Hvar Island: Top Things to See and Do
It is not easy to recommend the most significant island Hvar must see attractions, as there are so many tourist points that deserve not to be bypassed.
Most of the visitors are visiting Hvar island for its natural beauties, crystal blue sea, pebble or rocky beaches, hidden bays and coves or scented lavender fields, but it hides a lot more.
Tourist attractions in Hvar island are also numerous cultural and historical monuments, churches, town squares, local parks, caves, fortresses, cultural and sport events as a testimony of its glorious past.
With its cultural and historical heritage, Hvar island is one of the oldest and the richest regions of the entire Adriatic coast and Croatia. Just to remind you that Stari Grad on Hvar island, was founded in 385 BC as a Greek colony, known as Pharos.
From classic must-see island attractions, there are countless things to do and see on Hvar, starting from its capital, Hvar town, to Stari Grad, Jelsa and Vrboska.
I’ve tried to handpick the best things to see and do, across the island Hvar to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences. Whether a hidden boutique with handcrafted souvenir products, a popular local festival events or cultural monuments that are worth taking a look.
Hvar Town Must See Attractions
Hvar Croatia is the biggest city of island Hvar, called the ‘Croatian Madeira’,
that boasts of 2,724 hours of sunshine per year, more than anywhere along the coast.
Medieval Hvar is a small town that lies between protective pine-covered slopes and the azure Adriatic Sea with a group of Pakleni islands. The main street is the wide promenade that runs along the harbor, where you will find the most important sights.
Strolling along the town seaside promenade, you can not help but notice, Hvar eye catching monuments:
- Hvar cathedral, with Bishop’s palace, on the biggest square in Dalmatia – Hvar town Piazza
- Hvar Fortress (called Spanjola – Spanish), built above old city in the mid 16th century will thrilling view of the city of Hvar and surrounding Pakleni islands.
- Hvar theater (and Arsenal) is one of the first and the oldest theaters in Europe. It was founded in 1612. Erected on the ancient Arsenal (a space used for repairing of galleons)
- The Franciscan monastery was founded in 1461 with exceptional old masters collections.
- Loggia in Hvar with clock tower was first mentioned in 1289. The elegant facade with its miniature-like obelisks was created by the Late Renaissance master Tripun Bokanić in the early 17th century.
Stari Grad Hvar must see attractions
Stari Grad is one of the oldest towns in Croatia. This old town known as Pharos, was founded in 385 BC by Greek colony. The Romans conquered the Greeks in 219 BC. Later, Slavs settled the town and it became the capital of the island until 1278.
Enclosed on the one side with the land and the fields of lavender and vineyards, and on the other side it is protected by the sea, the town is nested at the end of the 5 miles long bay.
Top Stari Grad landmarks monuments:
- Stari Grad highlight is Tvrdalj, the poet Petar Hektorovic’s 16th century fortified castle with fish pond and beautiful garden that reflects the poet’s love for fish and fishermen life. His poem “Fishing and Fisherman’s Complaints (1555) is one of the most important literary texts in the Croatian language of the 16th century.
- Another Stari Grad Hvar must see highlight is the old Dominican monastery, founded in 1482, damaged by the Turks and later fortified with a tower. Don’t miss a treasure of the Monastery: the “Mourning of the Christ” by J. Tintoretto (1512. – 1594.) as well as old manuscripts.
- The Stari Grad Plain on the island of Hvar is an agricultural landscape that was set up by the ancient Greek colonists in the 4th century BC, and remains in use. The plain is generally still in its original form. This plain is Croatia’s 7th location protected by UNESCO.
Jelsa Hvar Must See Attractions
Jelsa is a small port on the north central part of the island of Hvar. After Hvar town, Jelsa is a second settlement on the island of Hvar in terms of population, with about 3500 residents. It’s only 30 km from Hvar town, 10 km from Stari Grad and 30 km from Sucuraj the easternmost settlement.
Jelsa Hvar must see attractions:
- Baroque church of St John in the 15th century. This church is placed at the picturesque town square, and surrounded by the Renaissance and the Baroque houses.
- In the 70-ies of the 19th century the public Garden of Jelsa was completed and within it we can find the statue of the captain Niko Dubokovic. This Park is one of the biggest and prettiest in Dalmatia.
- Not far from Jelsa, just between Stari Grad plain and Jelsa, two archeological sites are worth visiting. One is a tower at Tor, only 210 meters above sea level, looking straight down to the Jelsa harbor. The other one is Galesnik, a ruined medieval hilltop settlement. It’s not so easy to find both places, but if you are hiking lover, you will see these signs, indicating you are on the right direction.
Vrboska Hvar Attractions
Vrboska Hvar island is one of the most picturesque villages on the island. This tiny city on the north coast of Hvar island, lies at the bottom of narrow curving bay with several bridges, sometimes called ‘a little Venice’.
Vrboska Hvar must see landscapes:
- St.Mary church – In the middle of the village stands out a fortified church St.Mary built in 1580 to protect the village from Turkish attacks. From the church roof you can enjoy a beautiful view of the countryside and the sea. Opening hours: Mon-sat 10:00-12:00
- Fisherman’s museum. In order to preserve the fishing tradition in 1972 was open this museum that holds an interesting collection of traditional fishing nets, tools and equipment. To demonstrate the difficulty of fisherman life, museum shows also a reconstruction of fisherman’s house. Opening hours: Mon-sun 10:30-12:30 – 18:30-21:00.