Jelsa travel guide
A delightful harbour front with old stone buildings, bars, restaurants and cafes and a short stroll down the coast to the swimming areas
Jelsa is an adorable little town on the world famous island of Hvar
. After the town of Hvar
itself, Jelsa with 3500 people, is the second largest town on the island. As is the case on the Croatian coast, Jelsa grew up around a large, protected natural bay, where boats could safely moor. Now tourists flock there with their yachts to enjoy the almost permanent sunshine, sandy beaches, historic houses and pure sea air. This good location makes it easy to reach other beautiful spots on Hvar island
, as Jelsa is only 30 km from Hvar town
and 10 km from Stari Grad
. You can get to Jelsa from Split by ferry or catamaran, but a great way of getting there is a 13 minute trip in a small plane (takes 6 people, cca 20 euro per person).
As a family holiday, Jelsa is a good choice for its fantastically clean and warm sea, pretty, ancient streets and ancient squares where you can admire the authentic baroque and renaissance architecture whist enjoying delicious ice creams, coffees, healthy food based on fresh fish, fruit, olive oils and excellent local wines.
There are many simple, child friendly local restaurants but also some sophisticated places for adults. Small children love the sandy beach called Mina, perfect for snorkelling and sandcastles. There is also the main town beach, Soline, and more sandy and pebbly beaches in Grebisce Bay, a mile out of town. Sporty people can play basketball, volleyball, football, tennis and mini golf. The area is great for cycling, diving, walking, hiking, free climbing and caving.
Apart from the leisurely life around the beautiful bay, Jelsa offers cultural and historical monuments and plenty of sports. The biggest attractions are the church of the Assumption and St John Square which has a baroque character.
Although a family destination, Jelsa also has good nightlife blending in the family holiday. Pop into the “Tarantella” and “Taboo” bars which stock a large selection of local spirits and on to Dgigibaoo for cocktails. In the early hours of the morning, a local bakery is already open with fresh pastries, cheese and meat boreks, delicious bread consumed by the well informed night revellers. It is a novel idea to participate in the famous Mojito Silent Parties. The concept is simple - provide a personalised musical experience for each guest, where you choose the DJ, and your personal music choice is transmitted to you via headphones. Also Mediterranean flavour is the open air dance floor, light show, free open air concerts and dramatic performances. The most famous are the “Fishermen night” and “Wine festivity”. The “Wine festivity” offers the best wines of Hvar, as well as homemade specialties and lots of fun.
The entertainment offered is versatile and can satisfy the wishes of all guests – from the youngest to the oldest. Most of July and August there is a steady stream of music, drama and folklore. Cultural events are numerous. At Easter, watch or join the unique procession of pilgrims and tourists who follow the barefoot cross bearer 22 km through the night on Monday/Thursday (Holy Thursday). This Cross Procession is on the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Visit vineyards and Olive groves. The UNESCO plain.
An easy day trip is to visit the world-important site of Grapceva cave - the origin of Hvar culture. This goes back to the New Stone Age 5000 – 4000 years BC. It is one of the oldest discoveries in the Mediterranean region, situated 239 metres above sea level and was the religious place of Neolithic Islanders. The cave consists of a small hall (13,5 x 5 m) and a larger one (22 x 23 m) surrounded by hallways and chambers. Tor (Greek tower), Galesnik (Town-fort), Vrboska, Humac (former shepherd village).
One of the most beautiful parks of Dalmatia is located in Jelsa – Perivoj, founded in 1870 on a floodplain. Giant poplars, pines and palms, oleanders, laurels and other Mediterranean plants contribute to its beauty. Finally, the “Pharos” aero club offers panoramic flights over the island in sport jets.