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Hvar in the off season: Riding out a Historic Storm

Last updated Apr 16, 2021 | Published on Nov 21, 2019

Hvar after the storm.

Flashy, trashy Hvar. This is how Lonely Planet: Croatia describes the town of Hvar. With 2760 hours of sunshine a year, Hvar is the sunniest place in the country and a magnet for the yacht set – as well as a day trip from Dubrovnik. When we visited Hvar in the off season, however, this idyllic little town was quiet and peaceful – except for a massive storm that raged across the island. So instead of soaking up the sun, Daniel and I watched as magnificent waves swamped walkways and flooded buildings.

With a population of 4,000 (which swells to 20,000 in the summer), the city of Hvar felt like a metropolis after our visit to sleepy Bol. There were two restaurants open that we could find, the excellent Mizarola and the swanky BB Club at Hotel Riva. Typically we would avoid a hotel restaurant, especially one billed as a “Yacht Harbor Hotel,” but we were short on choices. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that BB Club serves marende – a warm, hearty meal favored by locals that is typically served around lunchtime. Yum – and for 55 kn a person ($8 USD) it is quite a deal.

Be aware that visiting Hvar in the off season means that you can be hit with some pretty wild weather. After wandering around for a day and exploring the empty streets of Old Town and the Spanish Fortress, a huge storm rolled in. The gale brought with it a historically high tide which crashed over sea walls and flooded buildings. We walked along the coast in 30 mph winds, watching the angry roil of the ocean as boats slammed into each other.

Daniel and I had planned to leave the next day, but all boats were cancelled due to the storm. So we walked around town instead. We passed a group of fisherman attempting to dislodge boats from a pile where they had crashed into each other. As we walked to town, we had to avoid giant rocks strewn about the path that previously formed the seawall. A statue along the coastline was entirely missing. This same storm, we were to learn later, caused unprecedented flooding and damage in Venice.

So, not the visit we planned for but a memorable one none-the-less. And our AirBnB host was super gracious – she even gave us a ride to Supetar on the other side of the island to catch the car ferry after catamaran service was cancelled.

Here are some photos from our visit to Hvar.

The view from our AirBnB apartment, complete with our laundry drying on the porch.

Walking around Hvar on our first evening. All is peaceful and quiet. The Franciscan Monastery is visible in the background.

The Spanish Fortress lit up at night above the city of Hvar.

The Spanish Fortress in the day time.

Walking along the forested paths up to the Spanish Fortress.

Cacti along the path to the Spanish Fortress.

Crkva Gospe od Kruvenice, fifteenth Century church along the path to the Spanish Fortress.

Whelp! The Spanish Fortress is closed in the off season. Darn! Still good views up here though.

Walking around to the front of the Spanish Fortress.

Close-up of a figure carved on the fortress walls.

View from the top of the Spanish Fortress.

The wall leading up to the Spanish Fortress goes all the way down into town.

St. Stephen’s Square (Trg Sv Stjepana), empty in the off season.

Hvar gets a lot of obnoxious tourists in the summertime. This sign is part of a campaign to keep tourists from acting like dicks.

Statue in front of the Benedictine convent.

Hvar at sunset.

The storm begins! The pathway below the Franciscan Monastery got hit hard during the storm.

The pathway below the Franciscan Monastery during the storm.

In front of St. Stephen’s Square during the storm.

In front of St. Stephen’s Square during the storm.

Daniel is bundled up and ready stormy weather!

Daniel holds onto his hat!

Wild waves!

The aftermath of the storm. This boat didn’t make it.

Destruction along the pathway below the Franciscan Monastery.

The boats across the bay are all jumbled together into a pile.

This statue is completely gone after the storm.

Here’s a photo of the statue that used to be there before the storm (in the lower right-hand corner).

Where are we now?

We are in Hvar!

Location: Hvar Town (Hvar Island) Croatia
Dates: Sunday, November 10 to Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Vagabonding Journey Status: days 41-43

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

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