EXPLORE STARI GRAD: CROATIA’S ANCIENT GEM
Stari Grad, or “Old Town” in English, proudly holds the title of one of Croatia’s oldest settlements and one of Europe’s ancient treasures. Nestled on the northwest coast of the captivating Hvar Island, Stari Grad sits at the end of a serene, well-protected bay, beckoning you to experience its timeless charm during your Croatian sailing holidays.
A HISTORIC HAVEN
As the main ferry port and historical heart of Hvar Island, Stari Grad boasts an incredible heritage. Its most prized possession, the Stari Grad Plain, stands as a UNESCO Protected World Heritage Site, while the entire municipality lies within the buffer zone.
UNVEILING THE ORIGINS
The town’s name, Stari Grad, has a captivating history of its own. Believed to be originally known as Pharos, it was founded by the Greeks in 384 BC when they settled on the island of Hvar. Another theory traces its name to the earlier inhabitants of the region, the Liburnians, who retreated after losing a significant naval battle to the Greeks. Subsequently, the Romans left their mark, naming it Faria, which evolved into “Hvar” when the Slavic population established themselves. With the relocation of the administrative capital, the old town took on its current name, “Stari Grad.”
A GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST
Stari Grad’s winding streets, ancient stone houses, and quaint squares, along with structures from the Austro-Hungarian era and historic monuments, narrate a millennia-old story. While some old houses have been lovingly renovated into modern apartments, the town retains its rich historical essence.
WHY VISIT STARI GRAD?
Strolling along the enchanting waterfront promenade of this Mediterranean gem is reason enough to visit during your Croatian sailing escapades. Its captivating architecture, reflecting centuries of history, harmonizes with modern tourist amenities and cultural heritage, enhancing its allure.
Savor a refreshing breeze from the Maestral winds on hot summer days while enjoying the captivating views.
For a delightful beach day, head to Lanterna Beach, nestled in the pine forest’s shade.
Exploring the Stari Grad Plain or nearby settlements like Vrboska or Jelsa by bike is also a fantastic option.
Taking a bike to the Stari Grad Plain – one of the activities to enjoy
For those arriving by boat, Stari Grad offers some excellent berthing options. The comfortable town harbor can accommodate approximately 30 boats, with berths for visitors on the right side upon entry. Electricity and water are readily available, and the harbor provides excellent protection from most winds. Alternatively, mooring buoys are available in Zavala Bay, a long, narrow inlet that offers splendid pebble beaches and crystal-clear waters. Another choice is Tiha Bay, a hidden gem accessible only by boat, offering a peaceful retreat for swimming, sunbathing, and lunch.
The bar in Zavala bay – the blue of the sea kissing the green of the pine trees
Sailboats in Zavala bay
SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES
- Petar Hektorović Tvrdalj: Explore the stunning ruins of Petar Hektorović’s Tvrdalj, once a fortified summer residence. This historic site provides a unique glimpse into the lives of fishermen from the past.
- Stari Grad Plain: Immerse yourself in the UNESCO-protected cultural heritage of the fertile plain, preserved since Greek times.
- Dominican Monastery of St. Peter the Martyr: Founded in 1482 and fortified in the 16th century, this monastery houses numerous works of art and Croatia’s oldest inscriptions, in addition to the tomb of the renowned poet Petar Hektorović and his mother Katarina.
- Stari Grad Museum: Located in the town center, this museum offers a fascinating overview of Hvar’s ancient history.
- Rentals: Explore Stari Grad and nearby settlements with ease by renting cars, bikes, or scooters.
- Organized Tours: Discover the region’s wine and other delights through organized tours.
- St. Nicholas’ Church: Built in the 16th century and dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, this church holds the memories of shipwreck survivors.
- The House and Mausoleum of Don Šime Ljubić: Uncover the history of this intriguing site.
Beautiful ruins of Petar Hektorović Tvrdalj
Stari Grad beckons you to step into a world where history, natural beauty, and modern comforts harmoniously coexist. Make your Croatian sailing holiday unforgettable with a visit to this enchanting ancient town.