Hidden Gems

See Stari Grad’s best kept secret with a Croatia sailing holiday

By Jenny Wilson
on  September 23, 2016

The island of Hvar is one of the most popular stopovers on a Croatia sailing holiday, with its bustling capital a magnet for visitors. The rest of the island also has much to offer; for example, the ancient town of Stari Grad is an important cultural attraction. Aside from the towns, the unique plains of this island make for an unusual excursion and one that is definitely highly recommended.

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Despite their unprepossessing name, the fertile Stari Grad Plains are fascinating. This vast swathe of land has been an integral part of the island for many centuries and is vital in supporting its agricultural output. The plains were initially cultivated around 2,500 years ago by Greeks settlers who divided them into manageable parcels of land, each covering an area of around 190 x 800 metres. Not only were these plots walled but also roads were laid to allow access across this enormous enterprise.

Villages sprang up around the plains from the ancient dwellings of the workers who tended to the land or whose livestock grazed here. The size of the plots has been reduced and the various boundaries redrawn many times over the centuries, but the landscape remains most appealing. The crops have also changed over time, from wheat and vines to almonds, olives, figs and carob.

You are also likely to find pines and lavender and such is the sheer beauty of the terrain that the area has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Hiring a bike is a lovely way to explore this most enchanting part of the island at your own pace.

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