How to Reach
Regardless of what transportation means you use to come to Hvar, undoubtedly you will experience a sea journey to island Hvar. When you see Hvar and start to enjoy in its benefits you will know that your journey has paid off.
The Island Hvar is connected with mainland by following boat lines:
Split – Jelsa ( fastboat connection – taking no vehicles, only passengers)
Split – Stari Grad ( ferry connection)
Drvenik – Sućuraj (ferry connection)
The closest international airport if travelling to Hvar is the one in Split. The airport is 25 km distant from Split Harbour so transfers are organised by buses, usually connected to domestic flights, but there is also a local bus on a regular basis and taxi service available during the operating time of Split Airport. Alternatively you can land at Zadar Airport (160 km away from Split) or Dubrovnik Airport (230 km) and take a bus or rent a car from that point.
Croatia Airlines is the national airline company connecting Croatian airports to many European and overseas destinations..
Of course, there are lot of other airline companies flying to Croatia.
Bus lines connect all parts of the country. Regular international bus lines connect Croatia with all neighboring countries, as well as most of middle European and west European countries. Bus departures between Zagreb and Split are frequent. For details visit Bus Station Split and Bus Station Zagreb.
With 3,500 inhabitants, Hvar is the largest town on the island. The old town is surrounded by walls, and the town’s historic center dating from the 15th Century has been well preserved. Its main square, the so-called “Pjaca,” is the largest town square on the Croatian coast. In 1612 the oldest comunal Theater in Europe was built on its eastern side.
The most impressive building in Hvar is definitely the Cathedral of St.Stephen, standing on the eastern side of the town square, at the far end of the Pjaca, where two parts of the town meet. St. Stephen’s, with a nice 17th-century bell tower, is a harmonious synthesis of the Renaissance, manneristic and early Baroque styles so typical of the Dalmatian architecture of the 15th and 16th centuries. The inside has quite a few late Renaissance paintings and a nice wooden 16th-century choir area.
The town Loggia lies at the western end of the Pjaca, looking out on to the bay. Together with Leroj (Clock Tower), the Loggia is the only remains of the former Governor’s Palace. After being damaged by the Turks in 1571, today’s Loggia was the work of the master Tripun Bokanić in the 16th century and represents one of the most beautiful Late Renaissance buildings in Dalmatia. The interior is decorated in a neo-Renaissance style and serves as a reception and wedding hall, as well as an exhibition room.
In front of the town Loggia lies a small enclosed marina Mandrać with Baroque pyramids on the walls around it. The stone paved quay, called Fabrika, is one of the oldest in Europe, dating from 1554. On the cape to the south of the town lies the Franciscan Monastery with a church of Our Lady of Mercy, built in the late 15th century. The cloister, with its monumental rounded arches with a well in the middle, dominates the whole of the Renaissance monastery. Being very acoustic, the cloister today serves as a small concert hall hosting to prominent musicians from Croatia and abroad.
Inside you’ll find a museum with a collection of sacral art. The museum opens to an idyllic garden with a view of the sea. The bell tower, in Renaissance style, is the work of an artist from Korčula.
Pakleni Islands ( Hell’s Islands ) or, more precise, Paklini Islands (Resin Islands) are located to the south of the town of Hvar. They are a small attractive limestone archipelago that abounds with stunning well-hidden bays and beaches, most of which can be accessed only by boats. The Palmizana sandy beach, Stipanska, Jerolim, Mlini are especially attractive. The Islands are easily reachable by taxi boats from the center of the town of Hvar or you can rent a boat.
Hvar gained glory and power during middle ages being an important port within the Venetian naval empire. Today, it is centre of island’s tourism and one of the favourite destinations in Dalmatian riviera – a town of smiling and courteous people, who are almost only dedicated to tourism. Along with Dubrovnik, Hvar is the most attractive tourist town of the Adriatic.
Since Hvar lies in the middle of the main sea routes, history has left many traces on it, maybe more than on any other Adriatic island. Constant fights over the island can only confirm its importance and value of its territory.. Each of the conquistadors left their traces in the history, a mark for the future…
The history of the island goes back into the prehistoric period, and the finds from two most important caves (Grapčeva and Markova špilja) prove that existence of the life on the island is at least 6000 years old.
Characteristic examples of painted pottery enabled us to identify the so-called Hvar culture (around 3500 to 2500 BC). The oldest description of a ship in Europe was found on a pottery fragment in Grapceva spilja (cave).
Some people believe that the Grapceva spilja was a place where Odysseus fought against Cyclops. The fragments from the legend: “…That was the land of the Cyclops about which Odysseus knew nothing. He just moored and saw a cave overshadowed by a laurel tree and a huge stone protected the entrance. There lived Cyclops, all by himself…”
The island was later inhabited by the Illyrians, who came into conflict with the Greek colonizers in the 4th century BC. On the east cape of island, near Sucuraj was the position of the Illyrian queen Teuta. Numerous tumuli on the island are of Illyrian origin.
The town of Pharos was founded in 385 BC by the Ionian Greeks, the Parans, as an agrarian colony. The map of land division of the fertile plain of Stari Grad is an exceptional document 2500 years old and belongs to that period. It is today one of 3 oldest plains in the world with preserved Greek land division.
Hvar played an important role in the Roman-Illyrian conflicts, when its rulers (Demetrije Hvaranin) tried to preserve its independence.
Pharos came under the rule of the Romans in 219 BC and was called Pharia. In the period of the Roman rule villae rusticae were built over the whole island, mostly in the town of Hvar, Stari Grad and around the present-day Jelsa.
In Roman times Hvar lost its earlier importance. On the collapse of the Roman Empire, Hvar came under the Byzantine rule, as well as the entire Dalmatia. In the 7th century it came under the Nerentani (Narentini), with whom it joined the Kingdom of Croatia in the 11th century.
In the following centuries Hvar recognized the sovereignty of the Croatian-Hungarian ruler, the Bosnian King Tvrtko, the Split Duke Hrvoje, the Dubrovnik Republic.
From 1420 till the fall of Venetian Republic (1797), Hvar was governed by Venetians. Hvar became the main Venetian port in the eastern part of the Adriatic. From that time dates the oldest communal theatre in Europe built in 1612 in Hvar.
Later on Hvar came under the Austrian rule (1797) until the arrival of the French (1806), and their constant fight marked that period. The Austrians reoccupied the island in the 2nd half of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century bringing a period of relative prosperity. Around that time all the island ports were rebuilt.
The first meteorological station in Croatia was established in the tower of the monastery of Veneranda in 1858. Weather conditions helped to promote tourism on Hvar. As a result, in 1868 “The Hygienic Society” of Hvar was founded – as one of the earliest “tourist boards” in Europe, it’s purpose was providing “good care for visitors”
In 1918 the Italian army occupied the island and the occupation lasted until 1921, when Hvar, along with the whole of Croatia, joined the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, succeeded by the Republic of Yugoslavia after the Second World War. In 1991 Croatia was recognized as an independent state.
Outstanding palaces and churches, valuable paintings and sculptures, important literal and music works have been created over a long period, and still the artists find the inexhaustible inspiration in the beautiful island…