Zavala bb, Hvar, Croatia, 21450
- Recommended for:
- Couples, Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, Foodies, Sporty types, Chilling out, Escaping the crowds, Great views / scenery, Nature / wildlife, Relaxation
Best for Escapists - Expert review of Stella Mare
Hvar’s sunny south coast remains a well-kept secret. Rugged peaks separate it from the rest of the island, roads are poor and to arrive here you have to negotiate a scary dark tunnel hewn through the rocks. In return, you get stunning sea views and some of Croatia’s top vineyards. Due to its inaccessibility there’s very little tourist development, but friendly Stella Mare offers a warm welcome, 10 simple apartments and the chance to try authentic Dalmatian home-cooking, with plenty of fresh local seafood.
Overlooking the sea on Hvar’s south coast. To get here, you follow a local road from Jelsa and drive through an narrow unlit tunnel, almost 1.5km long and wide enough for only one car at a time. Zavala is the first village you come to after emerging from the tunnel. It lies 20km east of Hvar Town and is not served by public transport.
There are 10 sunny apartments sleeping two-four people, all with wooden or terracotta tile floors, dated but comfortable furnishing, fully-equipped kitchenette, air conditioning and satellite-TV. Each apartment also has a small terrace for sitting out – the lower floors give onto the glorious herb-scented garden, while the upper floors get the best sea views.
The grounds are laid out in a series of terraces, planted with lemon, olive and pomegranate trees, rosemary, lavender and geraniums. Guests have the use of garden swing seats, a hammock and a rather extravagant Jacuzzi hot tub on a wooden deck with sea views. Best of all for me is the restaurant, with a blissful vine-covered terrace and dreamy sea views.
This is how every day should start – a long slow breakfast of freshly baked bread and eggs cooked-to-order, milky coffee, mellow sunshine and an endless sea view. Dinner here is outstanding too – fish caught the same day, salad from the garden, Teo’s homemade olive oil and local wine from nearby vineyards.
Zavala has a several small fine pebble beaches and plenty of secluded rocky coves with crystal clear water – great for snorkelling. Mountain biking, boat trips to the nearby island of Šćedro, scuba diving and wine tasting can be arranged on request.
The owner, Teo, and his family are fantastic hosts – they speak good English (plus German, Italian and Russian) and are full of local advice about things to do and see.
People who want to see Hvar’s other side, an authentic back-to-nature experience, far from the trendy nightlife scene in Hvar Town. It seems to appeal to all ages, from young families with kids to older couples. Foodies will love it too.
More information on Stella Mare:
- Zavala bb, Hvar, Croatia, 21450
- Parking, Restaurant