Following the stars
With Croatia having recently joined the EU, Laura Binder takes a trip to its star-studded port before the crowds catch on.
There’s no disputing it: Hvar has glossy good looks. At its pretty harbour, sleek yachts and twee fishing boats bob on turquoise waters, while a palm-flanked promenade gives way to modern hotels, chic restaurants and open-air bars that throb with wealth.
A decade ago, people had hardly heard of Hvar, now it’s tipped as “Croatia’s St Tropez”, a jet set playground that’s seen A-list celebrities flock to its shores a Prince Harry was papped in 2011 diving, fully-clothed, into a hotel pool, while Beyoncé revealed her baby bump for the first time at a Hvar beach club.
But, what few realise, is that we’ve all been a bit slow on the uptake: Hvar town is home to the oldest organised tourism in Europe. It started in the late 1800s with Hapsburg Emperor Franz Josef I being the first revered guest to arrive in 1875.