Discovering this sun-drenched Adriatic jewel, with little thought for the ancient history of harmony between the climate, weather, sea, landscape, history, civilisation and goodwill of the inhabitants, modern summer nomads occupy even its most hidden nooks, taking everything the island unreservedly offers. And indeed, the island, its towns and villages have a lot to offer; fascinating, wonderful things found nowhere else on earth. Its exceptional urban aspect seems especially built to fit the times and humankind. The island is large enough to allow adventurous souls to roam freely, but also small enough to be infused by the awareness of being surrounded on all four sides by the sea. Perhaps it is this awareness that has made the inhabitants of Hvar industrious, generous, sociable people who gladly share what is on their tables, or in their cellars and fishing crates, with complete strangers. They love to gesticulate and wave their arms around while talking, often loudly, in their own Hvar dialect (Forski). Their Mediterranean vivacity is at its height during the long, sunny days of summer, and only slightly tempered by the advent of winter.
Hvar belongs to the group of large central Dalmatian islands. It has an unusual, elongated shape, widening out at the western end, and narrowing like a spindle towards the eastern tip, stretching for 68 kilometres. It is only 10.5 kilometres across at its widest point. It has a surface area of 297.3 square kilometres, making it the fourth largest Croatian Adriatic island. The shoreline is indented and 270 kilometres long. There is high land in one part of the island, where the peak of St. Nicholas (Sv. Nikola) rises to 628 metres above sea level, but there is also a low, fertile region, Stari Grad Plain, which is the largest on the Adriatic islands. Hvar and the smaller islands close by, of which Ščedro is the largest, and the Pakleni Islands the best known, along with Zečevo and the intriguing Lukavci Reefs, go hand in hand and this accounts for its particular charm. Hvar is one of the most populated islands, with 11,500 inhabitants, mostly concentrated in five small towns.