Hvar, Croatia

ZigZagging Our Way Across Europe

Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, Croatia viewed from Tvrdava Fortica

We decided to take a day trip by ferry to the island of Hvar some 30 miles off the coast of Split, Croatia. Hvar is the fourth largest of Croatia’s 1,100 coastal islands and a favorite of locals, celebrities and backpackers.

Easily reachable in under an hour by ferry or catamaran, it makes for a perfect day tour. Two companies service Hvar from Split – Jadrolinija and Krilo – that combined operate up to 18 trips per day during the peak season.

Stari Grad Promenade

The Stari Grad Promenade in Hvar, Croatia
The Stari Grad Promenade in Hvar, Croatia

We chose the Jadrolinija line since tickets could be booked directly with them. Our ferry docked directly at the Stari Grad Promenade, a picturesque palm tree lined promenade overlooking the Hvar harbor and pristine waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Hvar, Croatia
The harbor in Hvar, Croatia

Not only does the Stari Grad offer wonderful views and numerous sidewalk restaurants, but a wonderful shopping experience as well. The alley ways leading off the Promenade are lined with shops staffed by local vendors. The perfect place to find that special gift for someone back home.

St. Stephen’s Square

A short walk along the Stari Grad brought us to the historic St. Stephen’s Square.

St. Stephen Square in Hvar, Croatia
St. Stephen’s Square with the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Episcopal Palace

With its white-washed architecture, cobbled streets and clear blue Adriatic waters, it is no wonder Hvar is called “The Queen of the Dalmatian Islands”. Anchored by the Cathedral of St. Stephen’s, the Bell Tower, and the Episcopal Palace, Hvar Square (Hvarska Pjaca) is the center of the island and the largest piazza in Dalmatia.

St. Stephen’s Square in Hvar, Croatia
A view of St. Stephen’s Square as seen from Tvrada Fortica

At the end of the Square is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Stephen’s, pope and martyr. The Cathedral was constructed in 1605 on the foundation of an earlier 9th century church destroyed by the Turks. Stepping inside the Cathedral, we found a beautiful triptych depicting St. Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Jerome painted by Venetian artists.

The Cathedral of St. Stephen’s
The Cathedral of St. Stephen’s Bell Tower in Hvar, Croatia

Tvrdava Fortica

Stepping off our ferry from Split, one of the first things we noticed was the imposing fortress looming high above the town.

Tvrdava Fortress in Hvar, Croatia
The Tvrdava Fortress looms above Hvar, Croatia

The medieval castle of Tvrdava Fortica dates from 1278 and holds a special place in the history of Hvar. In 1571, the Turks invaded the island and people living in Hvar took refuge in the fortress as the town was destroyed below.

Stone /Steps Leading To Tvrdava Fortica
A view of the stone steps leading from St. Stephen’s Square to the Tvrada Fortica in Hvar, Croatia

Although you can access the Fortress by taxi (approximately 100kn), we decided to take the stone steps leading from St. Stephen’s Square that connect to a shaded, winding path offering breathtaking views.

Pathway leading to the Tvrdava Fortress in Hvar, Croatia
A view of the shaded winding pathway leading to the Tvrdava Fortica in Hvar, Croatia

The climb takes under an hour and there are numerous places to sit and take a break. It is quite a workout, so take plenty of water if you plan to make the trek!

The amazing view of Hvar and the Adriatic Sea is the highlight of the steep trek up. However, the Fortress is empty and there is not much else to do other than enjoy the view.

The Franciscan Monastery and The Church of Lady of Mercy

After make the return trek from the Fortress back down the pathway and stone steps to St. Stephen’s Square, we enjoyed a cold, refreshing, well earned cocktail at one of the many sidewalk establishments lining the piazza. We then walked along the Stari Grad Promenade to the Franciscan Monastery and the Church of Lady of Mercy which are located on the opposite end of the Promenade from the piazza.

The Franciscan Monastery in Hvar, Croatia
View or the Franciscan Monastery and the Church of Our Lady of Mercy in Hvar, Croatia

Situated on a small cove overlooking the Adriatic Sea, the Franciscan Monastery with the Church of Our Lady of Mercy is just a short walk from the center of Hvar.

The Franciscan Monastery in Hvar, Croatia
An interior room of the Franciscan Monastery in Hvar, Croatia

Built in the 15th Century, the Monastery is open to the public where numerous relics and paintings can be viewed.

Cypress tree at the Franciscan Monastery in Hvar, Croatia
A view of one of the oldest specimens of cypress in Croatia

The Monastery is also home to one of the oldest specimens of cypress in Croatia. The age of the tree is estimated to be 500 years with branches that are elliptic in cross section.

A beach in Hvar, Croatia
A beach at the foot of the Franciscan Monastery in Hvar, Croatia

The small beach at the base of the Monastery is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful water of the Adriatic Sea.

Jadrolinija Ferry

Returning to the Stari Grad to board our Jadrolinija ferry back to Split, our day in Hvar ended with the golden glow of the medieval Tvrdava Fortica looming above us and an amazing sunset over the Adriatic Sea behind us.

Have you been to Hvar? Tell us about it!

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Published by Capturing The Art Of Living

Capturing The Art Of Living® is both a travel and photographic blog. We are a pair of international filmmakers who love to travel extensively and, just as important, love to share our experiences with the hope of encouraging others to learn more about our world. We invite you to follow with us and enjoy original photography, read about our travel experiences and find recommendations for awesome places to visit, what to see, where to stay and eat.

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