8 Best Sights in Hvar, Central Dalmatia

Fortica Fortress

Fodor's choice

During the 25-minute climb to see the breathtaking views from this 16th-century hilltop fortress, a symbol of Hvar Town, you get to take in the aromatic Mediterranean plant garden. Once you've made it to the top, you can explore the fortress's stone walls and behold the city below, along with the sea and islands stretching over the horizon as far as the eye can see.

Hvar, 21450, Croatia
Sight Details
Rate Includes: €10 for entry; free for exterior and viewpoint

Stari Grad

Fodor's choice

As its name suggests, Stari Grad, or Old Town, is among Europe's first towns. Founded in the 4th century BC, this is the site of the original Greek settlement on Hvar, then known as Pharos. While much of the attraction in Stari Grad focuses on its ancient history, the city is still very much alive, especially during the summer. It features a beautiful walkable riviera and forest path, as well as a number of cultural attractions, such as the 15th-century Dominican Monastery of St. Peter the Martyr. The town is about 23 km (14 miles) east of Hvar Town.

Franciscan Monastery

A short walk east of town, along the quay past the Arsenal, lies Hvar Town's Franciscan monastery. Within its walls, a pretty 15th-century Renaissance cloister leads to the former refectory, now housing a small museum with several notable artworks, including a beautiful fresco of the Last Supper. The grounds outside make a relaxing place for a stroll among centuries-old cypress trees.

Šetalište Put Križa bb, Hvar, 21450, Croatia
021-741--059-Hvar Tourist Board
Sight Details
Rate Includes: €10

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Jelsa

On the northern coast of the island, Hvar's third main town is often overlooked, but that makes it all the more delightful once you do discover this more peaceful alternative to Hvar Town. Jelsa has many structures from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, though St. Mary's Church dates back to the early 1300s. A tower built by the ancient Greeks overlooks the harbor; it dates to the 3rd or 4th century BC. About 1 km (½ mile) east of the modern town is the older Grad, with the original fortified area that was protected by Galešnik, a fortress that now stands in ruins. The small town is surrounded by a thick forest of pine trees, several resorts, and many swimmable beaches—including some the island's most popular nude beaches. Jelsa is also famous for its annual Za križen procession, a 500-year-old, UNESCO-protected Easter tradition during which a shoeless cross-bearer and a crowd embark on a 25-km (16-mile) overnight walk. Chosen locals can be on the waiting list to carry the cross for decades, as it's considered a significant honor.

Kazalište

Located on the upper floor of the Arsenal, the Kazalište opened in 1612, making it the oldest institution of its kind in Croatia and one of the first in Europe. Hvar Town's theater is still open for shorts today. The Arsenal building, where Venetian ships en route to East Asia once docked for repairs, dates back to the 13th century but was reconstructed after damage during a Turkish invasion in 1571. It reopened in 2019 following renovations. Note that tickets must be purchased in person.

Hvar, 21450, Croatia
021-741--059-Hvar Tourist Board
Sight Details
Rate Includes: €10 for the Arsenal and theater, Closed Nov.--Apr.

Plančić Brothers Winery

On the beautiful vineyard-strewn island of Hvar you can visit the winery where the Plančić family has been producing a variety of top-quality wines, including rosé and dessert wines, as well as local rakija, since 1919. Look out for Bogdanuša (dry white wine) or Ivan Dolac (a select red). Call the winery for information about tours and tastings.

Plenković Winery

This award-winning winery on the island of Hvar—along with its restaurant Bilo Idro and on-site hotel—are well worth a visit. The Zlatan Plavac (a dry red) made by Zlatan Plenković has continually won prestigious awards at local and international wine fairs since the early 1990s. Call ahead for information about winery visits.

Tvrdalj

Stari Grad's tvrdalj, or fortress, is the palace of renowned Renaissance-era local poet Petar Hektorović (1487–1572). The Tvrdalj was later renovated in 18th-century Baroque style, and a partial restoration was completed in the 19th century. Hektorović originally attempted to create a "model universe" to be embodied in his home. To that end, a large fish pond on-site is stocked with gray mullet, as it was in the poet's own time, representing the sea; above the fish pond in a tower is a dovecote, representing the air. Ivy was allowed to cover the walls to tie the home to the land. Quotations from Hektorović's striking poetry are inscribed on many walls.

Priko bb, Stari Grad, 21460, Croatia
021-765–068
Sight Details
Rate Includes: €4, Closed Nov.–Apr., unless arranged in advance with tourist board