The Croatian island of Hvar, with its picturesque beaches, ancient old town, and lively nightlife, has undeniable appeal and it’s best known as a summer resort. Hvar benefits from an archetypal Mediterranean climate and it’s actually the sunniest island in the Adriatic with over 2,800 hours of sunshine per year. Still, that doesn’t mean you should always expect blue skies and warm weather.
If you’re visiting in the low season for some off-peak discounts, or your school holiday break is hit with a summer storm, you might be wondering what you can do in Hvar when it’s raining. Fear not, the taxi boats and snorkeling trips might have to wait, but some of Hvar’s top activities don’t have to be put on pause just because of some unfavorable weather.
From the cozy cafes to the cooler castle hikes, here’s our rundown of the best things to do in Hvar when it rains. Let’s go.
Explore the culinary scene
Hvars restaurant scene is dynamic, but Hvar Town is also scattered with plenty of cozy cafes for grabbing a bite to eat or sinking into a comfortable chair with a cup of coffee. The eateries are popular all year round, but a bit of rain provides the perfect excuse to spend a little longer savoring that sugary plate of fritule or chatting in-depth with some real Hvar locals.
Hvar’s best cafes will be rammed when it’s raining, but this only adds to the atmosphere. Consider a cafe-hopping day, starting with espresso and a pastry in Kava37, one of Hvar’s most famous specialty coffee shops. Our top tip: if you can’t find anywhere to sit in the cozy interior, then the outdoor benches can be sufficiently sheltered from a bit of rain by the cobblestone buildings of the old town. Next, bustle into Fig for a nutritious lunch, before grabbing a fresh fruit smoothie at Vita Health Food Bar and watching the rain come down over the pier from the comfort of the covered terrace.
This is all before making your way through Dalmatino’s dinner menu over a few glasses of Croatian wine. Be sure to try the local alcohol made from carob fruit too as a post-dinner digestif. The distinctive caramel taste is one you’ll never forget.
Check out the galleries and museums
One of the biggest draws to Hvar is its rich and varied past, along with its unique culture and impressive collection of creators who have swept through Dalmatia over the years, all leaving their mark on the island. The best place to learn about the history of Hvar, as well as its former residents, is in the countless museums and you definitely don’t need sunshine to enjoy them to their full potential. Just don’t limit yourself to Hvar Town, because some of the best galleries are spread across the island.
For starters, there’s the Fisherman’s Museum, located in Vrboska, one of the most picturesque villages in Hvar on the north coast of the island. It’s easily reached by bus or car from Hvar Town, located just 25 kilometers northeast. However, Vrboska is an equally exciting and beautiful place to stay. The Fisherman’s Museum gives a unique insight into the ancient fishing industry in Vrboska, with guided tours in English and age-old relics.
Next up, the Stari Grad Museum is an undisputed highlight on the Hvar cultural scene. Located an even shorter bus ride away from Hvar Town, the museum tells the story of the region’s development from the 5th century BC to the modern day, through a mix of artifacts, paintings, and documents. There’s even a display of the cargo from a Roman merchant shipwreck in the 4th century and the archaeological remains of some of Hvar’s first known settlers.
In Hvar Town, be sure to check out the Gallery of Modern Art in the Arsenal building. Established in 1957, the museum housed the first permanent display of Croatian fine arts when avant-garde art was born. The gallery is a museum in and of itself and today the Arsenal Gallery contains Hvar’s most valuable paintings, sculptures, and prints from the original museum holdings.
Take in the architecture
Aside from the eclectic mix of museums and galleries, the best way to take in Hvar’s UNESCO-recognised heritage is by visiting some of the ancient sites yourself, and luckily, many are still accessible in the rain.
St. Stephen’s square in the old town of Hvar is the architectural heart piece of the small city. The square is anchored by the Renaissance-era, St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Also known as Hvar Cathedral, the monument dates back to the early 17th century when it was built on the site of a 9th-century church. The grand building boasts a spectacular bell tower, but it’s even more exciting inside. Hvar Cathedral houses many valuable paintings from artists like Stefano Celest, Palma Junior, and Spanish-born, Juan Boschettus.
Located an easy stroll from the square, along the waterfront, is also Hvar’s Franciscan Monastery built in the 15th century. There’s an old church, gardens, and even a museum. The monastery also overlooks a pretty cove which is just as picturesque on an overcast day as it is in the sun.
Go on a hike
Hvar is perfect for outdoor activities, and although the rain might put you off from getting out in the countryside back home, it could just be the summer sun that’s more of a hindrance on your adventures in Hvar. The island sees temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s throughout July and August, and this heat can be stifling.
A rainy day could provide the perfect opportunity to get out on that hike you wanted to do without dripping in sweat or suffering from dehydration. Of course, if it’s really stormy, we wouldn’t recommend wandering off on a cliff trail, but a bit of rain shouldn’t scare you away from enjoying the landscape.
One of the best hikes in Hvar combines adventure with history. We’re talking about the walk up to the Hvar Town Fortica, or Tvrđava Fortica, which looms above the old town on a 100-meter hill. The Venetian fort can’t be missed, especially when it glows with twinkly lights at night, and it’s a highlight of any trip to Hvar.
Most visitors brave the trek, which only takes around 15 minutes, in the early evening to avoid the peak sunshine. But you can do it at any time of day in cooler weather, and the effort will be halved. Better yet, once you’ve cleared Hvar Town’s 13th-century walls, the sloping meander uphill is mostly shaded by pines, the perfect protection from a bit of drizzle.
Your photos might not look as picturesque without the blue skies, but the views from the top that reach over the old town and the Pakleni Islands, won’t be any less spectacular. You could also jump in a taxi if it’s really pouring down and learn about the fortress from the protection of its interior museum.
Peruse the shops
What better way to spend a lazy rainy day than dipping in and out of the boutique shops down the cobblestone alleyways of Hvar? Hvar has always had a fashionable center, and although it might be limited in the way of high street designers, you’ll find unique local products and delicate antiques that will impress more than Zara‘s stock.
Some of the most popular things to pick up as souvenirs in Hvar include lavender oil, from the island’s colorful fields, local wines, honey, soaps, and handmade jewelry. And while Pag is the Dalmatian island known best for its lacework, the Benedictine Monastery nuns in Hvar Town have perfected their unconventional and centuries-old technique of weaving lace with Agave threads.
Agave lace is made exclusively behind the walls of this Hvar convent and has been for more than 150 years. The lace is recognized by UNESCO, and although pricey, it makes an unbeatable memento for your trip.
Enjoy the nightlife
Summer nightlife in Hvar is among the best in the Adriatic and the town has a special flair with something always going on. Don’t let a bit of rain dampen your mood, because it certainly won’t stop the party in Hvar.
Beach clubs might be part of the appeal, but the bars, taverns, pubs, clubs, and even restaurants, most of which will have covered indoor areas, are equally lively. You could book onto a Hvar pub crawl, or flock to Carpe Diem – a hip hangout that’s frequented by celebs. If the rain has scared away some of the crowds then that only means you’re more likely to get in.
Or consider heading to Central Park Club, the live music bar and restaurant that’s praised for its cocktails. The dining area offers views over the sea and town, while you can find live music and free-flowing drinks downstairs every night from 8.00 pm in the high season.
The best thing about enjoying the nightlife over a few rainy days is that you won’t have the imposing pressure of a sunny day to get you out of bed the next morning. As it pours down outside, you can lie in a little longer without the guilt of missing out.
If you’ve exhausted all the other options, or you’re feeling the effects of the night before – or maybe you just deserve to take the weight off your feet after some heavy days of sightseeing, Hvar’s wide selection of luxury and boutique hotels can be the perfect place to unwind. Relaxing by the pool might be off the cards if it’s pouring down, but a spa day isn’t.
A bit of pampering never hurt anyone, and there are more than a dozen spa hotels to choose from in Hvar, most of which will let you book in for a treatment without being a guest of the hotel (at a cost, of course). And if the weather’s really miserable, after your massage or facial you can kill some time in the sauna while the rain passes and warm up if you need.
What is Hvar known for?
Hvar is a vibrant island that’s equally well-known for its glitzy, celeb hangouts, as it is for its local produce like lavender oil and Agave lace. The island has a thriving cottage industry and is punctuated by historical towns, and, of course, amazing beaches. The diverse restaurant scene, luxury accommodation, and lively nightlife also draw the crowds.
When is the best weather in Hvar?
If you want blue skies and guaranteed sunshine, the best time to visit Hvar is in July or August. July in Hvar experience the highest daily averages, hovering at 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with a low of only 66 degrees. However, this is the busiest time of year and when accommodation and restaurant prices are also at their highest too. If you want to avoid the high season prices but still benefit from Croatian summer, September is a great time to visit with highs of 80 degrees, warm seas, and fewer crowds.
Does Hvar have a rainy season?
Hvar has a temperate Mediterranean climate with four seasons, although the winters are short and mild, and the shoulder seasons can be as warm as the summertime. Hvar does not have a rainy season but November is the wettest month with an average of 200 mm of rainfall. July and August experience very minimal rainfall, but the occasional summer storm or downpour could dampen your trip.
How many days do you need in Hvar?
You could spend weeks on Hvar and still not get bored, but we recommend at least three to five days to get a real taste of the island. The beaches are one of its main selling points and you need a whole day dedicated to them, but the ancient history can’t be ignored either and there are plenty of architectural wonders to explore. Make sure you have time to enjoy the natural scenery and savor some Croatian culinary delights, and also plenty of room to move plans if bad weather prevents you from getting out and enjoying the marine life. If you can, we recommend visiting another Croatian island to complete your trip or heading to the mainland and soaking up the culture in Split or Dubrovnik.