What to see in Hvar Town, Croatia
Hvar Town Tourist Map of Attractions and Guide
Hvar Town is the largest town on the island and lies nestled between forested hills and the Adriatic Sea. In the past, Hvar was under Austrian, French and Venetian rule which influenced its medieval architecture and its excellent cuisine. The Hvar old town map and attractions guide below will take you to Hvar attractions and things to do in Hvar. Download the INTERACTIVE or PDF Map and follow along with the attractions map.
- Take the Ferry from Split to Hvar,
Click HERE to Download INTERACTIVE Walking Map of Hvar Town
Hvar Town Click HERE to Download PDF Walking Map
This walking tour is one of the best attractions in Hvar Town and nearby Fortica (Spanjola, Fortress). The self-guided walking tour should take about half a day ending at the fortress. The fortress has a café where you can spend some time relaxing with a snack as you enjoy the spectacular views.
Hvar Town Travel Guide
Hvar Travel Guide – Travel Hvar Island, things to do in Hvar including visiting the Hvar Beaches, Vineyards, and Fishing Villages.
Hvar Town Walking Tour Attractions
Stop A. Franciscan Monastery & Museum
The monastery overlooks a lovely cove and was built in the 15th century as a retreat for sailors by a well-known family of stonemasons from the island of Korčula. It has spectacular stone walls, a beautiful courtyard and a church nearby called Our Lady of Charity. The museum contains various antiquities including paintings, manuscripts, coins and books written prior to 1501. In the courtyard stands a 300-year-old cypress tree. It is free to wander around in the courtyard.
The western wall holds the painting of The Last Supper painted by Dalmatian painter Mateo Pončun. It has spectacular stone walls, a beautiful courtyard and a church nearby called Our Lady of Charity.
Stop B. Riva, Hvar Town Promenade
Hvar Riva is a vibrant spot at any time of the day. Ferries arrive throughout the day, locals and tourist walk along the Riva and enjoy the many restaurants and cafes and in the evening the Riva turns into a busy night spot. Enjoy the early morning ritual like a local and order a coffee and croissant and watch the port come to life.
Stop C. Hvar Town public Theater and Arsenal
The arsenal was a war storage facility, and is one of the best preserved arsenals in Hvar. It was built right next to the church with a huge arch that opened up towards the sea. Its purpose was that of a shipyard and associated storage facility, including the repair and refit of war galleys. It also served as a storage place for nautical accessories. It was built in the 13th century by the order of Venice and was subsequently destroyed by the Ottomans in 1571 and further damaged during a gunpowder explosion in 1579.
The current structure was built under Duke Petar Semitecolo in 1611 and in 1612. He was instrumental in the building of the theater on top of the first floor. He had the placement of seven arches on the ground floor which would hold up the first floor theater. The first floor was then divided into two where the western half was the armory and the eastern half was the theater. The ground floor was used as space for communal storage such as grain and salt. His unique use of the space resulted in the Arsenal being more than a military and nautical storage facility. It became an important Hvar landmark. It was closed in 2004 set to reopen after 15 years of painstaking restoration with its first performance slated for May 2019.
Stop C. The Theatre
The Theatre was completed in 1612 and on the door of the theatre. It was inscribed with ANNO SECVUNDO PACIS MDCXII – THE SECOND YEAR OF PEACE 1612. The theatre’s exterior is mostly preserved in its original form was considered the “most beautiful and most useful building” in Dalmatia. The theatre was unique in that it was the oldest and first publicly-owned theatre in Europe and open to all citizens regardless of social stature. In 1803, the Theatre Society built a stage and there was a very active theater scene with local amateur and professional theatre groups and musical events well into the 19th century. Both guests and professional performers came to the theatre from other places in Dalmatian and from Italy.
Stop D. St Stephan’s Square Trg Sv Stjepana
Video of the main square, most attractions are on the square. A set of stairs close to the square will take you up to the fortress
This is the main square in Hvar Town and most streets lead back on to it. It used to be the space between two fortified cities of Groda to the North and Burg to the South. Today it is a huge rectangle at 4500 sq meters and is one of the largest squares in Dalmatia. It was originally part of the bay, however the land was filled and paved in the 1880’s. The square is the center of city public and social life, overflowing with outdoor café’s and restaurants during peak tourist season. The central fountain dates back to 1520. It is also the city well, providing a source of fresh water to the town. The square is beautiful with its gray-white cobblestones, old white washed buildings and the Cathedral of St. Stephan anchored at the far end.
Stop D. St Stephan’s Cathedral
The baroque style Cathedral stands at the east side of the main square was built in the early 17th century on the foundation of an early Christian Church, the Church of Santa Maria di Lesna, which was part of the former benedictine monastery. It is named after and dedicated to pope Stephan who was both a pope and a martyr. He was also seen as a protector of the diocese and Hvar Town. The Cathedral has an impressive renaissance bell tower made by local master stonemasons. The Cathedral houses many valuable artifacts and paintings, including that of Madonna and Child painted by an unknown Venetian artist dating back to 1220. Other paintings by Palma Mlađi, Stefano Celesti, Juan Boschettus are also preserved in the cathedral. Next to the cathedral is the Episcopal Palace from the 19th century which today serves as a museum with many church related items such as a priceless collection of art, garments, sacred vessels, archival documents and old books.
Stop D. Attached to the Cathedral is the Episcopal Museum (Bishops Museum)
It displays the Church’s treasury of items such as silver vessels, embroidered robes, Madonna’s, a stamp collection and sarcophagus and a golden Chalice. The chalice was a gift from the king of Bosnia.
Monastery and the Church of Saint Mark , Fabrika 17, 21450, Hvar, Croatia
The church has been partially restored in the 19th century. It houses an archeological collections including the tombs of nobles and respected citizens who were buried here. Today the church serves as a museum of Hvar heritage. If you climb the Bell Tower, you will be able to see this church.
Stop E. Hvar Harbour
Hvar harbor opens out to about twenty islands and rocks outcrops namely Forski Skorji or Islands of Hvar. The area is picturesque and has many sunny beaches and restaurants.
The marina mandrac is a small port to the west of the Square. It was built at the same time as the Arsenal. The port was designed to protect the small boats in the harbour from hazardous winds.
Stop F. The Loggia of Hvar Town
A distinct building with arched colonnades and the clock tower. It was first built in 1289 and subsequently destroyed by the Turks and then rebuilt. It consisted of a number of buildings including the Venetian governors Palace, the courthouse/town hall and the clock tower. Hvar town loggia and a clock tower from the 15th century are the only remains of the former Governor’s Palace. They were damaged during the ottoman Turk attack in the 1500. The Palace was rebuilt in the 17th century by a well known mason, Trifun Bokanic, however it is a much smaller version of the original palace. The current clock tower followed the palace rebuild in the 1800 ‘s. In 1968 the loggia was converted into a coffee house and today it functions as a reception and exhibition hall. A stone pillar placed in the front used to hold the flag.
Stop H. Benedictine Monastery, Crkva sv. Ante, Unnamed Road, 21450,
On trg svetog Stjepana, in front of the small harbor is Café loco (Loco Bar). Next to it are a set of stairs that leads to the fortress; the Benedictine monastery is on the way to the fortress – refer to map.
The Benedictine nuns are from a very strict order and do not go outside of the boundries of the nunnery unless it is an emergency. Built in the 17th century. The monastery is located at gothic renaissance house that was the birthplace of the Croatian nobleman, poet and playwright, Hanibal Lucić’s who was born in 1485.
His daughter-in-law donated the building to the Benedictines in her will in 1591 and it was occupied by the nuns when they arrived on the island in 1664. Two nuns arrived from the nearby island of Hvar with the task of settling the Order in Hvar. The Order ran a nursery school including the first school in Hvar from 1826 to 1866. They knitted and perfected the art of lacemaking. Benedictine nuns have been making lace for more than 150 years exclusively behind the walls of their convent in the town of Hvar. It is World Famous for its intricate lacework and embroidery made from agave strings. The lace is on the UNESCO world intangible heritage list. They extract fiber from the agave leaves and processed into fine threads which is then used to make the lace. Each lace is a one of a kind pattern which is also what makes it so special and unique.
Their work is showcased in the museum next door which is a baroque style church of St Anthony and John the Baptist.
Crka Gospe ad Kruvenice, small church on the walk to the fortress
Once you exit the Benedictine monastery, continue climbing the stairs to the main road Ul. Higijenickog Drustva. At the top of the stairs will be a little gate that says Spanjola. Cross the street and walk through the gate, as you continue the walk up to the fortress. You will see the church on the path. It is high above the hills of Hvar, and on the way to the fortress. On February 2, the feast of the lighthouse or Kandelora is celebrated here. If is said the Joseph and Mary brought little Jesus to this temple where it was said that he “to brings light to the world” The custom is to light a candle on this day and in the afternoon people gather around the church for reading of the rosemary and lighting a cigarette as a symbol to celebrate the occasion. This is the only time Croatian children are allowed to light a cigarette in front of their parents.
Stop I. Fort Fortica (Spanjola) overlooking Hvar Town
Video of the walk up to the fortress, it is easier than it looks on the video. You can gently stroll up as I did!
The fortress is located 100meters uphill and it’s a gentle climb up from Hvar town to the fortress. We took the stairs next to Café Loco (Loco Bar) (head west from the main square towards the little harbor, you will be on trg svetog Stjepana). At Café loco (Loco Bar), take the stairs to the main road Ul. Higijenickog Drustva. There are a number of signs that will guide you as you walk along the path. It is about a 30 min walk from the town to the fortress. There is an entrance fee to the fortress.
This was the main fortress of Hvar Town and was built on a hill overlooking the harbor which it was designed to protect the town. The fortress was built on foundations dating back to 500 BC. The building of the fortress took 300 years starting in 1282 and is remarkably well preserved. Over the next 300 years it underwent a number of expansions until it was completed in 1551 by the Venetians. The purpose of the fortress was to protect the town from pirates who roamed the Adriatic. The Spanish engineers also contributed to the building of the fortress around the 14th century nicknamed it Spanjola. The construction was financed by the locals which obtained the funds by selling salt.
In 1571, after construction was completed, the Turks attacked the town and residents took shelter in the fortress while their town below was looted and damaged. In 1579 lightning struck the fortress causing the gunpowder store to explode resulting in substantial damage to the fort and its substructure. In the 19th century, the Austrians repaired the fortress and built large barracks and raised battlements. Hvar lost its strategic importance by the end of the 19th century and the fortress fell into disrepair. It was recently overhauled and is an historic monument visited by tourists. Before this restoration, the fortress was used as a site for local parties and dances.
When you visit the fortress you can tour the dungeons, bastions, tower, battlements, gun powder rooms, living quarters and a chapel within. The prison has the narrowest of staircases taking you down into the prison. It was a little too narrow for my liking, but the rest of my family went down the stairs. It is well worth a visit and the climb up is not too strenuous. The view of Hvar Town, harbor and nearby Pakleni Islands is breathtaking.
Hvar Town Tourist board
Trg sv. Stjepana 42, tel/fax: + 385 (021) 741 059, (021) 742 977,
For Additional Croatia Travel Guides, Tourist Maps and Airport Transfer:
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