Hiking and trekking on the island of Hvar

December 17, 2021

This is an informative article about hiking and trekking possibilities on the island of Hvar, Croatia. Equally suitable for those that want to go for a short walk, as well as for those in a search of more demanding routes.

panoramic view on Starigrad plane covered with fog, the island of Brač in the distance

Hvar island is interconnected with hiking trails

There are many hiking and trekking routes on the island of Hvar.

Few of them can be found in the proximity of the town of Hvar. The more extensive and demanding ones are in the rural area of the island.

In this article, I’ll offer you several possibilities to fulfill your day with outdoor life and discover the less-known paths of my home.

Hvar is one of the largest islands in Dalmatia

on the top of the island

Not so long ago Hvar depended on agriculture. Tourism developed in the 20th century. Thanks to that, today we have more or less marked hiking and trekking trails. Most of the trails were made by islanders as routes to their fields.

Therefore, you can easily pass the whole length of the island just by trekking through nature. It’s around 70 kilometers of air distance.

All in all, it’s quite an exquisite length for an island. After all, Hvar is one of the longest islands on the Adriatic coast. To go through all the length of Hvar you’ll need a few days and lots, and lots of water.

Bear in mind, it’s also the sunniest island in Europe – if not even further – with over 2700 sunny hours per year. Before going on a longer hike, take proper equipment with you: long pants, hat, sunglasses, suncream, water, some snacks, and everything else you might need.

And of course, a bathing suit. It’s a shame to pass up an opportunity for a swim in some of the less-visited bays. Sea is sparkling, turquoise, refreshing…, well, you’ll see it for yourself.

Hvar hiking
passing next to an abandoned medieval castrum of Galešnik, above Jelsa, the island of Hvar

Orientation points

Trails are mostly marked. Besides that, there are off-road routes for fire trucks that pass through the island. So certain parts are accessible for off-road vehicles as well.

(If you are into off-road tours, you can check out agencies specialized in those kinds of excursions.)

Sometimes you need to spend some time finding markings, as paths are not frequently used. Which is awesome! It’s a guarantee of unspoiled nature.

And if you get lost, head downhill, for the sea. You’ll stumble upon another path. As simple as that. Hvar is on the west, Sućuraj is on the east.

There you go, now you’re ready.

Hiking trails near Hvar town

During summer Hvar is full of people. Vibrant and stunning. Travelers come from all over the world. Yet nature is all around and within 15 minutes on foot.

If you are staying in Hvar town, a few hiking trails are within your reach.

hvar hiking
a part of Hvar town to Milna coastal walk
  1. HVAR TOWN TO MILNA COASTAL WALK– this is the most frequent route and it goes east, towards Milna. Milna is a small village on the shore of the sea, around 5 kilometers away from Hvar. It’s 5 kilometers walk and it will take you around 2 hours to get to Milna. Afterward, you can circle your way back to Hvar. Or, you can continue towards Zaraće or even Dubovica and further to Saint Nicholas (the highest pique of the island). And the third possiblitiy is going north, towards Malo Grablje, Velo Grablje, and Motokit. Eventually, you will get to Starigrad, but that would be a quite demanding route to take.
  2. HVAR TOWN TO NAPOLEONS FORTRESS AND BACK – this one goes north, uphill. It’s an hour hike uphill. When you climb to the fortress you’ll discover a panoramic view of the town of Hvar as well as the northern side of the island. On your path, you’ll walk through olive fields and pine tree forests. By following the path you’ll circle the hill and get back to Hvar town.
  3. PELEGRIN TRAIL. HVAR TOWN – HRON OF PELEGRIN – MARKOVA CAVE AND BACK. This is the least visited path where you’ll eventually discover the Markova cave. Highly important archaeological site in which materials from the Neolithic and Aeneolithic Ages were found.

Hiking trails near Starigrad

hvar hiking
olives in Starigrad plain

Starigrad is located on the northern side of the island and Starigrad plain is protected by UNESCO, due to its archeological importance.

There are numerous routes that you can take to discover less-visited beaches, nearby villages, or hike uphill to the highest pique of the island called Saint Nicholas.

I’ll point out just a few hiking and trekking trails, as the list is endless. It pretty much depends on your curiosity and stamina.

  • UNESCO STARIGRAD PLAIN. This is a maze of roads, fields, and small cottages made on Greek ruins. On your path you’ll find explanations on panels about the Greek influence on the island. You’ll stumble upon a few archeological sites, and family farms or restaurants. Instead of shady forests, nearby beaches will be a refreshment on your path. It’s a less demanding part of the island, where you can go for a pleasant walk, and reward yourself with dalmatian cuisine and a glass of wine.
  • STARIGRAD – HVAR HIKING TRAIL. This is a remarkable route that will take you across the island, all the way to Hvar. It’s a demanding route that lasts over 8 hours. If you include eating, taking photos, swimming, and enjoying the sights, it’s a 12-13 hours challenging trekking. On your path, you’ll discover lavender fields, villages lost in time, family farms, tucked-away beaches, and much more. Most likely locals you come across will be looking at you strangely, if you mention the route you are taking. But you’ll earn a few glasses of wine for free, that’s for sure.
  • SAINT NICHOLAS – THE HIGHEST PIQUE OF THE ISLAND. STARIGRAD – DOL – SAINT NICHOLAS. Simply stunning, breathtaking. Especially in the wintertime. When you climb all the way to Saint Nicholas you can see Italy on the horizon, as well as mountain peaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But that depends on the weather. It’s a demanding route that constantly goes uphill. Nature is rewarding and when on the top, the cool breeze will fill your lungs like the wind from the Alps.
  • TUNNELS ON KABAL. Starigrad – Kabal – Tunnels – Starigrad. Beaches, tucked away restaurants, small Mediterranean bushes, and herbs. The turquoise color of the sea and 20th-century cold-war-army-tunnels. Pretty diverse for a holiday hike. When in tunnels, walk low, bats are restless.

hvar hiking
A path above Vrisnik

Hiking trails near Jelsa or Vrboska

If you are staying near Jelsa, you’ll find the most hiking routes in the proximity of Jelsa. A coastal walk will take you to the nearby village of Vrboska, while the uphill route will unveil the stunning Bikovo mountain and the island of Brač on the horizon.

  1. COASTAL WALK JELSA – VRBOSKA- SOLINE. This is a pleasant evening walk or a morning run. Every few meters you can go for a swim and in winter-time, stars are poured over the sky like freckles. It’s a perfect astronomical route, even better with a bottle of wine and nice company.
  2. THROUGH FIELDS. Jelsa – Pitve – Jelsa.  It’s a less demanding path that passes through vineyards, olive fields and old villages. More of a hiking route or even a running trail, than a trekking experience. Pitve is one of the oldest villages on the island. If you climb all the way to the church you’ll get to see the elements of Slavic mythology carved in the stone. But that’s for you to discover.
  3. OVER THE INDIAN. Jelsa – Vrisnik – Over The Indian – Vrisnik – Jelsa. This is a stunning route. Stone stairs climb all the way to the top. They were made ages ago by islanders, as a path to their fields. And every stone has a tale to share. Horizon is sparkling in front of your eyes. In the valley below, a fog. Vineyards floating in the clouds. And the mountain of Bikovo, far in the distance, tall and white, stands like a true snow queen. Then dalmatian black pine trees, as beautiful as freedom. And eventually, a big rock that resembles an Indian. As you descend you are changing the view, so it looks like the Indian is opening and closing his mouth. A route full of wonders, 4-5 hours will pass in a zip.
  4. MIDDLE AGE TOWN AND THE FORTRESS ABOVE JELSA. Jelsa – Tor – Grod Galešnik – The Top – Jelsa. This one is a historical one. You’ll see Tor, a Greek-Illyrian tower from the 4th century BC. After follows castrum, an abandoned fortification from the middle ages. Around are numerous terraces and steam cliffs. And if you’re a bit adventurous and patient, you can even find an unmarked path and climb those cliffs over large stones that are set just like stairs for giants. On the top is a cistern for rain and a path that leads either back to Jelsa, or to Humac (east). It’s a nice and a bit adventurous hike. To do it right, you’ll need around 4 hours.
  5. ECO VILLAGE HUMAC. Jelsa- Humac – Dol – Jelsa. For this one, a bike would be nice. You paddle your war to Humac. It’s around 10km uphill from Jelsa. From Humac you follow the road that goes west, towards Hvar. And suddenly, dead-end! That’s when you start hiking. For around a mile, you’ll have to carry your bike through bushes and over a few hills. But the reward afterwards is breathtaking. You’ll descend through lavender and immortelle fields, dalmatian black pine forests, and the valley on the top of the island. It’s another universe up there. Around an hour of off-road bicycling all the way to Dol (near Starigrad) is a true discovery. This route is more of an adrenaline rush, than anything else.
hvar bicycling
a bit windy, and not so stable for a photo, but we did it

Other hiking trails on the island of Hvar

Wherever you are located, there are numerous routes all around. Besides myself, there are other exquisite agencies that can take you to discover the island, such as AndAdventure or Natural Hvar Tours.

On your path, you’ll find villages lost in time, caves, olives and lavender fields, vineyards, warm-hearted and strange people, forests, birds, and much much more.

Just above Saint Nedilja (Sunday) – a small village on the southern side of the island- a hiking trail goes to the cave below the highest pique of the island, Saint Nicholas. In that cave are a 15th-century monastery and a few abandoned stone houses.

hvar bicycling
joy after the off-road

Nearby is Ferrata that climbs to Saint Nicholas. It’s a nice bite to byte for more daring.

Beautiful lungo mare in the proximity of Ivan Dolac, or Zavala. Hiking trails around Poljica and Bogomlje lead to forgotten bays, abandoned areas where nobody is there the whole year long.

Possibilities are endless and it all depends on your curiosity.

What follows

In the following articles, I’ll offer more information on individual routes. Stay tuned.

Check out our other entries