Jelsa, Hvar: Travel Guide & Best Beaches

The beautiful town Jelsa is one of the most popular holiday destinations on Hvar Island in Croatia. Especially charming is the harbor, with the picturesque waterfront and the many lovely old Dalmatian stone houses. Winding alleyways, squares and sights are thrilling visitors and many cozy restaurants invite you to linger. But also beach lovers will love this area, because here in Jelsa are some wonderful beaches and bays to discover. Due to the optimal location, the town is a fantastic starting point to explore Hvar Island and go on some unforgettable excursions.

In this trave guide we will show you the best things to do in Jelsa and where you can find the most amazing beaches. Additionally, we will share some wonderful pictures, give you travel tips for the best accommodations and apartments.

Good to know!

In Jelsa you can find some of the best places for where to stay in Hvar Island. Highly recommend are the apartments of Villa Riva directly in the center and Big Blue apartment with picturesque view of the bay.

The travel best time for a vacation is from May to the end of October. At this time of year you can count on wonderful temperatures, lots of sun and only a little rain!

Not only Jelsa is worth visiting, also in the surroundings of this town is really worth seeing. Really pretty and not far away are the port town of Stari Grad Hvar and the quaint fishing village of Vrboska.

The public transport network is well developed on Hvar Island. Thus, the most popular resorts and towns can be easily reached by bus also from Jelsa.

General information about Jelsa

The town of Jelsa, with 3,500 inhabitants, is located in the north of Hvar and is a popular resort on the vacation island. Visitors love the really good tourist infrastructure including a cozy nightlife, with many bars and restaurants in the romantic old town. There are also some opportunities for strolling and shopping here. In addition to nice little stores and souvenir stores, you will also find several supermarkets, bakeries and ATMs in Jelsa. Also lovely is the picturesque waterfront promenade that connects the center with the beautiful beaches of Jelsa.

The history of Jelsa dates back to the Stone Age. Later, the Greeks built their first structures, although the town was not mentioned in writing until the 14th century. At that time an important shipbuilding center, today Jelsa is a wonderfully pretty resort that exudes a very special charm thanks to the wonderful historic old town with the harbor.


Things to do in Jelsa

Planning a holiday at Jelsa on Hvar Island, you can look forward to a lot of lovely attractions and cool activities. Here, we have summarized the best things to do in Jelsa and the best beaches, which you should not miss at any visit.

Seaside Promenade

The absolute highlight and at the same time the most beautiful sight of Jelsa is the charming seaside promenade. During a walk along the waterfront you can enjoy a wonderful Dalmatian harbor ambience, admire at traditional stone houses and find many cozy pubs, bars and good restaurants. The whole flair of the port of Jelsa is unique and special. If you fancy a longer walk, you can walk along the beach promenade towards Vrboska (4 kilometers) or towards the beach Mina (1 kilometer).

Church of the Assumption

The Church of the Assumption, Sv. Marije od Milosrda, is from the 13th century and is located near the Pjaca, right in the center of the town. This picturesque castle church is one of the main attractions of Jelsa. In one of the 4 chapels of the church one can visit the painting “The Virgin Mary and the Martyrdom of Fabian and Sebastian” by the artist P. de Costera.

Tip: During the summer months, many events are taking place in Jelsa. One of the most famous festivals is the annual wine festival in late August and the “Follow the Cross” procession in Holy Week.

Pjaca – The Square of Croatian National Revival

The Pjaca is one of the most important squares of the port city and at the same time the most beautiful place of this holiday destination. Here locals and tourists meet to drink coffee, eat ice cream and watch the ongoing. Due to the central location you cannot miss this extremely picturesque place. Having a drink at Pjaca is one of the best things to do in Jelsa and should not be missed on any trip.

Church of Saint John

On Hvar Island are many churches and small chapels. Also in Jelsa there are some pretty old sacral sites to discover. Hidden inside the winding streets of the old town is the Church of Saint John, one of the best places to visit in town. This 17th-century church is a real eye-catcher and one of Jelsa’s main attractions. Square Saint John is surrounded by typical Croatian stone houses, giving the place a wonderful romantic charm.


The best Beaches in Jelsa

Jelsa is not only culturally interesting, also sportive ones and beach addicts will love this destination. The bays and the beautiful beaches around Jelsa are really amazing. Along the coast you will always find great places for swimming and dreamy bays lined with wonderfully fragrant pine forests. Here are the most beautiful beaches of Jelsa summarized at a glance:

Beach Mina

The beach Mina is actually the main beach of Jelsa and can be reached from the center within a short 10-minute walk. Part of it is a gently sloping sandy beach and therefore very popular with families with children. In addition, showers and changing rooms are provided here. This beautiful beach attracts many locals and foreign visitors, especially at high season. Nevertheless, you will still find some quiet spots for swimming in the coves around.

Beach Prapatna

The Prapatna bay is a truly wonderful place for swimming and snorkeling. This quiet bay is one of the insider tips among the best beaches around Jelsa and is a must for those looking for peace and relaxation. From the port city of Jelsa to Prapatna bay is about 10 kilometers by car. An insider tip for a relaxing holiday on Hvar Island is the exceptionally recommended Apartment House Elena. From the apartments you have an amazing view of this dream beach.

Camping & Beach Grebišće

This beautiful bay is located at the popular Camp Grebišće and can of course be used by non-campers. The beach consists mainly of sandy beach, but also of rocky sections with cool pine forests that providing cool shade. A marvelous beach about 4 kilometers from Jelsa.

Beach Mala Stiniva

The stunning beach Mala Stiniva is another insider tip for the area around Jelsa. This tranquil and idyllic bay is a true dream beach, and few tourists know about this gem. A visit there is connected with some effort, because the road is very curvy and steep. Anyway, for adventurous one of the best beaches to visit around Jelsa.

Maslinica Beach

Maslinica beach is very close to Vrboska, the neighboring village of Jelsa. This bay offers a fantastic swim in the midst of untouched nature. There are neither apartments, nor restaurants or bars – but plenty of peace and an indescribable beach idyll. From Jelsa to Maslinica beach is only about 5 kilometers and so the beach is easily accessible by bike or car.

Things to do around Jelsa

A perfect location makes Jelsa to one of the best spots for exploring the most amazing things to do on Hvar Island.

For example, the picturesque harbor town Vrboska is only 5 kilometers away, Stari Grad Hvar is around 9 kilometers away and Hvar town is around 28 kilometers away from Jelsa.

Also, some of the most beautiful beaches of Hvar are just a short distance from Jelsa.

Hvar Island offers many exciting excursions. Especially popular are boat trips to the Blue Cave near Vis and to the Pakleni Islands near the town of Hvar.

A regular catamaran connection from Jelsa to Bol also offers a great opportunity to visit the famous Golden Horn on Brac Island on your own.

Tip: You can organize guided tours here on GetyourGuide.


Where to stay in Jelsa

Due to the wonderful beaches, the picturesque old town and the many good apartments and campsites, Jelsa is one of the most popular holiday resorts on Hvar. Here are our recommendations for the best accommodations, best hotels and apartments:

  • Big Blue: Beautiful apartments in absolutely perfect location with a fantastic view of the port city and the picturesque bay.
  • Villa Riva: Great accommodation in a wonderful location in Jelsa, because this tasteful apartment is located directly on the waterfront!
  • B & B Aurora: Nice guesthouse offers an excellent breakfast. The location is central and so all the major attractions of Jelsa are within walking distance.


Conclusion: Jelsa on Hvar is a wonderful place for a perfect vacation. Here convinces a unique flair right on the sea and a good touristic offer. In addition, the beaches in the area are unique, perfect for a sunny beach holiday.

Find the best Accommodation in Jelsa:

More about Island Hvar:

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