There seems to have been an overall very positive reaction to the decision of the new Hvar Town Mayor, Riki Novak, to impose fines for those not dressing appropriately, or eating and drinking on the main square and environs. While the introduction of these new rules may have surprised a few people, they are hardly a new concept, and Dubrovnik, for example, announced fines of 1000 kuna for anyone walking around shirtless in the old town last summer.
As I had early morning meetings planned with some Hvar businesses, I decided to get there a little early and wander around the town at 08:00 to get a feel of the town in early morning. Dalmatia in the morning is a special experience, and one I never get tired of.
The entrance from the bus station and car park. The message is loud and clear.
And there were several other signs all over the town. Simple rules, and not unreasonable to request people to follow them.
And on the back of the sign with the fines, another message for those leaving the centre.
Hvar Town's delightful main square, the largest in Dalmatia at 4700m2, a lot quieter at 8am, just a few tourists on the move, locals taking their morning coffee and local businesses transporting goods. Blissful.
And then I saw them! Two topless men, running the risk of a collective 1000 euro fine. Where were the police or local enforcement officers?!? In truth, I would expect there to be such an enforcement presence later in the day, but a tiny reminder that such rules are only as good as the enforcement procedures. I spoke to several locals about the new signs, and they were broadly positive, with one commenting that there seemed to be a marked improvement in the dress code on the first day. It was probably coincidental, but it did feel like an improvement. She was having a coffee at 22:00 on the main square when the drunken Hula Hula after beach crowd, and - apart from a couple of girls in bikinis - they seemed to have discovered clothes. Perhaps the message has got home, perhaps not, but an encouraging observation.
Signage clearly posted coming from the Franciscan monastery direction.
And without the crowds and without the party in the early morning, a chance to enjoy what truly is one of the most spectacular destinations on the planet.
Morning coffee on the edge of the main square, and behind the place where organised tourism began in Europe in 1868, an event which will herald a significant birthday next year.
And Hvar Town is so much more than the main square. It has magnificent back streets, with Gourmet Street just off the main square, my absolute favourite.
A town of fabulous palaces and buildings.
Of local shopworkers taking their morning coffee before the tourist masses arrive.
An exclusive waterfront with imposing Spanish Fortress above, which is all things to all people. A jogging route for some, a wait for the catamaran for others.
Ten minutes to the catamaran.
A boating paradise.
Breakfast at Hotel Riva offers the ultimate people watching spot right in the middle of the riva.
The incoming catamaran. Hundreds of guests leaving, hundreds of new arrivals.
And then the surprise. I had heard about the extention of the Hvar Town riva, but had heard little info about it. Here it is today, quite an extension from Restaurant Gariful.
The plans here. Once complete, DiVino will be set a fair way back from the waterfront.
A view of the new riva in process to the Pakleni island of Galesnik.
And walking along, a new monument I had not seen before, installed in 2017.
The information in Hvar Town has improved immensely in recent years.
And on to one of my favourite spots in Hvar Town, the bay near the Franciscan Monastery, with a lovely little beach, and the excellent Djordjota Vartal restaurant. There were a few early swimmers, and the water did look inviting.
A destination which truly has it all.
A relaxing way to start the day.
Hvar Town is still a very classy destination, and I hope it can resolve its problems, for it truly is one of the great tourism spots in Europe. It will probably take more than a few signs and rule enforcement to make the change needed, but at least the energy and will of the new mayor appears to be putting it in the right direction.
I will return next week in the evening hours and report back on progress. I hope to bring good news.