We decided to spent part of this year´s summer on the famous Dalmatian island Hvar, which has the reputation of being the sunniest Adriatic island and is even amongst the sunniest places in the whole Europe, considering the hours of sun in the whole year. And really, in 2 weeks we were there we had literately no clouds! In the last years Hvar has developed into ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TOURIST SPOTS in Croatia and one can directly see why. There are also many CELEBRITIES stopping here with their yachts every year, there are numerous very good restaurants, bars and clubs in Hvar town, but just a short car drive out of the town you can enjoy nature pure. We decided to stay in a smaller village called Zavala, which was much more peaceful. This was also our first family summer beach holiday with Lu, who was just 8 months old at that time.
When: August 2012
Visited: Sucuraj, Zavala, Hvar, Stari Grad
How: with our car
We stayed in: rented house
HOW TO GET THERE?
The easiest way is to catch a ferry in SPLIT, it will take you to STARI GRAD on Hvar. This is probably a bit more expensive than option B, which is driving further south to DRVENIK on Makarska Riviera and catching a ferry there. This one will take you to the little town called Sucuraj which lies on the very eastern tip of Hvar. We opt this way also while going to Hvar, going home we choose the ferry to Split. You have to take care when you plannig when to leave, because sometimes there are long lines of cars for the ferries so don´t plan to take the last one in the first place!
HVAR WITH KIDS
On first sight, Hvar´s coastline is very rocky and there are lots of sharp stones – but if you take a closer look, you will find many GREAT LITTLE BAYS with small stones which are perfect for the little ones. Hvar town is known to be the place to be if you are looking for a night out, so maybe it´s better to stay somewhere else with the kids, somewhere where you will have more peace and quiet. We loved ZAVALA as it offered just that and more! There were many walking paths at the coast, great beaches and just enough infrastructure in terms of supermarkets, bakeries and other services so that we did not feel like we were at the end of the world. Just like on the other islands, it is easy to get fresh healthy food also here, the weather is stunning and the fresh air will do everyone good. So, Hvar with kids? We say yes!
WHAT WE SAW & DID
So, we landed in SUCURAJ and had to drive for about an hour more, on a very windy narrow road towards JELSA and then through an even more narrow tunnel to ZAVALA. The whole way from Ljubljana (Slovenia), where we started the journey was a bit long, but as soon as we say the green hills, the vineyards, olive trees, lavender and the sea, we knew it was all worth it!
So we spent the next 2 weeks in this NICE STONE HOUSE surrounded with lush Mediterranean vegetation, just about 50 metres uphill from the beach. Because Zavala is a bit remote (the only way leading to it is through that narrow tunnel) there are not sooo many tourists here and one can really enjoy a peaceful holiday. For a reasonable price we enjoyed the maximum comfort in this house with more bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room plus a huge outside terrace.
JUST A SHORT WALK down a few stairs and we were on the beach swimming – really ideal for a vacation with a baby. We´re not one of those who would move half the house to the beach every day, but I must say having the beach so close is always convenient when travelling with children. Besides there was also a smaller hotel (to which our houses also belonged), a RESTAURANT and a BEACH BAR. As always, the nicest time on the beach was in the morning and then towards the evening when it was the most peaceful.
Of course we did not just lounge at the beach and eat all the time, we also took trips here and there. Also to the TOWN OF HVAR, which we had not visited for many many years. It still had the same good old flair – cafes, shops and markets, between those amazing stone houses with nice architectural details, churches and monasteries and more! Really a great vibrant town – we were almost a bit shocked at first because we spend the last days in a much more quiet area, but we got used to it quickly and enjoyed the day!
The town itself is amazing, but I cannot imagine spending here a week or even more – too much going on :). Unfortunately Lu was still too small and too much attached to our presence so we left out the boat trip to PAKLENI ISLANDS which are scattered around Hvar and suppose to be really nice to visit – so we have something more to see the next time we are there!
The best time of the day anywhere in Dalmatia besides all the hours swimming in crystal clear sea water has to be DINNER TIME! In best case scenario something from the bbq, something freshly caught, bought from the local fishermen in the early morning. Some fresh vegetables to go with, we usually pick some herbs (rosemary, dill and so on) on our way from the beach – they grow everywhere, you just have to look! The first few days we always buy wine from a local producer so that we have something to go with the nice food in the evening. Lu was eating seafood for the first time and was so excited over it that we still laugh today when we think of his reactions ;).
Before dinner a mandatory WALK ON THE BEACH at sunset when the beaches have all cleared out – the sounds of the waves and the fresh salty air were doing magic at Lu and made him very sleepy. Dozing off shortly made him fit again for the dinner and he was more than ready for staying up late ;).
We had a great time on Hvar – I stronly recommend Zavala if you are searching a place to really relax. There is also a camp site near where we stayed. We usually don´t like to stay so long on the same spot, but this time it was different as we all needed to just sleep, eat and “do nothing”. Lu was enjoying his time, being outside all the days in that beautiful natural environment, practically directly on the beach. One of our favourite summer holidays!
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