Stari Grad

We left Vis on Monday morning, 1st July, returning to the island of Hvar, bound for the town of Stari Grad in a big bay on the island’s north coast. This was the site of the original Greek settlement and Stari Grad, meaning Old Town, was the main town on the island until the mid 13th century.

Stari Grad is another charter boat magnet. Both sides of the inlet around which the town is built have big stone quays with laid moorings with space for perhaps 100 boats. Instead of going onto the quayside we decided to make use of one of the only two mooring buoys. These are far cheaper than a quayside berth and simply required a two minute ride in the tender to get ashore.

There is no sign of the original Greek settlement and the buildings and ambiance are similar to Hvar but smaller and less frantic. Despite the number of yachts the place didn’t seem crowded or noisy and wandering around the backstreets we were pretty much on our own! Again the entire focus is on tourism with restaurants lining the waterfront and many of the narrow side streets.

The main attraction in Stari Grad seemed to be the ‘Fortress House Tvrdalj’ of the poet Petar Hectorvic, a 15th century Croatian poet and one of the fathers of Croatian Literature.

He apparently spent 40 years building the house and included what the information signs described as a beautiful fish pond and small formal gardens. It only cost 10 kune each, just over £1, to visit but even at that price it was a bit disappointing. The fish pond was nice but it didn’t look like much had been done in the gardens since Petar died in 1572.

St Stephen’s church was the site of the first cathedral on the island, started in 11th century, but abandoned in the 13th when the Bishop moved to Hvar and built the new St Stephen’s Cathedral. This one was demolished and rebuilt as a mere parish church.

On our way back to the boat we found a no frills wine shop selling local produce decanted into plastic water bottles. We tried a sample which was really quite drinkable. At 20 kune a litre, and keen to support recycling, obviously we couldn’t really pass it up!

From here we plan to visit the port of Bol on the south coast of the island of Brač. Bol has a lovely beach pictures of which are used in all Croatian tourist information. Then we’ll head towards the west end of the island looking for some nice peaceful, picturesque bays and towns to visit.