Jelsa is a small town
situated in a bay on the northern coast of the central part of the island of Hvar. It borders with
the two highest peaks on the island: St. Nicolas on the west and Hum on the
east. Jelsa consists of two main parts: Vela Banda on the southern coast and
Mala Banda on the northern.
Jelsa is an important tourist centre which has a rich tradition in tourism
(the oldest hotel Jadran was built in 1911). The town is also
well-known for its quality red wine for a long time ago. Major attractions
include cultural and entertainment programs, various accommodation
facilities (hotels, apartments, campsites, private rooms…), sports and
recreational opportunities (football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, miniature
golf, boccia, water sports, diving school…), gastronomic offer (fresh
sea-food and famous wines) and excursions (to Bol on the
island of Brac, to Makarska and to other places on the island
of Hvar). Guests can rent motorboats, speedboats, bicycles, motorcycles
Jelsa has a coast line with numerous bays on which guests can find peace and
pleasure. Tourists are attracted to the sandy, gravel and rocky beaches.
The most popular beaches in Jelsa are:
Mina beach - a sandy beach with a restaurant, about 500 m far away from the centre, ideal for children.
Grebišće - a sandy beach with a
restaurant and a beach club, about 1.5 km far away from Jelsa.
Zenčišća - a beach situated 3 km east from Jelsa.
Bočić - a swimming place situated 300 m far away from the centre of Jelsa.
Bay of St. Luke (or Crkvica) - a pebble beach 4 km east from Jelsa (also an archeological site).
On the hill above Jelsa there is Tor, a massive fortification built of huge regular shaped
blocks of stone joined without mortar. It was a Greek observation point,
which stands on an older Illyrian fort. This fort is from the ancient period
and it was of great importance in the Middle Ages. Jelsa was being developed
since the 14th century as the port of Pitve, the village 3 km far away from the sea. Jelsa developed especially in the 19th century, due to shipbuilding and
navigation. This conditioned its urban expansion and its acquisition of the
main role on the central part of the island.
Jelsa has numerous cultural
and historical monuments. The most famous are:
Church of St. Mary’s Assumption (from
1331), today the parish church.
Our Lady of Health Church built in 1535 at the top of Racic hill. The
hill itself offers a beautiful view of valley and the port.
The Church of St. Rock built in the second part of the 16th century.
The Church of St. Michael built in 1463.
Lapidary (a collection of stone monuments) contains about twenty stone
monuments dating back from ancient and mediaeval times.
Perivoj (public garden) - one of the largest and most
beautiful parks in Dalmatia, created in 1870 on alluvial terrain. The large
poplars, pine and palm trees, acacias and oleanders, bay laurel and other
Mediterranean plants add to the beauty of the park.
Pjaca (main square) is situated in the centre of Jelsa.
On the west side of the square there is a natural water spring, also known as the small river Slatina, which has
been used by the local inhabitants since the ancient times.
Square of St. John is one of the most beautiful squares from the
Renaissance-Baroque era, with a small octagonal St. John church from the end of the 15th
Small church of St. Luke is in the cove 4 km from Jelsa. In this area there are remains from the Roman period.