Hvar – World Heritage Island – Spring 2024

The art of dry stone walling

Tour Info

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sustainable program
  • Rich historical and cultural heritage
  • Authentic cuisine
  • Meeting the locals
  • World heritage sites
  • Outdoor activities
  • Participating in local customs

TOUR DESCRIPTION

Welcome to our full-blooded island program. By participating in this program, you have chosen to experience true “islandness”, while also asserting that no man is an island. Our host – the island of Hvar – is the longest, the sunniest and also the best-known Croatian island. Its hills captivate with their stone-laced landscapes overgrown with fragrant lavender and olive groves, much as the coastline intoxicates with its sunlit beaches and crystal-clear Adriatic Sea. In addition to boasting its natural beauty, Hvar can rightly be called a world heritage island, given that as many as six UNESCO’s cultural heritages, both tangible and intangible, have been established here. From the religious Procession Za Križen (“following the cross”) and the traditional agave lace, to the art of dry stone walling and the Hora – the most preserved monument of the ancient Greek land division in the Mediterranean, dating back to the 4th century BC. We will have the opportunity to participate in the preservation of the latter two, by restoring the collapsed dry stone walls and fields within the only remaining ancient Greek landscape. As the tangible is intertwined with the intangible cultural heritage on this island, so shall we have the opportunity to develop our “islandness” by participating in the cultivation of vines, grape picking (jametva) or olive picking with locals, depending on the part of the season in which the program takes place. When it’s less crowded, we will enjoy learning about Hvar’s sights accompanied by local connoisseurs, exploring the island on foot and by bicycle, going off the beaten path and above all, experiencing fjaka – a time for relaxation and leisure, a state of physical and mental vacation. All these threads make our program unique, completely different from all the others.

 

BRIEF ITINERARY

DAY DATE PLACE/ROUTE LODGING ACTIVITIES MEALS
1 19.05.2024. Arrival destination – Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Arrival Day / Presentation of our programme D
2 20.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Art of dry-stone walling/ Leisure Time B L D
3 21.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Art of dry-stone walling / Stari Grad & Tvrdalj Castle B L D
4 22.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel OPTIONAL: Bike & Trekking Adventure / Leisure Time B L D
5 23.05.2024. Stari Grad – Hvar Hvar Places Hotel Art of dry-stone walling / Visit the city of Hvar B L D
6 24.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Art of dry-stone walling / Leisure Time B L D
7 25.05.2024. Stari Grad – Split Hvar Places Hotel Trip to Split with an expert-led guided tour of Diocletian Palace B D
8 26.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Free day B L D
9 27.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Art of dry-stone walling / Leisure Time B L D
10 28.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Art of dry-stone walling / Leisure Time B L D
11 29.05.2024. Stari Grad – Pitve – Sveta Nedilja Hvar Places Hotel Trip to Pitve & Sveta Nedilja / Chocolate & Wine Pairing / Leisure Time B L D
12 30.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Art of dry-stone walling / OPTIONAL: VW Beetle Sunset off the beaten path Tour B L D
13 31.05.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel Art of dry-stone walling / Farewell dinner experience B L D
14 01.06.2024. Stari Grad Hvar Places Hotel OPTIONAL: Hvar Sailing School Experience / Leisure Time B L D
15 02.06.2024. Stari Grad – Departure destination Departure day B

Day 1: Sunday / 19.5.2024 – Arrival destination – Stari Grad

  • -:- Arrival / Meet & greet / Hotel Transfer
  • -:- Check-in @ the hotel / Leisure Time
  • 6:00 PM Programme overview
  • 7:00 PM Welcome dinner @ the hotel /
  • Free Time / Overnight

After landing at Split Airport, you will be welcomed by our representatives and transported to Split Harbor, where a ferry or catamaran will take you to the island of Hvar, a trip of approximately two hours.

Immediately upon arrival at Stari Grad port, a brief transfer to the hotel follows along with a quick check-in.

You will stay at Hvar Places Hotel – a recently redecorated hotel located in the pine-forestry area above the beach in the bay of Stari Grad town, just across from its centre. It offers a delightful refuge from the crowds and excellent connections to all attractions. This location is ideal for a more relaxing, remote stay, especially during summer. Buffet breakfasts and dinners will be served daily at the hotel.

After a short break, our expert team will introduce the programme. Information needed will be presented and this area’s heritage (briefly) as it relates to this sustainable project. Upon finishing of the overview, dinner is available within the hotel facilities, and free time reserved for relaxation and rest.

Day 2: Monday / 20.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet up & transfer to the site
  • -:- Introduction to the art of dry-stone walling / Fieldwork
  • 1:00 PM Catered lunch / Leisure Time
  • 2:30 PM Continue fieldwork
  • 4:00 PM Return to hotel / Free Time
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

The first day of fieldwork/program begins with assigning the teams as presented yesterday evening at the introduction. Under expert supervision, you will partake in reconstructing the Hora’s dry-stone walls that collapsed through the centuries. Nominated by multiple Mediterranean countries, as of 2018, the art of dry-stone walling has its place on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

The meticulous reconstruction of these stone walls is scheduled from Monday to Friday, with the exception of Wednesdays. Amidst the natural surroundings, an outdoor catered lunch will be provided, fostering camaraderie among team members.

Dry stone walls, distinguished by their mortarless assembly, endure the test of time through precise stacking and the gravitational force of the earth. This venerable craft serves multifaceted purposes, from shielding against strong winds and heavy rains to curbing soil erosion, cultivating stonecrops, and, notably in Stari Grad, delineating land divisions.

Beyond the restoration of dry-stone walls, tasks may encompass terrain preparation for agriculture, including cleaning and educational initiatives for locals on cultural methods, irrigation, pesticides, and more. Your participation contributes not only to the preservation of heritage but also to the enrichment of community knowledge and sustainable practices.

Day 3: Tuesday / 21.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet up & transfer to the site / Fieldwork
  • 1:00 PM Catered lunch / Leisure Time
  • 2:30 PM Continue fieldwork
  • 4:00 PM Return to hotel
  • 5:00 PM Visit to Stari Grad & Tvrdalj Castle
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

Following the fulfilling fieldwork and a leisurely break, immerse yourself in the 2500-year-old history of this coastal town. Accompanied by an archaeologist/historian deeply acquainted with the city, embark on a journey through its storied past, traversing secluded stone streets, monasteries, and Renaissance castles. Engage in conversations with vibrant locals, delving into customs and absorbing the genuine traditions and vibes that define this unique locale.

The exploration culminates in a visit to one of Stari Grad’s premier attractions—the Tvrdalj Castle, the summer residence of Petar Hektorović, a renowned Croatian Humanist writer. Hektorović, a local noble, dedicated a substantial portion of his prolific life to fortifying his abode. For him, this meticulously preserved Renaissance edifice was akin to a book etched in stone, holding equal significance to his literary masterpieces.

Post-tour, unwind along the promenade, indulging in the authentic delight of paprenjak (gingerbread), a traditional cookie crafted with local honey and spices. This serves as a delectable precursor to the evening’s hotel dinner, encapsulating the rich flavors and cultural nuances of Stari Grad.

Day 4: Wednesday / 22.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Leisure trime/ OPTIONAL: Bike & Trekking Adventure
  • 1:00 PM Lunch at a local tavern
  • 4:00 PM Return to hotel / Free Time
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

Amidst the week’s fieldwork, relish a day of rejuvenation with a biking and trekking adventure, unveiling Hvar’s abandoned stone villages, many constructed with the same dry stone wall technique. Tailored to accommodate all, the route provides an e-bike option, ensuring inclusivity across ages and activity levels.

As you traverse the island’s elevated terrain, soak in the breathtaking panorama of the surrounding archipelago. Explore the remnants of Hvar’s stone villages, absorbing insights into the medicinal herbs that line the path. Pause to engage with local “shamans” and delve into their wisdom regarding folk medicine, while mapping and logging both visible and concealed trails.

The journey includes a mid-day food savouring break, known as marenda—a cherished tradition originating from Dalmatian farmers and peasants, now embraced in urban settings for its Mediterranean flavors and conviviality. The second part of marenda unfolds at a host’s tavern, concluding the adventure in Jelsa. Here, it’s recommended to unwind and reflect on the day’s impressions while sipping an espresso along the picturesque promenade.

Day 5: Thursday / 23.5.2024 – Stari Grad – Hvar

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet up & transfer to the site / Fieldwork
  • 1:00 PM Catered lunch / Leisure Time
  • 2:30 PM Continue fieldwork
  • 4:00 PM Return to hotel
  • 5:00 PM Visit the city of Hvar with the private guided tour
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

After getting back to the established fieldwork routine, besides learning about the art of dry-stone walling and agricultural methods, an outdoor lunch, a.k.a. marenda will be available every day, as is the custom in the life of traditional Dalmatian workers. Apart from new insights and the visible results of your efforts, which will endure for centuries, the pleasure of working in the field also resides in socializing over food, an integral aspect of the marenda (field brunch).

After a short break in the hotel during the afternoon, you will travel across the island to visit and explore the city of Hvar.  The private, expert-guided tour will start at the town’s top – Fortica, a fortress with a beautiful panoramic view of Hvar and the nearby archipelago called the Paklinski Islands.

Slowly descending the stone streets towards the charming port, the tour covers the visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, located on and sharing the name with the biggest town square in Dalmatia, the 13th-century arsenal with one of the oldest European theatres, the city loggia and some other hidden corners of this vibrant city, a world-renowned jet-set destination. The tour is followed by a 30-minute drive to the hotel, where dinner awaits and the surrounding tranquility of your accommodation in the quiet bay of Stari Grad.

Day 6: Friday / 24.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet up & transfer to the site / Fieldwork
  • 1:00 PM Catered lunch / Leisure Time
  • 2:30 PM Continue fieldwork
  • 4:00 PM Return to the hotel / Free Time
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

One could say that stone is part of the Dalmatian faith; ever since the indigenous Illyrian population built their hillforts with dry stone walls, quarries have been the literal sources of our cities and a record of time, standing witness for the art of dry-stone walling – a particular skill you will master in your fieldwork. Since the walls are built without any mortar to bind them together, each stone is a foundation for the next one.

After the marenda and completing the work in Hora, indulge in the hotel facilities or chill out on the beach. The hotel offers excellent leisure facilities, whether you’re looking for activities or relaxation.

Day 7: Saturday / 25.5.2024 – Stari Grad – Split

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:15 AM Meet up / transfer to Hvar port
  • 10:15 AM Catamaran ride to Split
  • 11:15 AM Arrival to Split / Expert-led guided tour of Diocletian Palace & Old Town
  • 1:30 PM Lunch at a local tavern / Leisure Time
  • 5:00 PM Return to Hvar – catamaran ride
  • 7:00 PM Arrival @ the hotel & Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

This day, however, differs entirely from the previous ones as you will hop on a journey that bridges the treasures of Hvar Island and the historic allure of Split. This adventure begins with transportation from the hotel to a nearby port, followed by a one-and-a-half-hour sailing to Split, setting the stage for a day of exploration.

Upon arrival to Split, follow an expert-led tour of its glories. Split, the second biggest city in the country, is a living monument of antiquity intertwined with early Christian, Byzantine and Medieval architecture and art, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979.  This walking tour traces the city’s golden chain – the ancient Decumanus street, stretching west to east, and then across through Cardo, from the Golden Gate to the Imperial cellars – you will learn about Emperor Diocletian and hear some interesting bits from the rich history of the place.

As the tour concludes, a delectable lunch experience awaits at a local tavern, tantalising your taste buds with authentic flavours. Leisure time lays at hand as the lunch finishes, offering the option of free exploration of the area or relaxation. At 4:30 PM it’s time to head back to Hvar. Meet your guide and walk towards the port to board the catamaran. As you arrive at Hvar port a transfer awaits to take you to the hotel. Free time in the evening enables you to include more personal interests into this programme, so take advantage of what it has to offer, its maximum potential.

Day 8: Sunday / 26.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast / Leisure Time
  • 1:00 PM Lunch @ the hotel / Leisure time
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

In adherence to Dalmatian customs, Sundays are revered as sacred, meant for familial bonding and repose. This day remains intentionally unstructured, granting you the liberty to shape it as you wish. Partake in the local Sunday service, immersing yourself in the serene ambiance of the church. Embrace this cultural touchpoint for reflection and connection.

Blend in with the locals and take this time to unwind and regenerate. Devote this day to personal rejuvenation amidst the tranquil surroundings. Whether through meditation, yoga, or the spa services within the hotel, find solace and renewal.

Sunday unfolds as a canvas for personal choices and serene moments, allowing you to craft an experience harmonious with Dalmatia’s rich cultural and spiritual tapestry.

Day 9: Monday / 27.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet up & transfer to the site / Fieldwork
  • 1:00 PM Catered lunch / Leisure Time
  • 2:30 PM Continue fieldwork
  • 4:00 PM Return to the hotel / Free Time
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

Feeling brand new after the weekend of low-intensity activities and plenty of time for relaxation, it’s time to get back to the fieldwork. Use the energy gained for maximum productivity and proudly stand upon your creation of reconstructed walls. Amid the fieldwork, enjoy a picnic lunch on the site, sit back, relax, and observe the untouched nature of the place. Finish the fieldwork for the day after lunch and greet afternoon and evening hours left at your disposal for leisure time or personal entertainment choices.

Day 10: Tuesday / 28.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet & transfer to the site / Fieldwork
  • 1:00 PM Catered lunch / Leisure Time
  • 2:30 PM Continue fieldwork
  • 4:00 PM Return to the hotel / Free Time
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

As the usual routine follows, it’s time to meet with the leader for transportation to the site after breakfast. By now, you have grasped the art of dry-stone walling, so proudly implemented your new skills while helping preserve World heritage. Midway through the fieldwork for the day, delight in an outdoor catered lunch and free time to regain the energy for more fieldwork. As fieldwork ends, transport takes you to the hotel, where free time is available for personal needs before we start including afternoon activities tomorrow.

Day 11: Wednesday / 29.5.2024 – Stari Grad – Pitve – Sveta Nedilja – Vrboska

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet up / Trip to Pitve & Sveta Nedilja / Local village experience
  • 1:00 PM Lunch @ a local tavern / Leisure Time
  • 4:00 PM Chocolate & Wine Pairing @ Vrboska village
  • 6:00 PM Return to the hotel / Free Time
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

The day starts with a trip to the nearby villages of Pitve and Sveta Nedilja. These villages stand as portals to a preserved local culture and traditions. Each cobblestone and terraced vineyard carry a unique story that an expert will share through this educational and fun tour. As the morning part of the tour ends, relish in new tastes during lunch prepared at a local tavern, perhaps even by your own hands during a brief cooking lesson. Afternoon continues with exploration of the new surroundings before pairing the premium local wines with locally produced chocolate pralines. After another island-immersive day, a transfer will return you to the hotel, where dinner is served, and free time is available for relaxation.

Day 12: Thursday / 30.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet up & transfer to the site / Fieldwork
  • 1:00 PM Catered lunch / Leisure Time
  • 2:30 PM Continue fieldwork
  • 4:00 PM Return to hotel
  • 5:00 PM OPTIONAL: VW Beetle Sunset off the beaten path Tour
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

Now, as an experienced art dry-stone waller, as you roll up your sleeves and get into the fieldwork, witness how your newly-gained knowledge transpires in your productivity. Take advantage of the free time available after lunch for rest and interaction with others. Upon finishing the fieldwork for the day, a return to the hotel takes place, and free time or an optional beetle sunset tour is available for enjoyment. This tour starts in front of the hotel and revolves around driving in a Volkswagen Beetle, a convertible car that can comfortably fit four people. Uncover new horizons on this off-the-beaten-path tour, driving on the old, abandoned pathways, through the scantily settled villages. and explore new surroundings. The tour ends in front of the hotel, and dinner awaits. Re-energize through the leisure time and prepare for the upcoming day.

Day 13: Friday / 31.5.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM Meet up & transfer to the site / Fieldwork
  • 1:00 PM Catered lunch / Leisure Time
  • 3:00 PM Continue fieldwork
  • 4:00 PM Return to the hotel / Free Time
  • 7:00 PM Farewell dinner experience / Free Time / Overnight

On the culmination of the last day of fieldwork, apply the honed skills acquired during this transformative experience. Witness the unveiling of a meticulously restored dry-stone wall, a treasure rediscovered through your collective efforts. Share in the joy of accomplishment with your teammates, basking in the pride of your achievements. Take a reflective moment to look back at the journey’s outset, breathing in the significance of your contributions that will endure for centuries. This is a well-deserved celebration!

As the fieldwork concludes, return to the hotel, where free time awaits for relaxation. Acknowledge the significance of this concluding day by indulging in a farewell dinner prepared at a nearby or local tavern/restaurant. Delight in the flavors of local delicacies, creating a unique atmosphere for this special dining experience. Let the night resonate with the harmonies of a local acapella group, inviting you to join in and sing along to melodies cherished across the region. Embrace the opportunity to learn from locals, making this farewell dinner an unforgettable celebration of shared experiences and newfound skills.

Day 14: Saturday/ 1.6.2024 – Stari Grad

  • -:- Breakfast / Leisure Time
  • 1:00 PM Lunch @ a local tavern / Leisure Time
  • 3:00 PM Free Time / OPTIONAL: Hvar Sailing School / Return to the hotel
  • 7:00 PM Dinner / Free Time / Overnight

As your time on the island and in Stari Grad draws to a close, savor the last day with relaxation, rest, or engaging in activities aligned with personal preferences. For an immersive experience, consider an optional tour of the Hvar Sailing School. This unique activity offers the opportunity to learn sailing skills while navigating the picturesque Paklinski islands, providing moments for swimming and snorkeling. Experienced skippers are ready to guide you through a sailing adventure in the Hvar archipelago, allowing you to tailor the experience to your preferences.

Alternatively, if you choose free time, we encourage exploration of the nearby surroundings. Dive into the local cuisine by trying a new dish, engage with new people, and unwind as the departure day approaches. Embrace the freedom to shape the final moments of your stay according to what resonates most with your senses.

Day 15: Sunday/ 2.6.2024 – Stari Grad – Destination

  • -:- Breakfast
  • 10:00 AM Check-out @ the hotel
  • -:- Organized Group Airport Transfers / End Service

Ensuring a seamless departure for everyone is our goal for this day, and our dedicated staff will be available to assist with check-out or any additional needs you may have. An organized transfer will be ready in front of the hotel, ready to take you to your next destination or the airport.

The closest airport is in Split; initially, a catamaran or ferry ride from the island brings you to Split port, followed by an organized transfer to Split airport. The entire journey typically takes 2 hours, contingent on traffic and road conditions.

While all good things must come to an end, the compelling experiences and newly forged friendships will linger indefinitely. As orchestrators of this distinctive experience, we sincerely hope to have contributed to a lasting and meaningful impression in your minds and hearts. Safe travels on your onward journey.

 

TOUR DURATION 15 days / 14 nights
PERIOD 19th of May – 02nd of June 2024
STARTING LOCATION Split / Dubrovnik / Zagreb
ENDING LOCATION Split / Dubrovnik / Zagreb
OVERNIGHT LOCATIONS Stari Grad
ACCOMMODATION Hvar Places Hotel 3* / Boutique Hotel (for tailor-made)
TOUR STYLE Active tour with calm evenings
TOUR PACE Energetic to Intensive
AVAILABLE OPTIONS Tailoring the tour to your needs. Possible combining this tour with Salona Excavations tour.
PRICE 2460 EURO per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT COST 840 EURO
TRAVEL VISAS Passengers from EU and English speaking countries do not require Croatian Visa. For more information, please check the following link.
TRAVEL INSURANCE Advisable and available on request
INCLUSIONS Accommodation based on all-inclusive meals (American plan), a complete itinerary programme with all entrance fees, expert local guides, transportation, road taxes, organisation, 24/7 agent & logistic support & VAT.

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