CLIMBING THE FORTRESS FORTIZA IN HVAR CITY, CROATIA
I'm very excited to share with you my recent visit to a historical fortress known as Fortiza or Spanjola. Overlooking Hvar city (on island Hvar), this sixteen century fortress offers amazing panoramic views. I already blogged about landmarks in Hvar city (see here) and you've had the chance of seeing this outfit before (here), so today I'll just focus on showing this lovely historical fortress to you. I've actually been meaning to climb this fortress for a long time, but I only managed to do it recently. As most people climb it in summer time, at least I'm offering a fresh perspective with my winter visit. What is so great about this fortress is that it's actually a part of the city itself. So, you'll basically be exploring the city itself while you climb it. Isn't that great? Let's get started!
We went through the entrance door and found ourselves in the old part of the town. There are many markings and signs showing you where to take turns to get to the fortress top, so you don't have to be afraid of getting lost. In the unlikely case you do get lost, you can always ask for directions. Besides, you shouldn't be afraid to explore the city a little, should you? I don't know about you, but I just love the feeling of being surrounded by so much history. These stone houses are so beautiful, aren't they? Enclosed within the forest walls, I felt not only that the time has stopped but that I was transported to some other era and time.
HOW TO CLIMB THE FORTRESS IN HVAR? HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
It's very simple. Just follow the markings on the walls or ask for directions. When you get to the highest point, there will be a door. It is open in winter, but I think there is a small admission fee in the summer. As you climb higher, don't forget to take advantage of the views to take some unforgettable photographs. Now, the time it will actually take you to get on the top will probably depend on the amount of times you get distracted by beautiful views. Without stops, I would say it takes about 20 minutes to get to the top if you're walking slowly, 15 minutes at a medium pace and 10 minutes at a very fast pace. However, as I said, you'll probably be distracted by picture taking and views so it might take you something like half an hour.
WHAT ARE SOME OF HVAR CITY MOST FAMOUS LANDMARKS?
Hvar city is quite old and as such it certainly has quite a few noteworthy historical sights. The most famous landmarks include: the oldest European theatre for commoners, the 16th century city cathedral and the 16th century fortress. Yes, the fortress in one the most famous landmarks of the city.
I really enjoyed the climb the lot and the views most of all. I kept taking breaks, not so much to rest, as to enjoy the views. When we got to the entrance to the highest part of the forest, we discovered that it leads through a Mediterranean garden. I had no idea that this historic Mediterranean garden existed. I'm not sure what it looks like in the summer, but in winter it looks quite nice. It is not very diverse, though but rather dominated by giant agava plants, palms trees and cacti. Not that I'm complaining.
DR. JOSIP AVELINI PARK: MEDITERRANEAN HERB GARDEN
Basically, to get to the very top of the forest, you need to walk through this Mediterranean herb garden. I think this is perhaps my favourite part of the climb. I imagine it must be quite refreshing in the summer months. Do you think that is why the park was made in the first place? That's an idea. Anyhow, who doesn't like a nice Mediterranean herbs park? When it comes with these kind of views, one has to be one happy visitor.
IS THE CLIMB TO THE TOP OF THE FORTRESS HARD?
Not at all. It was much easier than I expected. Somehow from the far the fortress looks higher than it actually is. Besides, as I explained, getting there is half the fun and even if it wasn't, the views would be well worth the effort.
WHY CLIMB THE HVAR FORTIZA (AKA SPANOLA) FORTRESS?
First of all, because it is a stunning historical building. Secodly, because it is not a difficult climb, nor is it monotonous. In fact, the views while climbing are just as pretty as those on the top. Thirdly, as beautiful as the views are along the way, the panorama that you will get from the top of the fortress is absolutely amazing. There was no admission fee when we visited, I think the admission fee is only charged in the summer and even then it's not very high.