This morning your ship arrives in Hvar. It is believed that the Hvar Island has been inhabited since Antiquity. In the 4th Century BC, Greek settlers founded a trade colony here and called it Pharos (the Greek word for lighthouse). Later, as part of the Roman province of Dalmatia, the island was called Fara. When the Slavs settled here in the 7th century, they started calling the island Hvar. In the following centuries, Venetians and Habsburgs sought to control the island because of its strategic location, fertile soil, and secluded harbors. Nowadays, Hvar is one of the most visited destinations on the Dalmatian coast, which is undoubtedly influenced by its fabulous location and the fact that it has the highest number of sunny days in the year on the Adriatic coast, but also thanks to the island’s long tradition culture and the arts.
You will arrive on the island and to the town of Hvar. Through the course of history, Hvar Town has been a melting pot of cultures and influences and is still bursting with history, art and culture, and the home of Europe’s oldest municipal theater, which was built in the early 17th century over an arsenal in a peacemaking attempt by the then ruler of Hvar.
You may start from Hvar’s main square, right next to the harbor, which is dominated by the Renaissance Cathedral with its distinctive bell tower dedicated to St. Stephen. The square is surrounded by buildings dating from the 16th – 17th centuries when the town was an important Venetian trading and seafaring center. Also in this part of town, you may wish to visit the Benedictine Convent, where the nuns spend their lives praying and weaving elaborate laces from the fibers of the agava plant. The convent’s museum shows some delicate and intricate lace designs, some dating to the late 19th century.
To the north of the main square and towering over the town, you may decide to explore Hvar’s fortress, which is known as Spanjola as it was partially built by Spanish engineers. The steep hike to the very top of the fortification is well worth it for the beautiful views over the bay. As you continue your walk south of the harbor and along the row of cafes and bars to the other side of the town, you will come to the Franciscan monastery and the exquisite Church of Gospa od Milosti (Our Lady of Charity).
The still functioning monastery dates back to the 14th Century when it started as a hospice for ill sailors. Its museum houses a collection of works by Venetian and Croatian artists, including a magnificent 17th-century painting of the Last Supper by an unknown artist, as well as coins from as early as the 4th century BC and Greek amphorae.
Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
This afternoon your driver will meet you for a journey just outside the city to the small coastal town of Jelsa and a visit to the family winery of Tomic – one of the most famous wine producers in all of Croatia. You will enjoy a private tasting of wine and locally-produced olive oil.