Hvar, a Croatian island that smells of lavender. Digital Nomad Guide
Islands are metaphors for the heart, and my heart belongs entirely to the Croatian islands.
There are many well-known Spanish, Italian, and Greek islands in the Mediterranean, but the most stunning ones have long since developed into popular vacation spots, especially in the summer, which ultimately results in crowds and expensive lodging. Without leaving Europe, those seeking a more authentic island experience must get a little more creative, and Croatia might well hold the key. If your top priorities include peacefulness, pristine nature, and remoteness, of course.
After the Greek archipelago, Croatia’s territory includes more than 1200 islands and islets, making it the second-largest archipelago in the Mediterranean. Only 47 islands are thought to be inhabited, and many of them have gorgeous bays and beaches with serene waters.
So, I’ve chosen one island that is for me a great spot for a workation. Of course, I could write about Dubrovnik and Split, traditionally the most lively hubs on the map of Croatia… but I wanted to escape the crowd. And finding information about them is as easy as a Sunday morning, so I am pretty sure you will manage on your own.
Here you can start discovering many of the secrets of Hvar, and as a cherry on the top, my favorite Pakleni Otoci. Hvar a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, located off the Dalmatian coast, lying between the islands of Brač, Vis, and Korčula.
Hvar smells of lavender. It is not an overstatement. Hvar Island has an annual two-day Lavender Festival in Eko-Ethno village near Velo Grablje. Actually, fifty years ago, 8% of the world’s total lavender production came from Hvar Island. But enough of herbs.
I recommend staying in Jelsa or Stari Grad, as Hvar town might be a little more pricey. , But once in the capital of the island, you will see the towering fortress Španjola. After some hiking, it offers a magnificent view of the Pakleni Otoci archipelago. In addition, you will see one of the oldest theaters in Europe, the arsenal, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Benedictine monastery, where sisters make lace from agave thread. But if you are not a history fan, beyond the music-filled bars, there’s a thriving creative scene. Hidden behind the castle walls are a plethora of colorful and vibrant independent galleries and family-run workshops that are well worth exploring. With stunning views of the harbor – it is worth taking your time for superyacht spotting. But what I loved most was taking a cruise to Pakleni Otoci.
You could take a water taxi to this peaceful and uninhabited archipelago off Hvar’s southwest coast, but if you want a little more freedom, renting a motorboat for the day might be worth it. Every few minutes, you’ll want to take in the scenery or dive into the inviting and tranquil waters. Some beaches, such as Palmizana, have beach bars where you can replenish your supplies of food and drink.
The rest of your time can be spent exploring undiscovered coves or going ashore for a stroll in complete solitude.
Try taking the cruise with a stop in one of the peaceful bays, jump to the water directly from the boat and enjoy freshly grilled fish, prepared on the boat with a little rakija. I tried old school one, on Joan Boat, .and I genuinely loved it. I was six hours trip with lunch onboard (40 Eur), jumping to the water and sunbathing on the islands.
This is the Hvar’s main ferry port, A little sleepy, yet charming. After disembarking, you could easily spend a few hours exploring some important pieces of Croatian heritage. Petar Hektorovic was a 16th-century writer who took it upon himself to fortify his own summer residence and protect some of Stari Grad’s citizens during the Ottoman invasion. Tvrdalj Castle is still much as it was back then, with a few surprising flourishes.
Check out the seawater-fed fish pool, which is surrounded on all four sides by arcaded stone terraces.
It is a peaceful, good for families community on Hvar’s northern coast. While it is much smaller than Hvar Town, it has some excellent sightseeing and dining options. A plethora of coffee shops and restaurants, as well as lush parks, town squares, and swimming holes, surround the charming harbor.
Jelsa, like Hvar Town, has a plethora of alleyways branching off the main street. Many of the most authentic dining establishments can be found here. Wine lovers will enjoy Artichoke, while those looking for cool treats in the Croatian summer will enjoy Eis Café’s homemade desserts and ice cream.
Blue & Green Cave tour from Hvar
You can hop from island to island on a guided motorboat tour to see the exquisite nature of the local waters. Ravnik Island, home of the Green Cave, will be the first stop. The sunlight creates an ethereal emerald green glow here, and the skipper will stop to allow for a half-hour swim in the sea.
The Blue Cave is located on the shore of Bisevo Island, and as you approach, you can see the coast’s wild cliffs. Nothing can prepare you for the Blue Cave’s dreamlike beauty and the almost neon light produced by a narrow shaft of sunlight reflected by the sand on the cave’s floor.
Price: from 60 E per person
A place to work
There is an amazing Saltwater Workspace: a chain of co-working spaces that’s present in Split, Zagreb, Zadar, Hvar, and Dubrovnik.
But as we talk about workation ;).
When it comes to accommodation in Croatia as a digital nomad, tourist apartments (known as “apartmani”) are everywhere in small towns. Cities like Zagreb and Split range from €40 per night for basic accommodation to luxury condos with swimming pools and gyms. Booking.com or Airbnb is the most convenient way to find short-term rental properties in Croatia.
It is also possible to use traditional rental agencies and word-of-mouth and Fb groups. You pay less, but it takes much longer to find a place, and many landlords rent their property for just six months. The largest online portal is Njukalo.hr, but in Croatian only. You could save a lot on accommodation if you use a local agency or stay on the outskirts. Nevertheless, in terms of spending a month in Croatia with weekend excursions and 2-3 weekly nights out, this is the sort of budget you should expect.
If you don’t have an EU mobile plan, you’ll want to buy a SIM Card in Croatia. T-Hrvatski Telekom and Orange have the best deals for foreigners. You can find them in official stores, convenience stores, and sometimes supermarkets.
How to get to Hvar
If you’re curious about how to get to Hvar island, here are all possible ways to reach it:
- Car ferry from the Split harbor. The best way to travel from Split to Hvar is a 50- minute ferry with fares from 145 KN (€19) Jadrolinija. Timetable is here
- Passengers’ catamarans and high-speed ships.
- Car ferry from Makarska Riviera – Drvenik – Sucuraj (Hvar island) – Drvenik by Jadrolinija. In the high season, it runs 11 journeys per day, in total 77 times per week from Sucuraj (Hvar). In the low season, it runs 6 journeys per day, in total 42 times per week. The journey time is 35 minutes. Ticket prices for foot passengers range from 13 Kn to 16 Kn. Timetable is here
- Coastal line – Rijeka – Split – Stari Grad (Hvar island) – Korcula – Dubrovnik. Also by Jadrolinija.
If you want to travel to national parks, small towns, or remote locations, renting a car is advisable. Most big international rental companies are present in Croatia. If you want a cheaper deal, AvantCar is a recommendable local agency.
I am speechless. So I just leave you with this photo.
Croatia is not an expensive country by any means, but prices have risen significantly in the last decade. As a result, Croatia is now competitive with other Southern European destinations while remaining less expensive than Italy, Spain, and France.
Here’s a breakdown of my nomad budget in Croatia for one month:
- Meal Budget Restaurant 10-20EUR
- beer(1-pint draught) 3 EUR
- Caffe 2 EUR
- Borek (type of pastry) 2 Eur
- Water (1.5-liter bottle) 1 EUR
- One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 1.7 EUR
- Basic Utilities (Monthly) 180 EUR
- Internet 35 EUR
- Apartment (1 bedroom) 700-900 EUR (in Jelsa off summer)
- Food and drinks: 450€;
- Transport: 50€;
- Tourist activities like national parks, museums, and sports: 125€;
- Miscellaneous: 100€
For history geeks:
The history of Hvar really starts when the island was colonized by the Greeks in 384 BC; the Greeks defeated the native Illyrian and Delmati peoples of the island. The Greeks built a large settlement – called Pharos – where present-day Stari Grad is located, and another smaller one, Dimos, where Hvar Town is today.
At the start of the 3rd century BC, the Romans took control of Hvar. It was under their rule that the island went into decline. In 1420, Venice finally took proper control of the island. Hvar was often used as a stopping point for ships sailing between Venice and the rest of the Mediterranean. This meant that the island prospered under Venetian rule; so much so that it became the richest area in Dalmatia. In 1797 the island fell under Austrian rule as did much of the rest of what is present-day Croatia. Four years of Italian rule followed the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. The island finally became part of Yugoslavia in 1922. The island was of course part of Croatia which declared its independence in 1991. And this history you can trace back to the many monuments on the islands. What a thrill!
It’s easy to understand why visitors consider this the best beach on the island. Dubovica is a tranquil little cove on the south coast, a short car or scooter ride away, with those classic glassy blue Adriatic waters. The sea is so clear that swimmers and boats appear suspended in the air from a distance. The cove extends a long distance inland, and its beach is a gentle curve of small pebbles. On the west side of the bay is a small hamlet of stone houses, and behind them rise dusty hills covered in Aleppo pines.
Remote jobs in IT
Well, my workations wouldn’t be possible without a solid remote job. So if you are an experienced Java Developer, Manual or Automation Tester, Front-end Developer or DevOps, check Vstorm’s remote jobs as well and work 100% remote in our community.
I hope I have convinced you to start your digital nomad experience at Hvar. Lijepo se provedi!