Stari Grad has managed to escape the dangers of modern mass tourism and retain the charm of Dalmatian towns from old postcards. Ancient history, the summer residence of Renaissance poet Petar Hektorović, unique appeal and a well-protected bay – it’s a recipe for a hit among sailors
The combination of gorgeous nature, excellent spots for cruising and rich history makes Hvar the most popular island in the Adriatic. The glamour of Hvar Town in the summer, the turquoise bays of the Pakleni Islands and the island’s southern side that’s managed to remain isolated, together with the rural charm of Hvar villages put together make a genuine tourist blockbuster.
Stari Grad vs. Hvar Town
In addition to all of the above, Hvar has another wonderful quality. It’s one of the few islands in the Adriatic with four large settlements on the coast. Hvar, Stari Grad, Jelsa and Vrboska are the four aces, but Stari Grad has a unique Adriatic energy and setting.
Even though ‘The Mediterranean as it once was’ became a phrase as worn-out as old sails in the sun, Stari Grad, or ‘Paiz’, as it’s affectionately named by its residents, has managed to escape the dangers of modern mass tourism and retain the charm of Dalmatian towns from old postcards.
The town looks like a scene from the cult TV show ‘Malo misto’ about a small Dalmatian town, written by legendary Split writer Miljenko Smoje. The smell of fish, salt and lavender fills the narrow streets, while the art galleries and little restaurants are waiting to be discovered. In summer, quiet periods of siesta on squares during the day quickly turn into lively summer nights bustling with life.
The deep and well-protected bay, a large fertile field in the centre of the island and many sources of fresh water have always attracted settlers to what is now Stari Grad. The Greeks from Paros, island in the Aegean Sea, founded Pharos in 384 B.C. Pharos had a city centre (asti) and its agricultural area (hora).
Stari Grad Plain
The reason for its independence and self-sufficiency, as the ideal of the Greek polis, was the fertile Stari Grad Plain, known as Hora Faru at the time. Nowadays it’s the best preserved ancient Greek cadastral system in the Mediterranean. The oldest part of town and the Stari Grad Plain became UNESCO Protected World Heritage Sites in 2008 and you can practically step on the many layers of history while wandering the two main streets, Srednja and Donja.
What to do in Stari Grad Hvar?
Stari Grad was a place of leisure for the island nobility, so it still has that charm from another, quieter, era, as demonstrated by its main sights. The fortified summer residence of Croatian Renaissance poet, author of the first realistic epic poems in Croatian literature, ‘Fishing and Fishermen’s Talk’, Petar Hektorović, is one of the symbols of Stari Grad.
You’ll fall in love with the picturesque Škor square, lined with typical Dalmatian workers’ houses, and don’t miss the Dominican monastery of St. Peter the Martyr, which has a museum that is home to the painting ‘The Lamentation of Christ’ by Venetian master Jacopo Tintoretto, or the House and Mausoleum of Don Šime Ljubić.
The Maslina Resort fits perfectly into the history of Stari Grad. With its mindful luxury philosophy and a holistic approach, the Maslina Resort quickly became one of the most unique and luxurious resorts in the Adriatic.
Stari Grad has been a hit among sailors for a long time, mostly due to the fact that the 8-kilometre Stari Grad Bay is one of the safest in the Adriatic, which comes in handy during summer storms or when the sirocco wind picks up, and the marina is filled with boats, while the town is bustling with the murmur of crew members. Its naval renaissance started with the construction of a new Riva with 120 berths. You can also anchor your boat to a buoy in the middle of the bay, while large yachts can find a spot at the old ferry port.
Anchorages in Stari Grad
The Stari Grad Bay is full of great places for anchoring. One of the most popular places is the Tiha Bay that has several smaller bays, where several restaurants are open in the summer.
Popular destinations can be crowded, so if you’re looking for a more secluded location, we recommend coves such as Brizenice or Zapaš Bok on the northern side and Radočin Dol or Gračišće on the southern side of the bay. Make sure to drop your anchor before sunset to experience the sun setting right at the centre of the bay.
Photos I. Pervan, B. Kačan, M. Romulić, M. Jelavić & Hrvatska turistička zajednica / Vjeko Begović, Ivo Biočina
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