While the main focus on most holidays on Hvar is the stunning coastline and its plentiful beaches, there is so much to discover inland on Croatia’s premier island, described by Forbes Magazine as one of the wrold’s sexiest islands. One of the most rewarding ways to spend a day discovering Hvar off the beaten track is to tako an off-road Jeep safari.
The day-long tour, organised by experienced local guides, takes clients away from the popular tourist resorts, on an intoxicating voyage of discovery through the aromatic hills of rosemary and lavander, through the various hilltop villages of the island, and along tracks off-limits to most vehicles.
Malo and Velo Grablje
Departing from Hvar Town at 9:00AM, the tour commences with the short trip to the two inland villages of Malo and Velo Grablje, the former completely abandoned and the latter in serious decline after once being the most important centre for lavander production in Dalmatia.
Malo Grablje has a special feel to it, abandoned by its residents en masse several decades ago in favour of the local fishing village of Milna down the road. One of the curious facts about Malo Grablje is the fact that all property owners hav the same non-Croatian surname – Tudor – leading to the legend that the villagers ase possible descendants of Henry VII.
Restaurant Vidikovac and the Sveti Nikola Peak
Continuing along the spectacular old road from Hvar to Stari Grad, the tour pauses for refreshment at the isolated Restaurant Vidikovac, a stunning spot which boasts sea views to the south af the island from one side, and equally picturesque northern sea views from the other, before ascending to the island’s highest point at 625m, Sveti Nikola, from where panoramic views of the island take in the neighbouring islands of Brač, Vis and Korčula.
Stari Grad Plain
An examination of the UNESCO-protected ancient Greek agricultural colony known as the Stari Grad Plain is next on the itinerary, an extremely well-preserved area close to Hvar’s oldest town, where the farming of olives and grapes continues in much the same way as it did in Greek times.
Humac, the Abandoned Shepherd’s Village
Lunch is taken in the eco-village Humac, a shepherd’s village long since abandoned by its inhabitants, but one of the most athmospheric places on the island. Konoba Humac, at the front of the village, has been sympathetically restored, and offers outstanding food, most of it organic, prepared according to treditional methods.
Best Croatian Beaches: Soline in Vrboska
After and excellent lunch, the tour makes its final stop, to one of the island’s nicest beaches at Soline, near Vrboska, a chance to dip into water and contemplate the sights, sounds and smells of the off-road Hvar experience.