Port Spotlight: Hvar, Croatia

Hvar, Croatia, a.k.a. "the island of natural beauty" is well known for its mild climate and lush subtropical vegetation as well as its cultural and historical monuments. It is the sunniest and most luxurious of all Croatian destinations and, along with Dubrovnik, the most popular tourist town.

Hvar is also famed for the lilac lavender fields that dot its interior, as well as for other aromatic plants such as rosemary and heather. You’ll find that some of the really deluxe hotels use skin-care products made out of these gorgeous-smelling herbs.

Head to shore and enjoy one of Star Clippers' fabulous excursions which include hiking, touring the island by jeep, or jetting out to the Palenki Islands!

Have you visited Hvar in the past? Share your tips in the comments!
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Words of Wisdom

Royal Clipper at Hvar, Croatia, by Holger Leue.
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Fun Facts about Hvar, Croatia

Thanks to Kathi King for sharing these photos of Hvar from her sailing on Royal Clipper.

The fleet might be moving towards the Caribbean for the winter, but it's not too early to start to think about booking a summer sailing in the Mediterranean! Hvar is a charming and ancient city with clear blue waters and cobblestone streets. It is also somewhat of a celebrity hotspot since two superstars offered their glowing endorsement. It is definitely worth a vist! Read on for fun facts about Hvar, Croatia!

• Hvar holds the oldest public theater in Europe.

• As host to "Ultra" music fest, Hvar is known as a hot destination. It is made even hotter by the endorsement of superstars Beyonce and Jay Z. The power couple was even inspired to name their daughter after some particularly lovely ivy.

• Hvar was put on the market in 1932. There is no information available as to who sold it or who bought it. The only thing certain is that it is no longer for sale.

• 'Hvar' means where in Icelandic.

• Croatia is credited with inventing the necktie.

• Hvar is the self-proclaimed "sunniest spot in Europe" with 2,715 hours of sunlight in an average year.

• There are many different regional dialects in Hvar, and the island has a long history of stone masonry. As a result there are eight different words for 'chisel.'

• If you give birth on the Jadrolinija Ferry from Hvar your child will ride free for life!

Have you sailed to Hvar, Croatia, with Star Clippers? Share your fun facts and experiences in the comments below!

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A Royal Silhouette

Thanks to Star Clippers Facebook fan Nancy Birnbaum shared this stunning picture of Royal Clipper at Hvar, Croatia.

In this silhouette you can really appreciate the intricate rigging put in place to support Royal Clipper's 42 sails!

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Words of Wisdom Wednesday

Royal Clipper at Hvar, Croatia.

Even the largest fully rigged sailing ship in the world can be dwarfed by the vastness of the sea.

Have you had a travel moment that left you in awe? Tell us in the comments below!

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Nancy in Hvar, Croatia

Nancy has been writing about her summer travels. Celebrating 46 years of marriage, she and her husband Joe left the city of brotherly love and landed in Venice, Italy, to begin their journey. She is sailing the Mediterranean aboard Royal Clipper, and was kind enough to share her experience with us. Below are some excerpts from her blog. For her whole story you can visit her personal blog Nancy Near Philadelphia.

The next day found us anchoring just outside Hvar, Croatia, a lovely view to behold. Royal Clipper, for the most part, would anchor outside the harbors of these little ports, and would provide tender service to take us ashore. The tenders usually ran every half hour.

Hvar was a small place, but very pretty. Some folks from the ship took excursions that involved kayaking or bicycling. We chose to explore on our own. The "downtown" area was small and -- for once -- the church wasn't at the top of a hill!

…the sun was powerful. For the first half of the day, the cafes on the shady side of the square would be open and then midway through the day, as the sun moved, they would close and the ones on the opposite side would open. It was a fine system.

We found this Red Submarine amusing. It is a glass-bottom boat -- passengers go down inside to view what is going on in the sea. We had seen it first in Rovinj and when we got to Hvar, one of our friends exclaimed, "Oh, look! It's following us!" I thought it would be fun to take a ride, but didn't get the opportunity.

Goodbye, Hvar!

To visit Nancy Near Philadelphia click here.
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Royal Clipper at Hvar, Croatia

Thanks to Facebook fan Jaksa for posting this photo taken by Foto For of Royal Clipper at Hvar, Croatia.

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Ellie's Journal: Lunch in the Hills of Croatia

Hello, my name is Ellie! Some of you may remember me from three years ago... That's when I blogged last, when I was on Star Flyer in Costa Rica. I'm fifteen years old now, and I'm back again, just on a different ship, Royal Clipper, and having more fun than ever. I'm from Oregon (in the USA) and my favorite sport is sailing, so this is a really fun experience for me.

[caption id="attachment_12660" align="alignnone" width="550"]Lunch in the hills of Croatia.

After writing last, I went swimming in the pool with my buddies, and then went straight to bed... I was exhausted, and I knew that I had to get up early in the morning for a big hike! Well, I'm glad to say that waking up early was well worth it, though my mom had to drag me out of bed.

I woke up at nine o'clock (which is early for me when I'm on the ship) and ran up and had breakfast. Then, pretty much right when I finished, we boarded the tender, and headed ashore to meet our tour guides in the port of Hvar, Croatia. When we got to shore, just like what I experienced in Venice, there was some major culture shock going on inside all of us... Because even though every place we go is in the same general vicinity, every place is very, very different from every other place. We met our tour guides, and then went in a small bus, up into the abandoned city of Malo Grabje, and other cities that surrounded it, outside of Hvar. What I saw was indescribable, but I will try to paint a picture for you:

I looked out the window on my left, and saw little rosemary bushes, and very short olive trees, all very green... And on my right I saw that same thing. But the greenery was not what stunned me. It was the walls. Everywhere you looked, for miles and miles and miles, there were these four-foot tall walls, perfectly spaced, and connecting in some places. The stones used were about the size of a loaf of bread and appeared to weigh quite a bit more than one. And then in the distance, sat the ocean: gentle, swelling, and full-of-life.

The bus kept on for twenty more minutes and then stopped on the top of a huge hill (it could probably be classified as a mountain) for us to get out.

We walked for an hour or two, and then my dad, a photojournalist, and I got very lost from the group... It wasn't too bad; actually it was pretty fun. It really felt like an actual adventure, and we both love adventures, especially when we're in an abandoned village, in a foreign country. We enjoyed ourselves, and my dad continued to shoot photos, and he loved it. Finally, after getting directions from a very nice Croatian lady who spoke perfect English, we began walking in the right direction. After about two minutes, one of the tour guides came back to find us. Please don't let that story make you not want to go on this hike... Just be sure to stick with the group!

Just when we all thought we were going to drop on the ground from the heat, we spotted a little "oasis" called Malo Grabje (pronounced Mah-lo Grawb-yay). The guide said, "And here we are! Lunchtime, ladies and gents." I will just put it out there right now that I probably will never have such an incredible lunch. And it wasn't just the food... It was everything: the enchanting olive trees, the fact that I WAS IN CROATIA, the smells, the people, the wonderful feeling of a gentle trickle of sparkling water going down my throat, the tall mountains of white rock. Everything was just so perfect.

And the perfection continued as we walked down the mountain.

As we neared the ocean, we all began to speed up, because I will tell you, it was really hot. The tour guide said that there were forty-five minutes to hang out on the beach and in the water, and then the bus would come. Wow, did that water feel good!

I've said it once and I'll say it again... I really hope every one of you reading my blog gets to come on this cruise. You'll never forget it. Goodbye for today!
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