Mediterranean climate in a nutshell

Hvar with its area of 300 km2 and population exceeding 11 000 inhabitants is the fourth among Croatian islands taking into consideration both – area and population. It belongs to the region of Dalmatia, further distinguished as central Dalmatia. It lies between the islands of Brač, Vis and Korčula and it is separated from these islands by channels – Hvar, Vis and Korčula respectively. On the south-east, there is the Neretva Channel across which the peninsula of Pelješac lies. On the eastern side of the island, there is a village of Sućuraj and the distance between this end and the mainland is only 6 km. The main towns of the island – Hvar and Stari Grad – are located in the western part of the island in a distance of about 40 km from Split. Although there is a ferry operating from Drvenik to Sućuraj, the majority of tourists access the island by a ferry from Split. It is the western part of the island, which is popular among visitors, and as the island itself is 68 km long, it is much more comfortable for many not to drive through it.

 

Comparing the length of the island to its width (around 10 km), disparity can be easily noticed. The east-west orientation of the island reflects the relief of the mainland. Hvar is a high east-west ridge of Mesozoic limestone and dolomite, which was part of the mainland until approximately 11 000 years ago. Around that time the sea level rose, filling with water the valleys that are now the channels between the islands.

 

 

The highest peak of the island is called Sveti Nikola and is 628 m above sea level, what places Hvar on the third position of the list of the highest Croatian islands. Sveti Nikola is located on the south of the island – close to the villages of Sveta Nedjelja, Jagodna and Ivan Dolac. Those places are famous from climbing routes. Ivan Dolac is also known from wine production. On the southern coast, there are numerous vineyards, what is not surprising, because the island is being promoted as „the sunniest spot in Europe„, with over 2715 hours of sunlight in an average year.

 

Sunny weather and mild Mediterranean climate make dreamed-of conditions for agriculture. Agriculture was set up on the island by the ancient Greek colonists in the 4th century BC in the region called Stari Grad Plain. What is interesting the layout of the plain was generally preserved for the centuries and nowadays it demonstrates the comprehensive system of agriculture as used by the ancient Greeks. The value of the area is worldwide appreciated and from 2008 the plain is protected as UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the plain there was one of the oldest towns in Europe located – Stari Grad, which name in English means old town. The town itself was proclaimed in 2017 as one of the best European destinations in European Best Destinations contest. Stari Grad has a lot to offer for tourists – museums, archaeological sites and plenty of architectural monuments. It is also famous from a great marina and cosy restaurants. All these make it a perfect place for family holidays.


Stari Grad - a place you are looking for

Nautica Hvar Dive Centre was set up on the island of Hvar over fifteen years ago. Initially it was located in the town of Hvar – the biggest inhabited area of the island. Although it was not the only dive shop in Hvar, it was developing fast, attracting more and more people to spend family holidays in town. Hvar had a great laidback atmosphere with its cosy restaurants, picturesque beaches and local bars. Years were passing and the town was becoming more and more popular among tourists, particularly young people looking for the parties. Family restaurants close to the main square were substituted by worldwide famous ones, rarely offering Dalmatian cuisine. The bars became more and more vibrant and a few discotheques were opened. What is interesting, in 2017 a new mayor of Hvar set up a law aggravating with high penalties people, who drink alcohol in the main square, dress improperly, sleep on the ground and have sex in public places.

 

As the town of Hvar changed and the aim of Nautica Hvar Dive Centre was to preserve its character, in 2006 it was decided to move the dive shop to the second biggest town of the island – Stari Grad. One of the oldest towns in Europe (literally stari grad means in English an old town) naturally became home for divers visiting Nautica Hvar. Instead of famous DJs, there are traditional men choirs and bands playing in the streets. During summer there are also independent theatres organising cultural events. Restaurants still serve Dalmatian cuisine – even in fast food bars it more likely to find local sandwiches than American burgers. There are a few attractions for children, like trampolines. There is also an open-air cinema. Although the nightlife is not so vibrant as in Hvar and there no pub crawls, there are a few bars open late and little parties are regularly organised.

 

Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the Stari Grad town was not the only reason to locate there Nautica Hvar Dive Centre. Situated in a large bay, the town is well protected from storms. Moreover there are a few dive sites in the bay, what means that even during occurrence of strong winds and high waves, it is always possible to find a place to dive safely. Thinking about the whole island of Hvar, it is not meaningless, that the island is third highest among Croatian islands. Steep slopes above the surface continue under the water, usually going down to 40-50 m BSL, forming interesting dive sites. Besides, the island is built of limestones and dolomites, prone to karst processes. These processes were coming round for years and nowadays there are several caves, caverns and tunnels under the water. If this is still not enough, there are numerous calm coves, perfect for training diving skills.

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