The alluring island of Hvar, Croatia, offers far more than hidden bays; it’s jam-packed with hiking trails. Hvar’s tracks, often deserted, provide sublime views to other isles, lush scenery and quaint villages. Discover an abandoned ghost town, ancient UNESCO sites and the agricultural wonders of the 2,500-year-old inhabited island. Plus much more while hiking Hvar.
Check out 5 of the best hiking trails Hvar has to offer below, all with maps, and personally walked by me.
1. Hiking to Hvar’s Ghost Town
Start: Hvar town
Finish: Stari Grad or vice versa
Distance: 12.5 miles / 20km
Time: 6 hours including a leisurely walk round Hvar’s ghost town, Malo Grablje
Any refreshment stops? Restaurants in Milna and a shop in Malo Grablje with very sporadic opening times in peak season only. I’d recommend taking all food and water with you.
As far as hiking trails in Hvar go, this one has it all; ascent, a cute coastal path, ocean views and what’s more, a Hvar ghost town. Not one created for tourists, but an old, abandoned village you can walk right through.
Map of Hvar to Stari Grad hiking trail
The trail starts in Hvar town and runs east round the glitzy harbour towards Pokonji Dol beach. Walking along a forest trail with sea views, you end up in Milna, a tiny strip of brazen coloured apartments and a few restaurants. The trail then winds past vineyards and between incredible rock formations. And it’s here where you stumble upon Malo Grablje; the ghost town.
Peering up from the road you would have no idea. Get closer, however, and you find a deserted village, now a heritage site, complete with church. After a devastating vine disease in the 1960s, the locals lost their livelihoods of wine making and olive growing and abandoned their village to set up in nearby Milna. The villagers, all with the surname Tudor, allegedly dug up their relatives’ graves and hauled them along, too. That’s probably folklore, alongside the claim the villagers were long-lost relatives of England’s Henry Tudor, otherwise known as King Henry VIII. Or is it…?
Continue along the trail to the beautiful Velo Grablje, a striking hilltop village. It, too, was nearly a deserted destination but residents have started to reclaim the old houses. From here, follow the red and white markers until you cross the main road and take a deep breath as you stand mesmerised at the view below of Stari Grad and the northwest tip. It’s then simply a one-hour plod down to the Stari Grad.
Check out my guide to Hvar island, Croatia.
2. Hiking to Hvar Island’s Highest Point – Sv Nikola
Start: Stari Grad via Sveti Nikola (St Nicholas)
Finish: Stari Grad
Distance: 18 miles / 29km
Any refreshment stops? There’s a restaurant near the summit of Sv Nikola but it wasn’t open the three times I’ve been, so I’d recommend you take everything with you.
Sveti (Sv) Nikola is the island’s highest point of 628m. You have wow-tastic views for the whole hike, and a free glutes and hamstring workout. There are various Hvar hiking trails that I’ve gone along to reach Sv Nikola and I personally love the same up-and-down trail as per the map. You’re awarded with breathtaking views from both directions. I’ve walked to Sv Nikola via Dol, too, but didn’t like that route.
At the summit of Sv Nikola stands a tiny church which has been there in one form or another since 1495. The 360-degree panoramic vistas here are worth every step up and down. Depending on your transport options and fitness, you can also descend from the top of Sveti Nikola to the hamlet of Sveta Nedjelja and the sea.
3. Discover Hvar – Hiking via the Ancient Greek Plains
Start: Stari Grad or Vrboska
Finish: Stari Grad or Vrobska
Distance: Strai Grad-Vrboska-Stari Grad = 17 miles / 27.5km
Stari Grad-Vrobska via the plains = 11.5 miles / 18.5km
Any refreshment stops? Minimarts and restaurants in Vrboska
This tranquil walk takes you through Hvar’s UNESCO-listed agricultural plains to the quaint harbour town of Vrboska. The walk is flat and picturesque, winding past olive groves, stone walls and stone bunja – stone shelters once used by farmers. The whole of the Stari Grad plain is a UNESCO World Heritage site, having changed little over the past 2,500 years when it was cultivated by the Greeks. It is, in fact, the Mediterranean’s best preserved Greek cadastre brimming with trees and grape vines, creating a vibrant rainbow of colours.
Walking along wide, empty dirt tracks, you can peer down to the sea below and walk along some stunning bays at Basina. Then you’ll arrive in Vrboska where you can potter round the beautiful headland. Just be aware that there is a nudist camp symbolised by the letters FKK, so prepare to go bare or to avoid it! You can end your hike in Vrboska and get the bus back to Stari Grad (the last one leaves at 16.30) or walk back as per the map.
4. Beach Hiking Trails – Hvar’s Deserted Bays
Start: Stari Grad
Finish: Stari Grad
Distance: 18 miles / 29 km
Any refreshment stops? No
If super quiet bays are your (beach) bag, then this is the hike for you. There are an abundance of hidden, rocky bays all the way up to the NW tip of Hvar island, allowing you to dip in and out of them as you please. You can make the hike as long or short as you like, depending on how long you want to stay in the bays. You might only walk a few miles if you love the fist ones! There is no transport up here and virtually no cars, so you have to walk back if you go to the tip.
5. Views Above Stari Grad
Start: Stari Grad
Finish: Stari Grad
Distance: 6 miles / 9.5km
Any refreshment stops? Not beyond the ferry terminal
Hvar hiking trails – U Sv Ante bay
If you’d like some ascent to gaze over Hvar’s northwestern tip and Brac island, this short hike is great. It takes in a quiet, often deserted beach, U Sv Ante (photo above) that you reach either near the start or the end of the walk (but not both). You’ll be awarded great views, a steep, steady climb to 320m and a mix of wide tracks and narrow hiking trails. Hvar’s olive groves grow along the trail, giving it a real Adriatic feel while only a short distance from Stari Grad.
Are the hiking trails in Hvar signposted?
All the hiking routes listed listed above are marked by circular red and white markers painted onto stone walls and other places along the way. But keep your eye out for them as sometimes you can miss one. You’ll sometimes come across signposts, too, especially on the Hvar-Stari Grad route.
Please note: the southwest tip of Hvar island is all privately owned. So while there are trails marked on the map, it’s impossible to reach the southwest tip. I tried and couldn’t get past the gates and wire fences!
Where can I get Hvar hiking maps from?
I couldn’t get my hands on any so I used the Outdooractive app (formerly View Ranger) and plotted my own routes. It’s the app I’d recommend for here as it’s easy to use and shows your exact location via your phone’s GPS. You can sign up for a free month-trial. Just be sure to take a battery pack with you and put your phone/tablet on airplane mode as the app devours the battery.
When is the best time to go hiking on Hvar island?
April, May, September and October. If do decide to go hiking in Hvar during the summer months, set out super early, like about 6am before the midday heat hits you. Take 3 litres of water and all your sun protection gear.
Find out more about Hvar island, Croatia in my previous post.
This blog post is a guide only. Please use correct mapping devices and take the appropriate food/drink/clothes/footwear.
Jane Batchelor is a travel and hiking feind who walked all the hikes mentioned above. Several times.