Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Hvar Town or Stari Grad, Croatia: Which Island Town Is Best?

Last Updated on December 1, 2022

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Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Hvar Town or Stari Grad, Croatia: Which Island Town Is Best?

Last Updated on December 1, 2022

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If you’re considering staying at one of the best boutique hotels in Hvar but questioning whether to base yourself in Hvar Town or Stari Grad, you’re not alone!

Many of the online forums that debate this very question can leave you more confused than when you started. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend any more time second-guessing your decision. That’s because I’ve personally visited both towns myself and I’m here to give you the lowdown.

Alternatively, if you’re in the initial stages of research and looking into the best things to do on Hvar, you may not be aware that there’s more to see on the island than Hvar Town. In fact, this might just be the first time that you’re hearing about Stari Grad. In that case, I’m delighted to put this gem of a town on your radar and give you something more to think about as you plan your itinerary.

Regardless of where you are in the trip-planning process, let’s dive in and unpack one of the most hotly debated topics for Croatia’s sunniest island: Hvar Town or Stari Grad?

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

In a rush? Pin this post for later!

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Should You Focus on Hvar Town or Stari Grad? Factors to Consider

Hvar Town vs Stari Grad: Location & Ease of Travel

The first factor to consider when deciding whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad is simply getting around. Both Hvar Town and Stari Grad have pedestrian-only centers, meaning you’ll need to navigate on foot when you’re exploring the streets and squares.

As far as geographical locations go, Hvar Town and Stari Grad are not neighboring towns. Hvar Town is located along the southwestern coast of the island, whereas Stari Grad is situated on the northern side of the island along Grad Bay. It sits at the end of a long inlet.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Since it’s not feasible to simply walk between the two, you’ll need to do a bit of planning as far as traveling goes. We’ll cover all of the transportation options in a later section, but as a quick reference point, the journey between the towns takes about 25 minutes by car.

If you’re looking to do some island-hopping between Hvar and its neighboring islands (like Brac and Korcula), I’d recommend basing yourself in Hvar Town.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

As the touristic hub of the island, Hvar Town offers more frequent and direct ferry routes to the other islands. Traveling out of Stari Grad, on the other hand, will generally be more complicated and time-consuming.

That said, if you’re planning to travel with a vehicle, you’ll need to transit via the car ferry at Stari Grad Port, the largest port on the island. This is because Hvar Town only operates passenger ferries.

Hvar Town vs Stari Grad: Travel Costs

If you’re wondering whether Hvar Town or Stari Grad is the more budget-friendly destination, Stari Grad is the clear winner. Here, you’ll find an abundance of intimate local restaurants and eateries with very reasonable prices.

Hvar Town, by comparison, is filled with touristy restaurants and (often) crowded hotspots with steeper price tags to match. While a typical dinner may cost about 247HRK (Approx $33USD) in the center of Hvar Town, it will likely be about 20% cheaper in Stari Grad.

As far as hotels in Hvar go, both towns see the most inflated prices during the peak summer season, though Stari Grad accommodations still tend to cost less.

Hvar Town vs Stari Grad: Overall Vibe

Of all the town-by-town comparisons in this guide, I’d argue that this one is the most significant to consider. While the “vibe” of a destination isn’t something you can precisely measure, it can still have an enormous impact on your overall travel experience.

For instance, have you ever visited somewhere that just felt right? I’m willing to bet you never forgot it.

Alternatively, I bet you can just as easily recall a destination that felt really off for some reason.

Whether positive or negative, destinations elicit an emotional response from us.

As for the vibe of Hvar Town vs. Stari Grad, they might as well be on separate islands – that’s how different they feel!

Imagine Hvar Town as you would the most popular kid in high school – beautiful, constantly surrounded by a flock of fans, and perhaps just a touch taken with itself. Like the popular kid, Hvar Town doesn’t have to try – it’s naturally recognized and people will give it attention no matter what.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Stari Grad, on the other hand, is more the behind-the-scenes type. While it’s not the one that everyone’s talking about, there’s a certain charm to its quiet, unassuming nature. It still has a lot going on underneath the surface, but you may just have to dig a little deeper.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

In any case, personification aside, both towns are fabulous – they’re just wildly different.

Hvar Town is the most heavily touristed town on the island. Frankly, if you skipped it, one would have to wonder if you even visited Hvar at all.

This is where you’ll find fabulous restaurants, fun beach clubs, and poppin’ nightlife. It’s also home to Insta-famous sites like Trdava Fortica (Spanish Fortress).

Stari Grad, on the other hand, literally translates to “Old Town.”  While both towns are historic, it’s hard to compete with the history of Stari Grad.

FUN FACT: Stari Grad is the oldest settlement on the island of Hvar. It was originally founded by Greek settlers back in 385 B.C.!

Stari Grad offers a more relaxed pace and a local feel, very unlike its polished and tourist-focused counterpart of Hvar Town.

That all said, it’s pretty near impossible to discern the “best” town to visit because it truly depends on the experience you want to have.

Instead, consider your priorities as well as what you’re willing to sacrifice.

Prioritize Hvar Town if you prefer:

  • Staying in the heart of the action
  • Fabulous nightlife and opportunities to socialize
  • Relaxing at popular beach clubs
  • Easy access to famous sites (e.g. the Spanish Fortress)
  • Island-hopping

…But be prepared to sacrifice:

  • A bit of peace & quiet (particularly on high-season weekends)
  • Some cash

Prioritize Stari Grad if you prefer:

  • Authenticity & slower travel
  • Casual eateries and local establishments
  • A quieter, more family-friendly atmosphere
  • Historical places
  • Saving some cash

…But be prepared to sacrifice:

  • Some time to travel about
  • Exciting nightlife

Hvar Town vs Stari Grad: Top Activities

Both Hvar Town and Stari Grad offer plenty of fun things to do, so no matter where you choose to allocate more time, you can’t go wrong in the activity department.

I’ll be covering the top Hvar activities in much more detail in a separate post, but for now, here’s a quick rundown for each.

Top Things to Do in Hvar Town

Explore St. Stephen’s Square

The largest square in Dalmatia, St. Stephen’s Square was originally under Venetian rule. Today, the square is lined with restaurants, cafés, and shops, and serves as the main thoroughfare on the island.

Hike Up to Tvrdava Fortica (Spanish Fortress)

You can’t visit Hvar Town without checking out Tvrdava Fortica. Offering some of the best views over Hvar, you can either reach this point by hiking or by hiring a cab.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Visit the Franciscan Monastery

Built in the late 15th century, The Franciscan Monastery is a beloved historic church overlooking the Harbour of Hvar.

Go Beach-Hopping

Of all the islands on Croatia, Hvar is perhaps most well-known for its many beaches. From full-fledged beaches with all the amenities to intimate coves where you can drop a towel on some rocks free of charge, the island has it all.

Relax at One of the Island’s Many Beach Clubs

Hvar Town is all about celebrating the good life, and here that means beach clubs! Whether you want to rent a lounger for a relaxing afternoon or party until the sun comes up, you can do it all in Hvar Town. Hula Hula Hvar is one of the most popular options.

Top Things to Do in Stari Grad

Stroll Along the Stari Grad Riva

The Stari Grad Riva is the main waterfront area in town.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Here, you’ll find dozens of charming cafés, eateries, and souvenir shops. This is also where you can rent a boat to explore the island by sea and/or enjoy a fun day trip.

Wander the Charming Alleyways

You won’t have to look very hard to find charming streets in Stari Grad; practically everywhere you turn is a photo opportunity! As a starting point, head to the Stari Grad Riva and then wander up some of the fascinating streets off of this main hub.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia
Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Marvel at Škor Square

Škor Square is perhaps the prettiest spot in all of Stari Grad (though it certainly has some stiff competition)! Dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, this historical landmark was once the setting of a shipyard.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Over time, it evolved into the picturesque square of ivy-clad stone terraces that you see today. Currently, it serves as the setting for summertime cultural events in the town.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia
Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Indulge in a Wine Tasting at the Stari Grad Plain

Many people visit Stari Grad with the intention of enjoying a wine tasting at HoraHvar. This special winery is located along the Stari Grad Plain, a unique agricultural landscape and UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Originally set up by the ancient Greeks, the Stari Grad Plain is the world’s oldest vineyard that remains continually cultivated. It has stayed impressively intact thanks to its stone walls and is used to cultivate crops such as grapes and olives.

Admire Tvrdalj Palace

Once the summer residence of poet Peter Hektorović, Tvrdalj Palace is the town’s ancient fortress. Today, it’s the most famous building in all of Stari Grad.

Similarities Between Hvar Town & Stari Grad

Now that we’ve covered the main differences between the two towns, I’m going to offer something that may surprise you – they also share a fair bit in common!

First, as I mentioned earlier, the towns are pedestrian-only, so prepare to get your steps in as you explore. Fortunately, both towns are very easy to navigate on foot, so you really won’t miss having a car once you’re in the town centers.

Another similarity is that both towns are truly quite historic.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Yes, Stari Grad ultimately “wins” in that it’s literally the oldest town on the island (as well as one of the oldest in Europe), but Hvar Town has plenty of history as well. Keep in mind that Greeks founded Hvar Town (which was once called Dimos) as well as Stari Grad (formerly Pharos) between 384 and 385 B.C.

I think the most obvious difference upon first glance is that Stari Grad just looks more well-worn and rustic.

Alternatively, Hvar Town has a more polished “resort” feel, offering a more well-developed infrastructure that’s geared toward tourists.

Also, while I assume that this goes without saying, both towns offer plenty of wonderful photo opportunities. Each of the top activities I mentioned above is a great starting point, but you’ll also come across numerous hidden gems and interesting side streets in each by simply wandering around.

How Far Is it from Hvar Town to Stari Grad?

The distance between Hvar Town and Stari Grad is approximately 20 kilometers.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

This journey can take anywhere from 20 minutes to upwards of an hour, depending on the transportation method and route you choose.

How to Get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad by Bus

Traveling the Balkans by bus is one of the most efficient ways to get around, and Hvar is no exception. One of my favorite aspects of the island is its fantastic public transportation/bus system. The buses here are clean, reliable, efficient, and run frequently (five or more times per day). The ride from Hvar Town to Stari Grad typically takes around 35 minutes.

Plus, traveling by bus is easily the most cost-effective mode of transportation on the island. The pricing is determined by how many kilometers you travel (with more kilometers equaling greater bus fare).

The bus stop in Hvar Town is located at Dolac, 21450 Hvar, Croatia. It’s an easy five-minute walk from the Harbour of Hvar.

The Stari Grad bus terminal is located at Ivana Meštrovića BB, 21460 Stari Grad.

You can purchase your bus tickets directly on the bus or at a terminal, provided one is open and available. Be sure to reference this bus schedule when planning your trip. 

How to Get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad by Car

If you don’t want to be beholden to public transportation schedules, you may wish to travel between the towns by car.

A car rental can be another cost-effective way to travel, with prices averaging around 300HRK (Approx $40USD) to 400HRK (Approx $53USD) per day for an economy-sized car with insurance. The most efficient journey takes around 24 minutes via the D116 route, which is the quickest driving route between the two. It involves taking a highway and a tunnel through the hills. You can check out the driving directions here.

On the other hand, if you have the luxury of time and you’d prefer to admire the beauty of the landscapes on a more old-school scenic route, you can follow the road Jerka Mišetića. This route winds through Brusje and Velo Grablje and eventually links up with D116 outside of Stari Grad.

Just bear in mind that you’ll need to reckon with some mountainous, hairpin turns, so if that’s not your style, stick with the more modernized highway option.

You’ll find car rental companies near the Hvar Town bus station, with the main ones being SunCity and Rapidus.

This all said, I personally don’t recommend having a car unless you’re staying on the island for a week or more, as I think it’s more of a hassle than it’s probably worth.

The buses offer plenty of convenience, and I personally preferred hopping aboard the passenger ferry in Hvar Town rather than having to deal with the car ferry in Stari Grad.

How to Get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad by Scooter

If you’re feeling up to the challenge – and you’ve traveled by scooter in Europe previously – you may want to consider this option.

That said, while a scooter can come in handy for relatively short distances, it’s definitely not recommended for longer journeys, as the terrain (and traffic) can be unpredictable and nerve-wrecking. As a general rule of thumb, I’d keep the scooter rides to no more than 30 minutes or so at a time.

You can rent a scooter via a couple of different rental services, including Rent 4 Fun, Luka Rent Agency, and SunCity.

How to Get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad by Taxi

If you like the idea of traveling by car but you don’t want to worry about driving yourself, then hiring a taxi may be of interest.

However, I must disclose that this is the priciest of all the transportation options, so do keep that in mind before booking.

How much is a taxi from Hvar to Stari Grad?

A taxi between the towns can typically run you anywhere from 230HRK ($30.74USD) to 250HRK ($33.41USD).

There are a couple of different taxi companies available, with the most popular being Sun City Taxi Hvar and Hvar Transfers.

I hope that this guide has given you some valuable insight into these two very different (but equally wonderful) towns of Hvar. If there’s one main takeaway that I hope you’ll walk away with it’s that you ultimately don’t need to decide whether to visit Hvar Town or Stari Grad.

Instead, you can – and should – see both! In fact, I recommend dedicating at least three days to Hvar so that you enjoy both of these towns without feeling rushed and gain a broader context on the island overall.

Now that you have all the details, which of these towns appeals to you the most? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking to go island-hopping and explore Croatia’s mainland? Check out my other guides:

Did you find this post useful? Pin it to your boards!

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia
Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia
Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

If you’re considering staying at one of the best boutique hotels in Hvar but questioning whether to base yourself in Hvar Town or Stari Grad, you’re not alone!

Many of the online forums that debate this very question can leave you more confused than when you started. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend any more time second-guessing your decision. That’s because I’ve personally visited both towns myself and I’m here to give you the lowdown.

Alternatively, if you’re in the initial stages of research and looking into the best things to do on Hvar, you may not be aware that there’s more to see on the island than Hvar Town. In fact, this might just be the first time that you’re hearing about Stari Grad. In that case, I’m delighted to put this gem of a town on your radar and give you something more to think about as you plan your itinerary.

Regardless of where you are in the trip-planning process, let’s dive in and unpack one of the most hotly debated topics for Croatia’s sunniest island: Hvar Town or Stari Grad?

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

In a rush? Pin this post for later!

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Should You Focus on Hvar Town or Stari Grad? Factors to Consider

Hvar Town vs Stari Grad: Location & Ease of Travel

The first factor to consider when deciding whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad is simply getting around. Both Hvar Town and Stari Grad have pedestrian-only centers, meaning you’ll need to navigate on foot when you’re exploring the streets and squares.

As far as geographical locations go, Hvar Town and Stari Grad are not neighboring towns. Hvar Town is located along the southwestern coast of the island, whereas Stari Grad is situated on the northern side of the island along Grad Bay. It sits at the end of a long inlet.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Since it’s not feasible to simply walk between the two, you’ll need to do a bit of planning as far as traveling goes. We’ll cover all of the transportation options in a later section, but as a quick reference point, the journey between the towns takes about 25 minutes by car.

If you’re looking to do some island-hopping between Hvar and its neighboring islands (like Brac and Korcula), I’d recommend basing yourself in Hvar Town.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

As the touristic hub of the island, Hvar Town offers more frequent and direct ferry routes to the other islands. Traveling out of Stari Grad, on the other hand, will generally be more complicated and time-consuming.

That said, if you’re planning to travel with a vehicle, you’ll need to transit via the car ferry at Stari Grad Port, the largest port on the island. This is because Hvar Town only operates passenger ferries.

Hvar Town vs Stari Grad: Travel Costs

If you’re wondering whether Hvar Town or Stari Grad is the more budget-friendly destination, Stari Grad is the clear winner. Here, you’ll find an abundance of intimate local restaurants and eateries with very reasonable prices.

Hvar Town, by comparison, is filled with touristy restaurants and (often) crowded hotspots with steeper price tags to match. While a typical dinner may cost about 247HRK (Approx $33USD) in the center of Hvar Town, it will likely be about 20% cheaper in Stari Grad.

As far as hotels in Hvar go, both towns see the most inflated prices during the peak summer season, though Stari Grad accommodations still tend to cost less.

Hvar Town vs Stari Grad: Overall Vibe

Of all the town-by-town comparisons in this guide, I’d argue that this one is the most significant to consider. While the “vibe” of a destination isn’t something you can precisely measure, it can still have an enormous impact on your overall travel experience.

For instance, have you ever visited somewhere that just felt right? I’m willing to bet you never forgot it.

Alternatively, I bet you can just as easily recall a destination that felt really off for some reason.

Whether positive or negative, destinations elicit an emotional response from us.

As for the vibe of Hvar Town vs. Stari Grad, they might as well be on separate islands – that’s how different they feel!

Imagine Hvar Town as you would the most popular kid in high school – beautiful, constantly surrounded by a flock of fans, and perhaps just a touch taken with itself. Like the popular kid, Hvar Town doesn’t have to try – it’s naturally recognized and people will give it attention no matter what.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Stari Grad, on the other hand, is more the behind-the-scenes type. While it’s not the one that everyone’s talking about, there’s a certain charm to its quiet, unassuming nature. It still has a lot going on underneath the surface, but you may just have to dig a little deeper.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

In any case, personification aside, both towns are fabulous – they’re just wildly different.

Hvar Town is the most heavily touristed town on the island. Frankly, if you skipped it, one would have to wonder if you even visited Hvar at all.

This is where you’ll find fabulous restaurants, fun beach clubs, and poppin’ nightlife. It’s also home to Insta-famous sites like Trdava Fortica (Spanish Fortress).

Stari Grad, on the other hand, literally translates to “Old Town.”  While both towns are historic, it’s hard to compete with the history of Stari Grad.

FUN FACT: Stari Grad is the oldest settlement on the island of Hvar. It was originally founded by Greek settlers back in 385 B.C.!

Stari Grad offers a more relaxed pace and a local feel, very unlike its polished and tourist-focused counterpart of Hvar Town.

That all said, it’s pretty near impossible to discern the “best” town to visit because it truly depends on the experience you want to have.

Instead, consider your priorities as well as what you’re willing to sacrifice.

Prioritize Hvar Town if you prefer:

  • Staying in the heart of the action
  • Fabulous nightlife and opportunities to socialize
  • Relaxing at popular beach clubs
  • Easy access to famous sites (e.g. the Spanish Fortress)
  • Island-hopping

…But be prepared to sacrifice:

  • A bit of peace & quiet (particularly on high-season weekends)
  • Some cash

Prioritize Stari Grad if you prefer:

  • Authenticity & slower travel
  • Casual eateries and local establishments
  • A quieter, more family-friendly atmosphere
  • Historical places
  • Saving some cash

…But be prepared to sacrifice:

  • Some time to travel about
  • Exciting nightlife

Hvar Town vs Stari Grad: Top Activities

Both Hvar Town and Stari Grad offer plenty of fun things to do, so no matter where you choose to allocate more time, you can’t go wrong in the activity department.

I’ll be covering the top Hvar activities in much more detail in a separate post, but for now, here’s a quick rundown for each.

Top Things to Do in Hvar Town

Explore St. Stephen’s Square

The largest square in Dalmatia, St. Stephen’s Square was originally under Venetian rule. Today, the square is lined with restaurants, cafés, and shops, and serves as the main thoroughfare on the island.

Hike Up to Tvrdava Fortica (Spanish Fortress)

You can’t visit Hvar Town without checking out Tvrdava Fortica. Offering some of the best views over Hvar, you can either reach this point by hiking or by hiring a cab.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Visit the Franciscan Monastery

Built in the late 15th century, The Franciscan Monastery is a beloved historic church overlooking the Harbour of Hvar.

Go Beach-Hopping

Of all the islands on Croatia, Hvar is perhaps most well-known for its many beaches. From full-fledged beaches with all the amenities to intimate coves where you can drop a towel on some rocks free of charge, the island has it all.

Relax at One of the Island’s Many Beach Clubs

Hvar Town is all about celebrating the good life, and here that means beach clubs! Whether you want to rent a lounger for a relaxing afternoon or party until the sun comes up, you can do it all in Hvar Town. Hula Hula Hvar is one of the most popular options.

Top Things to Do in Stari Grad

Stroll Along the Stari Grad Riva

The Stari Grad Riva is the main waterfront area in town.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Here, you’ll find dozens of charming cafés, eateries, and souvenir shops. This is also where you can rent a boat to explore the island by sea and/or enjoy a fun day trip.

Wander the Charming Alleyways

You won’t have to look very hard to find charming streets in Stari Grad; practically everywhere you turn is a photo opportunity! As a starting point, head to the Stari Grad Riva and then wander up some of the fascinating streets off of this main hub.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia
Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Marvel at Škor Square

Škor Square is perhaps the prettiest spot in all of Stari Grad (though it certainly has some stiff competition)! Dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, this historical landmark was once the setting of a shipyard.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Over time, it evolved into the picturesque square of ivy-clad stone terraces that you see today. Currently, it serves as the setting for summertime cultural events in the town.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia
Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Indulge in a Wine Tasting at the Stari Grad Plain

Many people visit Stari Grad with the intention of enjoying a wine tasting at HoraHvar. This special winery is located along the Stari Grad Plain, a unique agricultural landscape and UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Originally set up by the ancient Greeks, the Stari Grad Plain is the world’s oldest vineyard that remains continually cultivated. It has stayed impressively intact thanks to its stone walls and is used to cultivate crops such as grapes and olives.

Admire Tvrdalj Palace

Once the summer residence of poet Peter Hektorović, Tvrdalj Palace is the town’s ancient fortress. Today, it’s the most famous building in all of Stari Grad.

Similarities Between Hvar Town & Stari Grad

Now that we’ve covered the main differences between the two towns, I’m going to offer something that may surprise you – they also share a fair bit in common!

First, as I mentioned earlier, the towns are pedestrian-only, so prepare to get your steps in as you explore. Fortunately, both towns are very easy to navigate on foot, so you really won’t miss having a car once you’re in the town centers.

Another similarity is that both towns are truly quite historic.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

Yes, Stari Grad ultimately “wins” in that it’s literally the oldest town on the island (as well as one of the oldest in Europe), but Hvar Town has plenty of history as well. Keep in mind that Greeks founded Hvar Town (which was once called Dimos) as well as Stari Grad (formerly Pharos) between 384 and 385 B.C.

I think the most obvious difference upon first glance is that Stari Grad just looks more well-worn and rustic.

Alternatively, Hvar Town has a more polished “resort” feel, offering a more well-developed infrastructure that’s geared toward tourists.

Also, while I assume that this goes without saying, both towns offer plenty of wonderful photo opportunities. Each of the top activities I mentioned above is a great starting point, but you’ll also come across numerous hidden gems and interesting side streets in each by simply wandering around.

How Far Is it from Hvar Town to Stari Grad?

The distance between Hvar Town and Stari Grad is approximately 20 kilometers.

Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia

This journey can take anywhere from 20 minutes to upwards of an hour, depending on the transportation method and route you choose.

How to Get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad by Bus

Traveling the Balkans by bus is one of the most efficient ways to get around, and Hvar is no exception. One of my favorite aspects of the island is its fantastic public transportation/bus system. The buses here are clean, reliable, efficient, and run frequently (five or more times per day). The ride from Hvar Town to Stari Grad typically takes around 35 minutes.

Plus, traveling by bus is easily the most cost-effective mode of transportation on the island. The pricing is determined by how many kilometers you travel (with more kilometers equaling greater bus fare).

The bus stop in Hvar Town is located at Dolac, 21450 Hvar, Croatia. It’s an easy five-minute walk from the Harbour of Hvar.

The Stari Grad bus terminal is located at Ivana Meštrovića BB, 21460 Stari Grad.

You can purchase your bus tickets directly on the bus or at a terminal, provided one is open and available. Be sure to reference this bus schedule when planning your trip. 

How to Get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad by Car

If you don’t want to be beholden to public transportation schedules, you may wish to travel between the towns by car.

A car rental can be another cost-effective way to travel, with prices averaging around 300HRK (Approx $40USD) to 400HRK (Approx $53USD) per day for an economy-sized car with insurance. The most efficient journey takes around 24 minutes via the D116 route, which is the quickest driving route between the two. It involves taking a highway and a tunnel through the hills. You can check out the driving directions here.

On the other hand, if you have the luxury of time and you’d prefer to admire the beauty of the landscapes on a more old-school scenic route, you can follow the road Jerka Mišetića. This route winds through Brusje and Velo Grablje and eventually links up with D116 outside of Stari Grad.

Just bear in mind that you’ll need to reckon with some mountainous, hairpin turns, so if that’s not your style, stick with the more modernized highway option.

You’ll find car rental companies near the Hvar Town bus station, with the main ones being SunCity and Rapidus.

This all said, I personally don’t recommend having a car unless you’re staying on the island for a week or more, as I think it’s more of a hassle than it’s probably worth.

The buses offer plenty of convenience, and I personally preferred hopping aboard the passenger ferry in Hvar Town rather than having to deal with the car ferry in Stari Grad.

How to Get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad by Scooter

If you’re feeling up to the challenge – and you’ve traveled by scooter in Europe previously – you may want to consider this option.

That said, while a scooter can come in handy for relatively short distances, it’s definitely not recommended for longer journeys, as the terrain (and traffic) can be unpredictable and nerve-wrecking. As a general rule of thumb, I’d keep the scooter rides to no more than 30 minutes or so at a time.

You can rent a scooter via a couple of different rental services, including Rent 4 Fun, Luka Rent Agency, and SunCity.

How to Get from Hvar Town to Stari Grad by Taxi

If you like the idea of traveling by car but you don’t want to worry about driving yourself, then hiring a taxi may be of interest.

However, I must disclose that this is the priciest of all the transportation options, so do keep that in mind before booking.

How much is a taxi from Hvar to Stari Grad?

A taxi between the towns can typically run you anywhere from 230HRK ($30.74USD) to 250HRK ($33.41USD).

There are a couple of different taxi companies available, with the most popular being Sun City Taxi Hvar and Hvar Transfers.

I hope that this guide has given you some valuable insight into these two very different (but equally wonderful) towns of Hvar. If there’s one main takeaway that I hope you’ll walk away with it’s that you ultimately don’t need to decide whether to visit Hvar Town or Stari Grad.

Instead, you can – and should – see both! In fact, I recommend dedicating at least three days to Hvar so that you enjoy both of these towns without feeling rushed and gain a broader context on the island overall.

Now that you have all the details, which of these towns appeals to you the most? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking to go island-hopping and explore Croatia’s mainland? Check out my other guides:

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Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia
Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia
Are you dreaming of visiting Hvar island, Croatia but debating whether to spend more time in Hvar Town or Stari Grad? While these two towns are equally gorgeous, each has its own unique vibe. Fortunately, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about these two popular Hvar towns so that you can build the perfect Hvar itinerary. Discover everything from the key differences, to the top activities, to the best modes of transportation. #starigradhvaroldtown #starigradhvar #hvartowncroatia