Island Hvar is known as one of the most beautiful islands in Croatia with its unique places. Stari grad or Old Town is one of the oldest european towns. Honestly, one of most beautiful places I saw at the seaside. Town Hvar is the administrative centre of the island, Vrboska is a picturesque place called „Little Venice“. Jelsa is its first neighbor also permeated with canals and many nice coves between these two places decorate the way. Villages between cannot be ignored, and on the south of Hvar are bestowed the most exquisite beaches. Sućuraj is the most eastern place serving as another ferry. Interesting tunnels on both side bring the enchantment to the island.
Except being the ferry port, Stari grad overwhelms by the labyrinth of cobblestone streets. The art and history are crossing together with flower decorations. As I was told the first time there that it’s nothing special, the surpise was even more significant. The minute I came to Stari grad I saw big flower ball or better-to-say roller, beautiful park and canal with the bridge. The canals are the central point everywhere on Hvar. Labyrinth of elegance- that’s what it is Stari grad. Seeing the traces of history put together with art unexpectedly will make you see the world in more consistent way.
The list of the archeological sites near Stari grad can be seen on a table in the central park. There are many of them and the town itself will speak its own story.
Tvrdalj is the castle built in 16th century by Petar Hektorović, the poet whose name is used by many ferries connecting Split with the islands. Thus this name became the symbol of Dalmatia. The castle itself is the image from postcards, picturesque walk in ancient garden with pond and views of its own. Something so authentic I haven’t seen in a while. The palace speaks by itself of Stari grad, of one special world taken in time. Inscriptions in latin and croatian language prove this fact. The courtyard is the place to welcome birds and pidgeons (as it says sign on the entrance), some plants and the soul of the town. The view towards the church of St.Roko with its bells contribues to the impression. In front of the castle there is another little piscine giving it even greater influence and romantic spirit. The flower sculpture again just improves this vision.
The roman mosaics can also be seen in the town, but unfortunately only during the summer time as it’s private property.
Flowers on every step and its artistic shapes show up in the center near the sweet little caffes and taverns as well as all along the promenade to the end of the shore. Through the arches of the central buildings, we will find the library which is exquisitely locately in the town hall.
Away from the central rush, near the meadows takes place the dominicanian monastery.
Along the seaside there is a beautiful round building which I thought was a lighthouse, but it’s an old windmill. From there to the other coast there’s a view of panoramic forest and complex of hotels.
The town is encircled with the streets that took names of the famous poets and other significant personalities of the time. Balconies bathed in the flowers stand amongst hystorical squares and carved details on the vases, buildings, streets. Artistic vessels with flowers spread along the town.
The rich offer of the shops and gastronomic enjoyment include various taverns among caffe Antika in antique style, delicatessen shop „Za pod zub“ with local products which include the special kinds of artisanal vegan ice cream, spanish restaurant and cocktail place La Gitana.
Starogradsko polje or Stari grad field is a long valley between Stari grad and Vrboska, known for its fertility and greek ruins. It’s also worth to see the Palace Biankini, today the Museum of Stari grad which contains impressive maritime collection.
Stari grad will make you forget today, past and the future and will lead you to the world of magic.The feeling of fairy-tale evoked by all around cobblestone streets and houses enriched with melody of flowers is the sufficient reason to start your fairy tale today. With package of dalmatian songs Stari grad will give you the soul of simple being, will help you catch the moments and romantics if you want that. Authenticity of local products will enlarge the feeling of gratefullness for being wherever you are.
Vrboska is quite a surprise in the image of the island. Bridges with the canals, little palm island, promenade within the forrest all along the hotel Senses resort with its wonderful beach and shadow everywhere. Even bigger surprise is the fact that Vrboska shares the origin of its name with the nearby village Vrbanj. Vrboska offers even more: fisherman’s museum, church fortress, nudist beach, marina- are only some of that.
Taking a bycicle route from Vrboska to Vrbanj I discovered an interesting farm named Artfarm. It’s a place where concerts of international performers can be heard and local paintings can be found.
Beautiful promenade connects Vrboska with adjacent Jelsa, which is important specially for bikers.
Vrboska will remind you that important things are always nearby, how surprises are hidden part of every expectations. It will remind you to relax and be ready to accept today.
Jelsa speaks its story with donkeys, blue windows, dalmatian music, welcoming benches and exquisite scents throughout every part of the year. In spring the yasmin will roule through the air, during the summer it’s lavanda from the traders, in autumn it’s olives and in winter lemons. The variety of entertainment is present in numerous caffes, cocktail bars and similar wonders of summer life. Mojito cocktail bar is the leading place of such purpose and it’s stunning the panorama of mojito cocktails in the offer.
Summer events include the wine fest at the end of August when the whole town dance and everyone you know will come in the town. It’s like coming back in the time of high school.
Towards the beach Grebišće, little outside of Jelsa, we can find also an alternative centre of education and permaculture named Ka Boom.
Jelsa is the stunning place that will bring you to your childhood with the authenticity and simplicity. It’s so incredible to continental people that from Jelsa can be seen Makarska and mountain Biokovo and thus complete the wonderfull puzzle of seaside life.
Hvar is the centre of the island, the centre of night life in the summer. Large streets in the centre take advantage of the view with the fortress in the hill. Going up there are few stone doors which make the atmosphere fullfilling and welcoming. The large walls encircle the fortress through the entire one side of the hills. This is the fortress Fortica built in 16. century and right in front is the gorgeus view of the town and nearby Pakleni islands.
Beside the cathedral the main square hosts one of the oldest theatres in Europe.
With many tiny streets and stairs Hvar is the place to wonder. It can take you to the museum of agava lace within the benedictine monastery. Numerous restaurants with pleasant visual appearance hide between these streets as well as nice little shops and hostels.
On the other side of Hvar within an easy walking distance there is a refreshing park with many cactuses, agavas and attractive stairs. Here is situated Veneranda club, the centre of town’s night life though in autumn it looks like some abandoned space.
Zavala, Ivan Dolac and island Šćedro (a place without the electricity and water) offer the pristine ambient to discover true nature, clear beaches and not so known side of Hvar. They are situated within the community of Jelsa and here you can enjoy the view towards Korčula, Vis and even Dubrovnik. Zavala possesses a seaside promenade, few caves, a camping place, artistic appearance and the most beautiful sea on Hvar.
Festival of the wild flowers as well as the Asparagus day fulfill Stari grad in June. Lavanda festival in Velo grablje near the town of Hvar happens also in June. Festival of the salads, fruits and vegetables enrich the island’s offer in June. The island Hvar is rich with various types of plants and counts more than 1150 plants. Thus it deserves to be presented through many similar occasions. The variety of local products (jams, cosmetics, teas) will touch the ingredients you’ve never heard of even if you’re an expert in plant recognition.
Behind the botanical events, the plenty of other events deserve the attention in Hvar. Procession of the cross before Easter happening between Jelsa and Vrboska is one of the most significant event in the local life. At this procession bearers of the cross carry the cross heavy up to the 18 kg. Ultra dance festival in Town Hvar is a popular event for those interested in night life. Few days of Puhijada in August in Dol are the opportunity to follow the lifestyle of this animal, even in sportive way (many, many concert and cultural happenings are included). For more peaceful ambience and local indulgement The Escape community that is happening in an „unknown“ place is a wonderful solution with its rich programme.
All in all
Island Hvar captures the multicolor offer of possibilities to see and do. Town Hvar with its imposant meaning is a place to be welcomed at all time of year. Stari grad is a proof how simplicity can take you to the most beautiful places. The fairy tale exist because of that simplicity, because of decorations people made and not just history. In Stari grad you will get lost in time, history will take you out of time. Jelsa and Vrboska are the sympathic places full of surprises that will make you want to stay forever. That image of simple elegance will stay engraved in my mind wherever I go.