Seeing the Hvar lavender fields in Croatia was high on my list. Just imagine the rows of purple, a little like those of the French Provence but more wild and in bushels. That is what Hvar was known for. Note the past tense. Those days are sadly gone. But my stubbornness didn’t want to listen and so I set out to find the remains anyway. I did find something, but not quite what I was looking for.
How to Explore Hvar Lavender Fields
Getting to Hvar was an adventure in itself. It was still shoulder season at the beginning of May and that meant that tourists were not considered too much when it came to ferry schedules. It showed because the faster ferry left at 7:40 in the morning and returned 12 hours later. I didn’t want to spend a whole day on the island. The alternative ferry, which takes two hours, had five trips each way per day but they didn’t match up with my bus schedule.
So I decided to take the evening ferry to Hvar, spend the night in Hvar town and then hike early in the morning to Stari Grad. I knew the lavender fields were not spread out all over the island like in the old days. I had to get to Busje and the nearby mountain villages of Malo Grablje and Velo Grablje for that. With my maps.me app at hand, I marked the hiking trails that would lead me to my goal. Research goes a long way. This trip has definitely reiterated that with vehemence.
Rural Idyll in the Middle of Nowhere
At 6am, I rolled out of bed, slipped on my dress and shoes, brushed my teeth and was out the door. I had to march up the hill and summoned my sleeping energy reserves by nibbling on my chocolate cookies for breakfast. (Get your hands on the coconut Domaćica ones. They’re so good!) I huffed and puffed myself up 200 metres onto the hill, then retraced my steps to find the connecting hiking trails and walked up again. It was tough for this unfit lazy bum.
Once I was up though, the hike to the Hvar lavender became much easier, the slopes gentle and the view spectacular. Olive trees were dotted all over the landscape, standing between stacks of grey slates. Bright red poppies and yellow flowers lined the gravel paths, peeking out of high strands of grass. It was idyllic. And I was all by myself. This is exactly what I needed after the crowded streets of Split and Krka National Park.
Finally Spotting Lavender Fields on Hvar
I tremendously enjoyed the views but the lavender fields were still nowhere to be found. Only at a crossroads on the way to Brusje did I find a rogue patch hidden behind an old stone wall. The lavender blossoms were only half open, not yet in full bloom. They start exploding over the summer, which is why the annual lavender festivals of Hvar are held at the end of June.
Cautiously I stepped between them. That is what I had seen in the photos so that is what I did. I sniffed the air. Thyme. That’s all I could smell. The intense fragrance didn’t yet perfume the air. Still, the aroma of the wild herbs lingered and it is what I will associate with the quiet island of Hvar. Not satisfied, I continued my walk but was stopped by two olive farmers.
Quick Change of Plans and Dead Ends
“Where are you going?” I explained my bold plans. They weren’t well received. “You really shouldn’t do that. It’s too hard. You’ll get lost. The roads are very up- and downhill.” They were seriously concerned for my safety. It was really sweet. I showed them the map but me not being 100% sure and knowledgeable of the island didn’t convince them to let me through. I had to promise them to make a detour to Brusje.
So that way I went, looking for the bus stop because I wouldn’t want to hike next to the roads (and I would probably miss my ferry thanks to this detour). Just in case, I had downloaded the bus schedules for Hvar and Stari Grad to my phone and there was supposed to be one in half an hour. But then there was no bus stop to be found anywhere in the deserted village. This didn’t look good.
Riding on Kindness
But alas, a man just left his house to walk his dog and granddaughter. He was slowly approaching a car. Noooo, stay! He didn’t have good news for me. “There is only one bus. It leaves at 12:12. Buses don’t stop here. You see, there are no people around. No one takes the bus, so they change the schedule.” Brilliant. Sometimes having the answers isn’t fulfilling at all. My ferry was due at 11:30.
I lamented a bit and he suggested more walking. By now, the walking might not help. I needed to run and than in the tiny ditches next to the road along mountain edges. He took pity on me and stopped his friends who were driving by. One car took it upon themselves to drive me all the way to the ferry even though they had no plans of going there any time soon. I couldn’t believe the kindness of the people on Hvar!
Since I was well ahead of schedule thanks to my unexpected hitchhike, I had time to kill. No longer in the mountains among Hvar lavender, I decided to stroll along the shores. I really couldn’t have picked a better spot or day. The sunshine was brilliant, bringing out the azure blue shades that caressed the white sands. The colours were exploding. It was as if real life saturation had been cranked up.
The old town of Stari Grad looked very picturesque in the distance. The walk between ferry and town was just half an hour, but I was just too darn comfortable to walk any further. I had done my due today and it was chilling time. I unpacked my lunch and feasted my tummy on food and my eyes on the view. After a casual stroll back to the ferry, I enjoyed some more views over the islands along the cruise and called it a day. There’s always a way to turn a potentially disastrous travel day into something great.
Know this before planning to visit the Hvar lavender fields in Crotia
- Plan a day for exploring Hvar so you won’t run into time troubles
- Check the current ferry schedules as well as duration of the trip (varies between 1 and 2 hours)
- Double check bus times and have a taxi number at hand as backup or rent a car
- Plan smaller hikes around Hvar or – even better yet – a local guide
- If you want to see the lavender in Hvar, visit in June