Hvar – Sunny Town of Culture

Beautiful Hvar is my hometown, and I love writing and talking about the natural and cultural sights of this Croatian island and top travel destination. In this article, discover what to see in Hvar town – from the picturesque natural sceneries to the most famous cultural attractions, architectural landmarks, and historic styles. 🙂 


Natural Color Palette of Hvar

Ancient emerald green pines, enriched by the white rocky coast of Hvar, create a harmony that interlinks with the beauty of the clear blue Adriatic sea. This refreshing natural scenery paints the picture of one of the most beautiful Dalmatian islands. Hvar’s alluring vistas, bathed in the colors and scents of lavender and rosemary, are certainly one of the main reasons why the visitors of this Croatian jewel always return to its sunny shores. Hvar island is the place to enjoy the dynamic summer holidays but also the relaxing winter months.

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Blue, Green, and White – Natural Color Palette of Dalmatia 


Rich History of Hvar Island

It is believed that the Illyrians were the first inhabitants of this ancient civilization. However, a much stronger stamp on cultural heritage and the name of the island gave the Greeks. The island, now known as Hvar, became a Greek colony in the 4th century BC. The Greeks arrived from the island of Paros and founded the town of Pharos (which later became Hvar) at the location of the present Stari Grad (the Old Town). At the site of the present town of Hvar, there was an autonomous settlement of Dimos, which was later connected with Pharos. Later came the Romans, Venetians, etc. All of them left a cultural and architectural mark on this Dalmatian island.

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Historic Stone Architecture in Venetian-Gothic Style 


Thanks to the rich history and hard work of the local people (“Forani” – people of Hvar, in translation from the local dialect of Hvar), this top Croatian tourist destination is a treasure chest of cultural attractions as well as natural beauties. 

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The Interior of the Historic Theatre of Hvar


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The Cathedral of St. Stephen


What to Visit in Hvar Town – the Most Famous Cultural Attractions and Architectural Landmarks

 Discover the pearls of the cultural heritage of Hvar town.

  • The first public theatre in Europe, built in 1612, is the Historic Theatre of Hvar, located in the Arsenal building (on the main square).
  • The Cathedral of St. Stephen, the Patron of Hvar, is the architectural crown of the main square (“Pjaca” in the local dialect). This historical main square is officially known as St. Stephen’s Square.
  • The Franciscan monastery, located near the center of the town, presents a wealth of historical and artistic curiosities. To reach this architectural landmark, take a 15-minute seaside walk from the main square.
  • “Fortica” (the Spanish Fortress) above the town was built in 1557 and was a military stronghold of Napoleon’s soldiers and later the Austrian army. Nowadays, this charming fortress offers picturesque views of beautiful Hvar town and harbor

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The Franciscan Monastery


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“Fortica” (the Spanish Fortress) 


Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque Architecture

The oldest part of Hvar town, surrounded by Romanesque town walls, is called “Groda” (the Town) and dates from the 13th century. Stone palaces of patricians (noblemen) with their distinctive Gothic-style windows, specific to areas of Dalmatia and Venice, draw the attention of the passerby.

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Romanesque Town Walls


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Historic Stone Architecture in Venetian-Gothic Style 


The town “Loggia” (the Lodge), formerly a part of the Rector’s Palace, was built in the 15th century and has been renovated several times during its history. The decorative architectural elements are characteristic of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.


Hvar Lace from Agave

The Benedictine convent has for over a century kept the tradition of creating unique lace from agave. The process of making the famous Hvar lace requires a lot of effort, patience, and imagination that leads to valuable results, which were recognized by UNESCO. These works of art, created by Benedictine nuns, are inscribed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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The Long Tradition of Tourism on Hvar

The beginnings of the Hvar tourism tradition date back for centuries, however, the beginning of organized tourism is associated with health tourism and the establishment of “The Hygienic Society of Hvar” in 1868, under the leadership of Bishop Dr. Juraj Dubokovic. Today, the rich tourist offer of this popular travel destination fulfills the wishes of numerous visitors.

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The View from the Spanish Fortress 


All the mentioned charms of this sunny Croatian island, as well as many other delights, are the reasons why Hvar is a top destination on Dalmatian Riviera. Welcome to Hvar!



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By Danica Maričić

Interior Designer and Integrated Marketing Communications Pro, Loving Writing and Photography, Passionate about Life & Style, “True Blue” Mediterranean Girl, Curious Traveller & Designer