Stari Grad, Croatia - a Complete Guide
Stari Grad, literally meaning “Old Town”, is Croatia’s oldest city, with a history of over 2400 years. It is located on the northwest side of Hvar. With long and substantial history, Stari Grad will for sure have your attention. Not only with Roman and Greek remains, but also with many stunning beaches, amazing restaurants, and countless activities and concerts all summer long. Indulge in the charms of Stari Grad and prepare to have an unforgettable time here!
Table of Contents
- 1 Stari Grad, Croatia - a Complete Guide
- 1.1 How to reach it?
- 1.2 What to see
- 1.3 Museums and galleries
- 1.4 Activities and more
- 1.5 For kids
- 1.6 Beaches nearby
- 1.7 Best-rated restaurants
- 1.8 Nightlife
- 1.9 Best accommodations
- 1.10 Groceries and other supplies
How to reach it?
Buses connect towns across Hvar, and you can take a look at the timetable here.
Ferries connect Split with Stari Grad, and a full, all-year schedule can be found on our “Split to Hvar” blog.
The fastest way to reach Stari Grad from the sea is a boat taxi, which is also the most flexible one when considering departure location.
What to see
Drywalls of Stari Grad
Drywalls are the symbol of Dalmatia, once used to separate the fields and make space for agricultural land. Stari Grad’s ager is 2400 years old, with its walls being amongst the best-preserved ones in the world. With Greek and Roman culture remains, this field is a true archeological gem, with a width of 6, and a length of 2 kilometers. You can learn more about it in the Museum of Stari Grad.
One of the symbols of Dalmatia is klapa singing. It’s a capella choir of five to eight men (originally, today there are mixed and women-only klapas) singing traditional Dalmatian songs. It was included in UNESCO’s intangible world heritage in 2012.
“Za križen” procession
Every Holy Thursday, a night procession is being held on the island. The tradition has been preserved for a couple of centuries now. Starting at 10 PM, the procession lasts 8 hours, with a walk of 25 kilometers (15.6 miles)! It is truly a beautiful scene that can rarely be seen.
Located in Stari Grad, Tvrdalj is a building built by Hvar’s famous poet Petar Hektorović in the 16th century. It was originally built to be a summer house. Hektorović included an aquarium, and a dovecot in it, creating a whole little world on its own. It is filled with inscriptions carved in stone, revealing his life mottos and love for literature. The house is open from May to October, and its location is Priko b.b.
St. Stephen church
A baroque church on the city’s promenade, once the center of all happenings in the city and a quiet and peaceful place today.
Museums and galleries
Museum of Stari Grad
A classic town’s museum with occasional special exhibitions, but filled with stories of the city’s history.
From October to April, prior arrangements are required to visit the museum, working hours during May, June, and September are Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM, and during July and August, there are an additional two hours of work from 7 PM to 9 PM, including Sundays.
The ticket price is 20 kn for adults and free for preschool children. Guided tour in English is 100kn.
It’s located on the left side of Tvrdalj, on the Street Braće Biankini 4.
Collection in Tvrdalj
Tvrdalj was always open to people, and over the years, it collected their everyday items like viticultural and olive tools.
Art collection of Dominican Monastery
This Dominican monastery was founded in the 15th century and has preserved many beautiful objects like the old altar, art pieces, and incunabulas (the first printed books). It is open to the public during the season – from May to October. It is located on the Street kod Svetog Petra 1P, behind Tvrdalj and St. Roko church.
This interesting contemporary art gallery is founded and held by Zoran Tadić, a local artist who returned to his birth city after years of a successful career. His sculptures and jewelry are a somewhat mix of animal and fictional characteristics, making them look interesting and different from anything you’ve seen before. It’s located on Ivan Gundulić street 6P.
Activities and more
Want to have some fun, stay active or give your kid a time to remember? Stari Grad has you covered. More on physical activities can be found on our “Complete Guide to Hvar Island” blog.
Jazz & Wine Festival
A festival that perfectly merges wine into funky, relaxing sounds of saxophones and should totally be on your activities list! Enjoy three days of music around the end of July and try out some of the best local wines!
Love Me Do Festival
Love Me Do is a festival designed to help local associations and producers by organizing stall sales during concerts of local bands and artists. It’s usually held at the beginning of August on the Tvrdalj. Come enjoy the music and support the locals!
St. Roko Day – The day of the city
On the 16th of August Stari Grad marks its day. In Dalmatia, city days are traditionally organized as stall sales and concerts in the city’s center. There are always lots of fireworks at midnight. A few days before, on the 12th and 13th, there is an annual comet shower called “The tears of St. Lovre”, so if you want to see this phenomenon, get away from the city lights and enjoy the beautiful starry nights.
Swimming and water polo summer school
PK For offers a swimming and water polo school during July and August. All elementary kids are welcome, but the program doesn’t include non-swimmer training. It is held in the sea swimming pool on Bonj beach.
Sailing club Helios holds a little sailing school for children every August, with the supervision of professionals. Give your kids an unforgettable experience of sailing on the beautiful Adriatic sea while you watch them from under the parasol while enjoying a drink and a light breeze of Stari Grad.
Summer music school
Every summer in July, a children’s music school is held by Gitarastra, a group of guitar players who love to spread their knowledge to little ones. If your kid is a guitar player or is willing to become one, let them join Gitarastra and watch them (and listen) as they learn more about this beautiful instrument!
Lanterna – on the Southside of Stari Grad is Lanterna, a pebble beach whose name came from the lantern nearby. You can get to it on foot or with bike, there are toilets, showers and changing rooms there. Tramonto bar is just around the corner, so don’t forget to grab some drinks after swimming!
Žukova – Located right across the Island of Brač and 2 km from Stari Grad, Žukova has a bit of something for everyone. If you’re coming with your family, there is a pebble part of the beach, and if you’re more of an adventurous type, Žukova has cliffs surrounding the bay, perfect for exploring and sunbathing
Blue Doors – a great place in the heart of Stari Grad. Offers traditional Mediterranean food and is vegetarian-friendly.
Nauta – a sweet restaurant and pizzeria right next to Tvrdalj. Nauta offers a great choice of seafood prepared the traditional way, with prices being very affordable. Also, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are available.
Kokot tavern – located in Dol, a small village 8 kilometers southeast of Stari grad. Yet another local food restaurant with vegetarian options, a great atmosphere, and reasonable prices.
La Gitana – a restaurant in the center of the city. Offers local dishes, together with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free alternatives. Make sure to try a tuna steak and pasta, you won’t regret it!
Nook – a place just a couple of meters from the sea, Nook differs from other traditional Mediterranean restaurants. It offers healthy, vegetarian, and vegan meals for a great price. Pets are also allowed in the restaurant!
Pinetta – yet another amazing traditional Mediterranean restaurant offering all kinds of dishes characteristic of these regions. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are also included.
Tramonto – A bar overlooking the beautiful clear sea, just enough far away from the noise of the city’s center. Offers great cocktails and music.
Lampedusa – right in the middle of Stari Grad, Lampedusa is a bar with an excellent offer of cocktails and gin tonics. Try out some of their signature ones while chatting and listening to great music.
B&B Heritage Villa Apolon – Šetalište don Šime Ljubića 7, 21246, Stari Grad
Villa Ekatera – Vukovarska cesta 17a, 21460, Stari Grad
Groceries and other supplies
There are a few supermarkets around the city, so you’re pretty much covered regarding food and other necessities. Two bakeries are also in the city’s center.
A pharmacy is located right on the city’s promenade.
The closest gas station is in Jelsa so keep that in mind when planning a car trip.