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Exploring the Island

 

Kabal Peninsula

The Kabal peninsula, whose form resembles the fingers of a hand, is located in the north-western part of Stari Grad Bay. At the very entrance to the Bay is the Kabal cape - an eighty metre high rock - and on the end of the Bay is Stari Grad, one of the safest natural harbours in the Adriatic. During  crystal clear days you will have the feeling of sailing into some kind of fjord. You will leave behind high hills that drop steeply into the sea on the southern part, and far away, in the depth of the bay, is the town of Stari Grad.

 

Up to the top of St.Nicholas

Although there are not many places unknown to man, sometimes forgotten places, where real beauties are hidden are taking the time to find again. One of those places is the top of Saint Nicholas (628 m), the highest peak of the island of Hvar. Not so long ago, areas surrounding st. Nicholas were full of life. As winter passed, the numerous inhabitants of the village at the foot of the mountain slowly moved to the higher areas where they looked after their cattle and cultivated the land. Although there is no longer any livestock, vineyards and olive groves are still being cultivated. The islanders visit this mountain at least once a year for religious reasons, on the day of its patron saint, st. Nicholas. Perhaps these pilgrims were the forerunners of today’s tourists – both mountaineers climbing for self-seeking reasons. The island’s mountains are a real delicacy for walking and climbing lovers.

You can start your climbing tour to the top of  st. Nicholas from a number of directions, from the shore on the southern part of the island from villages of Svirće and Dol, or from Vidikovac on the western part of Stari Grad. 
We recommend that amateur sportsmen and cyclists start from Vidikovac, westward from Stari Grad. After a few kilometres of asphalted road with no particularly difficult ascents or descents you will reach the part below the rock at the highest peak. A peak that rises above the village of Sveta Nedjelja towards which St Nicholas’s southern cliffs descend is of particularly challenging beauty. 
During pleasant and bright weather, you can even see the island of Vis from the peak. If you take a look from the cliff of st. Nicholas toward the foot of the mountain, you will experience the feeling of being on the sheer peak. Standing there it is not hard to understand why people once built their sanctuaries precisely on such heights. 

Saint Nicholas is the saint patron of passengers and sailors, so the small church was built in his honour on the place from where the inland and maritime paths are best visible. 
A small church situated on the highest peak of the island of Hvar, known as Od brda (De Monte) was mentioned for the first time in 1495. From the available documents, it can be seen that the church was built by inhabitants of Vrbanje and Svirće, with the participation of ship owners from Vrboska. It has been destroyed by being struck by lightning on a number of occasions, but has been rebuilt every time. We recommend that you return from the top of st. Nicholas along the Purkin kuk and through the village of Dol, travelling northwards from Stari Grad. 

 

Humac village

Moving east, and situated 7km from  Jelsa, the abandoned shepherd's village of Humac is one of the delights of Hvar. Totally abandoned for many years and dating back to the 15th Century, there is a magical atmosphere and some stunning sea views and picturesque ruins at every turn, arguably the most authentic village on the island.

There is currently no water or electricity in the village, although power has been promised, but Humac is not short of visitors – a mixture of tourists in the summer, as well as locals from the  village of Vrisnik, whose inhabitants are the major landowners. Humac is at its most vibrant on June 26, St. John and St. Paul's Day, as islanders gather to celebrate in the village.

 

Grapceva Cave

Although access is not the easiest, the end result is worth the effort and Grapceva Cave dates back to Neolithic times (2,500 BC) and is one of the oldest discoveries in the region. There are two rooms in the cave, an entrance hall of approximately 13.5m x 5m and larger room (23m x 22) which is surrounded by chambers.

The stalactites and stalagmites which dominate the cave are a spectacular sight, especially when lit up by candlelight and the solitude and peacefulness provide a perfect spot for reflection. The excellent Museum of Archeology in Hvar Town has an array of weapons and tools from the period, including flint knives, hammers and arrows, bones of the human and animal variety, various shells and pottery of the era.

The cave can only be reached on foot – either from Humac itself or, more interestingly, by following the old path from Galesnik and over Vrh hill, where the views are spectacular.

Travel time from Hvar Town to Humac is about 45 minutes, leaving plenty of time for a change of pace to take in Grapceva, Humac and a traditonal feast, before heading back to the bright lights.

 

 Tunnels on Kabal Peninsula

Tourists who do make the trek to the head of the peninsula are rewarded by a curious man-made attraction – tunnels created on orders by Tito to defend the island from attack. They are positioned at the top of the Stari Grad channel and can be seen from the ferry on the left as the ferry approaches the port. Apart from being a fun thing to investigate, the sunsets from the tunnel parapets are among the best on the island. To reach them, drive through Velika Rudina and continue 12km to the top of the peninsula, where you will see  the word 'Tunel' painted on a rock.

 

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