In this article, I explore the myriad of things to do on Hvar Island, each offering a unique glimpse into the island’s soul. From the historical allure of Hvar Town with its ancient fortresses and charming squares to the serene beauty of the Pakleni Islands, Hvar is a treasure trove of experiences.
Whether you’re a history buff, a culinary enthusiast, or an adventure seeker, Hvar Island promises an unforgettable adventure, blending the old with the new in a mesmerizing dance of Croatian heritage and natural splendor.
Best Time to Visit: Summer, for the full cultural and outdoor experience.
Accommodation: Ranges from private accommodations to hotels.
Transportation: Accessible by road from within the island or ferry from land.
Exploration Time: 2-3 days to truly immerse in the town’s charm.
Discover the enchanting town, a treasure trove of historical sites and Renaissance splendor. Wander through the ancient Fortica (Spanjola), marvel at the grandeur of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and find serenity in the Franciscan monastery. This town is not just about history; it’s home to the oldest municipal theatre in Europe, a testament to its rich cultural heritage.
For those seeking a vibrant experience, the town’s nightlife is a magnet for young people from around the globe. By day, explore the old stone streets, relax in charming local cafes, or embark on an adventure to the Pakleni Island bays. The area offers a plethora of activities, from swimming and dining in pristine bays to enjoying cultural events like art exhibits and music concerts, particularly during the Hvar Summer Festival.
Culinary enthusiasts will revel in the fresh seafood, enhanced with local olive oil and herbs. Don’t miss dining at acclaimed restaurants like Giaxa, Macondo, diVino, and Gariful. For shoppers, the town boasts numerous fashion boutiques showcasing Croatian designers.
Outdoor activities abound, from walking and cycling to scuba diving and windsurfing. The town’s beaches, especially on the nearby Pakleni Islands, are simply breathtaking. And for a unique souvenir, pick up some locally produced wine, olive oil, or lavender oil.
Hvar is also known for its UNESCO-recognized Hvar lace, made from aloe leaves by Benedictine nuns, symbolizing the town’s blend of cosmopolitan and spiritual Mediterranean lifestyles.
St. Stephen’s Square
Ticket Prices: Free
Exploration Time: 1-2 hours (including surrounding attractions)
Working Hours: Open 24/7
Step into the vibrant heart of history at St. Stephen’s Square, a remarkable 4500 m² space that has evolved from a deep bay into a bustling center of culture and history. This square, nestled between the historic areas of Grode in the north and Burga in the south, has been a pivotal part of the community since the 15th century.
At its eastern edge stands the majestic Cathedral of St. Stephen, a testament to the Renaissance style prevalent during the Venetian empire. In the square’s center, you’ll find a communal well dating back to 1529, offering a glimpse into the past. The square today is a lively blend of the old and the new, lined with cafes and small businesses that maintain its historical charm while providing modern conveniences.
For those with a love for history, architecture, and local culture, St. Stephen’s Square is a treasure trove. It’s an ideal spot for leisurely walks, photography, and savoring local cuisine in the surrounding cafes. The best part? There’s no entry fee, making it an accessible gem for all visitors.
The square’s journey from a bay to a thriving hub is a unique aspect of its story, illustrating the seamless blend of its historical significance with contemporary amenities. It’s not just a square; it’s a living, breathing piece of history, inviting you to be a part of its ongoing story.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Ticket Prices: Entry fee 1.5 €.
Exploration Time: Approximately 1 hour.
Working Hours: Open in the morning and late afternoon.
This magnificent structure, originally a 6th-century Christian church, evolved into a Benedictine convent before becoming the cathedral for the Bishop of Hvar in 1147. Today’s building, dating back to the early 17th century, stands proudly on a site with roots in the 9th century.
The cathedral is a stunning showcase of Renaissance, Manneristic, and early Baroque styles, characteristic of Dalmatian architecture from the 15th and 16th centuries. Its exterior boasts a three-aisled basilica with a square apse in the Baroque style, and a façade featuring a late Renaissance three-cornered gable, symbolizing the Holy Trinity. The bell tower, constructed in 1549-1550 by local builders, is a striking feature of the cathedral.
Step inside to witness a treasure trove of artistic and historical wonders. The interior houses Gothic altars and pulpits, along with nine Baroque altars from the 17th century, embellished with paintings by Venetian artists. A highlight is the main altar painting by Palma the Younger, alongside a triptych from a 16th-century Venetian artist. Don’t miss the unique stone relief of a Roman ship from the second century inside the bell tower, and the monument of the winged Erote in the adjoining square.
Photography is not allowed inside, but the exterior is best captured in the early morning or twilight for optimal lighting. The cathedral and its square have been pivotal in Hvar’s history, offering a peaceful retreat amidst the bustling town. The surrounding area is renowned for its authenticity and picturesque streets.
This cathedral is not just a place of worship, but a journey through centuries of art, architecture, and history, waiting to be explored by you.
Venetian Loggia and Clock Tower
Ticket Prices: Free
Exploration Time: 20 minutes (when open)
Working Hours: Currently closed (as of November 2023)
The Venetian Loggia and Clock Tower stand as a testament to the rich history and architectural brilliance of the region. The Loggia, a Renaissance-style structure from the 13th century, is the sole survivor of the historic Governor’s Palace. Its beauty lies in the intricate details of its Renaissance architecture, a style that has captivated visitors for centuries.
Adjacent to the Loggia, the 19th-century Clock Tower rises, adding a touch of elegance to the skyline. These structures, now part of Hotel Palace, offer more than just a historical journey. The Loggia, once damaged by the Turks in 1571 and later restored, now houses an elegant vintage salon inside the hotel, complete with a grand piano, blending history with modern luxury.
The site’s location offers stunning views of the bustling Hvar harbor, providing a serene backdrop against the lively atmosphere of the town. While currently closed with an unknown reopening date, the Loggia has always been a cherished spot for its unique architecture and tranquil environment, offering a peaceful retreat from Hvar’s vibrant nightlife.
Visitors are encouraged to explore this historical gem during the day to fully appreciate its architectural splendor and scenic harbor views. Despite being a lesser-known attraction at night, the Loggia’s shade and views during the day make it a must-visit for those seeking a blend of history, beauty, and tranquility.
Španjola Fortress aka Fortica
Ticket Prices: €10 (Adults), €5 (Kids/Teens under 19)
Exploration Time: ~30 minutes
Working Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
Step into the past at the Španjola Fortress (Fortica), a historical gem with roots stretching back to 1278. This fortress, a testament to the architectural prowess of the Venetian era, has witnessed numerous reconstructions, notably after the events of 1571 and 1579. Its Baroque bastions stand as a proud reminder of its storied past, housing a quaint museum that boasts an impressive amphora collection and other historical treasures.
Perched on a hill, the fortress offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Hvar town, the Pakleni islands, and the azure sea beyond. The journey to the fortress is an experience in itself, whether you choose the scenic switchback path, adorned with steps and trails, or a comfortable car ride. Each step offers a picturesque view, making the climb as rewarding as the destination.
For a modest fee of €10 for adults and €5 for kids and teenagers under 19, visitors can immerse themselves in this historical wonder for approximately 30 minutes. Open from 9 AM to 10 PM, the fortress is not just a historical site but a hub of activity. Early morning visits are highly recommended to avoid crowds and heat, particularly when cruise ships dock in town.
Photography enthusiasts will find the fortress a haven, especially during sunset. The site is equipped with a souvenir shop, a small restaurant, and a café, ensuring comfort during your exploration. Along the walk, an ice cream stand and benches provide perfect spots for a brief respite.
The fortress is more than just a historical site; it’s a cultural mosaic reflecting influences from various eras, including Venetian and Austrian. Its strategic hilltop location not only served as a defensive stronghold but now offers visitors a unique vantage point over Hvar and its surroundings.
While the fortress is a must-visit for history and view enthusiasts, it’s important to consider the weather and physical effort involved. The walk includes several stairs and uphill paths, which might be challenging for some. However, the effort is rewarded with an unparalleled cultural and visual experience, making Španjola Fortress a jewel in Hvar’s crown.
Ticket Price: 10 €
Working Hours: 10 AM – 9 PM daily
Exploration Time: Approximately 30 minutes
Discover the historic charm of The Arsenal in Hvar, Croatia, a remarkable building with a story woven through centuries. Situated opposite the City Lodge in the port of Hvar, this structure, originally a 14th-century shipyard, has witnessed numerous reconstructions, notably after the Ottoman invasion of 1571. Its resilience is a testament to Hvar’s enduring spirit.
The Arsenal’s historic theater (Hvarsko Kazalište), established in 1612, is a jewel on its first floor. This theater is not only one of Europe’s earliest public theaters but also a symbol of cultural democratization, historically accessible to all social classes. Imagine, commoners once paid their way in with a bucket of salted fish!
Extensive restoration efforts since 1989 have revitalized the Arsenal, especially the theater’s interior, now resplendent with natural materials. Architecturally, the Arsenal is a tapestry of styles, from the Fontik, a communal store for cereals and salt, to the picturesque Belvedere terrace.
Today, the Arsenal is a vibrant hub for performances and exhibitions. The ground floor, echoing the Venetian period, and the first floor’s well-preserved theater, offering a 3D journey through the island’s history, are must-see attractions. For photography enthusiasts, the first floor offers captivating views of old Hvar.
Best Visit Times include rainy days or as part of a combined tour with nearby attractions. A local tip: climbing the stairs to the first floor rewards you with a charming view of old Hvar. If you have a combined ticket with the fortress, don’t miss this opportunity for a unique exploration of Hvar’s history and culture.
Ticket Price: 7 €.
Exploration Time: Approximately 1 hour.
Working Hours: 9 AM – 3 PM and 5 PM – 7 PM (Mon-Sat); Closed on Sundays.
The Franciscan Monastery stands as a beacon of history and tranquility, just a pleasant stroll along the sea and waterfront away. Built in 1461 with the support of Croatian nobles and ship captains, this historic edifice once served as a church for sailors, a fact echoed in the inscriptions left by Venetian naval commanders. Celebrating its 550th anniversary in 2011, the monastery is not just a structure but a living piece of history.
Architecturally, the monastery showcases a single-nave Gothic structure adorned with a Renaissance Chapel of the Holy Cross. Art enthusiasts will be captivated by the relief of the Madonna and Child by Niccolo Fiorentino, and the significant painting of the Last Supper, possibly the work of Matej Ponzoni or the school of Palma Junior. The presence of 16th-century altars and a Renaissance sanctuary crafted by Venetian masters further enriches its artistic value.
For those with a penchant for history, the monastery’s museum and library are treasure troves. They house an impressive collection ranging from Greek, Roman, and Venetian coins to Ptolemaeus’ atlas and rare amphora exhibits. The library, a significant component of the monastery, offers a glimpse into the past through its extensive collection.
Surrounding the monastery is a tranquil garden, home to a 300-year-old cypress tree, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle of the town. The outdoor terrace provides serene views over the water, making it a perfect spot for contemplation and photography.
This cost-effective and time-efficient destination is ideal for those seeking a blend of cultural, historical, and artistic experiences in a peaceful setting. The Franciscan Monastery is not just a visit; it’s an immersion into a serene, historically rich environment, offering a unique perspective on Hvar’s heritage.
Working Hours: 8 AM to 9 PM daily.
Exploration Time: Anytime, with a recommended stay of about 45 minutes to soak up the atmosphere.
Local Tips: Try the traditional Hvar cake and various brownies for a unique taste experience.
Step into the charming world of Nonica’s Patisserie in Hvar, a haven for lovers of traditional and nearly forgotten delicacies. This quaint patisserie, renowned for its original recipes passed down through generations, offers a delightful gastronomic adventure that tantalizes both your taste buds and visual senses.
Indulge in their specialties, like crispy chocolate cookies, colorful muffins, and light fruity mousses – perfect for a refreshing treat on a hot summer day. The emphasis on high-quality ingredients ensures every bite is a testament to Nonica’s commitment to excellence.
Experience the unique flavors of Hvar with their Traditional Wedding Pastry (HvarFlowers), flavored with anise for a fragrant, light, and crisp taste. The HvarFig Sweet combines dried figs and herbs for a rough texture but refined taste, often enjoyed with grappa. Don’t miss the HvarSweet Dough, a sweet and spicy blend with olive oil and spices.
Their cakes and brownies are a must-try, especially the traditional brownies with toasted walnuts and the juicy raspberry and cottage cheese brownies. The peanut brownies with crispy peanuts and milk chocolate are a delightful surprise.
Visitors rave about the adorable ambiance, friendly service, and the highly praised cappuccino. While prices are on the higher side, the quality justifies the cost. Remember, it’s cash only here.
Museum of Mystery Ivan Vučetić
Ticket Price: Free entry as of writing of this article
Exploration time: 20 minutes
Working hours: 9 AM – 9 PM daily
Step into the intriguing world of forensic science at the Museum of Mystery Ivan Vučetić, nestled in the heart of Hvar town. This unique museum, housed in the very residence of Ivan Vučetić, a Croatian inventor and forensic pioneer, offers a deep dive into the fascinating realm of dactyloscopy or fingerprint identification.
As you explore, you’ll encounter a comprehensive exhibition detailing Vučetić’s life and groundbreaking work. Discover artifacts and stories previously hidden from the public eye, and engage with interactive elements like creating your own fingerprint samples. Learn about significant cases cracked by Vučetić, underscoring his monumental influence on modern forensics.
Proudly standing as Croatia’s first museum dedicated to a figure in forensics, it offers an unparalleled insight into the evolution of techniques that continue to be pivotal in solving crimes worldwide. Visitors often describe the museum as a fun and educational spot, perfect for those with a keen interest in true crime and forensics. The staff’s friendliness and expertise further enrich your visit.
Open daily from 9 AM to 9 PM, with free entry, it’s an ideal stop for a 20-minute exploration. Located conveniently near the harbor, surrounded by cafes and bars, it’s a must-visit in Hvar. Don’t miss the chance to grab unique merchandise like tote bags and chocolates as a memento of your visit. This museum is not just a visit; it’s an experience that offers a unique glimpse into the world of forensic science, making it a must-see for anyone in Hvar.
The Benedictine Monastery and the Church of St. Antuna Opat
Ticket Price: 5 €
Exploration Time: Approximately 20 minutes
Working Hours: 10 AM – 1 PM and 4 PM – 7 PM, MON-FRI
Step into the serene world of the Benedictine Monastery and the Church of St. Antuna Opat, a treasure trove of history, art, and unique cultural heritage. Established in 1664, this monastery, nestled in the historic house of nobleman Hanibal Lucić, is not just a site; it’s a journey through time.
Here, you’ll find the Church of St. John the Baptist and St. Anthony the Abbot, each corner echoing centuries of devotion and history. But what truly sets this place apart is its UNESCO-recognized tradition of lace-making from agave leaves. This exquisite art, preserved by the nuns since the 19th century, showcases a blend of creativity and tradition, making the lace souvenirs here not just items but pieces of history.
The monastery also houses an impressive art collection, featuring masterpieces like The Adoration of the Magi and The Assumption of Mary, alongside stunning polychrome wooden sculptures of saints from the 17th and 18th centuries. These artworks are not just displays; they are narratives of faith and beauty, preserved through time.
Reflecting its commitment to community and education, the monastery historically ran a girls’ public school from 1836, highlighting the nuns’ dedication to knowledge and skill development.
As you explore, don’t miss the chance to take home a piece of this heritage. The agave lace, known for its intricate design and labor-intensive production, is a unique souvenir, having graced the hands of popes and dignitaries.
Abandoned Village of Humac
Ticket Prices: Free
Exploration Time: 1-2 hours recommended
Working Hours: Open 24/7, best time to visit is during the day
Discover the Abandoned Village of Humac, a hidden gem nestled 11 km east of Jelsa Town on Hvar Island, soaring 350m above sea level. This 17th-century village, a well-preserved example of rural architecture, is proudly listed in the Register of Cultural Monuments. Wander through the traditional stone houses, each a testament to the island’s rich history and considered ethnographic monuments.
Humac is not just about its past; it’s a living, breathing experience. Dine at Konoba Humac, a unique restaurant that offers traditional cuisine in a rustic, eco-village setting. Remember, there’s no electricity or running water here, adding to its authentic charm.
For history enthusiasts, the Grapčeva Cave is a must-visit, showcasing stalactites and stalagmites from the Neolithic era, crucial to understanding the history of Hvar civilization. Don’t miss the historical sites like the ancient Greek fortress Tor and the medieval fortress-town Galešnik.
For the adventurous, horse riding is available in Humac’s scenic surroundings. If you’re looking for a secluded retreat, consider staying in one of the restored guest houses available for summer rentals.
The village’s lack of light pollution makes it an ideal spot for stargazing, and with a telescope, you can enjoy magnified views of the breathtaking landscapes and seascapes. Don’t forget to visit the local mill to see lavender and herbal oil processing.
Travel Tips: Advance booking is necessary for meals at Konoba Humac. Humac serves as an ideal exploration base for nature lovers, writers, or artists on retreats.
Nestled in a picturesque bay on Hvar’s north coast, Jelsa Town is a hidden gem in Croatia’s Split-Dalmatia County. This charming town, encircled by the majestic St. Nikola and Hum mountains and shielded from harsh north winds by Biokovo hill, boasts a population of 3,501.
Jelsa’s rich tapestry of history, dating back to 1331, is evident in its stunning architecture and urban design. The old town, with its Renaissance-Baroque center and the historic church of Sv. Marija, offers a journey through time.
Culturally vibrant, Jelsa celebrates its heritage with events like the Antun Dobronić Evenings and the much-anticipated Jelsa Wine Festival. For accommodation, the town presents a variety, including the historic Hotel Jadran, established in 1911.
Food enthusiasts will revel in the Mediterranean flavors at restaurants like “Komin” and “Pelago”. After dark, the town comes alive with bustling bars and clubs, with a popular ritual being a late-night visit to the bakery on Riva.
Jelsa’s beaches, set against serene pine forests, provide the perfect escape. Notably, the town stands out for its abundant fresh water, fostering lush vegetation. A short distance away lies the Starigrad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage site, adding to Jelsa’s allure.
Best Time to Visit: Summer months, aligning with cultural events and favorable weather. Getting There: Accessible via catamaran from Split. Prices in Jelsa are more affordable compared to Hvar town, making it a budget-friendly destination.
Grapčeva Cave Near Jelsa
Ticket Prices: Adults 5 €, Children 3 €, Private Tour 45 €
Exploration Time: Approximately 2 hours
Working Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, 9:00 AM
Grapčeva Cave is not just a natural wonder but a portal to ancient times. Linked to the legend of Odysseus and Cyclops Polyphemus, this cave is a treasure trove of history, dating back to the Late Neolithic Hvar-Lisičići culture (3500-2500 BCE).
As you step inside, you’re greeted by an enchanting array of stalactites and stalagmites, with niches that create a magical atmosphere, while the entrance offers a breathtaking sea view.
Embark on this journey on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from June 15 to September 15. Tours, starting from Konoba Humac at 9:00 AM, last about 2 hours and are priced at 5 € for adults and 3 € for children. For a more personalized experience, opt for a private tour at 45 € for up to 10 persons.
Your adventure includes a visit to the Ethno-Eco Village Humac, dating back to the 15th Century, and a chance to explore its picturesque ruins and stunning sea views. Don’t miss the little museum in Humac and the Church of Ss. John and Paul. The walk to the cave, through beautiful lavender fields, is a visual treat.
Be prepared for a slight hike, especially the last 20 meters which are steep. Good shoes are a must, and during hot weather, avoid mid-day visits. Remember to stay hydrated and note that the cave is accessible only with a guide. If you’re not driving, hiring a taxi is recommended as there’s no public bus service to Humac.
Discover the cave’s three cultural layers, with its Neolithic layer being the most fascinating. Archaeological finds include colored, decorated ceramics and Europe’s oldest portrayal of a boat, dating back to 3000 BCE.
Pakleni Islands aka Paklinski Islands (Hell Islands)
Ticket Prices: Boat rental around 55 €, Taxi boat approx. 8 € return, Kayaking from €52
Exploration Time: half day to a full day adventure
Working Hours: Varies by activity
Discover the Pakleni Islands, a breathtaking archipelago just off Hvar Island in Croatia. Renowned for their picturesque coves, hidden beaches, and lush greenery, these islands offer the perfect blend of tranquil retreats and vibrant nightlife. The best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons from April to early June and September to October, offering warmer seas, fewer crowds, and lower prices.
Getting to the Pakleni Islands is a breeze with a short boat ride from Hvar Island. You have a variety of options, including rental boats, speed boats, taxi boats, or organized tours. For adventurers, renting a boat for around 55 € lets you explore at your own pace.
Remember to pack lunch, water, sunscreen, and snorkeling gear, and always be mindful of safety and environmental responsibility. Alternatively, taxi boat services are available for about 60 kuna return, operating regularly during the summer.
For a more guided experience, kayaking tours start from €52 per person, letting you discover hidden coves and beaches. Or, opt for organized tours, including half-day sailing and romantic sunset tours.
The islands are a paradise for swimming and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters. Don’t miss Sveti Klement, Zdrilca beach, and Mlini beach for the best spots. For dining, try Mamato Bar on Marinkovac Island or Fisherman’s House on Sveti Klement for exquisite seafood. And for a unique experience, visit Jerolim Island, known for its naturist beach.
While staying on Hvar Island, you’ll find accommodation options ranging from luxury hotels to budget hostels. A few tips: consider travel insurance, respect local customs, and plan an itinerary that balances relaxation and exploration.
Renting a boat can offer unparalleled flexibility, and visiting in the shoulder seasons ensures a more authentic experience with fewer tourists. For a truly private experience, explore the lesser-known coves.
Stari Grad Town
Step into the enchanting Stari Grad Town, one of Europe’s oldest towns, dating back to an impressive 384 BC. This historical gem is not just a place; it’s a journey through time, rich in cultural and historical heritage. Marvel at the Renaissance splendor of Tvrdalj Castle, complete with a serene fishpond and poetic inscriptions that whisper tales of the past.
Nearby, the Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcases an ancient Greek agricultural landscape, offering a unique glimpse into centuries-old farming traditions.
Don’t miss the Dominican Monastery, a treasure trove of valuable paintings and artifacts. For a touch of nature’s beauty, Lanterna Beach awaits with its pebbly shores and crystal-clear waters.
The heart of Stari Grad’s cultural life is Petar Hektorović’s Tvrdalj, a fortified summer villa that boasts a tranquil fishpond and lush garden. For history enthusiasts, the Stari Grad Museum offers deep insights into the town’s rich history and culture.
Embrace the outdoors with cycling and hiking around the Stari Grad Plain, or take a boat tour along the picturesque coastline and nearby islands. The town comes alive with cultural events and festivals, especially in the summer, offering a vibrant glimpse into local life.
Travel Tips: The best time to visit is from late spring to early autumn for the most favorable weather. Stari Grad is easily accessible by ferry from Split or Drvenik. Accommodation options cater to all, from budget-friendly to luxury.
Indulge in the local cuisine, a delicious blend of traditional Dalmatian and Mediterranean flavors, and don’t miss the chance to taste the local wine varieties, particularly celebrated in the Stari Grad Plain area.
Stari Grad Museum
Ticket Prices: 3 €. Guided Tours: 7 € in Croatian, 15 € in English.
Exploration Time: Approximately 30 minutes. Photography: Permitted with prior permission.
Working Hours: Summer (May, June, September, except Sundays) 10am-1pm; July, August daily 10am-1pm, 7-9pm, Sundays 7-9pm. Winter (October – April) by arrangement.
Dive into the rich tapestry of Stari Grad’s history at the Stari Grad Museum, a treasure trove nestled in a historic building. Begin your journey with Abdevnor’s Room, where the remnants of a 4th-century Roman merchant ship lie, offering a unique glimpse into ancient trade. The Dry-stone Walls of Hvar Island exhibit, a UNESCO-listed art, invites you to interact and appreciate this timeless craft.
Travel through time in the Pharos – Pharia – Stari Grad exhibition, exploring Stari Grad from its prehistoric roots to late antiquity. Step into the Gelineo Bervaldi Salon, reflecting the 18th and 19th-century prosperity of Stari Grad’s wealthy landowners. The Captain’s Room vividly evokes the town’s flourishing 19th-century seamanship.
Art enthusiasts will revel in the Four Stari Grad Artists of the 20th Century display, featuring works by Juraj Plančić, Bartol Petrić, Pavo Dulčić, and Magda Dulčić.
The museum’s augmented reality (AR) project, along with interactive elements like VR goggles, enriches your experience, offering insights into Stari Grad’s maritime heritage and its blend of historical and contemporary local art.
Remember, accessibility is limited due to the museum’s historical setting, but assistance animals are welcome. Public parking is available 130m away, with access on foot only. Plan your visit to capture the essence of Stari Grad, a blend of ancient allure and modern marvels.
Glavica Hill and White Cross near Stari Grad
Exploration Time: 30 minutes to an hour.
Discover the serene beauty of Glavica Hill and White Cross, a gem nestled above the charming Stari Grad on its north shore. This historical site, rich with the remnants of ancient hilltop watchtowers, offers a journey back in time.
As you embark on an easy hike along a well-marked stone path, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking panoramic views of Stari Grad harbour and the surrounding landscapes.
The White Cross area, a haven of tranquility, is perfect for those seeking a moment of peace or a spiritual retreat. With multiple trails leading to this serene spot, the journey is as delightful as the destination. The main trail, clearly marked and stony, is manageable for most, though sturdy footwear is recommended over sandals.
For photography enthusiasts, remember to seek permission before capturing the beauty of this site. And for those with assistance animals, rest assured they are welcome here.
Key Tips: To fully embrace the magic of Glavica Hill, plan your visit either in the early morning or at sunset. The latter offers an unforgettable view of the sun dipping below the horizon, but don’t forget a flashlight for the journey back. The proper entry is off the main road, avoiding the gravel/quarry path.
Ticket Prices: 4 €
Exploration Time: 20 minutes to 1 hour
Working Hours: 11 AM – 1 PM and 5 PM – 7:30 PM daily
Nestled in Stari Grad on the picturesque island of Hvar, Croatia, Tvrdalj Castle stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural tapestry of the region. Once the summer residence of the renowned Croatian Renaissance poet Petar Hektorović, this well-preserved Renaissance building boasts a unique architecture.
Its closed facade, facing the sea, was designed for protection, while the interior reveals a sea-water fish pool, a tower with a dovecote, and living quarters, all harmoniously arranged around the pool. The castle’s charm is further enhanced by the inscriptions in Latin, Croatian, and Italian, etched into the mansion walls, echoing the moralistic spirit of humanism.
A hidden gem in the castle is its walled garden, once used for cultivating herbs and medicinal plants, and the ethnographic collection in the west wing, which delves into the island’s traditions of winemaking and olive cultivation.
The castle’s fishpond, a habitat for mullet and encircled by a porch, along with the dovecot, are notable attractions. Tvrdalj is more than a historical site; it embodies Hektorović’s vision of a microcosm where all of God’s creatures coexist, a concept reflected in its dual role as a residence and a defensive structure.
Open from May to October, Tvrdalj Castle invites exploration for an entrance fee of 4 €. Visitors typically spend 20 minutes to an hour here, with mornings and late afternoons being the best times to visit for a tranquil experience.
Despite its unassuming exterior, the castle’s interior is rich in history and beauty. Adding to its quaint charm is the friendly resident cat, Mickey, and the peaceful ambiance that pervades the grounds.
Discover the charming village of Milna, nestled on the southern coast of Hvar Island, just a stone’s throw from Hvar Town. This historical gem dates back to the 17th century, richly connected to the Hvar Revolution and the notable Ivanić family.
Milna is a treasure trove of experiences, from its crystal-clear pebbled beaches like Velo Borče to the engaging walking tours in Malo Grablje and Velo Grablje, offering a deep dive into local history and culture.
For the adventurous, Milna is a haven with activities like tennis, small boat rentals, scuba diving, snorkeling, and the unique experience of donkey riding. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore nearby islands such as Vis, Mljet, Korčula, and Biševo with convenient day tours.
Gastronomy in Milna is a delight, featuring fresh fish, home-grown vegetables, and traditional Dalmatian specialties. Restaurants like Konoba Lambik and Kod Barba Bozjeg cater to all tastes, including vegan options.
Accommodation is versatile, ranging from apartments to villas, with Hotel Fortuna being a highlight. Remember to book in advance during peak seasons.
Getting to Milna is a breeze, either by catamaran or ferry from Split, followed by a bus or car ride. For the more adventurous, a scenic walk from Hvar Town is a great option.
The best time to visit is during the summer months, especially for the Lavender Festival in June in Velo Grablje. Milna’s unique charm is further accentuated by its historical architecture, including the preserved 17th-century residence of the Ivanić family in Malo Grablje.
Vrboska Town aka Little Venice
Discover the enchanting Vrboska Town, affectionately known as “Little Venice”. Nestled on the northern coast of Hvar Island, this small fishing village is a tapestry of history and natural beauty. Its charming canal, reminiscent of Venice, is a must-see, offering a picturesque setting that captivates every visitor.
Vrboska’s rich history is evident in its landmarks. The Church of St. Lovre, with its five altars, is a beacon of historical significance. Don’t miss the Kaštilac Fortress on the Glavica peninsula, where history meets stunning sea views. For a deep dive into the local culture, the Fisherman’s Museum showcases the island’s robust fishing tradition.
Architectural enthusiasts will appreciate the unique features of the Church of St. Petar and St. Roko. The best time to visit is May to early June, and September to October, when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are fewer.
Accommodation options range from the glamping experience at Plage Cachée to the traditional House Tia. Immerse yourself in activities like exploring quiet laneways, visiting the iconic canal and harbor, and stepping inside the historical St. Mary’s Fortress Church. Relax at Maslinica Beach and Beach Soline, and don’t forget to experience wine tasting at local vineyards.
Getting to Vrboska is straightforward, about 25 km from Hvar Town and 8 km from Stari Grad. Local buses, taxis, and rental bikes or scooters make commuting easy. Remember to pack essentials like a reusable water bottle and eco-friendly toiletries, and consider travel insurance for peace of mind.
Blue and Green Cave Tours
Embark on an unforgettable journey with Hvar Boats Blue Cave Tour, a full-day adventure starting at 10:30 AM. Dive into the mesmerizing beauty of the Blue Cave, Green Cave, Stiniva Cove, Budikovac Island, and the Pakleni Islands. This tour, priced at 80€ per adult and 40€ for children, includes a boat ride, skipper, snorkeling gear, and more, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Remember, cave entrance fees and meals are extra.
Alternatively, the Visit-Hvar Blue & Green Cave Tour kicks off around 10:15 AM. This route covers the Blue Lagoon Budikovac, Green Cave, and more, with a unique addition of a GoPro camera for capturing those special moments. Priced at the cost of cave entrances (8-13€ for Blue Cave, 6-9€ for Green Cave), this shared tour accommodates up to 12 people, perfect for those seeking a more intimate experience.
For those seeking a more exclusive adventure, Hvar Tours Exploring the Green and Blue Caves offers a full-day tour starting at 10:30 AM for 100€ per person. This tour promises an intimate glimpse of Vis Island and Stiniva Beach, among others, with a group size of 16-20 people.
General Tips: The best time to visit the caves is between 11 AM and 2 PM. Tours are weather-dependent, so booking in advance is recommended. Don’t forget sun protection and swimsuits for an enjoyable day!
Napoleon Fortress and Hvar Observatory
Ticket Price: Free.
Exploration Time: Approximately 2-3 hours.
Access: By hike or car (narrow, twisty road, requiring careful navigation).
Perched atop a peak with no prehistoric settlements, this location first hosted a church dedicated to St. Nicolaus in the Middle Ages, serving as a crucial observation post. During the Napoleonic wars, the French army constructed the Napoleon Fortress here, a testament to the island’s strategic importance.
Today, this historic fortress is home to the Hvar Observatory, established in 1972 through a collaboration between the University of Zagreb and the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. While the observatory itself is not open to the public, the area around it offers breathtaking views of Hvar town and the Pakleni islands, particularly enchanting during sunset or sunrise.
Accessing the fortress is an adventure in itself. A one-hour hike from Hvar Town center, marked and somewhat steep, is a rewarding experience, especially for those wearing comfortable shoes. For those preferring to drive, be prepared for a narrow, twisty road, requiring careful navigation.
Visitors are encouraged to visit during sunset or sunrise for the most scenic views. Remember to bring water for hydration, especially in the summer months. The best part? There’s no ticket price for this experience.
Working Hours: Observatory is generally open in the evening; check locally before visiting. Napoleon Fortress is open 24/7.
Sveta Nedilja Village
Nestled 12km east of Hvar Town, Sveta Nedilja, officially Sveta Nedjelja, is a charming village with a population of just 131. This quaint locale is steeped in history, boasting an Augustinian monastery dating back to the 15th century, nestled in a cave with roots in Neolithic times. The village’s unique position at the foot of St. Nicholas, the island’s highest peak, offers breathtaking cliff-side views that are a photographer’s dream.
Wine enthusiasts will be thrilled with Sveta Nedilja, renowned for its exquisite red wine, Plavac. The village invites visitors to explore its vineyards and the Zlatan Otok wine-bottling plant for unforgettable wine-tasting experiences. Beach lovers aren’t left out, with Zogon Beach and Lučišće Beach offering sandy shores and crystal-clear waters.
For the adventurous, the village is a haven for free climbing, with its rocky cliffs providing panoramic vistas. Add to that the options of hiking, trekking, mountaineering, and cycling, and you have an adventure paradise. Don’t miss the chance to visit the local lavender and rosemary oil distillery for a unique cultural experience.
Travel-wise, Sveta Nedilja is best visited in spring, summer, or autumn, with summer bringing the enchanting scents of lavender and rosemary. Accommodation is cozy, mainly comprising private apartments and houses.
Safety tip: Exercise caution on the steep, winding roads, especially in wet conditions. The village provides basic essentials with a small market and an elementary school.
Best Time to Visit: Year-round sunny weather.
Access: Some wineries only by boat, most accessible by car.
Pairing Food and Wine: Available on many tours.
Advance Booking: Recommended for unique experiences.
Embark on a historical journey through wine, tracing its roots from the Ancient Greeks to the present. Our tours take you through the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Stari Grad Plain, showcasing vineyards steeped in history. Experience the extraordinary with options like candlelit cellar tastings, waterfront vineyard visits, underwater cellars, and speedboat transfers to a secluded cave.
Delight in the unique flavors of local grapes like Mekuja and Palarusa, and enjoy personal interactions with local winemakers, including private tastings. The Danielis Yachting Blog lists the Top 5 Wine Tasting Experiences, including the Waves and Wines tour in a cave winery, and the Food & Wine Paired Dinner hosted by Teo Huljic.
Explore the Wine Island Rarities Tour, taste rare wines, and visit old wineries like Zlatan Otok, known for its Grand Cru wines and unique underground cellar. Don’t miss the Tomic Winery, offering a Romanesque cellar experience with award-winning organic wines.
Hvar’s winemaking tradition dates back 2400 years, boasting nearly 130 indigenous grape varieties. Many wineries are set in unique locations like caves and ancient cellars, integrating local history and culture. Embrace the sustainability of organic winemaking practices.
Ticket Prices: Water Taxi – 8 €, Sunbeds – 40 €, Cabanas – 93 €, Nightclub – 40 €
Exploration Time: 2-4 hours recommended
Working Hours: 9 AM – Midnight (Day), 1 AM – 5 AM (Nightclub)
Carpe Diem Beach Club, nestled on Marinkovac Island, is just a 10-minute boat ride from Hvar Town. This unique destination effortlessly blends the relaxation of a beach club with the vibrant energy of a nightclub. Accessible by water taxi or ferry, especially recommended for nighttime adventures, it’s a must-visit for those seeking both serenity and excitement.
During the high season, from late May to late September, Carpe Diem is open from 9 AM to Midnight, transforming into a lively nightclub from 1 AM to 5 AM. The club’s pricing is on par with high-end bars in major cities. A return water taxi trip costs around 8 €, while sunbeds are about 40 € per person. Enjoy free entrance during the day, or opt for a cabana at 93 €. The nightclub experience, including a round-trip water taxi, is 40 €.
Carpe Diem’s facilities are top-notch, featuring a private beach, cabanas, sundecks, and even massage services. Indulge in brunch, cocktails, and wine, with the Strawberry Mojito earning high praise. Activities like swimming in the Adriatic Sea and kayaking add to the allure. However, be mindful of potential slow service and check prices as they are subject to change.
Bring cash for convenience, and adhere to the casual beachwear dress code by day, shifting to dressier attire at night. For an enhanced experience, consider a guided boat tour that includes a visit to this exclusive spot, popular among celebrities.
Hula Hula Beach Bar
Ticket Prices: Free entry; drinks and sunbed rentals can be expensive.
Exploration Time: Approximately 2-3 hours for a fulfilling experience.
Working Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM daily during high season.
Discover the vibrant heart of Hvar at Hula Hula Beach Bar, a beach club celebrated for its lounge beach atmosphere and breathtaking sunset views. Nestled in the west part of Hvar town, this gem is just a 5-minute seaside stroll from Hotel Amfora and a 15-minute walk from the city center, making it an easily accessible retreat.
At Hula Hula, comfort meets luxury with sunbeds and VIP tables, complemented by an open-air massage pavilion for ultimate relaxation. Adventure seekers can indulge in boat rentals to explore the island’s natural splendor. The club’s culinary scene is a delight, offering fresh, light food, Thai cuisine, seafood, and an extensive selection of wines and tropical cocktails.
Famed for its after-beach parties starting at 5 PM, the club transforms into a lively venue with groovy music and performances by world-famous DJs, perfect for dancing until sunset. While the club is cash-only, a nearby ATM ensures hassle-free transactions.
During the day, the ambiance is family-friendly, with a relaxed vibe suitable for all ages. As the evening approaches, the club becomes a spectacular spot for enjoying beers and the sunset, offering a unique experience.
Ticket Price: 10-15 €
Exploration Time: 3-4 hours (recommended)
Working Hours: 10 PM – 5 AM
Dive into the heart-popping beats and electrifying atmosphere of Veneranda Nightclub, a gem nestled in Hvar town on the island of Hvar. This club isn’t just a place; it’s an experience where Hvar’s rich history and its dynamic present collide. Open daily from 10 PM to 5 AM during the high season, Veneranda is where the night comes alive.
Imagine dancing under the stars to the tunes of world-famous DJs in an award-winning setting, complete with specially designed tents. But that’s not all. Veneranda boasts a unique open swimming pool, perfect for those who love to splash while they party. As the sun sets, the venue transforms from a relaxed outdoor cinema and pizza lounge into a pulsating all-night disco.
What makes Veneranda truly stand out is its accessibility. Just a 2-minute walk from the city center and near the western edge of the Hvar harbor, it’s incredibly easy to find. Set on a hilltop promenade, the club offers breathtaking views of Hvar and the moonlit seaside, adding a magical touch to your night out.
Popular among both hospitality workers and tourists, it’s the go-to spot for anyone seeking a vibrant party atmosphere. For those looking for an extra dash of luxury, VIP reservations are available, offering a special treatment and experience.
Embark on an exhilarating cycling adventure with our diverse routes, each offering a unique blend of tarmac and off-road experiences. Our carefully crafted tracks are perfect for cyclists of all levels, weaving through the stunning landscapes of our island.
Sućuraj (Route 700)
Route 700, a 17.8 km journey, takes you on a circular path around the east end of the island. This easy track meanders through the charming Sućuraj village, near a majestic lighthouse, and into the serene northern parts, ending at Milaska camp. You’ll be captivated by the descent through pinewood forests, with the route’s highest point at 226 m.
Ten Bays (Route 701)
For those seeking a bit more challenge, Route 701 stretches 19.8 km. Starting in Bogomolje village, it snakes through lush olive gardens, connecting to the state road D-116. This route, with a moderate ascent and a highest point of 351 m, offers a harmonious blend of natural and cultural landscapes.
Humac (Route 702)
Route 702, spanning 32 km, begins in Humac and covers the island’s ridge, passing through Zastražišće village. Its diverse terrain and elevations make it an unforgettable experience.
Over the Top (Route 703)
Over the Top (Route 703), a 23.9 km path, offers breathtaking views from its highest point at 442 m. Starting in Jelsa and ending in the same, it’s a journey through the heart of the island.
Following UNESCO (Route 704)
Lastly, Following UNESCO (Route 704), primarily tarmac, is a 22.73 km scenic route through Starigrad fields, connecting Jelsa with Vrboska, Stari Grad, Dol, and Vrbanj villages.
Kayaking with “Kayak & SUP Hvar”
Best Time to Visit: Regular operations from May 14 to October 15.
Booking Advice: Early booking recommended.
Activity Options: Diverse kayaking and SUP experiences.
Local Expertise: Staff provide valuable insights.
Equipment and Safety: Quality equipment and safety advice offered.
Additional Services: Assistance with food and accommodation.
Unique Experiences: Access to lesser-known areas and personalized tours available.
Embark on an unforgettable journey with “Kayak & SUP Hvar”, where adventure meets the serene beauty of the Croatian coast. From May 14 to October 15, 2024, their doors are open daily from 10:00 to 18:00, welcoming you to explore the enchanting Pakleni islands and the captivating surroundings of Hvar. For those eager to start early, they offer a 10% Early Bird Discount for bookings made at least three days in advance through their website.
Their service is not just about kayaking; it’s an immersive experience. They provide high-quality kayaks and gear, including snorkels, ensuring your safety and comfort. Their knowledgeable staff are not just guides but storytellers, sharing intriguing history and efficient paddling tips. They’ll lead you to secret bays, secluded beaches, and vibrant ports, offering a mosaic of experiences.
For groups and repeat adventurers, they have exciting offers too. Enjoy a 10% discount for groups of four or more, and a 20% off on your second booking for any of their hiking or kayak & SUP activities. If you’re planning a full day out, their Full Day Rental Offer lets you pay for just 3 hours and enjoy up to 8 hours of exploration.
Customized tours are their specialty, tailored to your preferences and abilities. Whether it’s a half-day tour, a full-day rental, or a private guided tour, they cater to all. And for those seeking a unique twist, try kayaking in the rain!
Practical tips: Don’t forget essentials like water and sunscreen. Their location is easily accessible, and they have ample equipment for all.
Diving with “Diving Center Viking”
Working Hours: Not specified, please check with the center.
Ticket Prices: Range from €46 for a single shore dive to €380 for a 3-day package.
Exploration Time: Typically, half to full-day experiences, depending on the package.
Booking in advance is highly recommended, especially for groups.
Dive into the enchanting waters of Hvar, Croatia with Diving Center Viking, a haven for underwater enthusiasts. With over 20 years of expertise, this center, established in 2003, is renowned for its commitment to safety, personalized experiences, and environmental stewardship. The team, consisting of passionate instructors and dive masters, ensures a memorable and secure diving adventure.
Viking Diving Center boasts over 15 diverse diving spots, accessible within a 5-30 minute speedboat ride, including the stunning Pakleni Islands. These spots feature colored walls, caves, wrecks, and a rich marine life, offering an unparalleled underwater experience.
Divers, from beginners to certified, consistently praise the clear instructions, professionalism, and accommodating nature of the instructors. The dive quality is exceptional, with clear, warm waters teeming with sea life, including octopuses.
The center’s facilities enhance your experience, featuring a terrace with sunbeds, a bar, and breathtaking views.Their range of courses, from open water to advanced, are tailored with personalized attention, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience in a friendly and hospitable atmosphere.
Continue Your Hvar Journey: Additional Island Insights
As I delve deeper into the wonders of Hvar Island, I’m thrilled to share with you additional adventures and secrets this island holds. For a day filled with unexpected delights and historical wonders, join me on a journey through Hvar’s hidden day trip treasures, where each moment is a story waiting to be told.
If your curiosity is piqued by what lies beyond, my exploration of excursions around Hvar will guide you to breathtaking landscapes and cultural richness. For those who, like me, are drawn to the allure of the sea, discover my handpicked selection of Hvar’s coastal paradises, where the sand and waves whisper tales of tranquility.
Choosing the right place to stay is crucial for any trip, and my compilation of Hvar’s hospitality gems offers you a haven of comfort and luxury. And to ease your travel concerns, my practical tips on navigating your way to Hvar will ensure your journey is as serene as the island’s ambiance.
Let’s continue our exploration of Hvar Island together, uncovering its many layers and creating memories that resonate with the island’s captivating charm.