A glorious past
With its purple lavender fields and lush vineyards, sunny Hvar is for many people the most beautiful of all the Dalmatian islands. The ancient Greeks obviously thought so too – colonisers from Paros settled here in the fourth century BC, calling the island Pharos (after their own), a name which eventually mutated into Hvar. However, the island’s finest buildings date from the period spent under Venetian rule (1420-1797) – take some time to explore the Baroque cathedral, sturdy hilltop castle and winding back streets in Hvar old town to see what I mean.
A sunny future
Today, Hvar Town is widely acknowledged as Dalmatia’s hippest resort on the islands. Recent years have seen the interiors of Hvar’s hotels trendified beyond all recognition – for example, at Hotel Riva you get sleek minimalist guest rooms with glass-walled bathrooms, though the old-fashioned stone facade gives nothing away from the outside. Hvar nightlife is what attracts many visitors to the island – the most talked-about venue is Carpe Diem, known for its exotic cocktails, international guest DJs and suntanned celebrities (Eva Longoria was here last summer). And there’s plenty to do during daylight hours too – try your hand at the helm with a half-day excursion Sailing from Hvar or reserve a sunbed at the luxurious Bonj les Bains bathing establishment.