Hvar has a population of roughly 11,000 making it the 4th most populated of the Croatian islands. It is one of the more popular islands and Hvar Town can get crowded with visitors.
Previously controlled by the Venetian Empire, Hvar Town is the largest town on the island with a port surrounded by a square, harbor and some Venetian architectural details. In June, the harbor was packed with fishing boats, commercial boats and yachts alike. One could only imagine how crowded the harbor is with boats in August when most of Europe is on vacation. The island of Hvar is quite beautiful with diverse landscape. We biked through lavender fields, rural farming villages, busy ports like Hvar Town as well as the charming, quieter seaside village of Jesla. For us, today was more about suffering (in a good way) than rejoicing. It was mostly about one thing:
We took the ferry to Stari Grad. Then, we climbed the 12 kms, mostly at 10%, to the highest point on the island and from there, coasted all the way down to Hvar Town about another 10 kms away. After a coffee and some water, we turned around rode back because we did not have a enough climbing on the way to Hvar Town.
Hvar Town was beautiful. A little larger than most of the harbors we have visited on the Croatian islands and much more crowded. It is a good base for hitting some of the hot beaches and diving spots. It is quite a diverse crowd ranging from multi-million dollar yacht owners to backpackers looking for cheap hostels.
Ferries are limited so we had a few hours to kill after we did our climbs. Instead of hanging out on the beach, we decided to add another cycling loop out to Jesla, and we are glad we did. Jesla and its neighboring villages are fantastic and have some of the best beaches and harbors we saw in Croatia. There is also a fantastic bike path that follows the water for about 10km.
Hvar gets an estimated 200,000 visitors per year mostly in July and August. In June, our ferry ride from the mainland to Hvar on a Wednesday was packed with standing room only for those arriving late. Hvar is beautiful and we enjoyed the stunning views it had to offer as well as the biking. But if you plan to visit Croatia in July and August, there are so many gorgeous islands it might be best to visit some of the other less known islands such as Brac, Solta, Molat or maybe Vis (unfortunately, we did not get to Vis on this trip but now we have an excuse to go back).