Friday, October 25, 2013

October 22nd – Visiting Stari Grad in Hvar

As we got off the tender on the beautiful Croatian island of Hvar, you'd never have known this is one of the most trendy holiday hotspots in Europe. During the summer, Hvar Town's marina is full of superyachts, and the waterfront bars and restaurants are heaving with well-healed visitors from around Europe (apparently Britain's biggest party animal, Prince Harry visited over the summer); however, in late October, the whole place is extremely quiet.

We got the bus over to the other side of the island, to its old capital Stari Grad, which was even quieter than the somnambulant atmosphere of Hvar Town. As we walked through the deserted medieval stone streets of Stari Grad, it felt like a ghost town – just a few cats and stray dogs for company. But, by the solidity of the decrepit houses and the grandeur of its crumbling churches, you could tell that this place must have been rich once, from the times when this was a safe haven for Venetian merchant ships on their trips down the Adriatic.

Once we made it down to the waterfront, we finally found some life, as many of its chilled out bars and cafes facing the bay, almost had an atmosphere approaching lively. However, you didn't need crowds to enjoy the gorgeous views over the glass-like waters, or to soak up the old-time atmosphere of the town. We couldn't think of many better places to sit and have a drink, catch up with wifi and just chill out than here – it felt similar to the atmosphere of a Greek island.

This is the first place on this trip to register on Tracy's "I could live here" index – although we'd be torn between staying here when it's lively (but full of tourists), or empty (but deathly quiet). But, on a sunny day, whether it's busy or not, this has got to be one of the most attractive islands in the Adriatic.