Villages

Villages (67)

The villages of Hvar are incredibly diverse and visitors are rewarded with an insight into true Dalmatian living. From the hauntingly beautiful abandoned stone villages of Humac and Malo Grablje, to newer coastal resorts such as Milna and Basina, there is much to discover.

Head to the hills across the central spine and discover the magic of 2000 year-old Pitve, the vineyards of Svirče and the village of heather, Vrisnik.  Or pass through the Pitve tunnel to the beaches and vineyards of Sveta Nedjelja, Ivan Dolac and Zavala.

Experience the regeneration of older traditions with the lavender festival in Velo Grablje and the dormouse festival in Dol, then take in the relaxed atmosphere of Little Bosnia (Rudina).  Or move further east and enjoy the peaceful settings and nearby bays of the depopulated villages from Poljica to Bogomolje.

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Dubovica

Dubovica (1)

Dubovica is one of Croatia's most photographed bays, and with good reason. With its stone buildings protruding out into the southern shores of the island, the bay is a pretty combination of Hvar's stone heritage and pristine beaches.

Photo opportunities of the bay, like the one above, have been made accessible with the opening of the new road to Sveta Nedjelja. There is no direct road access to Dubovica, and visitors must park at the top on the main road, before clambering down.

While the descent is a little rough, the rewards are certainly worth it, with the popular beach complemented by a restaurant behind.

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Brusje

Brusje (1)

Situated high up on the old road to Stari Grad, some 4km from Hvar Town, property in Brusje was in high demand during the property boom of 2004.  A combination of its authentic stone properties, phenomenal views of the sea and the mainland, and a close but tranquil proximity to the madness of Hvar Town, made it a popular choice.

The village has a relaxed feel, has only recently been connected to mains water, and is a delightful place to wander with donkeys in its various alleys.

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Velo Grablje

Velo Grablje (3)

One of my favourite places on Hvar is the village of Velo Grablje. 

It is a traditional stone village just below the old road from Hvar Town to Stari Grad, with outstanding views and rich in history, for Velo Grablje used to be the capital of lavender in all Dalmatia.

That was then. The mass emigration in Dalmatia hit Velo Grablje hard, and I had always been told that the permanent population of the village was just five people, including a chap called Sinaj, who was born in the Egyptian desert of the same name, but that is another story... 

A local association called Pjover started getting active a few years ago. Comprising the younger generation with links to the village, they set about trying to improve it and restore some of its traditions, and the annual lavender festival is perhaps their greatest achievement.

Grablje has strong roots with the residents of Hvar Town, and some of its finest restauranteurs - Djodjota Vartal, Kod Kapetana, Alviz and Villa Dinka - hail from the village, and young Djordje Tudor has gone one step further, and he will be opening the first restaurant in Velo Grablje this summer. Apart from the guarantee of excellent food, the restaurant will be a smash hit, as there is finally a place for resfreshment and a chance to soak up the atmosphere in this remarkable village, which is attracting a growing number of visitors looking for the authentic Hvar.

What prompted this post was an email I received from a German lady recently. Valerie complimented me on the site, but explained that there were a lot more people living in the village than 5. Twelve in fact, but actually fourteen, she corrected herself in a subsequent email. She has been living there for three years with her Croatian husband and young son, who attends kindergarten in Hvar, and they are now about to renovate another ruin. 

As Valerie said, Velo Grablje is full of life between the ruins.

These are small numbers and events, but I really like the organic approach to the village of Velo Grablje, and it will be very interesting to see how it looks in ten years. I suspect it will have a lot more inhabitants without losing any of its charm. 

 

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Malo Grablje

Malo Grablje (1)

Heading past the coastal resort from Hvar Town, there is a little turning to the left to one of Hvar's most beautiful villages, the abandoned stone of Malo Grablje.

The backdrop of cliffs adds to the effect, and wandering around the houses, which were abandoned in the 1960s, as everyone moved to Milna in search of better economic opportunities, gives a real insight into authentic Dalmatia.  Check out the cemetery and the open graves, the result of the villagers taking their dead with them.

The village is not totally abandoned, however. The Stori Mlin restaurant is hidden away in the  stone ruins, and well worth seeking out for some of the best lamb and traditional dining in Croatia.

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Selca

Selca (1)

High above Stari Grad on the old road to Hvar, Selca is a sparsely-populated village whose tranquillity is attracting foreign buyers. With spectacular views of the Kabal Peninsula and little traffic with the opening of the new road, Selca is a quiet rural community, whose donkeys outnumber its full-time residents.  

A devastating forest fire in 2003 touched the edge of the village, destroying the surrounding area, but signs of recovery are under way.  The arrival of the Leedham sisters from Stoke has certainly brought the village to life.  Check them out!

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Rudine

Rudine (3)

Rudine is a unique place on Hvar, with its own distinct atmosphere. The only settlement on the Kabal Peninsula above Stari Grad, it comes in two parts, Mala Rudina and Velika Rudina.

Mala Rudina is a delightful stone hamlet and one of the most photogenic settlements on Hvar. It is bordered by the largest (and still unfinished) villa development on the island.

Velika Rudina is one of the friendliest villages in Dalmatia. Known as Little Bosnia, the village has a higher concentration of non-islanders, the village is a perfect place for a peaceful family holiday, with its close proximity to Stari Grad and several less populated beaches. Make sure you check out Tito's Tunnels at the tip of the peninsula.

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Basina

Basina (1)

Tucked away on the northern coast, Basina is a small but popular resort not far from Vrboska. With its deep bay, it is a popular sailing point, and the swimming is excellent. There is a restaurant which operates in the season.

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Dol

Dol (4)

At first glance, Dol does not seem to offer anything special, but it is one of the most intriguing and artistic settlements on the island.

Looking for yoga? There are international yoga centres based in the village. Wondering what to do with the kids? Head up to Atelier Marinka and let them indulge their creative side in a relaxed atmosphere.  

And for probably the strangest festival in Croatia, make sure you time your trip for the end of August, in time for the Dolska Puhijada, the edible dormouse festival. Known as Little Marrakesh, a surprise awaits around every corner.

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Vrbanj

Vrbanj (5)

The largest village on the island, Vrbanj is a classic example of traditional Dalmatian living, but with a growing number of facilities, making it an ideal base for anyone looking to escape the coastal crowds.

In addition to the two bars, shop, post office and bus service, the recently opened Bogo restaurant is open all year and is excellent value.  Make sure you check out the rather bizarre priest's house opposite, complete with model village, a nice distraction for the kids.

And no visit to Vrbanj would be complete without popping into the Plančić winery to taste some of the island's excellent wine.

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Svirče

Svirče (2)

One of Hvar's more interesting villages, Svirče is best known for its excellent wines, and its rosé was once the most important wine on Hvar.  Leading the way is Vinarija Carić - whose marketing director is the current president of the Hvar Wine Association - and the Svirče Wine Cooperative.

There is a delightful old part of the village up the hill, as well as the excellent Kod None restaurant.

Many visitors to Svirče are drawn by the unusual church at the entrance to the village, a unique structure certainly to Hvar, and perhaps Dalmatia.  Others are drawn by another less advertised attraction, the weekly concerts at the rather surreal motorbike club opposite the church.

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Vrisnik

Vrisnik (3)

Named after the indigenous heather, Vrisnik is a picturesque stone village in the hills above Jelsa with commanding views fo the mountains and sea.  If you are looking for a good workout while wandering a pretty stone village, Vrisnik is for you!

It is also an important centre for olive oil as well, with some of the best on the island available for tasting, while no visit to the village is complete without a bite to eat at the excellent Konoba Vrisnik, which is quietly attracting diners from the more fashionable coastal restaurants.

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Pitve

Pitve (1)

The oldest village on the island - dating back 2,000 - and the reason for Jelsa's existence, as the latter, once know at 'Pitve Harbour' was built to service the needs of the inland village.

Pitve has a fascinating history, both ancient and recent, and is one of the most sought-after locations on Hvar for property. The combination of its fabulous views to Jelsa and beyond, combined with its tranquil authentic stone setting make it a haven for those wishing to escape the crowds.

Throw in an excellent restaurant or two, and there are enough reasons to pop into Pitve and have a wander round before driving though the wonderful Pitve Tunnel.

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Gromin Dolac

Gromin Dolac (1)

One of the most picturesque and largely abandoned stone villages on Hvar – Gromin Dolac – is only accessible by road from Zavala.

Coming through the village, the road swings round to the right with a large unfinished orange church on the corner. Immediately after the turn, there is a sharp turn to the left onto a rough road which leads to Gromin Dolac. Lovers of old stone villages will enjoy the serene setting and ruins.

Although largely deserted, it is possible to find accommodation there – a Belgian national has bought a house there and welcomes guests through the Couchsurfing website when he is there, usually in summer.

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Zavala

Zavala (6)

Zavala is one of the most popular resorts on Hvar, and with good reason.  Its spectacular views of Scedro and the azure sea, and its sloping vineyards make it a great place to relax and soak up the rays on this south-facing village.

The beaches are excellent too, and many people brave the Pitve tunnel to enjoy at day at the water in Zavala. 

And for people wanting to visit the almost deserted island of Scedro, Zavala is the best place to negotiate a boat ride.  There are also a couple of good restaurants, and plenty of local wines to try.

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Ivan Dolac

Ivan Dolac (3)

Ivan Dolac has one of the largest accommodation rental offers on Hvar, and for good reason; its beaches are extremely child-friendly, and the welcoming village is a popular place for a family holiday, with its uninterrupted southern views of a pristine Adriatic.

Ivan Dolac is also wine country and only a stone's throw from the infamous Zlatan Otok winery. While the main action in the village is by the water, do visit the old village itself, which dates back to the 16th century.

The opening of the Hvar Town to Sveta Nedjelja road has now greatly improved access to Ivan Dolac, and tourists now have an alternative to the Pitve Tunnel.

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Sveta Nedjelja

Sveta Nedjelja (3)

Where to start? Home to the only Grand Cru in Croatia, the Zlatan Otok wines are based in Sveta Nedjelja, its iconic tree by the village waterside.  

Beaches? Take your pick, there are some excellent places to jump into the clear Adriatic.  Rock climbing and cave exploring? Take a look at the tremendous natural backdrop to the village, some of the best climbing in Dalmatia.

Food?  Check out the rather unusual marina built by the Plenkovic family and enjoy the feshest sea food, or check out Tamaris, another worthy eatery.

Don't forget to check out the old village itself, one of the prettiest on Hvar.  All this is now much more accessible with the opening of the (fairly rough, for now) road from Hvar Town directly to the village.

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Humac

Humac (2)

One of the must visits on Hvar, Humac is an abandoned shepherd's village with a wonderful atmosphere and stunning stone ruins.

 Declared an eco-village, the food at Konoba Humac is a throwback to authentic Dalmatian dining. Situated in the front of the village, it has spectacular views of the Adriatic and mainland beyond.

Not to be outdone, why not spend the night at Murvica's - the only accommodation in Humac - and have the village to yourself, complete with outdoor shower overlooking the sea?

The restaurant is the starting point for the excellent tour of Grapceva Cave, which is available from June to September, and by arrangement. Look out for the impressive horses which live in the area, and if there on a Friday, you may catch the disabled children's horse riding lessons.

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Poljica

Poljica (0)

Passing Humac, the first village on the main road is Poljica, which has one of the best oil presses on the island and is an excellent place to buy some of the island's famous olive oil. While not as impressive as Grapceva, the Zemuinska Cave has striking stalagmites and is more accessible.


There are Roman walls and graves with ancient inscriptions, as well as the pretty parish church of St. John, but a diversion to the coast at the entrance to the village is also worthwhile.

The road to Mala Stiniva is a curious one - by rights it should be worse than the main road, but it is more modern and better maintained, and comes with an intriguing fork: turn right and the road meanders along the coast before stopping abruptly (there is a stunning bay below, with difficult pedestrian access); turn right and the road also goes nowhere, although the delightful hamlet of Mala Stiniva, one of the most picturesque in Dalmatia, can be accessed on foot.

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Zastražišće

Zastražišće (0)

Next up is Zastrazisce (which takes it name from 'guardhouse'), a village made up of the hamlets of Mola Bonda, Podstrana, Donje Polje and Grudac. The 19th Century parish church of St. Nikola dominates the hilltop, but there is an older church - St. Barbara - which was built in 1621 on the foundations of a 14th century church.

At 316m above sea level the peak of Vela Glava was an ideal observation point of marine traffic, commanding a view from the island of Solta to Makarsa, and there is a partially reserved Illyrian fort there.

As with Poljica, a left turn to the coast is essential, this time leading to Vela Stiniva, one of the hidden gems of Hvar. There is good climbing to be enjoyed on the steep cliffs, and tourism is surprisingly well developed given the remote location. Although the full-time population is only two people, there is a restaurant in summer, as well as wheelchair-friendly private accommodation.

There are few places to stop for a drink or bite to eat, but one that is worth checking out on the main road is Karmelino’s on the left towards the end of Zastrazisce.

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Pokrivenik

Pokrivenik (1)

Another worthwhile detour before reaching Gdinj is the bay of Pokrivenik, a popular spot for sailors with its deep bay, hotel and restaurant. Of additional interest above the bay is Badan Cave, which is 61m long and inhabited in Neolithic times, and its entrance is clearly visible from the bay.

Pokrevenik’s wonderful Hotel Timun is a popular stopping off point for sailors on the north-eastern coast, which has little in the way of hospitality between Jelsa and Sucuraj. A great place to stay for tourists looking for true peace and quiet.

 

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Gdinj

Gdinj (5)

Continuing along the main road, the eight hamlets of Bonkovci, Stara Crkva, Banovi Dvori, Vrvolici, Visoka, Talkovici, Dugi Dolac and Nova Crkva compose the settlement known as Gdinj. There are some fine buildings to enjoy, including the Church of St. Juraj with its 16th century cemetery, which lies outside the town, There is a protected building, once owned by Ivko Radovanovic, which houses a library and some of his paintings.

There are also prehistoric drystone walls from the Bronze Age and evidence of Illyrian burial sites, but most visitors who spend time in the Gdinj area turn right to some of the best, and least visited beaches on the island. South-facing and more than 60km from the glitz of Hvar Town, the bays of Rapak, Torac and Tvrdni Dolac are an ideal hideaway.

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Bogomolje

Bogomolje (1)

The last village before the eastern port of Sucuraj is sprawling Bogomolje, a collection of hamlets which share a school, cemetery, parish church dating back to 1750, and a memorial for Second World War victims by Joka Knezevic. Nearby Bristova cove used to host steamships and there is a 13m long cave in the cove.

From Bogomolje, the road straightens and the views of Biokovo Mountains on the mainland and the island of Korcula to the south are stunning. Apart from the occasional wild boar, the 21km to Sucuraj are a joy, from where one can catch the ferry to Drvenik and mainland discovery.

 

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Milna

Milna (9)

A short distance from Hvar Town, along the new road to Stari Grad lies the popular village of Milna. Famed for its outstanding fish restaurants literally on the water, head to Milna to enjoy some of Hvar's best seafood.

With its wide and child-friendly pebble beaches alongside the restaurant, it is an ideal destination for a family day out, a chance for parents to relax with a glass of wine while watching the kids.  The views to Vis are superb, bettered only by the golden sunsets.

Legend has it that a descendent of Henry VIII was shipwrecked here and founded the nearby village of Malo Grablje, which is one explanation of the rather curious Croatian surname of Tudor which dominates here. One not to miss on your Hvar tour.

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Zaraće

Zaraće (0)

Halfway between Hvar Town and the tunnel on the new road to Stari Grad lies the almost abandoned village of Zaraće. The views of this tranquil stone village above the road are surpassed when looking down from its various ruins to the southern shores of Hvar and beyond.

Home to one of the island's most infamous pieces of real estate in the Great Property Rush of 2004, there is another less visible part of Zaraće, its pretty beach with restaurants down a small road. So photogenic is it that it was used as a film set for a Croatian movie which included former President Stipe Mesić.

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08 Jun 2016, 10:05 AM

Etno Hvar festival x KUL TURA po otoku will be happening July 8-9 in Humac!

20 May 2016, 01:59 AM

Our list of 25 reasons to visit Jelsa this summer continues with Ivan Dolac, a beautiful little village on the southern side of the island.

20 Sep 2012, 16:42 PM

Moli Onte

Written by

 

      A gem of a restaurant in Milna.

21 Mar 2015, 22:01 PM
21 Mar 2015, 00:07 AM

I love Vrisnik, but can never do it justice in words, so let's try with pictures...

21 Mar 2015, 00:03 AM

The excellent work of the Vrisnik Cooperative is recognised in the label of Croatian Island Product.

20 Mar 2015, 23:33 PM

Hvar has many wonderful walks and paths, with a truly stunning nature to enjoy. A springtime walk from Svirče to Vrbanj in pictures.

20 Mar 2015, 23:25 PM

What to do when you have poor hotels and quality private accommodation? Is this the start of something very exciting for the island of Hvar?

20 Mar 2015, 23:21 PM

One of the treasures of Hvar is about to receive cultural heritage status. A rather interesting konoba in Vrbanj.

20 Mar 2015, 23:05 PM

Rather unique festival in Dol.

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