From the gossip pages to the vacation magazines, Hvar has long been the world's favorite Croatian island, and it shows no signs of relinquishing that title. In addition to being a summertime hotspot for celebrities, yacht travelers, and cocktail sippers of all stripes, it is also a hotspot for people looking for a piece of the Mediterranean that is family-friendly, unspoiled, and inexpensive. It's a narrow, purple-grey piece of land punctuated by jagged inlets and pebbly bays, with lavender plantations, wineries, and half-abandoned stone towns clinging to its steep central peak.
Hvar Town, the island's capital, is one of the best-preserved ancient cities on the Adriatic, as well as one of the most fashionable, with photographers patrolling the Riva to watch who is disembarking from whose yacht. The other major settlements provide stark contrasts, with Stari Grad - the principal harbor – Jelsa and Vrboska possessing old stone homes and a relaxed village atmosphere. East of Jelsa, the island narrows to a long, thin hilly strip of land that stretches all the way to lonely Suuraj, which is connected to the mainland via boat.