Hvar Island: Fascinating Facts
One could go on ad infinitum about Hvar’s interesting facts, but here we have compiled a selection to whet the appetite and encourage you to find out more for yourself!
Did you know that Hvar has an estimated average of 2726 hours of sunshine every year? The summer sunshine is ideal for restful holidays swimming and relaxing, then enjoying the cooler evening air. The summertime north-westerly mistral wind usually comes up in the late morning and takes the edge of the day’s heat, as well as delighting yachtsmen.
Winters are generally mild, so outdoor activities, from energetic professional sports training to hiking, walking, birdwatching, exploring nature, and visiting Hvar’s sites of interest, are best enjoyed to the full outside of the hottest part of the year. Some people even swim in the sea in the depths of winter! Snow is a rarity on Hvar, so when it falls it is a cause for excitement, building snowmen and even trying out some makeshift tobogganing on the island’s highest slopes during the short time it lasts.
The average temperature on Hvar year-round is 16.5°C, average daily sunshine 7.7 hours, with 3.8 hours of clouds. Weather conditions vary in the different parts of Hvar. The result of this benign climate is a wealth of diverse plants, including the rosemary and lavender for which Hvar is famous.
And there’s more!
Hvar is not just a pretty place with a nice climate for lazing around in. The natural beauty is just one part of its attractions, offering the luxuries of swimming in calm waters, peaceful walks by the sea or through the countryside, enjoying the sound of birds, the sight and scents of the pine trees and aromatic plants, and the quiet stillness. Then there are the restaurants, which offer a wide variety of local and some international dishes, and are increasingly catering for more specialized diets such as vegetarian and vegan. Extra virgin olive oil and fine wines are part of Hvar’s high quality gastronomic experience. For music lovers, there is beautiful a cappella singing, a particular Dalmatian tradition. And Hvar’s history is rich in events and achievements, which are reflected in its architecture and landscape. There are 936 nationally recognized monuments on the island, of which 725 are cultural monuments, 183 listed as natural monuments, and 28 listed as both.
A smattering of things to know about Hvar
• Hvar is probably the sunniest island in Croatia on the Adriatic.
• The local dialect name for Hvar is ‘For’
• The coastline extends for 270 km
• The island has some 11,500 residents
• Hvar Island is divided into four administrative units: Jelsa, Hvar, Stari Grad and Sućuraj
• Hvar is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and was voted the most beautiful in Europe by Condé Nast Traveller magazine readers in 2019.
• Stari Grad is the oldest town in Croatia, dating from 384 BCE
• Hvar has been the ‘Island of Wine’ since 384 BCE, and almost certainly prior to that.
• The first public indoor theatre was established in Hvar Town in 1612.
• The island has five separate entries in the UNESCO listings.
• The Stari Grad Plain, which is on the World Heritage List, is the best preserved example of ancient field parcelization in the Mediterranean.
• The oldest drawing in Europe was found in the Grapčeva Cave near Humac, purportedly of a boat, although some have interpreted it as an elephant.
• The first sea battle recorded in Croatian waters was fought off Hvar in ancient times.
• Hvar has been home to some of the greatest Croatian literary and musical figures, including Petar Hektorović, Hanibal Lucić and Antun Dobronić.
• ‘The Slave Girl’ (1530) by Hanibal Lucić is considered to be the first play to be written in Croatian, and one of the earliest European secular dramas.
• A people’s uprising was led by Matij Ivanić in 1510, 279 years before the French Revolution!
• In 1858 Croatia’s first meteorological station was opened on Hvar.
• In 1868 Hvar pioneered organised health tourism, possibly the first example of its kind in Europe.
• Hvar native Juan (Ivan) Vučetić (1858 – 1925) developed the techniques of Dactyloscopy (fingerprinting) in 1891
• Hvar native Grgo Novak (1888 – 1978) was one of Croatia’s most distinguished historians and archaeologists, who did much to uncover many treasured secrets from the island’s distant past.
• The first disco club in former Yugoslavia, the ‘Amfora’, was founded in Jelsa in 1964.
• Hvar Island has its own football league competition, the ‘Forska liga’.
• In 2020, two Hvar natives were leading the country, Andrej Plenković as Prime Minister and Vili Beroš as Minister of Health during the difficult time of the Covid-19 crisis.