Your hiking guide will tell you all about different herbs that grow on Hvar, and you'll even get to taste some of them

Photo: Stjepan Tafra
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Wine & gastro trip

Bike, hike & savour the flavours and aromas of the Hvar Island

Hvar island is so much more than just a luxurious beach & yacht destination. Take a week to explore this magnificent piece of preserved Mediterranean culture, sights and way of life. Learn more about its UNESCO World Heritage protected sites and cultural goods on UNESCO Heritage List, taste local food, herbs, olive oil and wine while hiking and biking in the company of experienced local guides.

Whatever you are looking for on your vacation, you may find it on Hvar. Just take a peek outside of the yacht-lined port of Hvar Town, best known as a destination for celebs and party people. You’ll be introduced to an entirely different Hvar, discover its hidden corners, learn about the local food and wine production and day-to-day life of a typical island family. Easy hikes will allow you to experience the island with a local who will take you through history and share stories about the habits of the local population. The interior of the island is largely unexplored by those who visit, but our bike-activity program provides an authentic island experience and takes you through many vineyards and olive groves, dense pine forests and the fragrant trails of Hvar.

Trip highlights

  • Discover different Mediterranean herbs and learn about local spices and olive oils
  • Visit three wineries and learn how to taste wine with a renowned Croatian winemaker
  • Hiking & biking tours with expert local guides
  • Make your own chocolate pralines with aromatic spices in a family workshop
  • Learn about Hvar’s UNESCO World Heritage protected sites and cultural goods on UNESCO Heritage List

Trip availableAPR – JUN,
SEP - OCT
Duration7 days
Suitable for2-6 people
SupportPartially guided
Languagesen
Price per personfrom 769.00 €
Great for
  • Gourmands
  • Gastronomy & outdoor enthusiasts
You’ll be accommodated in
  • 4-star Resort Apartments
Trip designed by Marija Mance

Experienced tour guide and a passionate explorer of hidden treasures of Croatia

Activities are taking place on Hvar island

Reduce anxiety and stress with the most aromatic Hvar attraction – lavender. This magical plant has a massive range of applications, it is used as ornamental plant, as culinary herb, and also for the extraction of essential oils which can have powerful effects on the human body.

Lavender can help maintain healthy skin, it has antiseptic ability and its antioxidant components can impact the endocrine system to lower the levels of stress hormones in the body and protect heart health. It's no wonder that lavender oil is highly praised and rather expensive, especially since it takes a lot of effort to produce.

Once upon a time Hvar was the 8th biggest lavender producer in the world, but mostly due to emigration and repeated forest fires, lavender fields are now reduced to just a fraction of what they used to be. However, they are still magnificent. To see the fields in full bloom, you would have to visit Hvar in June, but you can enjoy locally produced lavender products all year round.

Another way to reduce your stress levels is wine tasting. Hvar has had a long tradition of vine-growing and wine production, ever since the Ancient Greeks sailed into the bay which is now home to modern-day Stari Grad and planted the original vines, back in 384 BC. Even before that, the Illyrians had been growing grapevines here. The island's wines were exported around the Mediterranean for ages.

There used to be some 5700 hectares of vineyards in the 19th century, before a punitive tax law from the Austro-Hungarian empire and the arrival of the deadly phylloxera that destroyed the Dalmatian wine industry and led to mass emigration. In the countries of the New World, many Hvarans were pioneers of viticulture.

Today, the quantity of the wine produced may be less, but the quality certainly isn't. These wines have a strong character and are special just like the people who make them, so it's best to enjoy them where they are made and in the company of people who nurture this long tradition on the island.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1

Make yourself at home in Jelsa

As soon as you arrive to a small harbour town of Jelsa, a welcoming place situated in the central part of Hvar island, you will feel like entering a sunny garden filled with the invigorating smell of Mediterranean plants combined with the scent of an unpolluted sea. Your apartment in Adriatiq Resort Fontana located in a pine wood hillside near the sea awaits you.

Food tip

Just a 10-minute walk from the resort, there are a few restaurants that the locals recommend – just ask at the reception desk upon arrival. You can enjoy fresh local seafood in one of the taverns or, if you want to wait with local specialties before you've learned about what to eat and drink, you can have great burgers at a praised fast food restaurant in the centre of Jelsa.

Day 2

Hiking and discovering hidden treasures

Jelsa is a nice little Mediterranean fisherman’s town with a charming town square called Pjaca located just below the parish church. It is a place where the locals meet to exchange news and comment on daily events and it's a great place to soak up the atmosphere. Your guide will take you there and share some stories about the past and current events.

After getting to know the town, it's time to start exploring the island. The driver will pick you up and take you to Vidikovac, one of the highest points of the island, to start your hike to ethno-eco villages of Velo Grablje and Malo Grablje. Today, these villages are nearly abandoned and have but a few permanent villagers, but in the past, they were rich and prosperous, famous for good wine and olive oil production. As you walk within the narrow streets you will feel like stepping back in time. In the area, there are also many lavender and wild herbs fields. Your guide will make sure you get to know a lot of different plants that grow here and even taste some of them. From the village of Malo Grablje, you will descend to the bay, to a typical little Mediterranean town of Milna on the south coast of the island. Here, your driver will pick you up and take you to have a well-deserved lunch in a small inland village where the restaurant owner will prepare a typical local meal for you. Try to identify some of the spices used to prepare this perfect meal and then it's time to rest a little bit, because you will for sure feel fjaka. In the afternoon, your driver will take you back to Jelsa.

Route grading: easy-intermediate

Distance – walking activity in total: cca 6-7 km

tip

To accept the local customs and understand the way of life, you need to learn some expressions. Fjaka (pronounced “fyaka”) is the word to describe the mood or state of mind when there is an aspiration for nothing and to do nothing, it could be compared with the mood Spaniards are in during siesta time, but in Dalmatia you can feel fjaka any time of day.

Day 3

Bike through the vineyards and olive groves

After breakfast, your bikes will be ready and you will set forth to explore the north side of the island. Through the stunning atmosphere of the dense pine forest you will set out towards one of the most beautiful inlets of the Adriatic – Vrboska. This small fishing village located in a deep-set inlet and interconnected by numerous bridges, will surely remain one of the most beautiful memories of your Hvar vacation.

The fragrant trails of Hvar will then take you through vineyards and vegetable gardens to the ancient Greek Hora, i.e. UNESCO protected Stari Grad Plain. Hora or Ager is an impressively preserved testament to the Ancient Greek period and its heart holds one of the few buildings in the plain, where a local family continuing a century-old tradition produces olive oil.

They also offer an excellent olive oil tasting experience, so you will familiarise yourselves with extra virgin and other types of oil, old presses, oils with spices and herbs and olive oil tasting techniques.

Next on your route is the old Hvar capital – Stari Grad (“Old Town“), the oldest town in Croatia. Cycling through the narrow streets and small squares of Stari Grad will be followed by lunch, meaning some more authentic Hvar specialties. Well rested and filled with energy, you can carry on back to Jelsa, cycling through many vineyards and olive groves in the heartland, offering quite a different image of the island and a calmer way of life than by the coastline.

Route grading: easy-intermediate

Distance: cca 26 km – 4-5 hours of relaxing by cycling + sightseeing

Day 4

Have some rest and some sweet fun

The perfect combination for a day of rest is sleeping longer, spending the morning at the Beauty & Spa resort facilities or playing table tennis and then having a light lunch before going to a very special chocolate boutique. There's a family in Jelsa every chocolate lover should visit. The story started with an old grandma's recipe for dried figs wrapped in sugar, a traditional Christmas treat in Dalmatia – with the sugar being replaced with chocolate, a new praline was invented and named figolini. Now the whole family is involved in making a fusion of chocolate and Mediterranean fruits and herbs which island Hvar abounds with and they are willing to share some of their secrets with you. Learn how to taste chocolate like an expert and make your own praline with your preferred self-propagating herbs and aromatic spices or fruit from the area.

After this sweet fun, you can go for a walk and maybe have a glass of wine that pairs well with the taste of chocolate in your mouth.

Day 5

Hvar wine experience

Have a light early lunch because the afternoon is dedicated to the rich vine-growing history of Hvar and the wine routes that include famous wine producers, but also small family wine cellars. Winemaking has a long tradition on Hvar island and it's important to present the multi-millennial history of this most famous branch of island's economy. Your guide will pick you up and your wine adventure will start by going to the south coast of the island. Here, you will visit one of the renowned Croatian winemakers, hear the story about the modern-day wine production and learn how to taste wines. South slopes of the island are one of the best areas in Croatia for breeding extra quality sort of Plavac Mali, one of the three you will taste.

Afterwards, you will head back to the north coast, but make a stop – as a parting gift, your guide will be honoured to welcome you in his family's 350-year-old stone house in the heartland, where they still maintain a wine cellar (konoba). Here, you can discover traditional winemaking in small family cellars through the stories of our elders and tasting three more wines, along with some homemade liqueurs and snacks. Finally, you will visit one of the wineries located very close to your accommodation. Throughout the process of tasting six wines, you will be given the presentation on indigenous grape varieties from the area, the diversity of the soil and its impact on production in the scarce and fertile areas of the small Middle Dalmatian island. This concludes the trip, so you can cheerfully head to your apartment.

Day 6

Hvar town

It would be a shame to leave the island without visiting the fairy tale town of Hvar. It can be quite crowded with tourists, but it's still worth a visit. And we recommend you go there by yourselves – if you're not by car, you can use the regular local bus, or you can rent a car for a day and have a little adventure of your own. Treat yourself to a lunch in one of the nice taverns of your choice. And make sure you take a look at the agave lace, made in Croatia only by the Benedictine nuns in Hvar. Thin threads are obtained from fresh agave leaves and woven into different patterns on a cardboard background. This is an autochthonous souvenir from Hvar.

Day 7

Departure

After breakfast, it’s time to pack and leave the island. Depending on how you arrived at the island, you might want to consider leaving it from another point of departure – Hvar has two ferry ports, one being Stari Grad at the north-west part of the island, and the other Sućuraj at the south-east part.

What's included?

  • 6 overnights in a 4-star apartment
  • Guided hiking tour with transfer and lunch – getting to know herbs and spices
  • Guided biking tour with olive oil tasting experience and lunch – bicycle, helmet, water included
  • Support vehicle, if needed
  • Workshop and chocolate tasting
  • Wine tasting tour with transfer – 3 local winemakers
  • VAT

What's not included?

  • Arrival to Jelsa
  • Personal expenses

Obligatory surcharge

  • Tourist tax

Ask about availability & get an offer

What happens when you request an offer?

1

We will double-check availability and make reservations for your rooms, restaurants, guides etc.

2

With reservations confirmed, we will prepare the best offer possible in regard to your arrival date & party size

3

You will get the offer via e-mail, along with the payment options. Feel free to request further customisations!

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