This was the question we asked ourselves when we planned our adventures in Croatia, so we thought you might be asking it too. We couldn’t choose in the end so went to both, and here is our rundown on each. Happy travels!
A sweet, fun, gorgeous little island paradise – this was our first Croatian island experience and we loved every minute of it!
Taking the passenger ferry to Hvar was very easy once we knew where the Jadrolinija ferries departed Split. If you can find a bar/café called Terminal F, the ferries leave from in front of it. A line of people with bags nearing the time of departure gives a good indication of where to wait.
Just 2 hours on a pretty smooth ferry trip and you arrive in Hvar Town, the sweetest area of Hvar island and the place to stay if you want plenty of bars, cafes, restaurants, markets and nightlife. Don’t get me wrong, this island is not big, it’s very small, it’s old, it’s beautifully maintained and has pretty buildings and paths of creamy white stone and plenty of happy people on holiday during the hot summer months. While we were there (end of August 2017), the temperatures were hot to very hot, so it’s a great island to get out onto the waters, into the water and to hang in outside bars and cafes in the shade. Immediately when we arrived we felt the easy breezy island-life feeling, and the casual dress of our fellow tourists assured us they felt it too.
We went to some fantastic restaurants on Hvar, recommended to us by the fabulous AirBNB host of the apartment we rented. One of these was Maestro Fish and we would have to say this was one of the most memorable meals we had all month in Europe. We had the mussels as an entree followed by Grenada Za Dive Osobe, a traditional dish of fish, potato and onions with plenty of olive oil, served at the table in the pot it was cooked in. Our AirBNB host encouraged us to drink the Hvar house wine, which is normally sold in carafes. It was super cheap compared to the bottled wines from outside of Hvar and we were not disappointed! In fact we really enjoyed the Hvar local wine. Also check out Konoba Menego, where the fish is caught daily – this was another recommendation that was fantastic!
We took a day trip out to a few of the nearby islands and to the much acclaimed Blue Cave, which is a luminous blue sea cave you enter via small boat. The day wasn’t cheap at around 110 euro each, and the sea was incredibly choppy on the little boat holding 10 of us, but we got to swim in some beautiful waters straight off the boat, and to this little beach that could only be accessed by swimming in.
We also took the climb up to the castle overlooking Hvar Town. It’s quite a walk up, and can be a hot, exposed walk. But the views are impressive!
Our Jadrolinija ferry departed Hvar for Korcula at 7pm and unfortunately we had to vacate our Hvar accommodation at 10am that day, leaving us with the problem of what to do with our bags all day. But with a bit of effort, we managed to find a place quite close to the departure area where we could leave our bags for the day. Here is the link for Luka Rent Luggage storage on Hvar – Luka Rent. We were surprised that all the luggage seems to be stored in one room together, and we weren’t 100% sure if all the luggage (including our drone and camera) would be there when we returned, but as it worked out, all was looked after and we left Luka Rent eight hours later with all our gear. Happy campers! And now onto Korcula.
A whole new island vibe greeted us in Korcula. A little quieter, a little more laid back and equally as inviting.
We arrived at night so it wasn’t until the next day that we got to see how stunning the old walled town of Korcula is! Check out the view we took with the drone. This is the sixth largest island in Croatia.
Immediately there is a less busy, less upmarket feel to this island. There are definitely some pricey places to eat within the old city walls overlooking the gorgeous Adriatic, but overall Korcula felt less like a tourist town to us. Within the walls it feels like you are living hundreds of years earlier, with narrow little cobble-stoned lanes, medieval squares and more churches than we could count in such a small area. It’s often referred to as little Dubrovnik.
We found the water taxi area as recommended by our Airbnb host and bought return tickets to Lumbarda, it was very convientant with the boat leaving right in front of our apartment. It was such a pleasant trip on the water, and we got to see a lot of areas along the way. Lumbarda is a quiet little town of Korcula and a beautiful stroll around the waterfront led us to a relaxed beach with a café/bar which we enjoyed staying at for several hours. It was so laid back that people would have a drink, then have a swim, then come back and have some lunch, have a drink and repeat. The food was simple but fresh and the beer cheap, what a find! The nice thing we found about Croatia in general is that no-one is trying to rush you to order, to order more, or to leave.
A walk back from the water had us strolling through quaint vineyards and this pretty town.
Here’s our quick comparison of the two islands:
Prettiest: they are equally pretty
Quiet: Korcula (although we stayed in the centre of town in Hvar and still slept well)
Catering more to tourists: Hvar
Best food: Hvar
Best bars: Hvar
Family oriented: Korcula
Clear blue water: equally stunning
Best in Service: Korcula – we visited each island towards the end of Summer and Hvar staff had possibly grown tired of the hoards of tourists from the last few months
Swimming spots: both had many – off the rocks mainly but beaches could be accessed away from the main town centres.
So where will you go?