The Perfect Hvar Day Trip from Split

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by Maggie Turansky

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Planning a Hvar day trip from Split is one of the best days out from Croatia’s second-largest city. There are countless incredible places you can visit from Split, however, the idyllic island of Hvar often tops visitors lists. Accessible via direct ferry from Split’s port, you can get to Hvar Island in about an hour depending on the route you take.

Though the island is known for its nightlife, Hvar is an absolute joy to visit by day, as well. Whether you’re looking to wander around a compact and historic old town, find some of the best swimming spots in Croatia, lounge on the beach, prance in lavender fields or sip some local wine, there is a lot to do when spending a day in Hvar.

How to Get from Split to Hvar

There are numerous ways to get from Split to Hvar and which you choose all depends on your personal preferences and what you’re looking for in a day trip.

By Organised Tour

For those who want to take the planning and logistics out of their day trip to Hvar from Split and simply want to kick back and have a good time, then going on an organised tour is a great option for you.

For example, this guided day tour will pick you up from Split (or Trogir) and take you via boat to the Blue Cave, some smaller islands and swimming spots before you wind out your day in Hvar Town. You can also book a similar tour here.

If you want a bit more intimacy and privacy, then this small group tour is an excellent option, as well. You can also be picked up and dropped off in Split and visit the Blue Cave, swim in the Adriatic along with exploring the town of Hvar. There is a similar private tour available.

And if you want more time to explore the island of Hvar itself, this day tour is an excellent choice. It includes transport to and from Split along with time in Hvar Town and the nearby Pakleni Islands. You can also book this full-day catamaran cruise which includes many of the same things.

Hvar Town
View of Hvar Town

By Ferry

If you want to go to the island independently, then you will need to hop on a ferry from Split to Hvar to get there (that is, unless you happen to have your own boat). There are countless ferries that go from the Croatian mainland to Hvar and which you take really depends on if you have a car or not.

For those who aren’t travelling by car, then your best bet is to hop on a high-speed catamaran that goes directly from the port of Split to Hvar Town. In the summer months, these run extremely frequently and the total journey time is only about an hour. You can view schedules here.

If you’re travelling outside of the high season of June-August, these ferries can be a little bit less frequent, so that is something to keep in mind when you are planning your day trip to Hvar.

For those who are taking the passenger ferry to Hvar, you are going to be a bit limited on what you can feasibly see or do within the confines of a day, however, Hvar Town and its surroundings certainly have enough to offer that a car isn’t entirely necessary in order to enjoy your day trip.

Spanish Fortress in Hvar Town
Spanish Fortress in Hvar Town

By Car

If you want the most flexibility on your Split to Hvar day trip, then your best bet is to go by car. This option will also include a ferry, just one that can accommodate vehicles.

There are fewer car ferries that leave from Split daily than there are passenger ferries and it takes about twice the time so be aware of this. Like passenger ferries, the car ferries are more frequent in the summer months.

Car ferries leave from the port of Split and arrive at the port of Stari Grad which is located about a 30-minute drive from Hvar Town and the journey is about 2 hours. There is also an option to grab a car ferry from the town of Drvenik that will take you to the town of Sucaraj at the eastern tip of the island.

Keep in mind that while this ferry journey is quicker at about 40 minutes, it also takes about 1.5 hours to drive to Drvenik and another hour to drive from Sucaraj to the western part of the island with the majority of tourist sites. Therefore it’s not a good option for a day trip and is only a good choice if you plan to stay in Hvar.

Having your own car gives you a lot more flexibility to see quite a bit of the island and get around Hvar easily within the confines of one day.

You will have the ability to venture beyond Hvar Town and take in some of the best beaches and some further-flung areas that you wouldn’t be able to get to without your own vehicle should you wish. You can browse car hire options here.

Sucuraj Lighthouse
Sucuraj Lighthouse

Hvar Day Trip Itinerary

This itinerary is flexible and is great for both those with a car and without. Whether you’re simply looking to explore Hvar town and swim in the crystal clear waters surrounding the island or you’re keen to hit the road and get a bit off the beaten path, seeing Hvar in a day is a day well spend!

Hvar Town

The best and easiest way to begin your day trip to Hvar is in Hvar Town itself. Whether you’re arriving via passenger ferry or by car into Stari Grad, we recommend heading here first as it can get very busy as the day goes on.

Begin your day with an excellent view by heading up to the Spanish Fortress. If you have a car, you’re likely going to want to jump in it as it is a bit of a hike up but the view from above is worth it even if you go on your own two feet. If you don’t have a car, it is only about a fifteen-minute walk from the town centre, however, it is quite steep.

You have to pay to enter the fortress (it was €10 per person), however, you can still take in great views of the town and the Pakleni islands below.

As you make your way down from the fortress, take the time to meander through the streets of Hvar Town itself.

There are some lovely winding alleyways to lose yourself in, along with a charming seaside promenade that is perfect for a leisurely stroll. You can also take in the St Stephen’s Cathedral and St Stephen’s Square and wander along to the Franciscan Monastery.

Franciscan Monestary
Franciscan Monastery

Head to the Beach

After a morning of exploration, it’s time to hit the beach and soak up the beautiful Adriatic sunshine. There are some lovely little swimming areas in Hvar town itself, however, they aren’t large and can generally fill up quite quickly in the warmer months. There is, for instance, a little beach below the Franciscan Monastery that you could splash around at.

However, if you want to head to a great beach, then consider visiting Pokonji dol Beach which is located just outside of the town centre. You can drive here and there is a large free car park or you could opt to walk or take a taxi. If you walk, it takes about 25 minutes and it’s a flat, minor stroll from the city centre.

The beach itself is, like many Croatian beaches, pebbly but large enough to accommodate several people. It’s set in a protected cove which makes it great for swimming and the crystal clear blue waters are incredibly inviting. There is also a bar and restaurant close by so you don’t need to go hungry while here.

From the beach, you also can view Pokonji Dol Island, which is a small, circular island with a lighthouse atop it.

Pokonji dol Beach
Pokonji dol Beach

Pakleni Islands

If you’re not keen to head to the beach and want something a bit more exciting, then hop on a water taxi and visit the nearby Pakleni Islands.

Also sometimes referred to as the Paklinski Islands, these is a small archipelago located just off the coast from Hvar and they’re easy to reach from the town centre.

In Hvar Town, there are plenty of places where you can hire a boat of your own or hop on a water taxi that will shuttle you to these little islands. You even could kayak to the islands if you want to get a bit more active. Here, you can enjoy some incredible swimming spots and bask in the crystal-clear Adriatic islands.

Water taxis from Hvar take off from the port of Hvar and are advertised all around the town. Generally, expect to spend around €10-13 for a return trip and there are a few sailings in the afternoon so you will get a few hours on the islands.

You can also choose to go on an organised tour such as this half-day sailing cruise or this kayaking adventure.

Pakleni Islands
Pakleni Islands

Explore Stari Grad

If you’re driving yourself, then make sure to carve out some time at the end of your one day in Hvar to explore the lovely town of Stari Grad before you head back to Split.

This is one of the oldest towns on Hvar (in English, Stari Grad literally means old town) and offers a quiet and more relaxed vibe than in Hvar Town.

Like Hvar Town, there is a tranquil harbourside promenade to wander along and it’s also lined with restaurants and bars, so it’s a great place to grab a drink and relax before hopping back on the ferry. The town of Stari Grad itself also has a lot of lovely, winding alleyways to get lost in and it’s really a charming place to go and explore.

If you don’t want to explore another town, you could also use this opportunity to head to one of the many wineries on Hvar before you catch your ferry.

Though Croatia may not spring to mind as a wine destination (and even Korcula has more of a reputation as a wine island), there are plenty of vineyards dotting the islands that offer tastings. You can take this wine tasting tour if you want to explore with a guide.

There are also plenty of other gastronomic places to stop off at if you’re not interested in wine. There are countless places that produce olive oil or sell Hvar lavender products that you can visit, as well.

In fact, if you’re interested in visiting a lavender farm on the island, then direct yourself to a place called “Lavanda Hvar” where you can get some great photos of the iconic lavender fields.

This field is located just outside of the town of Jelsa, about a 30-minute drive from Hvar Town and about 10 minutes from Stari Grad.

Stari Grad on Hvar Island
Stari Grad on Hvar Island

Where to Stay in Split

Kastel 1700 Boutique Hotel – Mid-range visitors to Split will love this centrally-located hotel. They have a range of great rooms on offer along with a perfect location for exploring Split while being an excellent base for day trips.

Il Giardino Luxury Rooms & Suites – This luxury hotel is perfect for those who want to use Split as a base when exploring this area of Croatia. They have several great rooms to choose from along with plenty of other great amenities for guests.

Tchaikovsky Hostel – Budget travellers using Split as a base to visit Hvar will love this hostel. Located in the centre of Split, they have many dorms to choose from and good facilities for guests to use, as well.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Split hotels!

Planning a Split to Hvar day trip is an excellent way to see one of Croatia’s most iconic and well-known islands without taking too much time away from your busy itinerary. Hvar has a lot to offer visitors, however, seeing a bit of it as a day trip is the perfect way for a whistle-stop tour of this lovely Adriatic island.

Are you planning to visit Hvar? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

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