Best Things to do on Hvar with Kids

Hvar has a well-deserved reputation for being a chic, jet-setting party town. As parents of two small kids (aged 2 & 4), we are not exactly party animals and weren’t sure if Hvar with kids was the right choice for us.

We knew it’d be beautiful, and it was well connected by catamaran to our other Croatian destinations, so we decided to give it a shot. After making the most of city life in Zagreb and Split with kids with a brief interlude in Plitvice Lakes National Park with kids, we were ready for island life and the Hvar beaches!

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If you are planning a family vacation on Hvar Island and are wondering how best to spend your time on Hvar with children, you’ll find plenty of suggestions in this post.

Here’s how we spent our time in Hvar with kids…

view of marina on hvar island croatia
Taking Ferry from Split to Hvar with Kids

Things to do in Hvar with Kids

The Fortress

The Fortress on Hvar Island - things to see in Hvar

The Hvar Fortress (otherwise known as Fortica or Spanjola) is one of the first things you see when you arrive in Hvar. Sitting dominantly on a hill behind the Old Town, this fortress must have been formidable back in its day.

To get to the Fortress requires walking up a series of steps from Old Town. Once you cross the road called Ul. Higijeničkog Društva, you enter a park through a gate, where the stairs graciously end and the path becomes paved leading gradually uphill.

Walking up to the Fortress - Hvar Things to do with kids

The walk up is very enjoyable with excellent views of Hvar Town and its harbor, along with many beautiful plants and flowers. It’s an effort, but if you are in reasonable shape, you won’t have much trouble. Our kids were able to walk to the top themselves without much help.

Taking pictures of view on the way to the Fortress on Hvar with Kids
Walking with kids on the path to the Fortress on Hvar Island - things to do in Hvar for families
Walking Path to Fortress on Hvar Croatia - what to do in Hvar with kids

The kids loved the Hvar fortress. They had a ball running around exploring, climbing on stuff, playing with the cannons, etc. The views at the Hvar Fortress are incredible and make the walk up worthwhile.

Fortress on Hvar Croatia - Best things to do on Hvar Croatia with kids

The views are why you visit the Hvar fortress, but there are a few other things to do while up there. The fortress has a prison deep in its bowels which is fun to walk down and explore. There is also a small museum (mostly ceramics – yawn) and a cafe which sells ice cream and smoothies.

The fortress is a reasonably small place and you can see it all in under an hour, but you can take as long as you’d like to soak in those amazing views. If you are wondering what to do in Hvar, Croatia and we recommend taking the time to see the fortress.

See the Hvar Fortress on a Hvar City walking tour.

View from Fortress on Hvar Island Croatia - things to do on Hvar for families
Visiting the Fortress Hvar Croatia with Kids

Hike to Milna Beach

Kids playing on Milna Beach Hvar Island Croatia - Best Beaches Hvar with Kids

This morning we were out the door at 7:30 am. We had the kids in the carriers and we were taking on some Hvar hiking to nearby Milna for a morning at the beach. The hike to Milna is one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done. It hugs the rugged coastline nearly the whole way, offering amazing views of the Adriatic Sea and the surrounding islands.

We have an entire post full of all our best tips for hiking with kids and this one with all the best hiking gear for kids.

Walking from Hvar town to Milna Beach with Kids

The walk begins from the town harbor and is on a paved seafront promenade until shortly after you pass the Franciscan Monastery. Here the path ends and you transition to a quiet residential road for a while.

Before long you begin walking on an actual hiking trail, through trees which provide some much needed shade from the southern exposure of this hike. The quality of the trail varies quite a bit from flat dirt to jagged, uneven rocks, so it’s best that you wear your most robust footwear on the Hvar hiking trails (flip flops will not cut it on this hike).

Path from Hvar Town to Milna Beach - hvar croatia things to do

Along the way you pass multiple beaches, many of which were deserted on the day we hiked this trail. It’s hard to describe the tranquil beauty of these beaches, with their stunning crystal clear water.

It was a hot morning and it was soooooo tempting to stop and jump in, but we had heard Milna has a good family friendly beach on Hvar, so onward we marched. We let the kids walk for a little bit, but we carried them most of the way as we wanted to give them as much time on the beach as we could.

hvar croatia beaches with kids
Stunning view of beaches hvar croatia

As we neared Milna, we passed a couple stunning Hvar Island beaches and we were getting excited to see the one nearest town, which was our final destination. When we got there, we were shocked to see a backhoe in the middle of the beach, grooming the pebbles.

We were there the first week of May, so they must have been preparing the beach for the upcoming tourist season. Even after grooming, the beach wasn’t nearly as nice as any of the others we’d passed, but the kids didn’t care and they ran off to play. We were quite disappointed knowing the quality beaches we had passed up to come here.

Milna Beach Hvar Island Croatia with Kids
Best Beaches on Hvar with kids - milna beach hvar

Being so early in the season there was hardly anything open, but we went to a nearby hotel for some ice cream and cake. Then we walked back to the second closest beach to town, which was significantly nicer than the in-town beach – it even had a section of the beach which was real sand, so everyone with small kids congregated there. 

Having ice cream near Milna Beach Hvar, Croatia with Kids
Best beach on hvar with kids

The hike itself is not too hard, with very little vertical gain, but the footing was challenging at times and slowed us down. The 4.7 mile (7.5km) hike took us about 2h15m, about a half-hour longer than this distance would typically take us.

Given the hike took us longer than planned, we abandoned our plan to hike back and asked at the hotel for information on the bus schedule. As we were waiting in the hot sun on the side of the highway for the bus, an enterprising taxi pulled over and asked us if we’d like a ride.

After a little negotiating, we agreed on a price and hopped in the cab. This was money well spent as it gave us extra time at the beach and still got us home for our little guy’s nap.

If we were to do it again, we would have stopped at one of the other excellent Hvar beaches along the way and then had lunch in Milna, before taking a bus or cab back to Hvar Town. The beaches in Milna are nice enough, but the ones along the way were much nicer.

If hiking is not your thing, you can visit many spectacular Hvar beaches in this area on a speedboat tour.

Set Sail in Croatia - Go on an adventure of a limetime - tourradar

Hvar Town

Croatia - Hvar Town
Hvar Old Town - things to do on Hvar with Kids

After our toddler’s nap, we went for a slow walk through Old Town. We didn’t push the kids too hard and let them set the pace. We walked through many of the charming side streets behind the harbor.

The kids liked running ahead exploring, smelling flowers, climbing stairs, finding new alleys, etc. We walked back through Saint Stephan Square before looping back up to our Airbnb apartment.

Houses on Hvar Island Croatia

Hike to Mekićevica Beach

Playing on Mekićevica Beach - Hvar Beaches with kids

Taking a water taxi out to the Pakleni Islands for fun on the beach is one of the top things to do in Hvar, but we elected not to do this for two reasons:

1) It seems like most of the beaches on these islands are ‘naturist’ beaches and our 2 year old son is a little too ‘verbally honest’ right now… 

2) We start our outings at 7:30am and we doubted there would be a water taxi operating that early in shoulder season.

Guided kayaking tour to Pakleni Islands

So, we decided to guarantee ourselves an awesome beach day by going to the most beautiful beach we saw on our hike the previous day, Mekićevica Beach. It took us an hour to walk there from central Hvar to Mekicevica Beach.

(Side note, Google Maps directed us to walk through the residential part of town as a more direct route. In the end, it was way less scenic than the waterfront route we took the day before, plus it didn’t save us any time. We recommend taking the waterfront route).

We arrived at 8:30 and we had the entire beach to ourselves. This small beach is postcard worthy – it’s exactly what comes to mind when you think Croatian beach. It’s a small beach, set in a protected cove created by dramatic rock formations on either side. The beach itself is mostly rocks, with small pebbles close to the water and get increasingly bigger as you go back – water shoes are a must for everyone with tender feet.   

Hvar Hiking - things to do on Hvar with kids

There are many benefits to this beach on Hvar for families with little kids. The beach is in a well-protected cove, so the waves tend to be small. Being more remote, it will be less crowded than the beaches closer to Hvar – we had the place to ourselves for almost two hours.

Hvar hiking with kids to best beaches on hvar Island

Our kids spent most of their time outside the water, playing on the large outer cove rocks, playing with the beach rocks, looking for shells, playing in tide pools, etc. We didn’t see a single sea urchin here – which are common around Croatia (keep an eye out for black circles in the water).  

Sitting at the Beach on Hvar Island Croatia with Kids

When it was getting close to lunch, we decided to walk back to Hvar Beach and let the kids play there for a while. Being much closer to town means this is a much busier beach and doesn’t have a fraction of the charm of Mekićevica Beach.

We played for a little bit, but it was getting close to lunch and we were tempted by the prospect of seafront calamari at the nearby Mustaco Restaurant. Despite the reasonably good reviews on TripAdvisor, we thought the food here was awful.

Bol and Pakleni Islands by speedboat 

beach chairs on one of the best beaches Hvar Island
eating on beach on Hvar with kids

Hvar’s Oceanfront Promenade

Hvar Oceanfront Promenade on Hvar Island Croatia

In the afternoon, we could tell the kids were dead tired after two days of hard playing in the sun, so we decided to keep them at home for the afternoon. Celine and I took turns going for a walk.

We each walked for 20-25 minutes down the Hvar oceanfront promenade on the west side of the harbor. This is a very nice family friendly walk on Hvar Island. It passes several beaches and a playground, making it one of the top things to do in Hvar for kids.

Where to Stay in Hvar with Kids

Due to its popularity, accommodation in Hvar can get very expensive. The Old Town in Hvar is pretty small and hotel options are limited, forcing prices upwards. Those traveling to Hvar on a budget can find options just outside of the Old Town, but this typically involves climbing many stairs up the hill which backs onto Hvar.

We rented a two-bedroom Airbnb a few minutes walk north of Old Town Hvar. We chose to stay at an Airbnb as we enjoy the family-friendly amenities like separate bedrooms, a kitchen and laundry facilities. Plus, it’s location up a hill just outside of town made it more affordable.

There are plenty of Airbnb rentals in Hvar Town. If you are new to Airbnb, you can sign up with our link and get a $35USD credit towards your first stay.

If hotels are more your style, we personally use and recommend using Booking.com as their Top Picks for Families search filter makes it easy to find good family-friendly accommodation.

Looking for more options on where to stay in Hvar? This post is full of great options on where to stay in Hvar!

How to Get to Hvar with Kids

Hvar does not have an international airport, which means most visitors to Hvar will travel there from Dubrovnik or Split.

We traveled from Split to Hvar on the Krilo passenger ferry. We chose this method of getting to Hvar with kids as we didn’t have a rental car and the Krilo ferry offers direct service to Hvar Town. The other ferries to Hvar drop you off at Stari Grad, which is a 30 minute drive to Hvar Town.

If you are arriving at the Split airport or the Dubrovnic Airport and wish to get to Hvar Town without needing a rental car and/or the need to bring child seats, check out a private transfer with Suntransfers.com.

Your transfer to Hvar includes a private car with transportation to the ferry, child seats (if requested) and ferry tickets. Plus, your driver will meet you at the airport gate with your name on a sign – who doesn’t love that?

Transfers from Dubrovnik Airport to Hvar (incl ferry tickets)

Transfers from Split Airport to Hvar (incl ferry tickets)

Up next, we hop on a ferry from Hvar to Korcula with kids!

taking a ferry from hvar to korcula

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