Cruise Port Atlas | Hvar, Croatia Day Trips | Attractions

Hvar, Croatia Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Hvar: Star Clippers, Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Paul Gauguin, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea

Key Attractions: St. Stephens Cathedral, St. Stephens Square, Spanish Fortress, Arsenal, Franciscan Monastery, Pakleni Islands, Zlatni Rat Beach (Brac), St. Clement Island, Blue Cave, Marinkovac Island, Stari Grad, Stari Grad Plain, Jelsa, Vrboska, Vrisnik, Humac, Brusje, Milna, sea kayaking, biking, hiking, Historic Split, Diocletian's Palace,

Hvar (city) Attractions

Tender Berth to City Attractions - within 0.5 KM, less than 10 minute walk
Tender Berth to Spanish Fortress - 2.6 KM KM, 5 minutes, 10-15 minute walk up stairs
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Hvar (city) is considered one of the gems of the Adriatic. Ferries and tenders enter the small harbor which ends at the city square. This ancient gathering place is surrounded by St. Stephens Cathedral and Bell Tower, the Arsenal (housing a lovely theater), the Bishop's Palace, and the remains of the Governor's Palace. There are several other Renaissance palaces adjacent to the square as well. The Cathedral is a Renaissance era building that was matched with a Romanesque style bell tower. Above the town are two fortresses. The older is called the Spanish Fortress and is open to the public, offering amazing views of the port. It can be reached by car or you can walk up a set of steps to the front. A short distance from where the tenders dock is the Franciscan Monastery from the 15th century. It’s right next to a small bay, with a serene cloister and a massive 17th century Last Supper painting. Because wealthy travelers have made Hvar a yacht haven, the town has a polish to its rustic charm, with high quality restaurants and boutiques on many streets around the city center.

                 

   

Photo of Spanish Fortress by Vinzz, Photo of St. Stephen Square by Samuli Lintula

Islands and Beaches

Port to Pakleni Islands - 1-4 KM, about 15 minutes by Water Taxi
Port to Zlatni Rat Beach - approximately 10 KM by water
Port to Blue Cave - information pending
Link to Full-Page Google Map

There are many beaches on Hvar, but they are mostly small, often rocky, and have limited services. The most popular are on the north coast of the island. One of the most famous beaches in Dalmatia is a short distance over water on the island of Brac at Zlatni Rat, a scenic sandbar that juts into the Dalmatian waters. However, the most popular developed beaches for Hvar visitors are on the Pakleni Islands which are a short water taxi ride from Hvar port. Pakleni is commonly translated as "devil," but it actually means “tar” for the black pines that cover these small islets. The largest island is known as St. Clement, or Big Island, and has several nice beaches and resort areas with restaurants, bars and services. The resort at Marinkovac Island is one of the most popular. There are several naturist (nudist) beaches on the islands. Diving and snorkeling are also popular activities on the Pakleni Islands. A farther away is the Blue Cave on the island of Bisevo. Only accessible by boat around midday, the sun lights up the cave with blue light. Swimmers, divers, and snorkelers can swim in the small entrance.

              

   

Photo of Hvar and Pakleni Island by Andres rus, Photo of Blue Cave by japus

Towns and Villages

Port to Milna - 6 KM, 8 minutes
Port to Brusje - 7 KM, 12 minutes
Port to Stari Grad - 18 KM, 23 minutes
Port to Jelsa - 26 KM, 31 minutes
Port to Vrboska - 25 KM, 29 minutes
Port to Vrisnik - 26 KM, 31 minutes
Port to Humac - 27 KM, 42 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The second largest town on the island is Stari Grad (it means Old City), which predates Hvar. It was established by the Illyrians and later taken by the Greeks who brought their advance agricultural methods to the island. Nearby is the fertile Stari Grad Plain, which is an unusual UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fertile farmland has been tilled since the time of the Greek colonists who built walls and cisterns to ensure a regular supply of water. The third largest town (and port) is Jelsa, near the most famous vineyards and several popular beaches.

For smaller more rustic experiences, there are a handful of small towns (mostly inland) with their own local character, but still welcoming to tourists. You will likely need to either take a tour or rent a car to get to these places. Between Stari Grad and Jelsa is a small bay with the fishing village of Vrboska, which has a fishermen’s museum and two historic churches that include the Church of St. Mary's, a converted fortress. On the hills above Jelsa and Vrboska is Vrisnik, in the center of the olive oil production area, with lovely stone buildings and restaurants with great views. Humac is an abandoned village with old stone buildings and no electricity or running water, but you can walk to a nearby cave and eat a barbeque lunch served by villagers from Vlisnik. Nearer Hvar is the town of Brusje, a great stopping point in the hills for anyone who decides to ride a bike between Hvar and Stari Grad. Like many older villages, the buildings are made of stone and centuries old. Finally, along the southern coast is Milna, a resort town on a scenic bay with a pebble beach.

                 

   

Photo of Humac by Martin Broz, Photo of Jelsa by Chippewa

Outdoor Activities

Port to Pakleni Islands - 1-4 KM, about 15 minutes by Water Taxi
Link to Full-Page Google Map

While Hvar has a highly developed and sophisticated tourism infrastructure, eco-tourism activities and active tourism are a great way to experience the island. If you want to stay in the water, sea kayaking is a great choice. Most kayaking is done in the Pakleni Islands. Often the kayak tours include lunch. If you want to take it slow and stay dry, a hike on the island may be for you. The island is covered with lavender, olive groves, vineyards, and rocky undeveloped areas with wild rosemary and pine trees. While there are steep paths, many are fairly relaxing as well. A large variety of bike routes are available, including the famous lavender road from Hvar to Stari Grad. There are some steep grades so you should be ready for some exertion if you decide to see the island on a bike.

           

   

Photo of small Hvar bay by Gaucho, Photo of lavender fields by col ford

Historic Split and Diocletian's Palace

Port to Split - 43 KM, 1 hour 30 minutes by ferry
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Diocletian was a poor Dalmatian who rose through the ranks of the military and eventually became Emperor. Though renowned as a reformer, he was also a persecutor of the growing Christian sect. Unlike most powerful rulers, he gave up his power and went back home. The palace we see today is but a small portion of his original retirement home. Besides the walls, the most famous original section is known as the peristyle (courtyard), bordered by the Cathedral which was originally Diocletian's mausoleum and a Roman temple that was probably dedicated to Jupiter. UNESCO not only recognized the Roman ruins but also buildings from several subsequent eras, including Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance. The beautiful Bell Tower is a favorite photo spot for tourists. There are also scenic squares and rich palaces within the walls that Diocletian built.

Outside the city walls you will find the important Split Archaeological Museum which preserves artifacts from the pre-historic to the Middle Ages. The largest and most visited park in the city is on Marjan Hill, offering great views and nice walks. Within the park is the city's Science Museum and Zoo. Just south of the park is the Ivan Mestrovic Gallery, dedicated to the city's most famous 20th century artist and considered by many to be one of the finest sculptors of the modern era. Several of his sculptures are featured as monuments in different parts of the city.

                 

   

Photo of Palace Skyline by Pudelek, Photo of Palace by Railfver

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible