ONE OF THE OLDEST TOWNS IN CROATIA
Stari Grad (literally translated in English “Old Town“), is actually one of the oldest towns in Croatia, and even one of the oldest in Europe. It is located on the north-western side of the island of Hvar, relatively close to the little settlement Vrboska, resting at the very end of a long, well-protected bay. During your sailing holidays in Croatia, make sure to pay it a visit!
The town is the main ferry port and the historical heart of Hvar island. Its most ancient part, the Stari Grad Plain, is a UNESCO Protected World Heritage Site, while the entire municipality lies within the buffer zone.
The Stari Grad Plain - a UNESCO Protected World Heritage Site
The blue of the deep bay melts with the colors of Stari Grad Plain - prime agricultural land and the famous field of the island, and the green of the pine forest by which the town is surrounded. Stari Grad has always been attractive for settlement, thanks to the already mentioned fields for cultivation, vineyards, and olive-groves, and its position in the secluded bay that makes it a safe harbor for sailors.
The general theory is that Stari Grad was originally named Pharos, by the Greeks who, way back in 384 BC, came from the island of Paros to settle in this town on the island of Hvar.
However, there is another theory that claims the name came from the previous inhabitants of the area. Thanks to the great naval battle where the winning side were Greeks, the Liburnian retreated from the area, and the town was left to the Greeks. Later, the Romans made their mark, and the town was named Faria, which was translated into “Hvar” when the Slav population settled there. Once the administrative capital was moved, the other city was named Hvar (today’s Hvar town on the south coast), and the old town was literally named “Stari Grad”.
Even with its urban structure, the town tells a story about its thousand-years-old rich history thanks to the narrow streets, old stone houses and small squares in the center, buildings from Austro-Hungarian times, and many monuments of the past. Some of the old houses, however, have been renewed and are now offered as modern apartments.
At the head of the bay, there are many facilities: a bank (Zagrebačka banka) with at least 2 ATMs near, the city tourist office, nautical shop (Boltano), a large supermarket (Tommy, to the left), fruit and vegetable market, and a cafe bar.
In the settlement, you can also find another bank (Splitska banka), more ATMs, the town hall, and the nearby post office, all on the south side of the bay. There are also many little grocery shops, bakeries, restaurants, DM drug store, cafe bars, fast food, and so on. It is not likely that you will miss anything.
Just behind Zagrebačka bank, Stari Grad Market, and the cafe bar at the top of the bay, you can find the park Vorba, where you can take your kids to play or just relax and take a walk.
WHY VISIT STARI GRAD
Only taking a walk along the beautiful waterfront promenade of this Mediterranean resort town is a reason enough to pay it a visit during your sailing holidays in Croatia. Its interesting architecture that reflects the rich history, modern tourist facilities, and cultural heritage only add up to its beauty.
Beautiful view over the colorful Stari Grad harbor and settlement
During hot summer days on your sailing holidays in Croatia, enjoy a refreshment by the breeze of the summer wind (Maestral) that often blows in Stari Grad.
There is also the beautiful beach Lanterna in the shade of pine forest, where you can find showers, toilets, a beach bar, and a nearby restaurant, and have a lovely day. It is located on the south side of the bay at the end of the town. Actually, it is just five minutes of walking away from the town center, and it can also be reached by a bike-ride by sea.
Taking a bike, you can also reach the Stari Grad plain, as well as the nearby settlements Vrboska or Jelsa.
Taking a bike to the Stari Grad Plain - one of the activities to enjoy
- Comfortable town harbor – Capacity to receive about 30 boats; When entering the harbor, the berths for visitors are to the right (to starboard); Electricity and water are available; The harbor provides a good shelter from almost all winds (except those from the west)
- Mooring buoys in the harbor
Sailboats moored at the very waterfront promenade of Stari Grad
- ZAVALA BAY mooring buoys – Zavala is a long, narrow, and deep inlet. It is located halfway along the north-east coast of Starogradski Zaljev and it provides good shelter from almost all winds. There is also a bar/restaurant ashore, which is open during the season. Enjoy pebble beaches and sparkling-clean waters.
The bar in Zavala bay - the blue of the sea kissing the green of the pine trees
Sailboats in Zavala bay
- TIHA BAY mooring buoys and anchorage – Tiha is a popular anchorage around the island of Hvar. It is a deep and wide bay, with a few smaller inlets that provide good shelter from winds. It is located a couple of miles further north of Zavala, but it is not approachable by car, which makes it a real hidden gem and perfect for relaxing. You can stop here for swimming, sunbathing and/or lunch. TEL: +385914444010
* The nearest station for refilling fuel is in Vrboska
When you enter Starogradski bay, you will see a white light indicating the eastern headland, and as you proceed forward, you will see a green light on a white tower indicating the starboard side of the inlet that leads to the harbor and the town.
As you enter the harbor, you will spot a green buoy that warns you about the shallow area.
SIGHTS / THINGS TO DO / ATTRACTIONS
- Petar Hektorović Tvrdalj - Petar Hektorović (1487-1572) was a famous Croatian poet. One of his most famous works, Fishing and Fishermen’s Conversations, provides a rare insight into the lives of fishermen from past times. What are nowadays beautiful ruins in Stari Grad, was once Hektorović’s fortified summer residence, Tvrdalj. Make sure to pay it a visit.
Beautiful ruins of Petar Hektorović Tvrdalj
- Stari Grad Plain – visit the UNESCO protected cultural heritage - the fertile plain that has remained intact since Greek times
- Dominican monastery of St. Peter the Martyr – founded in 1482, fortified in the 16th century, rebuilt in 1896. Inside, apart from the tomb of the famous Croatian poet Petar Hektorović and his mother Katarina, can be found numerous works of art and the oldest inscriptions discovered in Croatia.
- Stari Grad museum – located in the town center; provides a good overview of the ancient history of Hvar
- Hiring cars, bikes, and scooters – discover Stari Grad and the nearby settlements
- Organized wine & other tours - WEBSITE, WEBSITE
- St. Nicholas' Church – built in the 16th century and dedicated to St. Nicholas – the patron saint of sailors and it preserves the memories od shipwreck survivors.
- The house and mausoleum of Don Šime Ljubić
Stari Grad really does offer a big choice of restaurants, both by the seafront and further in the town streets.
We recommend consulting TRIPADVISOR to find suggestions for the best restaurants in Stari Grad.
Some of the options are:
- Apolon – Heritage villa with the stunning sea and Riva views - WEBSITE, TEL: +38521778320
- Nauta – Local cuisine, pizza, seafood, vegetarian-friendly - WEBSITE, TEL: +38598555120
- Ermitaz– Beautiful view, seafood, barbecue, and vegetarian-friendly - WEBSITE, TEL: +38598577994
- Kod Barba Luke – Lovely family restaurant on the main square - WEBSITE, TEL: +385 91 594 5718