Hvar Island

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Hvar island offers an amazing 2,718 hours of sunshine each year ... it's really hard to beat!

Hvar is an island in the Dalmatian archipelago, covering an area of approximately 300 square kilometers. The population is 11,459.

Through the central part of the island a crest spans the landscape ending at the highest peak of Hvar (Sveti Nikola).

In the north is the Velo Polje area containing very fertile land. In the north you'll find several coves.

With a mild Mediterranean climate, Hvar has an air temperature in the winter of 9.1 degrees, with a temperature average of 24.8 degrees in the summertime.

Enjoying an amazing 2,718 hours of sunshine each year, the island is a great destination if you plan on visiting Croatia for the weather and spectacular landscape!

Photo of town on Hvar island by night

In the past heavy forests covered the entire island, but now many areas are cleared for the purpose of farming. The island contains a lot of rocky areas with underbrush and holm oak, as well as Aleppo pine.

The island has no surface water streams but at many locations there are small springs that rise to the surface from underneath the ground. The largest source of water is located near Jelsa, from which point the water moves toward the town of Hvar.

The majority of the villages are situated around Velo Polje and along the coast (Hvar, Stari Grad, Jelsa, and Vrboska). The local economy is based on tourism, farming, fishing, viticulture, olive growing, and the cultivation of rosemary and lavender.

Fishing is also a popular activity in the region. In fact, Hvar has three fish canneries located in Sucuraj (see my photos of the ferry ride from Drvenik to Sucuraj), Vrboska and Hvar. Tourists mostly visit Hvar and Jelsa - marinas have been built in Vrboska and on the Pakleni Islands to accommodate visitors coming to the area to have some fun.

You can reach most places on the island by the regional road: Hvar - Stari Grad - Jelsa - Bogomolje - Sucuraj. Croatian ferries also connect to Hvar via Hvar, Sucuraj, Stari Grad and the cove of Vira.

Photo of ships in Hvar island harbor

Hvar island has been populated since ancient times, as evidenced by the Grapceva and Po-krivenik caves containing painted pottery. The Illyrians also inhabited the island, battling against invading Greek forces in the 4th century BC. As occurred on Korcula and Vis, Hvar was eventually colonized by the Greeks - on Hvar the Ionians settled in the area.

Today you can still find evidence of these ancient settlements in the form of old walls, graves, Apulian pottery shards, and inscriptions from the time period. Although the Illyrians attempted to defend the island against the Romans, and remain independent, the island eventually lost its previous power and importance.

In later years, Hvar island became part of the Byzantine Empire until the 11th century when it joined the Kingdom of Croatia. For the next few hundred years the island stayed under Croatian-Hungarian rule, the Dubrovnik Republic, and Venice (1278-1797).

However, between 1358-1420 it was ruled by France and Austria. During the 16th and 17th centuries the island was known for its literature and cultural leanings. After WWI Hvar was annexed to Croatia.

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