They may not have been too fussed about the view but the Illyrians who built the first fortress on the hillside above Hvar Grad's lovely harbour 2000 years ago were certainly setting the pattern for the defence of the town for the centuries that followed. That fortress was the first of those that have occupied this site ever since - the "latest" a massive mediaeval bastion known as Fortress Spanjol, enlarged by the Venetians in 1557, added to by the Napoleonic French in 1811 and restored by the Austrians in the 19th century. Neither the impressive town walls (built in 1450) nor the citadel are needed to defend the townsfolk from invaders nowadays - though I've no doubt some of them wish they could repel the hordes of tourists that descend on the town each summer - rather the restored fortress has become the place to come for the magnificent views of the town, harbour and islands beyond offered from its terraces and towers.
There's a small museum of Roman amphorae from wrecks in the area, a gloomy prison to inspect and an attractive cafe within the walls but they are lesser attractions than the splendid panorama spread out before you as you stand on the ramparts and tower roofs..
Hvar island is beautiful and full of surprises.
We have rented a car and spent one whole day driving arround enjoying the scenery, food and wine.
From Jelsa we went to Humac - a charming village on top of the hill, few kilometres from Jelsa towards Sucuraj. There we visited Konoba Humac and joined a group for a visit to Grapceva cave.
I have ordered our meal the day before, because we wanted to eat octopus and lamb roasted under "Peka" cylinder - it was very tasty, soft and juicy, octopus was tender and the potatoes that are roasted in the same dish are very aromatic. (of course, lamb and octopus were roasted in separate dishes).
Then we drove up on the ridge of the hill with views opening to both sides - towards Brac and Korcula islands. I knew we'd be taking this unpaved road so I rented a 4WD, some curves down from the top towards Pitve were a bit scary for my passengers!
Then we went through the tunnel from Pitve to Zavala side, and towards Sveta Nedjelja village, where we had a break and bought some wine from famous Plenkovic vineyards.
Since we had a gas tank still full of gasoline, we decided to go to Hvar. As the sun went down, the swallows began performing their acrobatic flights over our heads.
Port buzzing with people, boats mooring, chatting and laughter, happy crowds and lingering scent of UV protective lotions and potions.
Car rental costs around 500 Kunas = 60 - 70 Euros or 80 USD
depending of the type of the car you choose.
There's frequent water taxis that head out to small surrounding islands from Hvar Town's waterfront. The fare is cheap (about 4 dollars round-trip) and the scenery is fantastic. It's great to be able to get out on to the clear Adriatic water.
The view from the Fortress above Hvar Grad is wonderful at any time of the day but sunset is especially beguiling. There is a small bar and restaurant located in the Fortress also.
The view from the balcony of our hotel room over the Adriatic and some smaller neighbouring islands