitely rewarding.
The place nearest to the exciting tunnel is Zavala – a little fishing and agricultural village by the sea.
From Zavala to the west you will reach Ivan Dolac and Sv. Nedjelja. People of Svirče inhabited both places centuries ago. Ivan Dolac was first mentioned as early as in the 15th century. People of Svirče cultivated grapevine in these locations and they built their leisure houses there so they didn’t have to travel far back home after a hard day’s work. That was a necessity at a time since there were no motor vehicles back then and the distance from the vineyards to the village was fairly large.
Today, Ivan Dolac is still mainly the summer residence of Svirče people, wherea Sveta Nedilja evolved into an independent settlement that lives both during the summer and winter.
Once you get to Ivan Dolac, you will find yourself surrounded by a typical Dalmatian stone architecture with the spirit of antiquity embedded in all of it and the scent of rosemary, lavender and sage in the air. The crystal blue sea and beautiful pebble beaches will make sure no worries found you there. In case some trouble still haunts you – disperse it with a glass of wine. And make it the very best wine – Plavac Mali.
Even today, the vineyards are still tended with the same energy, dedication, and love as centuries before. They are located on a very rugged terrain and the soil is far from easy to cultivate, but what is so special about this place is the abundance of sunshine year around. The results of that specific combination are the best wines you can get on the island – wines of high quality that have been recognized amongst enologists throughout the world.
Plavac Mali is the most important Croatian autochthonous variety and the world famous sorts of Plavac crowned with numerous international awards are from these particular slopes: Ivan Dolac (Vujnović); Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru (Plenković); Plavac Mali barrique (Tomić); Medvid and Medvjedica (Duboković); Plovac Ploški and Plovac Ploški barrique (Carić).
Ivan Dolac has a few little stores where you can buy basic supplies. Also, there are several restaurants and cafés there.
My colleague Dalibor recommends café "Vartal" in Ivan Dolac. He believes it to be one the best places on the island for relaxing and claims there is no place where ice coffee tastes so good. Keep in mind he is from Svirče so he might be biased, but still; give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, I like "Vartal" as well.
Ivan Dolac offers not only hedonistic treats in the form of excellent wines and good food but also numerous forms of recreation: cycling, walking, swimming, diving, surfing… Ivan Dolac proffers its guest a wholesome, yet quite natural, spontaneous, and low-key story.
In case you need a bank, a doctor’s office, a pharmacy or a post office, you will need to go to Jelsa, the closest place to Ivan Dolac, about a 15-minute drive away.