People come to Hvar for the sunshine (there's 2724 hours of it a year!) but fall in love with its romantic hamlets and deserted coves. Hvar Town is the place to party hard with celebrities and students, while just a few kilometres away lies another world of vineyards and lavender fields. You can easily fill your days with island hopping, kayaking or a trip to the Blue Caves, topped off with a succulent seafood dinner.
Most Hvar hostels have great access to the local party scene – some host their own pub crawls and barbecues. If you're a bit of a foodie, look for a Hvar hostel with an on-site seafood restaurant. Wherever you stay, you're likely to have free Wi-Fi for checking which DJs are in town. For the quiet side of Hvar, you can stay in an off-grid beach hut and sway in a hammock as the stars come out. Many hostels in Hvar have private rooms as well as dorms if you need some creature comforts.
Spend an afternoon wandering the stone streets of Hvar Town, or perch on an ancient stairway with an espresso. After dark, head to Majerovića where the fashionable crowds meet. For authentic Croatia, a 30-minute bus takes you to the villages of Stari Grad and Jelsa. You can linger over a glass of local wine as fishermen haul in their catches, or admire the architecture of a renaissance palace. Hvar's hilly interior equals fragrant flower fields, and the south coast promises quiet, hidden beaches.
The best time to visit Tvrđava Fortica (Spanish Fortress) is at sunset when the sky over the Pakleni Islands turns pink. For days out, regular taxi boats leave Hvar for the islands to give you plenty of time for swimming and a seafood lunch. You could also take a trip to see the eerie lights of the Blue Caves, located on Biševo island. Looking for some solitude? The restaurant in Humac, a village abandoned over a century ago, is for those in the know.
To reach Hvar you'll need to catch a ferry from Split on the mainland. Crossings arrive into both Hvar Town and Stari Grad and take a couple of hours. You can use public buses to explore the island, with connections to Hvar, Jelsa, Stari Grad and several smaller villages. Of course, you could always travel like a local – hire a scooter to reach the best beaches and restaurants in hidden villages.