Winter Tourism on Hvar: Polar Donkeys Traditional New Year Swim in Bright Sunshine

Total Croatia News

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People start a new year in different ways. Many with new resolutions, many more with hangovers. 

But if you are looking for a novel way to blow away the cobwebs of the previous year, head to Bonj les Bains at 13:00 on New Year’s Day where the annual New Year’s Day swim, organised by Polarni Tovari (the Polar Donkeys) takes place.  


Now in its 7th year, the Polar Donkeys swim is attended each year by an increasing number of enthusiasts of the two and four-legged variety, and 2022 was no exception, as you can see from this year’s video, below. 

Hvar, of course, is no stranger to winter tourism, for it was hear that organised tourism in Europe began back in 1868, with the formation of the Hvar Health Society. The ‘Austrian Madeira’, as Hvar was known to convalescing aristocrats from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was famed for its temperate 12-month climate. 

With the 2022 Hvar swimming season now officially open, why not jump in yourself?

Alternatively, there is plenty of other activity on the Adriatic at this time of year.


(Photo credit Taliah Bradbury)

TCN Junior took to the waters around Hvar yesterday to try her hand at squid fishing. And with considerable success, but with the fishing and with the camera, two skills her father has so far failed to master.  


There may have been bigger parties elsewhere, but there is something soothing about Dalmatia away from the crowds, away from the season. 

If you have never tried it and are looking for a complete detox, there is nothing quite like it. 

As for swimming on New Year’s Day, that is also a skill I have yet to master, but I heartily commend the brave Polar Donkeys who maintain this wonderful tradition. 

To learn more about the magic of this incredible island, check out the TC Hvar in a Page guide


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