Split to Hvar (for Cheap) During the Preseason

Daniela Rogulj

The words “cheap” and “Hvar” don’t usually go together, but you can manage the trip fairly well on a budget if you know how to work your way around the preseason travel timetables and pricey Hvar menus.

Unfortunately, the preseason still lacks in options for travel, and while the season in Croatia is getting longer, we still have ways to go to efficiently make traveling around the coast in the preseason feasible. 

Today, we’re here to tell you how to make a return trip from Split to Hvar AND have a full day on the island during the preseason.

For starters, instead of traveling to Hvar town, travel to Stari Grad. There’s an 8:30 am ferry that leaves from Split and gets you into the peaceful, 2,400-year-old town of Stari Grad, two hours and 40 HRK later. Pro tip: While there is a cafe on the ferry (and wifi that works when it wants to), prepare ahead and stock up on drinks and snacks for the journey.

After arriving in Stari Grad at 10:30 am, instead of taking the bus into the old town, walk. There’s a stunning path along the coast you can take into the town just left of where the ferry drops you off (go to the parking lot and stay left). Thick vegetation, chirping birds, and a sparkling blue coastline is far more tempting than a short bus ride into the town. Save the change and use it for a coffee instead.

The walk from the ferry to the town of Stari Grad will take roughly 20 minutes, putting you into the town around 11:00 am. This gives you just enough time to get lost in the ancient alleyways and gardens, and even have a coffee (for 10 HRK) or two before your bus to Hvar town. Hell, if you’re quick, you can even have lunch!

At 12:45 pm, you’ll take the bus from Stari Grad to Hvar town. At only 27 HRK, you can enjoy a 25-minute bus ride around the island and along the stunning Hvar coastline. While the road can get a bit windy (let’s hope your bus driver is wary of this) it’s a good way to see the nooks and crannies of Hvar in all of its glory, from the vineyards to the small towns and Vespa riders.

In Hvar town no later than 13:30 (we’re allowing some extra time for late bus hiccups), you can now enjoy your full day ahead.

Since I’ve spent most of my summers growing up coming to Hvar town, I feel like I know my way around tackling this place on a budget pretty well. Unfortunately, the prices in the preseason aren’t too far off from those in the summer, and while that 50 HRK Sommersby in the bakery refrigerator seems like a good idea, it’s not. 

So, how to enjoy the day for cheap? 

First things first, stop at the market in the center of town and stock up. Buy your beers and sandwich makings and have a picnic at the beach.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can always take a 40 HRK taxi boat to Jerolim or Stipanska island to swim, but swimming within the town is equally as nice – and especially in the preseason when the crowds are small and the water temperature is still a bit cold for most. 

While my friends and I got lucky and were offered beach loungers for free, try to stay away from camping out at popular places like Hula Hula Beach Club if you’re trying to save a buck. The sight of 0.3 Karlovačko’s for 38 HRK and a Caprese salad for over 80 should make you flinch, and we didn’t even mention the 245 HRK snack platter for two (oops). There’s a nice beach just over from this popular beach club, and it was completely empty on a sunny and warm day like today – head there instead.

If you feel like you need to get a coffee, expect to pay 16 HRK just for an espresso, and a sparkling water? 20. Because staying hydrated is key, be sure to be prepared with enough – it won’t be as easy to find around these parts.

If you’re trying to get wifi in the town, good luck – and wandering from cafe to cafe spending 20 HRK on coffees just to see if it works is not your best budget-saving option (lesson learned). But who really needs wifi on the island anyway?

If you’re still hungry in the late afternoon, cheap eats at a bakery for a quick fix will always do the trick, but the markets are still your best go-to to save if you’re in a crunch for cash. 

After a full day on the island, you can make your way back to Split from Hvar town with the 19:45 Krilo line catamaran for 80 HRK, settling back into the Dalmatian capital in just one hours time. 

Round-trip travel costs: 147 HRK

0.5 liter beers from the market: 7 HRK each

1 liter water: 6 HRK each

Food and snacks for two: less than 100 HRK



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