Island Dreaming

Happy holidays everyone! I love this time of year, but I must admit that with the short days and cooler temperatures my mind starts to wander..

And where does it wander? Well, at the moment, it is wandering to the beautiful Croatian island, Hvar.

HvarIslandSunset (600x450)

Hvar Island is a long, skinny island running west to east with the eastern tip closest to the mainland between Split and Croatia. It is 42 miles of extraordinary beauty and many microclimates.

hvarvineyardsThe Greeks settled on Hvar Island in the 4th century BC and started farming there. They planted some of the first grapes in Croatia while they were there, so the winemaking tradition goes back to 384 BC on Hvar Island. Some of the vineyards are on very steep hillsides, and many vineyards are extremely difficult to get to and to farm.

IvanDolacVineyardsThere is one town on the island that has a bit if a reputation of being a “glitzy” resort town. While there are parts of Hvar Town that attract upscale partiers, this is seasonal and also not all over town. Outside of Hvar Town, the island is sparsely populated and very quiet.

All over the island you will find the most tranquil places, where you can BREATHE.

CroatiaherbwallIn the villages, herbs – and capers – grow in stone walls, and poppies are everywhere. The sun shines on this island more than anywhere else in Croatia. The breeze is silky smooth.

hvarmonasteryThere are monasteries…

hvarresort (1024x768)There are lots of boats…

hvarseasidekonobaAnd seaside restaurants.

gardensThere are hidden pools and gardens…

hvartownAnd nice village walks. After a day of exploring, relax with a glass of wine and a view.

hvarwineAnd there should always be a sunset walk before dinner.

hvarsunsetIt is late December and it will be months before I can get back to this island that has a special place in my heart. But I am a dreamer, and I can see the views, taste the wine, and feel the sun and wind, in the months before I get there.

Come see Hvar Island on the GrapeHops tour in Croatia and experience this magical place for yourself!


Shannon Essa leads small-group tours focusing on wine, food, and local culture in Croatia, Slovenia, Northern Italy and Northern Spain & Portugal.

Discover the backstreets of Venice or the wine, craft beer, and slow food of Piedmont, Italy. In Spain, experience the rustic foods and low-key lifestyle in beautiful Galicia, the wineries along the Camino de Santiago in the Bierzo region, or the justifiably famous wine regions and local food traditions of Catalonia. See many of Croatia’s most beautiful sights and learn about the rebirth of one of Europe’s oldest wine areas. And see all this with Shannon, who loves unique and out of the way wine and food experiences.

When not in Europe, Shannon does her eating and drinking in San Diego, California.

Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.




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