Hvar Town or Stari Grad

May 13th, 2006, 03:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 36
Hvar Town or Stari Grad

I was born in Croatia and should know better than to assume that Hvar island is just one place to see. After reading a zillion websites, I am having trouble deciding whether to go to Hvar Town or Stari Grad. We have only one day to spend in Hvar.

Also any recommendations for where to stay?

romandub is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 171
I have the same question Romandub, in a sense. Hopefully someone will jump in here. My question is more as to whether one would be just as happy booking an apt in Stari Grad and using that as their based on Hvar, as Hvar town itself. From what i see it looks like you have to take a boat from Stari to Hvar but looks like they run all day regularly and aren't too expensive. I get the impression there is more to do on the Hvar town side,but many people on here have strongly recommending not missing Stari Grad when in Hvar, so I think if you only had one day, it doesn't sound like a bad decision. You could probably do both
Brooke_Herron is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 09:04 AM
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Two very impressive towns and both should be seen, even on a short visit. Stari Grad is a little more easy going and is certainly less expensive. Bus or boat travel between the two is easily done.
LittleVicky is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 04:13 PM
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Hvar Town is much more upscale, offers a much more established tourist infrastructure (more options for accommodations, meals, transportation), has a very beautiful harbor that will probably be filled with yachts, sits below an imposing fortress, and has some beautiful buildings in various architectural styles (Gothic, Renaissance, Dalmatian, etc.)

Stari Grad is almost entirely preserved as/restored to its medieval state and sits very quietly at the end of a lovely, long inlet. It has a few treasures that some might find worthwhile (e.g., Tvrdalj, the very limited remains of Pharos), but doesn't have all that much that tourists tend to go to see. Most of the lodging is outside of Stari Grad and is geared toward providing a stay-in type of resort with easy access to one of the main ferries -- or at least, that's how it was when I went in 2009. There was little by way of accommodation within Stari Grad itself and there were few options for dining there (although I had one lovely dinner at a place that was within walking distance of the town). As LittleVicky said, food and lodging (if you can find it in the town itself) will likely be less expensive in Stari Grad.

I agree with LittleVicky that visiting both is worthwhile if you have an interest in doing so. I did not find transportation easy between them, but that was probably an unusual event: Croatia had been in a major international soccer game the night before, so the last ferry to the island was late, so the bus driver began his daytime trip from Stari Grad to Hvar HOURS behind schedule. (And of course there was no posted information about the delay.) AND he expected to be back on schedule by the time I hoped to return to Stari Grad, so my time in Hvar Town was more limited than I had hoped. When I was there, boat access from one to the other was not convenient -- at least, not from Stari Grad per se. There were boats timed for the major ferries; the ferry station is some distance outside of Stari Grad.

I stayed in Stari Grad rather than in Hvar Town because of some very specific individual interests, in combination with a preference to avoid decidedly upscale resort communities when possible, while still doing what I want to do. I don't believe that my decision was common. I think you will find that many Fodorites have visited Hvar Town (and only Hvar Town) and come back with wonderful stories of how much they enjoyed themselves. In the nearly 6 years during which I've monitored the Croatia board on Fodor's, I've seen almost no inquiries about Stari Grad, except to find out how to get to/from the ferry dock from Hvar Town. I see a great deal of interest in Hvar Town.

Hope that helps, romandub!
kja is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 04:54 PM
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Not sure what we missed in Stari Grad but we really enjoyed Hvar..would not however recommend for July or August. Also the whole island really should be explored. With only one day I would consider the off road tour offered by one of the tour operators.
Lois2 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 10:30 AM
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Kja- great information as always!
Brooke_Herron is offline  
Sep 19th, 2014, 07:41 AM
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Update: After having visited Hvar and Stari Grad in June, I would highly recommend staying on Hvar, but heading over to eat and hang out in Stari Grad for a day or a day/night. I was with a platonic friend,so Stari Grad off season was very quiet and not much going on for us. We only needed a few hours. We aren't partiers, but with not much open, and it really just being a picturesque walking town, we didn't need more than that. our highlight there was getting a big seafood meal at 1/2 the cost of Hvar, and much better quality. That said, Hvar was STUNNING and after exploring there for 3 days we were very happy we stayed there longer than we had first planned. Hiking to the fortress and the views of the harbor and town, the sight of the lit up fortress at night over the town, the lovely cathedral in Hvar and the gorgeous town square and many tiny stairwayed routes throughout town, as well as hidden gems on the outskirts when you walk a little farther (and happen upon a bar on the ocean with spectacular sunset views) etc. Then the option of tenor concerts in the small outdoor cathedral courtyard (not in the main center, so it's a bit removed and get a lot of locals) which was a top highlight of our 17 days in Croatia. And that is just the town. We took motorboats to nearby islands and beachds from the Hvar dock, and hired a driver for a day to all the lagoons and caves (our only big splurge). The best thing about Hvar is the beauty and the surroundings. The not so good: the food. But that's not what we were there for, so it was ok! We had the least impressive and most over priced food in Hvar out of all of the places we visited. We luckily had a place with a kitchen so we bought stuff and made it ourselves to avoid disappointing and bland expensive meals.
Brooke_Herron is offline  
Sep 19th, 2014, 07:42 AM
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PS for us we had to take a bus to Stari Grad. It's not just a jump on a boat leaving every so often kind of trip, so just plan ahead and be aware of this. The bus ride was a couple of hours (or at least an hour and a half).
Brooke_Herron is offline  
Sep 19th, 2014, 10:06 AM
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We LOVED the food in Hvar town - had two of the best seafood meals ever (at Maconda and Dva Ribera). The prices were way less than here in LA, and much more reasonable than in other Mediterranean locales.
crosscheck is offline  
Sep 19th, 2014, 10:57 AM
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Brooke - I am glad you enjoyed Hvar, but are you sure you took a bus that took 1.5 to 2 hours to get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad?

It does not usually take that long
rialtogrl is offline  
Sep 20th, 2014, 12:22 AM
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@ Brooke_Herron -- thanks for reporting on your experiences and adding to the information about how these towns differ!
kja is offline  
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