Hvar 2012: Croatia’s sunniest island starts year with… sunshine


The first morning sky of 2012 on Hvar in Croatia sets the tone for what will be a busy year of tourism on an island famous for its sunshine. Early risers on the island of Hvar were greeted by a familiar sight on January 1, 2012 – clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Croatia’s premier island is famous for its good weather, and is known as the sunniest island in the Adriatic, averaging 2,724 hours of sunshine annually, and its hotels are rumoured to offer free accommodation if it snows.

Hvar as the oldest organised tourism in Europe
Internationally recognised for its beaches – CNN named Jerolim as its top naturist beach in 2011 – and its celebrity draw – recognition which has been further enhanced with the swimming pool antics of Prince Harry and Beyonce’s decision to reveal her baby bump – the history of the island’s tourism is firmly rooted in its attractive climate.

Credited with being the oldest organised tourism destination in Europe, Hvar’s tourism origins are linked to health and not nightlife. The Dalmatian coast was a popular destination for the Austro-Hungarian elite in the 19th Century, when Hvar was also known as the Austrian Madeira, as aristocrats from Vienna were drawn by its healthy climate. This culminated in the formation of the Hvar Health Society in 1868, which offered recuperative vacations for guests with various ailments.

Hvar as Lonely Planet’s number 5 destination for 2012
Despite the glorious early January sun and its famous weather, Hvar tourism suffers like the rest of the country from a very short tourism season, as the perception that Croatian tourism is limited to summer beaches and nightlife. The Croatian Tourist Board is working to change that perception with a marked change in emphasis in its 2012 promotional material.

The diversity on offer all year on Hvar, named Lonely Planet’s number 5 destination for 2012, surprises many, and the very busy 2011 calender concluded on December 31, with the culmination of the last regatta of the year, the 35th Europa Laser Cup. Apart from its rich cultural heritage, including a UNESCO-protected Ancient Greek agricultural colony and the oldest municipal theatre in Europe (which celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2012), there are new initiatives to promote other aspects of Hvar’s diverse tourism.

The diverse tourism offer on Hvar
Croatia’s growing reputation as a food and wine destination will be bolstered by Hvar’s chefs who are part of a young Dalmatian team taking part in the 2012 Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany under the tutelage of Croatia’s only Master Chef, Zdravko Kalabric, while the island’s wines – including Croatia’s only Grand Cru from Zlatan Otok – will be highlighted in the island’s first combined food and wine festival, planned for May. With numerous sailing, activity and agro-tourism activities also on offer, 2012 promised to be a busy year for tourism on Hvar under its blue skies.


source: digitaljournal.com