Best Things To See And Do In Hvar, Croatia
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”. Situated just 48km 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.
Both ferries dock directly at the Stari Grad Promenade, a picturesque palm tree lined promenade overlooking the Hvar harbor and pristine waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Stroll Along Hvar’s Stari Grad Promenade
Support Hvar’s Local Merchants
Not only does the Stari Grad offer wonderful views and numerous sidewalk restaurants, but a wonderful shopping experience as well. The alleyways leading off the Promenade are lined with shops staffed by local vendors. The perfect place to find that special gift for you or someone back home.
Visit Hvar Square
A short walk along the Stari Grad will take you to the historic Hvarska Pjaca most commonly known as Saint Stephen’s Square. Built in the Venetian piazza style, the Square dates from the 15th century and is the largest square in Dalmatia. On the eastern side of the Square you will find the Communal Well. Constructed in 1529, the well provided drinking water to the town’s population.
Anchored by the Cathedral of Saint Stephen, the Bell Tower, and the Episcopal Palace, Hvar Square is the center of the island.
At the end of the Square is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Stephen, Hvar’s pope and martyr. The Cathedral was constructed in 1605 on the foundation of an earlier 9th century church destroyed by the Turks. Step inside the Cathedral and you will find a beautiful triptych depicting St. Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Jerome painted by Venetian artists.
Hvar’s Tvrdava Fortica
One of the first things you will notice after arriving in Hvar is the imposing Tvrdava Fortress looming high above the town.
The medieval castle 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.
To reach the Fortress, take the stone steps leading from Hvar Square that connect to a shaded, winding path offering breathtaking views.
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! If you’re not up to the walk, you can access the Fortress by taxi (approximately 100kn).
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.
Hvar’s Franciscan Monastery and The Church of Lady of Mercy
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.
Built in the 15th Century, the Monastery is open to the public and contains numerous relics and paintings. The magnificent, larger than life painting of the Last Supper by Matej Ponzoni hangs in the Monastery’s refectory and is one of many relics and artworks that can be found throughout the Monastery.
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.
The small beach at the base of the Monastery is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful water of the Adriatic Sea.
Enjoy Hvar At Sunset
With the day ending, there is not a better time to enjoy the beauty of Hvar than at sunset with the Tvrdava Fortress highlighted in a golden glow.
Whether you are spending a few days in Hvar or embarking on your ferry to return to Split, there is something truly magical about “The Queen of the Dalamatian Islands”!
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