Abandoned Villages, Lavender Fields, Olive Groves, Island Hopping and Blue Cave Tour, from Hvar Island, Croatia
Hvar Island Hopping Map and Tour of Hvar Island Unique Attractions
- Take the Ferry from Split to Hvar Island,
- explore Hvar Old Town,
- rent boat and explore the Islands and Secluded beaches around Hvar (information below) or
- rent a scooter and visit the Wineries, Fishing Villages and Lavender Fields in Hvar Island
- Additional information and orientation of Hvar Island
Pakleni Islands off the Coast of Hvar Island
Pakleni Islands consists of a small archipelago of about 20 islands off Hvar Island, where the biggest islands are Sveti Klement, Palmižana Marina. They are known for beaches, spectacular sceneries and yes some areas is known for the parties. The closest islands to Hvar Town is the island Jerolim, followed by Marinkovac with Zdrilca bay and Stipanska beach and St. Klement with Palmižana Bay.
Hvar Island Boat Tour, Pakleni Islands, Download PDF Map HERE
Hvar Island Town Travel Guide
Travel Hvar Island, things to do in Hvar including visiting the Hvar Beaches, Vineyards, and Fishing Villages.
4 Ways to Visit Pakleni Islands:
1.Rent a private boat with a captain – this will be you most expensive option and you may decide on the itinerary with the captain
2.Water Taxi – At the Hvar Island town harbor, there are a number of boat taxis which run throughout the day between Hvar Town and the Islands. They run approximately every 20 to 30 min and have specific drop points on the islands.
3.Boat tours – there are a variety of tour companies that take you on day tours to the islands around Hvar Island using a set itinerary.
4.Rent a motor boat – a small boat of about 8HP that fits 5-6 people does not require a license on Hvar Island (check the latest regulations). You will find plenty of places around the harbor that will rent you a motor boat. This is by far the most flexible option to explore the 3 islands listed below or another itinerary of your choosing. Though life jackets are provided, you will have to weigh the risks and your comfort level in renting a boat. Make sure you inquire about the sea conditions and that you are satisfied you will be able to handle the motor boat.
Explore the islands, rent a boat with a captain
Boat Rental Advice to Follow:
- Only moor at official piers.
- Ensure there are enough life jackets for everybody and they are the right size.
- Get some lessons on how to drive the boat, moor up and drop the anchor to secure the boat.
- Ask for a map of the islands so you can plan your route. They may recommend a route as well.
- Ask about safety advice and follow their advice.
- Get oars for the boat in case you need to manually maneuver it or if it gets stuck by a rock or you need to dislodge the anchor
- Make sure there is a full tank of gas, and if gas is included in the price.
- A boat with steps is much easier to get in and out of after swimming if you decide to drop an anchor close to the shore.
- Only rent a boat if you are confident you can operate the boat safely.
The islands around Hvar Island are car-free, covered with lush pine trees and with a rocky shoreline, secluded and popular beaches surrounded by calm, clear azure blue waters, and amazing hidden coves. Some islands have resorts or bars, stone terraces and forested interiors.
Hvar Island Hopping – 3 Beach Islands
1. Jerolim Island
If short on time focus on the island of Jerolim which is a 10 min ride directly across from Hvar Town. Jerolim has calm clear waters with a rocky shoreline. It is uninhabited and you are free to go wherever you want. It is covered with pine trees, however its outer edge has a narrow strip of white rocks and beaches. There are two main beaches: the Amo bar with a beach that can be seen from Hvar Town on one side, and on the other side is the nudist beach, Kordovan. Kordovan Beach has a bar, umbrellas and hammocks. Though it is a nudist beach, there are many on the beach wearing their swimwear.
2. Marinkovac Island
A little larger than Jerolim, it’s a nice island to explore and has the Antonio Patak restaurant where you can stop for a snack and a drink. It has the beautiful bay of Zdrilca and the Beach where you could go swimming, or you could drop the anchor close to shore and jump into the Adriatic Sea for a swim.
On the opposite side is the Stipanska beach, also known as Carpe Diem beach. It is famous for its evening parties. At sunset it becomes a party island with DJ’s, music and dancing all night. However in the day, it has luxury loungers where you can relax with champagne and cocktails.
3. Sveti Klement Island
The Palmižana bay is located on the north side of the island. Keep in mind that though this is one of the largest islands, it is also further out from Hvar Island. It will take you about 30 min to get there and you are more exposed to the ocean. Traveling to Jerolim and Marinkovac you are closer to shore, you will see other boats. When travelling to Sveti Klement you won’t see as many boats but you will see and feel the large expanse of the ocean around you. Palmižana bay is busier, has more bars and restaurants and feels like a tourist destination.
Hvar Island Unique Attractions
Hiking through Lavender Fields & Olive Groves on Hvar Island
Traditional method of Lavender Oil production
At one time, about 50 years ago, Hvar Island produced 8% of the world’s lavender. It was the centre of lavender production in all of Dalmatia. Due to the year round sunshine and unique climate Hvar Island produces a high quality lavender that is sought after worldwide. However, forest fires, emigration, economic hardship since then, have devastated this industry. Lavender is a seasonal item. The flowers bloom from late May to mid July with a the annual lavender festival held mid season in June, and harvest in late July.
Harvesting is a two stage process. The first stage involves cutting the stalk close to the main bush, if done incorrectly the plant will turn woody as it grows. The second stage involves cutting the flower heads from the stalk as it’s the flower heads that contain the oil. This is a skilled and delicate process. The flowers are then bagged and ready for transport to the distillery. The locals make a variety of items with lavender including oils, perfumes, soap and scented pillows to sell as souvenirs to tourists.
You can find lavender fields a few kilometers from Hvar town. They will be surrounding the villages of Brusje, and abandoned villages of Velo Grabjle and Malo Grabjle. Please refer to the map. To explore the lavender fields, you will have to walk through fields, hills, and slopes, wear good shoes and be patient as you search for the fields in the areas indicated.
How to get to Lavender Fields and Olive Groves on Hvar Island
Download PDF Map of Lavender Fields & Villages of Hvar Island
You can take the bus from the Hvar Island station to Brusje (via Velo Grabjle). There is only one bus at 12:10 pm Sharp (does not run on holidays or Sunday) It travels on the “old road” between Hvar Town and Stari Grad. You can get off at the village of Brusje. Explore the area and walk back to Velo Grabjle and then to Malo Grabjle. Alternatively, you don’t have to go as far as Brusje and you can get off a Velo Grabjle. Tickets can be purchased directly from the bus driver but you will need exact change.
If you get off in Brusje, you would walk back for about 15-20 mins toward Velo Grabje and you should see fields of lavender and olive groves on your walk back. You should be hiking down from the old road to the village of Velo Grabjle and then on to Malo Grabjle. Follow the old trail which in ancient time was the main road connecting Hvar with Stari Grad on the north side of the island. The entire trail is downhill, starting with approx. 20 long steps and continuing as a small trail for approx. 1.5km from Velo Grabjle to Male Garbjle. Malo Grablje is located above the bay of Milna.
Once you have explored Malo Grabjle, You can then continue onto the beach at Milna which is about a 45 min walk on a gravel road. At Milna you can catch the bus back to Hvar Town. Alternatively you can rent a scooter in Hvar and explore the abandoned villages and look for the lavender fields and Olive Groves by that means.
Abandoned Village Velo Grablje also known as Gornje Grablje, meaning “Upper Grablje”
The 15th century mountainous village of Velo Grablje located about 10 km’s from Hvar Island Town is one of the focal points of lavender production. Over the last few years’ locals have worked to revive lavender production. A local NGO called Pjover was formed in the Velo Grablje village where locals with ancestral history revived the lavender tradition attracting EU funds, eventually increasing the population of the mostly abandoned village from 4 to 14. It has two small churches, St. Kuzma and Damian church, abandoned stone houses and the Tudor family home even has a restaurant and a pub in the central square. A local family, Marija Tudor and her fiancé, have renovated their family home and opened it as a restaurant in the village. They even hold cooking classes for tourists.
Velo Grablje Lavendar Festival
Lavender festival held at Velo Grablje is a two-day event every June including workshops, concerts and a demonstration of the distilling process. Every June the lavender tradition and heritage is revived. The meeting of locals, tourists, interested bystanders and chefs in the Velo Grablje, are offered knowledge and lavender products including lavender ice cream, lavender bread and butter pudding, You will see the lavender distillery as well.
Getting to Malo Grablje
Just down the street from Velo Grablje is the village of Malo Grablje (Malo meaning “lesser” or “lower”). After walking around Velo Grablje, take the small road downhill to Malo Grablje (there is a yellow signpost that you can follow). Along the way notice the olive trees of Hvar Island.
Hvar Island Abandoned Village of Malo Grablje
Along with its sister village Velo Grablje, it was abandoned in the 1950’s and 1960. The census shows a population of 123 in 1953 and 115 in 1961 which then decreased to 6 in 1971. The village is completely abandoned and has a small number of stone houses. There are no roads in and out of the village, just donkey tracks. The villagers left and moved to the coastal towns of Milna. They didn’t sell their property. They just built another house in Milna. In the 1950 a pest called phylloxera devastated the vineyards and other agriculture products resulting in the villagers abandoning Malo Grablje and moving to the nearby coastal town of Milna.
They even took their dead with them. Yes, they dug up the graves and reburied their loved ones. There are a number of abandoned house, which oddly are never for sale despite the interest in the area. Each house’s property owner is listed as Tudor, not a very common Croatian last name but it has an interesting history. The village was found by the illegitimate son of Henry VIII (Henry Tudor) who was shipwrecked on this island. That’s the story. We don’t know if that is a myth or a fact.
Hvar Island Hikes to Abandoned Villages
The site is a wonderful walk through historical life for those wanting to experience what local life was really like. After over 60 years of being abandoned, the houses are crumbling and nature is reclaiming them. It will need some hard work and renovation to try and restore it to its former glory. The path through the village of Velo Grablje will lead you to a sign on the wall that reads “konoba”. Follow the arrows up a flight of stairs and under an arch towards an old abandoned flour mill.
Continue to follow the path, which will lead you to a cellar where you will find a large olive press (old stone wheel). From the cellar, the path turns uphill to a konoba called Stori Komin run by Berti Tudor, who opened this in his old family home. (Berti Tudor, Email: [email protected] tel:: +385 (0)91 527-6408). The konoba does not have a menu and you get served whatever is cooked fresh that day. There are breathtaking views on the hilltops and there is a strange serenity about the whole area, quiet, peaceful and picturesque part of Hvar Island.
Coastal Village of Brusje
The old road from Hvar Island Town to Stari Grad will lead you to the village of Brusje with a population of about 210. It is 6km from Hvar town and high on the hill. It is filled with authentic stone houses with incredible views of the sea and surrounded by lavender fields and olive groves. The lavender is grown on the hills and rocky slopes. It has been used in a medical therapeutic capacity in the area for over 2500 years and as a perfume.
Brusje lavender field
Village of Bogomolje
Located on the eastern part of Hvar Island close to the ferry port of Sucaraj, it was as a thriving village about 40 years ago. It was one of the biggest on the island at that time. Today it is a lot quieter. A small village first inhabited in the 16th century by people fleeing the ottomans from the mainland, it has several churches, a central square with a basketball hoop, a village shop, post office, a local theater. The locals are traditional farmers making wine, olive oil and the villages are surrounded by fields of herbs including lavender. All of these products are sold in little booths in the village or sometimes they just set up along the main road.
Bogomolje has an interesting fact – I decided to explore the real estate in Bogomolje and found a 180 m2 stone house on the mountain for 777,000Kn. It was in total despair and would require a great deal of work to bring it to its glory. It certainly had potential if you are looking for a project.
Blue and Green Cave Tours
While you can take these tours from Hvar Island, there are plenty of Boat Tour operators who will take you to the Blue Cave. The Blue Cave can also be accessed from the island of Vis. If you are planning on exploring the islands of Croatia, Vis is one of those hidden gems that will soon be overrun with tourists.
Vis – Croatia’s Hidden Gem, Gateway to Blue Cave
Video of Vis
Closed to the public until 1989 the island has a low key vibe. It is an island of wine growers, and fisherman and is not as well developed as the others islands and as such it retains much of its rural charm. Architecture dates back to the time of the Venetians. It was used as a military and naval headquarters of the Yugoslav army. The filming of Mama Mia 2 took place on Vis. Furthest from the mainland, it is a little off the beaten track and not visited as much as other islands. Take a ferry from Split which takes over two hours. Jadrolinija Ferries leave Split for Vis twice a day and take two and a half hours. The ferry also take vehicles.
- To Travel from Hvar Island to Vis on the Jadrolinija ferry, it runs once per week on Tuesdays and takes 55 min.
- Return trip, from Vis to Hvar Island on Jadrolinija, runs once a week on Tuesdays.
- From Split to Vis ferries on Jadrolinija, runs every day.
Vis is on the eastern part of the island. This is where the ferry port is. A 20 min walk from Vis town is the small village of Kut with phenomenal views of the bay. Kut has old stone buildings and houses built right to the water’s edge while surrounding a main town square.
Village of Komiza
Komiza is on the western part of island and it is the main fishing village on the island. It is a 15 min drive from Vis Town. It has several fresh seafood restaurants. You can take a boat from Komiza to the Blue Cave on Bisevo Island or to the Green Cave on Ravnik Island. The major fishing port west on the island is Komiža a 15 min drive from Vis Town.
Island of Vis has an Archipelago off its coast including the island of Ravnik and Bisevo. The Green cave is on the island of Ravnik while the Blue Cave is on the island of Bisevo. The two islands are separated by a few miles and they are both off the coast of Vis. The Blue cave is one of the most famous Adriatic caves among tourists.
Blue Cave on Bisevo:
Blue Cave on Bisevo
- Cannot scuba dive, swim or free dive inside the cave, its protected. You can swim, but it won’t be in the blue cave, only the outside of the cave.
- Pay for water taxi plus pay for entrance fee to the cave.
- Limited to 5-15 min max per boat inside the cave.
- Long line to get into the blue cave.
- You can’t take your own boat inside.
- It is far to get there from Hvar (not from Vis). From Hvar you may be 4 hours on the speed boat.
- Tour companies make the trip longer by adding other stops, however the time in the blue cave will not exceed 15 min.
Green Cave on Ravnik (Zelena Špilja):
A natural phenomenon like the Blue Cave, the Green Cave is located on the islet Ravnik, on the southern side of Vis island about 4.5 miles away. It used to be free to enter, but now you have pay to enter. The Green Cave is less famous than its sister cave, the Blue Cave but it is still worth visiting.
The underpopulated island has a coastline of 2,737 meters with a total area of 26,6605 square meters (m2). You may reach the cave either by boat or simply swimming into it from Ravnik. Once inside the cave, you will enjoy experiencing the fabulous beauty of light and sea. It was named after the colour of the algae on the rocks of the cave, which also makes it one of the most beautiful climbing arenas in the world.
- Dubrovnik Game of Thrones and Old Town Self Guided Tour – Follow the Map and Guide to visit the film locations for Game of Thrones, beaches and churches. The self guided tour will take you a full day if you also visit the beaches. Use the map and attractions guide to visit the attractions of Old Town Dubrovnik and the locations of the Games of Thrones Scenes. The map has picture of the sites and how they looked for the film scenes. The walking tour will take you ½ a day. If you visit Lokrum island and spend time at the beach/monastery/fort on the island, this will take you another ½ day to full day. Lokrum Island is the location of the City of Qarth in GoT and is a 10 min water taxi ride from the Dubrovnik Port
- Dubrovnik Day Trips. Spend a day at each of the villages of Ston and Cavtat a short distance from Dubrovnik. Cavtat is a charming village that was invaded by the Slavs. The inhabitants fled and were the original settlers of Dubrovnik. Visit the historical beaches and spend time on the beach or hike the Ronald Brown Pathway. Ston is a small village on a hill surrounded by a 7 km wall that is second in size to the Great Wall of China. It is famous for its defensive walls, its salt “mines” and its oyster bays. The oysters from Ston are well renowned
- Upper Town, Old Town Zagreb – 15 must see attractions of Old Town Zagreb. Walk the attractions of Upper Town Zagreb, the self-guided walking tour will take you to the various attractions in ½ a day. You may want to explore some of these attractions in greater depth such as the Museum of Broken Relationships or climb the Lotrščak Tower. In that case the self guided tour will take more than half a day
- Zagreb Lower Town, Lenuci Horseshoe – Visit the 7 Squares and Botanical gardens in the shape of a horseshoe, including the under ground 31,000 sq meter shopping mall. A ½ day tour of the U-shaped system of 7 parks and Zagreb botanical gardens. The Lenuci horseshoe in Lower Town Zagreb is a short walking distance from Zagreb’s main Ban Jelačić Square and facing the main train station Glavni Kolodvor. The Square include pavilions, theater, museums, state archives and an underground mall amongst its many historical buildings dotted throughout the horseshoe
- Walking tour Zagreb Lower town and Grič Tunnels – A 2 hour tour of the tunnels under Zagreb old town; they were built as shelter during the war and are now used by the locals to cross Old Town or to go between upper town and lower town. Not only are they a short cut, they are cool in the summer and a welcome relief from the searing sun. Explore the old world war tunnels and visit the sights of lower town
- Unique and Fun things to do in Zagreb – Explore activities and places to visit such as Jarun Lake, the Antiques Fair or discover current events in Zagreb
- Old Town Split and Marjan Hill – Explore the Old Town Square, then head over to Marjan Hill. This self guided tour can take a whole day as the walking portion of the tour will guide you to attractions in the Old Town and then on to Marjan Hill. This part of the tour will take ½ a day. The tour will end at the beach where you can spend the rest of the day, take the local bus back or walk along the promenade back to Old Town
- Split, Salona ancient Roman Ruins – On the outskirts of Split, don’t miss the roman ruins of Salona, the birthplace of Emperor Diocletian. Step outside of the Old Town of Split and visit the nearby city of Solin (which is the ancient city of Salona, Diocletian’s birthplace). Then continue onto the town of Trogir. This self guided tour has instructions for local buses to take you on a route for a full day trip from Split to Salona (stop in Salona, then continue onto Trojir. Then catch the local bus back to Split
- Trogir, UNESCO World Heritage Site – This attraction is often overlooked. It is a charming, authentic village, a heritage city where the Old Town is on an Island. It is an easy bus ride from Split to Trogir, with a stopover in Salona (Solin)
- Split, Diocletian’s Palace – Not to be missed, the10 must see attractions in the palace to stop and take pictures. The Palace tour is a ½ day self-guided tour through the palace that will end at the market which you can explore
- Zadar Western Half – The old town is located on an island; explore the attractions on the westerns side of the island in this ½ day self guided walking tour. Attractions include popular attractions such as the Sea Organ, Greetings to the Sun and the Roman Forum / Ruins
- Zadar Eastern Half – Take a ½ day to visit the churches, parks and other attractions on the eastern side of Zadar Island. Visit the fish markets and green markets for fresh food and explore the cobblestone alleyways for a touch of ambiance and potential souvenir shopping
- Zadar islands – The Zadar Archipelago has around a 100 islands off its coast, many of them uninhabited. Visit all or any of the 9 popular islands in this map and use the attractions guide to the islands. You can rent a boat rent a boat with or without a captain, get a water taxi, take the ferry/ to visit the islands and swim in the Adriatic or anchor at hidden beach/cove
- Island Visit
- Croatia Islands – Rent or hire a boat to visit the 9 popular islands off the mainland. Visit 1 or 2 or all 9 islands for a fabulous day out to sea
- Hvar Island
- Hvar old town attractions and Španjola fortress (Fortica) – Use the self guided tour map and attractions to visit the popular sites in Hvar Old Town. The tour will take ½ a day to the major attractions in Hvar Town, including climbing to the Spanjola fortress that has been protecting Hvar for hundreds of years. However it could be longer if you want to spend time visiting the museums or spending an afternoon enjoying the magnificent views from the Fortress
- Hvar Island driving tour – Take the local bus, rent a car / scooter for the day to visit the numerous attractions on the island. This can take two days as there is a lot to see and do. It includes: wine tasting, visiting a cave monastery high on the hills, quaint fishing villages, popular beaches, hidden coves and harbours A great tour that will take you across the island
- Hvar Islands and Lavendar Fields Tour – You can rent a boat (with or without a captain) and visit the islands off Hvar Island. The Pakleni Islands are an archipelago of 20 islands off the coat of Hvar. They are known for beautiful beaches, charming village towns and secluded coves. You can take the bus to visit the abandoned villages of Velo Grabjle and Malo Grabjle,. It is a short bus ride or scooter/car trip from Hvar Town. Explore the fields of lavender and Olive Grove farms
- Getting around Croatia – Information on Croatian buses and ferries