Stari Grad travel guide
An architectural gem with a fine 16th/17th century townscape but also a celebrity destination with a vibrant nightlife
When you travel from Split to Hvar island by ferry, you disembark a mile away from one of the oldest towns in Europe, The Old Town! In Croatian language that is "Stari Grad". The fertile land and a safe bay were attractive to the wondering Greeks and so they founded this town in the 4th century BC and named it Faros. Stari Grad - Faros is now a wonderful little town on Hvar Island, of about 2000 people living there. This is a great choice for discerning travellers seeking authentic, historic holiday places where they can enjoy gentle walks, sunny beaches, good food, seaside cafes and quiet town squares. There is night life in Stari Grad too, but it is of a much milder nature than in Hvar Town, which you should also visit. There are excellent museums, two theatres, singing choirs.
Stari grad has some amazing, old stone buildings, of which the most famous one is the 16th century ancient castle and the home of the renaissance poet and nobleman Petar Hektorovich, with the strange name of Tvrdalj, one of the first places in Europe to install toilets. Fishing was the main activity in Stari Grad in the past - the venerated Poet's most famous work is called "Fishing and Fishermen's Talk". In this famous piece of early Croatian literature the poet extols the beauties of Adriatic sea and the islands of Hvar, Brac and Solta, which he is visiting with a couple of wise and capable local fishermen. Even that long ago, the poet's message was - this is a heavenly place, perfect for relaxation and the enjoyment of nature, with good fresh food and wonderful people.
Stari Grad is a perfect place for families. Apart from snorkelling and safe swimming, you will find a sailing school, guitar school and theatre workshops for kids, water sports, caving, rock climbing and extreme sports. One of the hardest international swimming Marathons happens there in August. Stari Grad has pebbly and sandy beaches.
Something unique about Stari Grad will delight the history buffs, nature lovers and cyclists - the UNESCO heritage site which is actually a series of ancient fields with a country road going through it - the so called Stari Grad Plain. The ancient Greeks devised geometrical parcels with hand stacked stone boundaries, water tanks and rain collecting canals, and this 2500 year old heritage is now seen as of Outstanding Universal Value for the whole world. It is not a museum, but preserved and still living ancient farmed countryside where you can lose yourself and ride your bike in peace and silence. All should experience this 2500 year old human endeavour. You will see ancient tool sheds, underground water collectors, small chapels and rustic villa remains. As a 21st century addition, there is a small airport in the middle of the fertile plain, exclusively for small planes and helicopters, for maximum six passengers. You can also go sky-diving there.