Hvar is the number-one holder of Croatia’s superlatives: it’s the most luxurious island, the sunniest place in the country (2724 sunny hours each year) and, along with Dubrovnik, the most popular tourist destination. Hvar Town, the island’s capital, is all about swanky hotels, elegant restaurants, trendy bars and clubs, posh yachties and a general sense that, if you care about seeing and being seen, this is the place to be. The coastal towns of Stari Grad and Jelsa, the cultural and historical centres of the island, are the more serene and discerning spots.
Hvar is also famed for the lilac lavender fields that dot its interior, as well as for other aromatic plants such as rosemary and heather. You’ll find that some of the really deluxe hotels use skin-care products made out of these gorgeous-smelling herbs.
The interior of the island hides abandoned ancient hamlets, towering peaks and verdant, largely uncharted landscapes. It’s worth exploring on a day trip, as is the southern end of the island, which has some of Hvar’s most beautiful and isolated coves.