DAILY BLUE CAVE TOUR FROM HVAR – BEST THING TO DO WHEN IN HVAR, CROATIA
Wondering about the best way to spend a day in Hvar?
Wondering about the best way to spend a day in Hvar?
Hvar is a versatile island that you can explore for months and you still might not get to see ALL the gems this island hides. However, for those of us whose time on Hvar is vacational, and thus limited, naturally the wish is to visit as many beautiful locations as possible in the short timeframe that we have. For that reason, we have compiled a list of places on Hvar island and its surroundings that are an absolute must-see. The best thing is that they can all be encompassed by a single, day tour that leaves from Hvar town: the famous Blue Cave tour.
Blue cave tours can generally depart from Split, Hvar or Vis, and can be also advertised as Five island tour or Four island tour, depending on the itinerary. While branding might be different, all tours generally cover similar areas, Vis island and its surroundings and Hvar with its surroundings. The Blue cave group tour from Hvar costs around 66 euros per person + entrance fees for the caves. From Split, due to a greater distance, it costs almost twice as much. Private tours can cost anywhere from 350 euros up, with gasoline and skipper included in the price. There is also a Blue cave entrance fee which varies from 70 to 100 kn (9 to 13 euros) depending on the time of the year. Also, if you wish to visit the Green cave, this will cost you an additional 50 to 70 kn (6.5 to 9 euro). Other spots that are typically included in the Blue cave tour are Stiniva beach, Pakleni islands (Palmižana bay), and, if there is time, some hidden bays on Vis island. Duration of the Blue cave tour is generally around 10 to 12 hours for departures from Split, or 8 hours for departures from Hvar. We advise departures from Hvar as you will not waste much time in the ride.
If you have arrived to Hvar town, the chances are you will see Blue cave tour signs in the street and might find yourself puzzled over which tour to select. The options are limitless and depend on your preferences. Here are some questions that might pop up when booking the Blue Cave tour:
How to find a good tour operator for the Blue cave tour from Hvar? You will notice there are many different companies offering their Blue cave tours around Hvar, Split and other areas. While for many the price is the most important factor when deciding on which tour to select, we remind you that it can hide some drawbacks, too. Bear in mind that usually there is a reason behind reduced pricing, especially in high season. While with quality tour providers you might need to book days in advance, cheap Blue cave tour operators might offer discounted rates because there is not much more they can offer. If they don’t have quality boats, staff and a well-worked out itinerary, the best way to attract guests is price dumping. This takes us to the second relevant factor, the reviews. This might seem like stating the obvious, but it is worth reminding that authentic, user generated reviews are a single best indicator of the quality of the service. Some tour operators do not have a Trip Advisor site, which means that they have nothing to lose if a guest is unsatisfied and if the service quality was poor. If you hop to this tour operator’s Trip Advisor site, you will notice that there is a lot of feedback from the customers and that the feedback itself is overwhelmingly positive. Reviews might also help you plan your itinerary a bit more in detail, as many customers mention the highlights of their trip to the Blue cave.
Choosing which locations to visit on your Blue cave tour highly depends on whether you choose a private or a group option. Expectedly, the private Blue cave tour is very customizable and thus offers more flexibility. Private tours usually cost between 300 and 1000 euros and can depart anytime you prefer. However, we recommend departing around 9 or 9:30 from Hvar, as this will give you the upper hand over the many group tours that all depart from Hvar at 10:30. If you select a private boat tour, you can arrange the itinerary on the go, just chat with your skipper and tell him what your preferences are. The absolute highlights are Blue cave and Stiniva, so we definitely recommend visiting those two. The others vary according to your preferences. Here is a list of possible options you can choose from, mix and match in order to create your perfect itinerary:
KOMIZA town – an idyllic little town on the southern side of Vis island. Komiza used to be a fisherman village and was recently a filming location of Mamma Mia 2. Here you can take a walk across the old town, explore the little alleyways and enjoy good local restaurants like Jastozera.
PRITISCINA – an amazing tiny bay tucked in between rocks. This beach is not easy to spot, therefore it is often one of the rare places on Vis island that is not overflown with tourists.
SMOKOVA – a beautiful sandy beach on the north side of Vis island. This beach is not easy to reach by land, therefore it is favored by sailors who want to get away from the crowds.
GREEN CAVE – unlike the Blue cave which is protected and can only be visited by boat, the Green cave allows its visitors to take a swim in its emerald interior. Bear in mind that there is an entrance fee to get inside the cave, which amounts to around 10 euros and should be paid in cash.
VLAKA – this amazing little bay situated on Pakleni islands is a perfect refuge for those who want to try autochthonous food in a perfectly still and peaceful environment. The two restaurants that we recommend there are Dionis and Fisherman’s house Tonci. The menu list is not long, as their objective is to offer quality, local and fresh dishes to their tables. Winetasting can also be arranged in Vlaka, just ask your skipper about it.
VELA GARŠKA – another amazing bay far from the eyes of the crowds. Vela Garska is located on the southern coast of Hvar, not too far from Hvar town, yet it is only reachable by boat, which gives it a special charm. One of the best ways to finish your day is with a cocktail or a glass of wine in Calma beach bar, before heading back to Hvar town.
However, private tours do cost a bit more than the daily group tours, therefore, you might want to save some money and join a group tour. These kinds of tours typically cost around 70 euros and depart every day at 10:30 from Hvar. The boats are big enough to comfortably accommodate 12 persons + the skipper. The itinerary is fixed and is usually consisted of the most popular locations like Stiniva, Green cave, Blue cave, and Pakleni islands. If there is enough time, as an additional stop the skipper might take you to one of the several beautiful hidden beaches on Vis island that are on the way. Some of our favorites are Pritiscina and Smokova. Google image search of these places won’t show you much as the locals selfishly hide them for themselves, but take our word for it that these will be among the highlights of your trip.
MONTH: Blue cave can be visited anytime during the tourist season. Usually, it is open from early April until late October. Bear in mind that it is not allowed to swim in the Blue cave, therefore you can enjoy it during that entire period, regardless of the water temperature.
WEATHER: As the entrance into the Blue cave is very small and waves can easily disrupt its entrance, an important thing to keep in mind when visiting the Blue cave are the weather conditions. While the rain itself is not an issue, any strong wind, can obstruct the entrance into the Blue cave. As winds change frequently in Dalmatia, it does happen at times (not too frequently, though) that because of a sudden change in wind/waves, the Blue cave has to close for visitors. Ideally, the tour operators can predict this a day in advance, but it is not always the case. Don’t worry though, in case the Blue cave is closed and it is well-known before your departure, the operator should give you the option to reschedule, or to do the tour anyways but with some additional locations that would make up for the Blue cave. We were not surprised to find out that many guests were as satisfied with those locations as they were with the Blue cave.
TIMINGS: You will find on many websites that the best time to visit the Blue cave is between 11 and noon. However, the truth is, although the color IS slightly more intense at that time as the sun is at its highest point, the difference isn’t so big or noticeable. You will enjoy the Blue cave just as much if you visit it a couple of hours earlier or after. Instead, you should focus on hours which are less busy with tourists. Your skipper will do his or her best to estimate those timings, as they change daily. Therefore, the best time to visit the Blue cave is anywhere between 9am and 4pm, as long as there are not too many crowds.
For your Blue cave tour, it is recommendable to bring towels and swimsuits if you intend to swim. In the pre- and post- season (April, May, September, October) it is highly recommendable to bring a pair of long sleeves as the boat ride can be a bit cold. Some drinks are provided on the boat, yet if you wish to bring your own drinks, whether alcoholic or non, feel free to do so. Snorkeling masks are generally provided on the boats, but without the snorkeling tube, for sanitary reasons.
It is also advisable to bring some snacks, as the restaurant stop is the last one in the day (usually around 3 pm) so you might get hungry by that time.
Also, most people bring their phones, and wallets as there will be some restaurants and bars on your stops, but also because the entrance fee into the Blue and Green caves are generally not included in the price. Bear in mind, though, that there are no safety lockers on the boat, so do not bring more than necessary. However, Croatia is well-known to be a safe destination and we have never had a single thievery case.
A question we often get is whether it possible to visit just the Blue cave and go back? The answer is: yes, but it is not advisable. There is no such group tour from Hvar or Split that goes straight to Blue cave and back, without stopping at some other locations. This can only be done if you hire a private speedboat for a couple of hours (which can cost anywhere from 350 euros up) which will take you to the Blue cave and bring you back. While this is doable, it does not offer the best quality to price ratio. Also, since the Blue cave is the most distant point of the tour, hiring a boat that would take you just there would mean that you would pass by many beautiful locations that are on the way to the Blue cave, some of which are equally as stunning, without seeing them. For example, you will pass by Stiniva bay, which was voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. For that reason, we advise leaving an entire day for this tour if possible, as this way you will get to experience most must-see attractions in one go.
All in all, visiting the Blue cave is definitely one of the things you must do when in Croatia, and especially when in Hvar. Whether you decide to do it in a group or privately is entirely up to you, but make sure you do your research before you make a reservation, and we guarantee this will be the experience you will remember until the rest of your life.
If you wish to see in detail what Mario’s standard Blue cave tour looks like, please check here.