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What are the top Hvar town experiences, the ones that no tourist should miss?

5 Best Things to Do in Hvar

Visit the Spanish Fortress for THAT View

It is one of the great views of Europe, a magnificent vista overlooking historic Hvar Town, with the Pakleni Islands and pristine Adriatic behind. The view from the Spanish Fortress is magnificent. Too lazy to walk the steps from the main square? You can also reach by car. If you are a little more energetic, the view from Napoljun Fortress even further up is even more splendid. Check out what you are missing in the video below.

A day trip to the Pakleni Islands

As if Hvar Town did not have everything, the Pakleni Islands lying invitingly in front of the harbour are the cherries on top. Each island has its own personality and attractions, and the islands have become an extension of the town. Regular water taxis leave from the riva. Don’t miss this.

Visit the Blue Cave

There is no question what is the most popular day trip from Hvar – a visit to the magical Blue Cave on Bisevo Island near Vis. Book your speedboat place here and enjoy a magical day on the Adriatic.

Explore Hvar from the water, by sail or kayak

Hvar’s story is intertwined with the water, so why not take in a different perspective? The Pakleni Islands are a sailing and kayaking paradise, and you can explore them on a range of tours. Beginners welcome. Learn more.

Taste the island of wine

Hvar has an incredible wine story dating back to the Ancient Greeks in 2400 BC. This story includes several indigenous grapes grown only on Hvar, as well as wine tasting experiences like no other – underwater, in a cave and in a Romanesque cellar. Looking to make the most out of it? Check out the very best tours.

Main Attractions

Tvrdava Spanjola – Spanish Fortress

Towering above all the revelling and the mega-yachts is the Spanish Fortress, built in the early 16th century, and offering spectacular views of the town and islands below. The fortress is not the original, and the 13th century city walls, constructed soon after the islanders requested Venetian protection in 1278, predate it by almost 200 years.

Hvar was destroyed by the Turkish Fleet in 1571 and only the fortress saved the local population, but a freak lightning strike on the gunpowder stores caused further devastation, and many of the town’s buildings can be traced to this period of reconstruction. The fortress can be accessed by car for visitors to Hvar Town and it is then a pleasant stroll down to the town.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Main Square

The central point of Hvar Town is the pjaca, or main square which, at 4,500m2, is the largest square in Dalmatia. Originally part of the bay, the land was filled in and fully paved in 1780; the fountain in the square dates back to 1520. In summer, the square is extremely busy, with all cafes and restaurants overflowing, but there is a much more tranquil feel after the season, as locals relax over a coffee.

At the far end of the pjaca is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which was finished in the 18th Century, with construction of the current building starting in the 16th century. The first church on the site was built in the 6th century and was granted cathedral status in the 13th century when Hvar Town assumed the Bishopric from Stari Grad. The intermittent construction period gave rise to different architectural styles, and there are elements of Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance. Inside there are eleven Baroque altars made by artists from Venice.

The Arsenal and Clues to an Earlier Civilisation

Guarding the right-hand entrance to the pjaca is the impressive Arsenal building, with its 10m spanned archway. Built between 1579 and 1611 to house war galleys, the Arsenal is an imposing building on the waterfront and underwent renovation in 2009. It was also used as a storage facility for items such as cereal and salt. Coins were found in 1835 bearing the name Heraklea, leading to speculation that the ancient Greek settlement of the same name may have been located in Hvar.

The Oldest Municipal Theatre in Europe

On the first floor of the arsenal is a delightful sight that tourists sometimes miss – the oldest municipal theatre in Europe. Built in 1612, the theatre celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2012, and the current interior was renovated in 1803. It owes its existence to the then Prince of Hvar Pietro Semitecolo, who was inspired by the Italian theatre at the time and arranged for the construction with money from the commune of Hvar. The theatre reopened after a 20-year renovation in 2019.

Franciscan Monastery and Benedictine Convent

Walking along the riva past Carpe Diem, the Franciscan Monastery comes into view. Built in 1465, it was jointly financed by the nobles of Hvar and sea commanders as testament to their gratitude for many lives saved at sea near Hvar. The local contribution included 1000 gold coins from Antun Lucic, and his son, the famous poet Hanibal Lucic is buried under the main altar.

Hanibal Lucic also had a part to play in the Benedictine Convent on Hvar, which has played an important role in the town since nuns first arrived in 1664. The house in which Lucic was born in 1485 was donated to the nuns by his descendants, and so started an important chapter in education in the town, as the nuns operated the first school in Hvar, from 1826 to 1866. They are still active today and, among other duties, produce some of the finest souvenirs from Hvar, in the form of intricate lace made from agave.

All the main sights in Hvar Town are within easy walking distance of the main square, and there is ample to take in a cultural tour before taking in another incredible sunset over an evening drink.

Museums in Hvar Town

The Archaeological Collection in Hvar

Started in 1966 and dedicated to the later Dr Grga Novak, a driving force in assembling the exhibition, the archaeological collection gives a comprehensive overview of Hvar’s heritage. Starting with artifacts dating back to 6,000 BC and the Neolithic era, and including finds from shipwrecks, and art and architectural fragments from Hvar’s long history, the 2,500 exhibits, assembled by donation and private collection, offer a fascinating insight into the island’s past. Opening hours 1000 – 1300 and 2000-2300 in summer, by appointment in winter. The collection is housed in the former Dominican church of St. Mark’s.

Hanibal Lucic’s Summer Residence

A famous poet and influential noble, the name of Hanibal Lucic is intricately bound with Hvar Town. There is a restaurant on the main square which bears his name and he is buried under the alter of the Franciscan monastery.

His summer house, the headquarters of the Hvar Museum, is a well-preserved example of the country houses of the Renaissance period, but with clear Gothic influences. Included in the museum is a reception room dedicated to the memory of Hanibal. The museum is also home to the local branch of the Croatian state archives. Opening hours 0900 -1300 and 1700 – 2300 in summer, 1000 – 1200 in winter (by appointment).

The Natural History Cabinet in Hvar

Located in the Hanibal Lucic Summer Residence, the Natural History Cabinet is a collection of 350 items which have preserved the natural history of Hvar. These include meteorological instruments, preserved plants and old history books.

Wellness and Active Hvar

Cycling

Cycling tourism has really taken over on Hvar in the last 10 years. And for all your cycling needs, there is only one address you need – Hvar Life.

Hiking

Get out of the city and discover the natural beauty of Croatia’s premier island with some excellent hiking opportunities. Traditional inland villages, olive groves, lavender fields, and ancient trials, they all await on a Hvar hiking tour.

Sailing

Hvar is a sailing paradise and one of the most popular destinations on the Adriatic. Exploring the Pakleni Island is a particular joy, and there are various tours available, from half-day sailing and a sunset sail to more ambitious itineraries. Local specialist And Adventure has the wind all ready in the sails.

Kayaking

One major growth area in Hvar tourism in recent years has been sea kayaking. Almost unheard of 15 years ago, it is now one of the more popular water sports on Hvar. One of the pioneers, Hvar Sea Kayaking, offers a great range of tours, several of which include climbing from secluded bays. Beginner’s tours are also popular.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is popular on Hvar, and nobody does it better than Aqualis Dive Centre Hvar.

Aqualis means ‘you belong to water’ in Latin which gives a unique meaning to our journey. Finally, we choose Mala Garska Bay where the dive center is built right by the Adriatic Sea.

In addition to the beautiful view and exclusive appearance, there is direct access to the boats and to the sea. Consequently, it makes daily boat trips more comfortable. The access to shallow water and pool makes teaching PADI and SSI courses easy going. Try diving for non-certified adventurers have never been this easy and fun. Free collection from Hvar bus station.

Running – Hvar Half Marathon

Love running and looking to challenge yourself on one of the most beautiful races in the world? The annual Hvar Half Marathon takes place each August along the old road from Stari Grad to Hvar. The steep initial climb is certainly worth it – which other race gives you views of the Adriatic on both sides.

Spa

Or just chill. Hvar has its very own spa hotel, Hotel Adriana, and you can learn more of the vibes that await you at the award-winning Sensori Spa here.

Alternatively, why not choose the ultimate waterfront pampering at the Bonj les Bains Beach Club, with your own private cabana and massage service right on the water?

Exploring Hvar – Best Tours

Blue Cave

A must-see when in Hvar! Witness the magnificence of the Blue cave on Bisevo island. Take a dip in emerald waters inside the Green cave and float in Stiniva cove. Strap on your diving mask and explore a thriving underwater world of Vis island, before nibbling on local specialties in Palmizana bay. Learn more.

Red Rocks and Pakleni Islands tour

This tour takes you down the magnificent south shore of Hvar. You will see some sights that are only accessible to those that are lucky enough to sail. Breathtaking locations include natural wonder of Red Rocks and stunning Borce Green Lagoon, among others. We highly recommend adding wine tasting in one of Croatia’s best wineries, Zlatan Otok in Sveta Nedjelja, to your tour! Learn more.

Zlatni Rat

Visit Croatia’s most iconic beach at Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) near the town of Bol on Brac on a private speedboat tour. Learn more.

Sunrise Fishing Tour

Start your morning with a magical fishing trip! Witness the sunrise from the open sea and watch the dolphins play, all while waiting for the catch of a lifetime. Enjoy a hearty breakfast and a glass of local wine in the middle of the open sea. Learn more.

Sunset Getaway

Enjoy the beautiful Hvar sunset from the best spot – floating in the middle of the sea. Sunset is the most special time to be out on the water. If you want to escape the crowds and watch the sun drown in the sea, this is a perfect cruise for you. Enjoy a private boat tour during this most peaceful time of day, while listening to your favorite music, drinking some delicious local wine and cruising around the gorgeous Pakleni islands. Learn more.

Hvar Full Day Wine Tour

A full day of wine and great food visiting two of Croatia’s premier wineries followed by a delightful authentic lunch/dinner is a spectacular setting. Learn more.

Hvar, the Road Less Travelled

Full day off-road tour of Hvar, complete with home-cooked lunch and wine! Learn more.

Hvar Cooking Class

Cooking class at family Tudor in the lavender village. Your personal invitation to enjoy a traditional island repast at the home of one of Hvar’s most celebrated residents. Learn more.