A Season of Culture with the 63rd Hvar Summer Festival

Paul Bradbury

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July 8, 2024 – The season is in full swing, and there is plenty to do away from the beach on Croatia’s premier island – meet the Hvar Summer Festival.

One of the magical things about the island of Hvar is that it is an island with something for everyone, an island where each month is different. Having spontaneously bought a house there in 2002 knowing nothing about the island, it was a constant voyage of discovery.

I was, of course, blown away by the beauty of the place – it is not for nothing that it has been named among the 10 most beautiful islands in the world – but it was not long before I realised that I had landed on an island with incredible history and culture. An island with its very own UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Stari Grad Plain – and the oldest public theatre in all of Europe, dating back to 1612.

And so much more besides.

Peak season in Hvar Town is most commonly associated with beaches and vibrant nightlife, but it is also an excellent place to come and enjoy culture, particularly as the town opens its doors to some of its most elegant buildings to host various concerts and events. I will never forget a magical evening over a decade ago watching a mesmerising string quartet performing in the cloisters of the Franciscan Monastery, for example.

The famous theatre, the monastery, the fortress, Veneranda, Loggia, Hanibal Lucic’s Summer Residence, and the historic Arsenal building are all exquisite settings for a very rich cultural programme all over town that is the Hvar Summer Festival, which this year is celebrating its 63rd edition, and which will run all the way into September.

The festival has also expanded its locations outside the town, with some events taking places in the nearby villages of Malo Grablje and Velo Grabllje, as well as St Stephens Square in Stari Grad. It is a festival which attracts an increasing number of more cultured tourists looking to combine the excellence of the destination with a more refined offering than beach and nightclub.

This year’s Hvar Summer Festival kicked off on June 21, but there is a lot more to come in the upcoming weeks. You can learn more on the official website in English. The programme continues tonight with Around the World in 80 Days, a Musical in English: Midsummer Scene Dubrovnik at the historic old theatre, which is worth a visit just to soak in the heritage of this superbly renovated heritage treasure. You can find it on the first floor of the Arsenal building on the entrance to the main square.

Another event not to miss this week is on Friday, July 12, as the outstanding Lado, the National Folk Dance of Ensemble will be performing their magic on the atmospheric Veneranda Summer Stage from 21:30.

You can download the full bilingual programme here.

So if you came to Hvar from the beach and the nightlife, why not check out the Hvar Summer Festival to give you a slightly different perspective of this fabulous destination, an egalitarian island which accepts all and offers a very diverse experience.


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