There’s plenty to take in when sightseeing on Hvar! Here’s some of the top sights in the island’s main towns.
Sightseeing on Hvar – Hvar Town
Hvar Town is a wonderful place to visit, and a great place to stay in if you like your holidays to be a bit more refined. The best sights in Hvar Town include its lovely harbour with its pretty little boats (some of the luxury yacht variety, but plenty of simple fishing boats too). It’s very pleasant to walk on the promenade around the harbour in early evening (as the locals do – hey, when in Rome…). Make sure you pick up an ice cream pre-walk to complete your enjoyment!
Next to the harbour, you will see St Stephen’s Square (Trg sv. Stjepan), the largest piazza in Dalmatia and the main town square. At the top end is St Stephen’s Cathedral (Katedrala sv. Stjepana), built in the 16th and 17th centuries, with its impressive bell tower – look for the differences in each level of the tower.
Just next to St Stephen’s Square on the left-hand side (if facing it), you will see Renaissance-style loggia and its clock tower, now both part of the 5-star Palace Elizabeth Hotel, although often used by the people of Hvar for various gatherings.
Almost opposite the loggia, on the right-hand side of the beginning of St Stephan’s Square is the Arsenal, built between 1579 and 1611, and from 1612 home to a theatre on the first floor. This was Croatia’s first theatre, and one of the first community theatres in Europe.
Further around Hvar’s promenade (if walking in a southerly direction) you will get to the Franciscan Monastery. Containing a large and impressive painting of the Last Supper, most of the monastery was built between 1461 and 1471.
Above Hvar Town (visible from sea level) is the impressive fortress Fortica or Spanjola. Built in the 16th century, it was added to by the Austrians in the 19th century. Walk up Hvar’s steps to a winding path and you’ll reach the fort’s entrance. It is well worth a visit for the stunning views – don’t forget your camera. There’s also a little gift shop here, and a cafe (open in summer), plus a seashell exhibit.
Sightseeing on Hvar – Stari Grad
Stari Grad’s main sight is the tvrdalj building, built by local writer Petar Hektorovic between 1520 and 1569. Intended as his home, it was also to serve as a refuge for travellers, and for the people of Stari Grad if they ever came under attack. One of the building’s main features is its fish pond.
The Church of St John (Crkva sv. Ivan) is certainly worth a visit – parts of the church date from the 6th century.
As Stari Grad stands on the site of the Greek city Pharos, some remnants from that time are visible at some places around the town – including at St John’s Church, mentioned above.
Sightseeing on Hvar – Jelsa
St John’s Church (Crkva sv. Ivan) is the main sight in Jelsa – the church dates from the 15th century, although its baroque appearance is from the 18th century.
Tours on Hvar
There are plenty of organised tours on Hvar to choose from if you wish to take in as much as possible in a short space of time.
- Hvar is famous for its lavender, so a Hvar Lavender Tour is highly popular! Explore some of the lavender fields, and learn more about lavender production on the island.
- The Hvar Hidden Gems Half Day Tour is a four-hour tour taking in Hvar’s rural inland areas. The tour includes a traditional lunch.
- For the gastronauts amongst you, indulging in Hvar’s fine food and wine is a must! The 8-hour Hvar Wine Tour and Dalmatian Dinner tours local wineries (sampling wines, of course!) followed by a fantastic dinner. Or for a shorter tour, try the Hvar Wine Tasting Tour or Hvar Chocolate Workshop with Wine Pairings Tour.
- If you’d like a tour of Hvar Town’s sights with an organised guide, try the 2-hour Hvar Walking Tour.
Tours from Hvar
There are some gorgeous experiences a short boat ride away from Hvar!
- Perhaps the best known is the Blue Cave Tour – located close to the island of Vis, this spectacular cave and its shimmering blue waters can only be visited on a tour. Check out the Blue and Green Cave Speedboat Tour. The Blue Cave and Vis Culinary Day Tour is available if you’d like to visit gorgeous Vis as well.