Vrboska is situated around the shores of a long inlet that runs from east to west behind Hvar’s northern coast towards its western end. This area of Otok Hvar is backed by a broad plane, which rises slowly to the mountains that lie above the south shore. This is where many of the island’s most fertile farms are to be found.

The plane, between Starigrad (10km to the west) and Jelsa (4km to the east) has, since prehistory, traditionally been the location of settlement and agriculture on Hvar and both Greek and Roman colonies were founded here.  Later, under Venetian rule, during the medieval and post medieval, Hvar’s noble families had their favorite estates on the plane and spent so much of their time in residence that Hvar’s Venetian governor was forced to institute a law which required their presence at the Island’s ruling council meetings in Hvar Town for at least 6 months of the year.

Today the plain is listed as a World Heritage Site (for its field-systems and the length of occupation.) The WHS boundary is adjacent to the west end of Vroska.

The harbour of Vrboska itself is said to have been established in the 15th Century as a port for the nearby village of Vrbanj. Its development was largely down to the efforts of the local ship owner Matija Ivanic, famed for leading the common people of Hvar in an uprising against the island’s noble families. This rebellion ultimately led to the town being burned to the ground during 1512.

Today Vrboska is a quiet fishing town often described as the ‘Venice of Hvar’ or ‘Little Venice’ centred as is it is astride the inlet, which is bridged in three locations. The first, outer, bridge is a modern arched-steel span (carrying the main thoroughfare of the town). The next two bridges are nicely restored stone-arch affairs and then finally, right at the head of the inlet where it becomes a drainage channel, there is a a concrete slab bridge that carries the main road to Stari Grad.

While the town has none of the architectural finery of its larger cousin at the head of the Adriatic, many of its 15th Century buildings survived the fire of 1512 and today most are well-maintained, neatly presented and worth taking the time to walk around.

On a different note, one other interesting comparison to be made with Venice is the surge Vrboska experiences when the Jugo blows (autumnal south-westerlies). This can flood the inlet and the streets surrounding  the harbour by up to 2 metres and can obviously be dangerous for boats moored in the harbour.

Once you have inspected the bridges and walked along the shores of the inlet, take the time to go further a field. In the backstreets you will find the 16th Century Church of Sv Marije (open in the evenings) which was fortified against pirate and corsair attacks of the latter half of that Century. In the square beside Sv Marije is a local fishing-net repair workshop, which is free to look around. Vrboska is proud of its fishing heritage and also boasts a Fishing Museum.

There are plenty of restaurants in the town, most of which are away from the immediate waterfront, and in the afternoon if you sit still for any length of time you are likely to have fliers - some offering discounts - thrust  into your hand. Its worth taking the time to seek out one of these more out-of-the-way establishments.

To the north and east of the town there are a number of beaches (one at least with a cafe/bar) some of which are specifically designated for nude bathing and also a large and apparently well appointed campsite.

For yachts Vrboska offers good all around shelter (except for in the Jugo) and it is often the case that boats moored in nearby Jelsa have to move here to find shelter, particularly when the Bora is blowing.

There are three main mooring options around the town. ACI Vrboska, just before the town on the northern shore of the inlet, the Town Quay in the heart of Vrboska, or at anchor off the beaches on the north side of the inlet around 1000 metres to the east of the town.

During the afternoon there is strong competition between the ACI staff and the Town Harbourmasters to attract business. Where you should moor very much depends on what services you require and whether you prefer marinas or harbour walls. Both facilities rate very highly, both are friendly and helpful, so perhaps the difference really comes down to whether it is worth paying nearly twice as much for access to the ACI’s showers and laundry services.

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