10 Places To Visit in Croatia’s Famous Hvar Island

10 Places To Visit in Croatia’s Famous Hvar Island

Hvar is the most popular of all Croatia’s islands. While primarily known for the luxurious Hvar Town port, Hvar has numerous other attractions to visit, ranging from towering peaks to relaxing beaches to ancient architecture. Here are 10 can’t-miss places to visit in Croatia’s famous Hvar Island the next time you stop by.

Pay a Visit to the Cathedral of St. Stephen

The Cathedral of St. Stephen is a structure built during the Dalmatian Renaissance in the 16th and 17th centuries. It’s smack dab in main square of Hvar, so you can stop to visit in the middle of a shopping or sightseeing spree. The cathedral is famous for its bell tower, finely carved exterior, and interior art exhibit featuring paintings from ancient artists like Giacomo Palma il Giovane and Stefano Celesti.

Soak Up the Sun on Dubovica Beach

Located less than five miles from Hvar Town, Dubovica Beach is a quiet, secluded paradise. This tidy, pebbly beach is surrounded by a pine- and olive-tree grove and clear turquoise waters. You need to climb down a steep hill to reach it, but the effort is well worth it. Sunbathe on the shore or dive into the waters. And if you’re feeling peckish, there’s a small pizza restaurant right on the beach where you can enjoy some tasty pies and drinks.

Stop by Beautiful Jelsa

On the north coast of Hvar is Jelsa, a small town with stores, restaurants, cafés, and lush, vibrant parks to visit. After stopping for some coffee and a snack, why not head over to the Perivoj public garden to smell the acacias and oleanders or the neolithic Grapčeva cave for some spelunking?

Take a Day Trip to the Pakleni Islands

Want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Hvar Town? Another can’t-miss place to visit in Croatia’s famous Hvar Island is the nearby Pakleni islands. This 16-island archipelago is just off the coast of Hvar Town, and you can sail there in under half an hour. The Pakleni islands are home to numerous beaches, including the popular Mlini Beach, which is popular for its prime snorkeling spots and sparkling waters.

Climb to the Peak of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas is a steep mountain peak named after the patron saint of passengers and sailors. It’s the tallest point of Hvar and the third tallest island mountain in all of Croatia, measuring 628 meters high. It takes roughly two hours to reach the peak, but the hike up isn’t too strenuous. There are three well-defined trails that start in the towns of Dol, Svirče, and Sveta Nedjelja. Once you reach the top, you can rest at the small chapel, check out the massive stone cross statue, or admire the breathtaking views of Hvar and the Adriatic Sea below.

Party the Night Away Near Bonj Beach

One thing Hvar is known for is its nightlife. If you want to party hard, head along Hvar Town’s western coast to the lively Bonj Beach, lined with clubs and bars. In the summer, massive parties take place on the beach itself. International DJs come to show off their world-class beats, and you can sip cocktails and dance the night away on the pebbly shore.

Go Back in Time to Stari Grad

Stari Grad, which means “Old Town,” is one of the oldest towns in all of Europe. Neolithic tribes initially settled in the area around 3500 to 2500 BC, but the town itself wasn’t officially founded until 384 BC when the ancient Greeks built it up and called it “Faros.” From this point, the town passed hands numerous times. It wasn’t until the 8th century that the Slavs changed its name to “Hvar,” and not until 1278 that the new Hvar Town was built, and the old Hvar Town was renamed Stari Grad.

As a result of its long history, Stari Grad has a lot of classic charm. It’s a quaint, quiet town, a stark contrast to the bustling new Hvar Town. You can visit various castles and UNESCO monuments, like the Stari Grad Plain, or shop and eat at the stores and restaurants lining its paths.

Admire Art at the Franciscan Monastery

This quaint, 15th-century monastery is close to the center of Hvar town and overlooks a cove of the Adriatic Sea. What makes this monastery one of a kind is that it’s still fully functional, with a dedicated monk still caring for its grounds. Inside the monastery, you’ll find an impressive collection of ancient art, maps, and coins from the Greek and Roman empires, including an eight-meter-wide copy of the Last Supper by Da Vinci. The monastery also features an elevated garden, home to a 300-year-old cypress tree, and a front yard beach where you can swim, sunbathe, and boat.

March Through the Medieval Hvar Fortress

The Tvrdava Fortica (Hvar Fort) is an ancient 13th-century fort that looms above Hvar Town. The Illyrians originally built it to boost the port town’s defenses, but today, it’s a scenic attraction for travelers. The fort is a few minutes from the Harbour of Hvar, and you can reach there via foot or car. Upon entering the old castle, you’ll weave through a maze of halls and museum-like display rooms to reach the top. Once you’re at the top, a grandiose view awaits you! You can see Hvar Town, the harbour, the Pakleni islands, and even the nearby island of Vis from this vantage point.

Patronize the Oldest Public Theatre in Europe

Hvar Theatre, built in 1612, was the first public theatre in Europe. Prior to this time period, theatres were private, and only the members of the elite class who helped fund the productions could attend. But the Hvar Theatre was open to all classes, so anyone in the town could come for entertainment. While the theatre no longer puts on performances, you can tour the pristinely kept historical interior.

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