Stari Grad on the island of Hvar is another popular island town, but quieter and calmer than its more lively neighbour (of sorts), Hvar Town. This northern part of the island is easy to reach and by visiting and staying here you will be rewarded with a pretty and calm (both party-wise and weather-wise), protected as it is by higher land.

The name of the town literally means Old Town for it is one of the oldest settlements in the whole of Europe; close to the town is a large fertile area which has long been used for agricultural farming. This can be experienced today as the Stari Grad Plain which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Today, the town is home to just under 3,000 people.

History of Stari Grad

The area is believed to have first been settled by neolithic tribes as far back as 3,500 to 2,500 BC as there is evidence of life such as pottery remains that has been dug up from that time.

It was inn 384 BC that the Greeks came and named the town Faros – a name you may see and hear when you visit. When the island came under the control of the Romans, Faros became Faria – and from this the name Hvar (for the island) was established when Croats arrived to the coast.

Getting to Stari Grad

There is a regular, daily car ferry connection from Split with Jadrolinija with around four sailings a day in winter and seven in summer. The sailing takes two hours to travel from Split to Stari Grad.

Out of season, Jadrolinija also has a once-a-day catamaran that travels from Split to Stari Grad with a journey time of one hour.

Jadrolinija‘s international ferry service from Ancona in Italy to Split has in the past made a stop at Stari Grad during peak season (July & August) although this is not a service that is running at the present time. But it may yet make a return to the ferry schedules.

The port is located 2 km outside of the main part of the town, so you will need to take a bus or taxi (or organise a private transfer) to get to the centre if that’s where you’re staying.

Buses from other Hvar towns

You can of course travel to the other towns on Hvar island, for example making use of the very frequent catamarans from Split to Hvar Town, or those that travel to Hvar Town from Dubrovnik, Mljet or Korcula. From Hvar Town, it’s about a 20-30 minute bus journey to Stari Grad. A taxi would be slightly quicker.

There are also buses from Jelsa to Stari Grad should you wish to make use of the Split to Jelsa catamaran.

What to See and Do in Stari Grad

Stari Grad Plain is a fascinating part of the island, first established as an agricultural area – carefully divided up by stone walls – when the Greeks came to the island in the 4th century BC. The area has been used for cultivating certain crops since that time over the many centuries to the present time – amazing to think.

Stari Grad Plain
Stari Grad Plain

Tvrdalj Castle in the centre of town, considered to be a symbol of Stari Grad, was once the summer residence of 16th-century local poet Petar Hektorovic. The building was built directly on the waterfront although the square adjacent to it was created later in the 19th century. It contains a seawater fish pond surrounded by an arcaded terrace, and a well maintained garden. You will see some of Hektorovic’s words in Latin and Croatian inscribed in the castle’s walls.

Stari Grad - Tvrdalj Castle
Tvrdalj Castle

St Stephen’s Church is a 17th-century church that stands on the same site as an earlier church that served as Hvar island’s cathedral. The church’s bell tower was built later, in the 18th century, whilst the interior of the church contains work by Venetian artists.

The Museum of Stari Grad is located close to the Tvrdaljn and is the best place to learn more about Hvar and Stari Grad’s fascinating and long history.

Skor Square is one of the most picturesque squares in town and is certainly worth visiting when you stroll around town.

Stari Grad - Skor Square
Skor Square

Pick up a few gastronomic souvenirs in the wonderful Za Pod Zub gourmet deli shop.


Lanterna Beach is located close to the centre, with pebble and stone sections for lounging about and jumping into the sea. There are changing facilties and showers and a restaurant for refreshments. It’s a popular place, so you’ll find it quite busy during peak hours in the summer months.

Bonj Beach is a pebble beach located on the the north side and also has the usual beach facilities – as well as as well as a restaurant close by.

Events in Stari Grad

Each July is the Jazz and Wine Festival which is just the thing for lovers of one or both of these two enjoyable pastimes.

Every August in the nearby village of Dol is the very popular Puhijada – the dormouse festival. (Yes, really!) Typical for a summer festival on the coast, there’s plenty of live music and gastronomic fare including…wait for it…these dormice themselves! There’s a limited number of them that are grilled and served up to eat. I’m honestly not making this up!

Stari Grad’s patron saint, St Rocco, is celebrated on 16th August each year which is also marked as the Day of Stari Grad. There are religious and cultural celebrations on this day.

The Faros Marathon is an open-water swimming event, held in July, that’s been on the calendar since 1976. Once a small, local event, these days it features champions of long-distance swimming.

Days in the Bay is a 3-day event that takes place in late September every other year (on even years). The bay by the town is filled with boats and there’s a general celebration of all things related to the sea – plus lots of good food, live entertainment and fireworks.

Eating and Drinking in Stari Grad

The town has a number of excellent dining choices, from top-end to more modest locations. You certainly will be well-fed here!

Blue Doors Restaurant is a family-run venue that offers delicious dishes that are beautifully presented with top service to boot. The steaks are highly recommended, and there are plenty of fish choices too.

Nook is something a little different to many places in Croatia with an eclectic but highly tasty menu. There are dishes such as Thai curries and duck tacos. Come in the morning for one of its filling breakfasts too.

Eremitaz‘s cosy building has a lovely seaside location which is fitting if you’ll try some of its top quality seafood and fish dishes.

Accommodation in Stari Grad

There are some excellent accommodation choices here with something for all tastes. Top of the accommodation charts must be the wonderful, 5-star Maslina Resort (slightly outside of town) which is set in beautifully landscaped gardens. As well as hotel rooms, private villas are on offer, and there’s a lovely outdoor pool, a restaurant and bar, a fitness centre, a kids club and a private beach.

Maslina Resort Room
A room at the Maslina Resort

Other hotel options include the 4-star Valamar Amicor Green Resort which is an excellent option for a family stay, with its excellent pool with water slides, playground, lovely gardens, kids club and restaurants – as well as being right on the beach. From the same hotel chain is the modern Hvar Places Hotel by Valamar which also has a wonderful pool and is located right on the beach.

also set in lovely gardens and has two pools, a restaurant

To book, take a look at the accommodation search map/box below:

More info

There’s plenty of useful information to be found on the Stari Grad Tourist Board website.