Stari Grad on island Hvar is known as the oldest settlements on Hvar. It was established in 385 A.C. as a Roman city with name Pharos. Just like it was in Roman age, Stari Grad is the most urban area on Hvar. It features many interesting cultural attractions and perfectly clean sea, which makes it a great choice for summer vacation.
I went to Stari Grad for a visit on April 20, 2019.
How did I arrive in Stari Grad
The most common way to reach Stari Grad is ferry transportation from Split. There is a direct ferry line driving a few times a day (more during the summer season). Ticket price is 5 euros and the travel time is around two hours.
Ferry port on Hvar is located two kilometres away from the centre of Stari Grad, so you will need to take a bus or walk to reach the town. The walkway is located alongside the sea. I decided to walk. The weather was good and I enjoyed the perfect spring temperature with a breeze.
My impressions of Stari Grad
Stari Grad gave me an impression of a nice and decorated place. It is said that even during high season this place is not as crowded as other famous destinations, like Hvar city. That's why visitors who look for a quiet yet lively place may choose Stari Grad as their destination. Of course, if you decide to stay in Stari Grad, it's a great idea to go for a day visit to Hvar city.
The first interesting attraction in the old town was the palace of Sime Ljubic, located at the south side of the city, near the coast.
The second one was the mansion of Petar Hektorovic, one of the greatest Croatian literates ever. In the 16th century, that building was used as a fort, for the purpose of defence against Turkish invasion.
Sacral objects in Stari Grad
Church of St. Nicholas is a small Renaissance church built on remains on older Romanesque church. Inside you can see interesting artworks like the main altar and painting works.
The most monumental building in the town is the church of St. Stephen, also built in Renaissance style.
Arrival to Hvar town
On May 1, 2019. I went back to Hvar for another day visit. This time I visited Hvar town. Same as last time, I took 8:30 am a ferry from Split to Stari Grad. The bus for Hvar town was waiting for the passengers in the ferry port. The bus ride took half an hour and the ticket price was around four euros.
My impressions of Hvar City
Right after I got out of the bus in Hvar town, I could notice two monumental and impressive buildings. The first one was a fortress Spanjola, located in the upper part of the city, and the second one was the Cathedral of St. Stephen, located just a hundred meters away from the bus station.
The Cathedral's building originates from Baroque, although it was built before.
Inside the cathedral, there are many interesting works of art from including altars, statues and paintings.
Entrance to the cathedral is free.
After visiting the Cathedral, I took a walk on Hvar town's Riva. The walk was enjoyable. The nature along the sea was pretty much preserved. Every few hundred meters I could notice a beach. Some of them were more arranged and urban, yet some were made by nature and sea waves. I could also notice huge and luxury hotels just near the coast.
There was a beautiful panoramic view of the old city while walking back.
Visit to fortress Spanjola
When I came back to the centre of the city, I decided to visit one of its main attractions, the fortress Spanjola. It took me around twenty minutes of walking upwards to reach the fortress. I recommend wearing sneakers over flip flops while walking toward the fortress to make the walk more comfortable .
While walking towards the fortress, I passed by a beautiful nature park which featured plants characteristic of the Mediterranean.
Price for entering the fortress was 7 euros. The fortress featured a beautiful panoramic view of the Hvar city and nearby islands including Pakleni islands.
Visitors could eat food in a restaurant with live Dalmatian music. Another attraction of the fortress was the ancient prison located downstairs, two meters below the land.
Like other defence objects in Dalmatia, the fortress Spanjola was built by Venice government in the 13th century for the purpose of defence against the Turkish army. It was renewed a few times during history, and today's look dates from the 16th century when the last reconstruction was made.
In addition to the fortress, Venice built the walls around the former borders of the city. These walls are still preserved today and can be noticed from the city.
After visiting the fortress, I went back to the centre of Hvar town and took another walk on the coast, this time in the opposite direction. It took me a few minutes of the walk when I noticed monumental Franciscan church and monastery. The church was made in Gothic style but was adopted during the Baroque age. What I liked most was lunette made by Nikola Firentinac, a famous sculptor who took part in the construction of Sibenik Cathedral.
If I walked more I could notice more hotels and beaches, but since it was spring season, these places were not interesting to visitors yet.
Going back to the city, I explored a few more monumental buildings. I liked the church of St. Spirit built in Renaissance style.
Summer resort of famous Croatian poet Hanibal Lucić was unfortunately closed for visitors.
Conclusion of my visit
After visiting Stari Grad and Hvar town, I can say I am impressed with these places and the island overall. I understand why is it considered to be the most attractive island of Croatia tourism. I recommend avoiding high season when these places are crowded, to fully enjoy the island's beauty.