Hvar Town

Hvar Town, established as Otok Hvar’s administrative capital in 1240 AD, has long been acknowledged as the jewel in the tourist crown of Dalmatia and Croatia’s ‘chicest’ most ‘stylish’ resort. While this has not made the town so expensive that ‘mere mortals’ cannot afford to visit and stay, prices have certainly been creeping up in recent years.


Yet there are still a wide range of options when it comes to accommodation, and though a single company has bought up many of the town’s hotels, refurbishing and repackaging them, there are still a huge number of private apartments and rooms available to rent.


Hvar town is served by passenger ferries that come twice daily from Split. For those wishing to bring their own transport a car ferry service is run to Starigrad.


While much of the medieval/Venetian town was destroyed in 1571 when it was reduced to rubble by the Turkish corsair Uluz Ali, it was extensively rebuilt shortly afterward and some gems of Venetian architecture still survive amongst the 16th Century buildings. While the town focuses around its beautiful main square, Trg Sv Stjepan with the Mandrac harbour at one end and the Sv Stephen’s Cathedral and the Bishop’s Treasury at the other end, a maze of narrow streets to the north of this make for a fascinating visit and it is in this warren that you will find many of the trendiest bars, restaurants and shops. Hvar town is also famous for having the oldest municipal theatre in Europe. Located above the Venetian Arsenal and galley repair workshop, its curtain first rose in 1612.


Hvar Town is dominated by two fortresses which sit above it to the north. The higher of the two is Napoleonic (1800-1814) in origin, only accessible by car and though not open to the public provides excellent views of much of the island. The second, the Spanjola Citadel is accessed by mean of a zig-zagging path that climbs the hill out the back of the old town. The climb is well worth the effort as, as well as visiting the 16th Century Venetian fortress you also get excellent views of both Hvar Town and the Pakleni Islands.


For sailors there are three main options. Mooring against the town quay is the favoured option but is expensive and invariable very busy (on most days you will be lucky to find a place). Many yachts drop anchor in the harbour (again busy - but harbour master’s assistants are usually on hand to help you find the best spot). Finally you could head for the ACI marina at near-by Palmizana, which is cheaper, usually has plenty of space and is linked to the town by a constant stream of water-buses/taxis.

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