Hvar Town and tourists at Hvar Spanish Fort (Fortica) at sunset, Hvar Island, Dalmatian Coast, Adriatic, Croatia, Europe

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery


Hvar Town

Looming high above the town and lit with a golden glow at night, this medieval castle occupies the site of an ancient Illyrian settlement dating from before 500 BC. The views looking down over Hvar and the Pakleni Islands are magnificent, and well worth the trudge up through the old-town streets. Once you clear the town walls it's a gently sloping meander up the tree-shaded hillside to the fortress – or you can drive to the very top (100KN in a taxi).

The Byzantines built a citadel here in the 6th century, and the Venetians began construction of the present fortress in 1278. It was strengthened in 1551, which may have saved the lives of Hvar's population, who sheltered here in 1571 when the Turks sacked their town. The Austrians renovated it in the 19th century, adding barracks. Inside there's a collection of ancient amphorae recovered from the seabed, and a terrace cafe.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hvar Town attractions

1. Benedictine Convent

0.11 MILES

Playwright and poet Hanibal Lucić was born here in 1485, but this town house has been home to a community of Benedictine nuns since 1664. Over the…

2. Trg Sv Stjepana

0.16 MILES

Stretching from the harbour to the cathedral, this impressive rectangular square was formed by filling in an inlet that once reached out from the bay. At…

3. Episcopal Museum

0.18 MILES

Adjoining the cathedral, this treasury houses silver vessels, embroidered liturgical robes, numerous Madonnas, a 13th-century icon, an elaborately carved…

4. Arsenal

0.18 MILES

Mentioned in Venetian documents as ‘the most beautiful and the most useful building in the whole of Dalmatia’, the Arsenal once served as a repair and…

5. St Stephen's Cathedral

0.19 MILES

Providing a grand backdrop to the main square, this baroque cathedral was built in the 16th and 17th centuries at the height of the Dalmatian Renaissance…

6. Franciscan Monastery

0.45 MILES

Overlooking a pretty cove, this 15th-century monastery has an elegant bell tower, built in the 16th century by a well-known family of stonemasons from…

7. Pokonji Dol

1.02 MILES

This large pebbly beach is literally at the end of the road if you're following the coast east from Hvar Town. There's a large restaurant here.

8. Jerolim

1.16 MILES

The closest of the Pakleni Islands to Hvar, the island of Jerolim is entirely clothing optional.