Hvar Island is rich in beautiful natural coves and beaches, unsurprisingly, given that the island’s surface area is nearly 300 km2, most of it coastline.
The Municipality of Jelsa, which comprises Jelsa and many outlying settlements, covers over 50% of Hvar, so it has a wealth of unspoilt coves and beaches, which spread out towards the east, south and north of the island from Jelsa’s central position. Whether you delight in isolated bays, stone shores or shingle beaches, you are spoilt for choice around Jelsa and on Hvar Island in general.
The clear turquoise sea, smooth shingle and untouched nature are an irresistible draw for your perfect holiday. Swimming in Hvar’s clean sea is an unforgettable experience. Most of the beaches are accessible by road, and suitable for family outings and gatherings, being safe even for the youngest children (under parental supervision, of course).
For the more adventurous, there are beaches which are only accessible on foot, by boat, or by mountaineering, and which are true hidden jewels in this island paradise.
Beaches Around Jelsa
There are several bathing beaches within walking distance on either side of Jelsa’s bay. Just ten minutes’ walk from the harbour waterfront (riva) takes you to the nearest ones.
From the Town Hall on the waterfront, if you walk up the road on the south side of the bay (that’s the right side if you are looking out to sea), there’s a newly constructed pebble beach just beyond the breakwater called ‘Kanun’, and a little further on two more, called ‘Gospotova rapa’ and ‘Bile stine’. These three are favourite swimming places for locals from that south side of Jelsa, which is called ‘Vela banda’, as they can get out for a quick dip and then walk home through the shady alleyways. (Unlike guests who may be deprived of sunshine in their home countries, locals tend not to spend time soaking up the sun on the beach, so guests can usually find plenty of room.) In former more puritanical times, Gospotova rapa was reserved for ladies’ bathing, while men used Bile stine.
On the way to these beaches there are several cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy refreshments, sea views and fresh air.
Further up the road, you pass several restaurants to your right, about 1 km from the main waterfront you pass the Hotel Hvar. Just beyond it is the Mina Beach, which is sandy at one end, and is the best known Jelsan beach. It has showers and changing cabins on a concrete platform on one side, and you can rent sun-loungers there. There are also cafes, food outlets and restaurants providing refreshments. On the other side of the bay the beach is natural stone and earth. Both sides are sheltered by shady pine trees to protect you from direct sunshine at any time of the day. The beach is especially child-friendly, as it is shallow for quite a length from the far end, and there is a little aqua-park on it.
Following the road round, you reach the Grebišće Beach, which is also sandy, and is divided into two parts. Above the sandy part of the beach is a campsite, with a cafe below it on the sea side. On the other, east side of the bay, which ends in a headland known as ‘Čorni Petar’ (‘Black Peter’) according to some fisherman’s tradition, you can hire sun-loungers and relax under the pines. This is a favourite spot for locals, who frequent the little restaurant for its great atmosphere and music, and all the guests who discover it fall in love with it too.
Grebišće is about 2 km from the centre of Jelsa. Apart from walking, you can also enjoy a pleasant bicycle ride to reach it, as the seaside road is far from the main road east out of Jelsa, Of course, you can also go there by car, and there is a parking area under shady olive trees on the terraces leading down towards ‘Čorni Petar’ from the main road.
Zenčišća Beach is further along the coast, so we recommend reaching it by bicycle or car. There is a large car park just over the road from the beach. The bay is beautiful, and the beach has both a pebbled area and a concrete quay with easy access to the water. It also has shower facilities.
The Carkvica Bay has an extended beach, with vineyards rising above it. At the eastern end of the bay is the little chapel of St. Luke, which certainly dates to the 14th century, but is thought to be even older. On the way to the chapel along the seaboard are the remains of a Roman rustic villa, and there is a Roman burial ground on the west side of the valley.
Further on towards the east are lots more isolated bays – Prapatna, Makarac, Mala Stiniva, Zečja, Vela Stiniva, Dubac, Kruševa, Pokrvenik, which are best reached by car or boat.
From the Town Hall in Jelsa, heading the other way on the left side of Jelsa’s harbour, you walk past the breakwater called ‘Pumpurela’, after which there are numerous delightful swimming coves in the area called Vitarnja, all the way to Vrboska, which is about 4 km from Jelsa. For a good part of the way you can walk or cycle along the coastal road, which carries very little traffic. Further on you have to join the main road, which is not heavily frequented by cars, even in high summer. The road is flanked by tall pine trees for much of the way to Vrboska, which gives pleasant shade for walking or cycling.
As you leave Jelsa, just a few minutes’ walk past the Pumpurela breakwater and the abandoned relics of the Jadran, Jelsa’s first hotel, there is a large concrete terraced platform where you can rest in the shade of the pine trees. Locals call this spot ‘Muški boćič’ (‘Tiny Bay for Men’), while further on is a stony area called ‘Ženski bočić’ (Tiny Bay for Women’), with stone terracing stretching all the way to the Fontana Adriatiq Resort. Bočić is the favourite beach for locals from Jelsa’s ‘Mala banda’ (the residential area to the left of the Town Hall as you look out to sea), where generations of children have learned to swim.
Below the Fontana Adriatiq Resort
The hotel has a restaurant and cafe on its sea side, below which is a charming little bay of clear blue water shaded by pine trees. It has a concrete quay in its western corner, and ends in a pebbly area.
Vitarnja is an area offering many wonderful spots for bathing. Together with the area called Lučica over on the other side of the water, it is Jelsa’s elite tourist area, with second homes and numerous well-appointed rental apartments.
Vrboska’s Milna (Mina)
The Vrboska Milna Beach is a beautiful deep bay which starts at its eastern end with a little pebbly beach, and has a sandy sea shelf at its deepest part. The term ‘Milna’ or ‘Mina’ means sea shelf, hence the name of this and many other coastal bays.
Dark green pine trees surround the beach, leaning picturesquely towards the sea. The sea changes colour according to the position of the sun, varying from deep blue to shades of turquoise. The beauty of the place causes tourists to stop on their way to admire the splendour of the vista, whether passing on foot, by bicycle or in a car.
If you walk along the sea from Jelsa, you will pass the ACI marina as you come into Vrboska. Further along you reach Vrboska’s charming little bridge. Go across it, turn right and walk along the seaboard on the other side, and you will come to the Soline Beach. You will pass the Senses Resort on the way to the sandy Soline Bay. The Soline Beach has extensive parking, a restaurant and cafe. It is ideal for families with young children, because it is sandy and has an aqua-park, including pedalo rentals.
The trip from Jelsa to Vrboska can also be done by boat, which is a delightful experience.
The Glavica Peninsula begins at the Soline Beach, and you can traverse it in its entirety along a well-maintained path through the woods. The seaboard on the peninsula’s south side consists of flat rocks and some shingle. As you walk up the path, views open up over the extended bay where Jelsa and Vrboska are situated, and up towards the hills in the central part of Hvar Island, as well as the steep slopes which descend towards the sea in the island’s eastern part. On the cape at the peak of the Glavica Peninsula, the view opens up to encompass the magnificent Biokovo Mountain and Brač Island, and as you turn towards the west you will see the little island of Zečevo.
Below the path, all the way along to the nudist camp, there are flat stony areas ideal for watching the setting sun. The Glavica Peninsula ends at the nudist camp, but further on there are yet more superb coves which you can reach by shortcuts through the woods from Vrboska or from Soline.
Beaches in the Jelsa Council Area
Beaches on the south side, through the Pitve-Zavala tunnel
Wherever you are based on Hvar Island, if you have the use of a car, you should not miss visiting the beaches on the island’s south side, where you can bathe in what is said to be ‘the most beautiful sea in the world’. From Jelsa you pass through the historic village of Pitve to reach the rough-hewn tunnel which leads to Zavala on the south side of Hvar Island. As you come out of the tunnel, one of Hvar’s exquisite vistas opens up in front of you. Ahead, you see the islet of Šćedro, with Korčula beyond it, and further in the distance the tiny island of Sušac. To the right lie the islands of Lukavci and Vis, with Biševo beyond Vis, while to the left is the Pelješac Peninsula. If you have the good luck to arrive after a strong storm has cleared the air of its summer haze, you might even see the Italian coast way over on the other side. All this beauty is bathed in the blue of the sea and the sky, and highlighted in the heat of the south side’s bright sunshine. Visitors often say that swimming from the island’s southern beaches is one of the most beautiful and unforgettable experiences ever.
The south side’s main beaches generally take the names of the villages nearby which are in the Jelsa Council region, and these are Zavala, Gromin Dolac, and Ivan Dolac. The villages themselves are situated higher on the hills, as they were built long ago in times when marauders from the sea were a frequent danger. More recently, the settlements spread towards the shore, and in the last thirty years several tourist villages have been established along the coast.
Zavala Village is an offshoot of Pitve. Its older part is high above sea level and consists of traditional stone houses, many of which have been restored. Down by the sea there are newer houses, which are mainly rented to tourists in the summer. They stretch between the Petarčić Bay with its campsite in the west to the harbour (‘Zarac’) in the east, forming the new centre of the village. All along the shore there are beautiful beaches: Velo žalo (‘Big Beach’) is in front of the hotel-cum-restaurant Skalinada; there is a smaller beach with caves next to it; then a continuation of the main beach beneath a large stone wall which ends in a quay. Further towards the east are stones and few little beaches, leading up to the harbour. The harbour consists of a quay and sheltered mooring, also a beach which is good for swimming, as the sea is clear and clean. Going further along towards Gromin Dolac are the Žukova and Žučica beaches. If you love relaxing lying on a beach, Zavala is one of the best places for you to choose.
East of Zavala a macadam road takes you to Gromin Dolac, with flawless clean beaches and azure sea. Just ten minutes’ walk away, you will find enchanting beaches of fine shingle and crystal clear water.
Ivan Dolac is a small tourist village 10 km from Jelsa on the south side of the island. It lies below steep hillsides planted with vineyards, and from the village you have beautiful views over to the islands of Šćedro and Korčula. Its exquisite beaches of white scree offer gentle access to the water, which is good for weaker swimmers and for children, who can play in the shallows. This is a perfect location for a restorative holiday lazing on the beach!
Beaches on the north side
Not far from Vrboska on the north side of the island is the exquisite Maslinica Bay, a romantic sheltered spot surrounded by trees with shingle beach and clear blue sea. There are restaurants within walking distance from the beach.
Basina is a small quiet settlement on the north side of the island, just west of Vrboska. It is surrounded by beautiful pine tree woodland. Its clear sea teems with shellfish and fish.
Beaches near Poljica
Prapatna, on the north side of Hvar Island,is surrounded by high slopes. The bay has a shingle beach, with summer houses around the edges. It is the perfect place for getting away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. The beach is easy to get to, and can be accessed by car or by boat.
Makarac is a small peninsula with a shingle beach, surrounded by giant rounded rocks. It can be reached by boat, or on foot from Prapatna Bay.
Mala Stiniva is especially recognizable by its steep cliffs, which fall vertically down to the sea. It has a white shingle beach with a fisherman’s cottage on it. Like all the other little bays on the north side of the island, it offers a perfect setting for relaxing and enjoying the long summer days. You can reach Mala Stiniva by boat, or by car from the village of Poljica.
Zečja Beach is on the north side of the island, in a beautiful natural setting of pine trees. It has a shingle beach, and can be reached by boat, or by car from the village of Poljica.
Beaches near Zastražišće
Velika Stiniva, like Mala Stiniva, is on the north side of the island and has picturesque steep crags descending straight down to the sea. Its superb shingle beach is a perfect paradise for your holiday, ideal for swimming, scuba diving, and diving off the rocks into the sea. There are houses and a restaurant around the beach, which can be reached by boat or by car.
Dubac Bay is on the north side of Hvar Island, not far from the village of Zastražišće. There are a few little houses around the shingle beach, which can be reached by boat or by car.
Pokrvenik Bay on the north side of Hvar Island boasts beautiful shingle beaches, and a small jetty for mooring boats. There are houses in the bay, also a family-run boutique hotel and a restaurant. The bay is easily reached by boat, or by car from the village of Zastražišće.
Beaches Around Gdinj
Gdinj’s seaside coves are spread along the north and south sides of Hvar Island, below the village. These small shingle beaches are a long way from the hurly-burly of town and city life. They allow gentle, graduated access to the water, which makes them ideal for families with young children.
Zaraća Bay ison the north side of Hvar Island. It is a peaceful beach with just a few rental houses, and is accessible by boat or car.
Pobij Bay is on the north side of the island, and contains a few rental houses. Like the other seaside coves, it has a wonderful shingle beach with crystal clear water, and is the perfect place for relaxing. It is easily reached by boat, or by car from Gdinj.
Pakomina Bay, on the north side of the island, is another peaceful bay with a shingle beach, and a few rental houses. Arrive by boat, or by car from Gdinj.
Virak Bay, on the island’s north side, has a delightful shingle beach, and also offers ‘Robinson’ accommodation for people wishing to live in close touch with nature. Reach it by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Gdinj beaches on the south side of Hvar Island
Medvidina Bay is on the south side of the island, below the village of Gdinj. Here you will find peace and quiet, a long way from the hubbub and stress of modern life. The bay is easily reached by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Srhov dolac Bay on the south side of the island and has a shingle beach, with rental accommodation available. You can arrive by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Skozanje Bay is situated on the south side of the island, below the village of Gdinj. There is a fine shingle beach with gentle access to the water. It is the perfect place for a peaceful holiday away from noise and rush. The bay is easily reached by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Torac Bay is on the south side of the island, below the village of Gdinj. It has a fine shingle beach with gentle access to the water. It is the perfect place for a peaceful holiday away from noise and rush. The bay is easily reached by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Rapak Bay is on the south side of the island, below the village of Gdinj. It has a fine shingle beach with gentle access to the water. It is the perfect place for a peaceful holiday away from noise and rush. The bay is easily reached by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Veprinova Bay is on the south side of the island, below the village of Gdinj. It has a fine shingle beach with gentle access to the water. It is the perfect place for a peaceful holiday away from noise and rush. The bay is easily reached by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Kozja Bay is on the south side of the island, below the village of Gdinj. It has a fine shingle beach with gentle access to the water. It is the perfect place for a peaceful holiday away from noise and rush. The bay is easily reached by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Jedra Bay is on the south side of the island, below the village of Gdinj. It has a fine shingle beach with gentle access to the water. It is the perfect place for a peaceful holiday away from noise and rush. The bay is easily reached by boat or by car from Gdinj.
Smrska Bay is on the south side of the island, below the village of Gdinj. It has a fine shingle beach with gentle access to the water. It is the perfect place for a peaceful holiday away from noise and rush. The bay is easily reached by boat or by car from Gdinj.
You can find a convenient beach of your choice using the Plaja app.