Hidden Croatia: The Shepherd's Village of Humac and Grapceva Cave
A short distance from the partying in Hvar Town is an atmospheric abandoned village and Neolithic cave, offering a change of pace on the island of Hvar.
Far from the bright lights of Hvar Town, is the less fashionable and relatively undiscovered eastern part of the island of Hvar, where there are several hidden gems, worthy of investigation. High on the list are the abandoned eco-village of Humac and the cradle of Hvar's culture and civilisation, Grapceva Cave.
The Eco-Village of Humac
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.
Restaurant and Accommodation
Despite its abandoned status, it is possible to eat and stay in Humac. The owners of the excellent Murvica restaurant in Jelsa have renovated an old stone house at the front of the village and overcome the utilities challenges to offer unique accommodation and an overnight stay in the small house, complete with an outdoor shower facing the Adriatic – a special experience.
While Murvica will organise an event on site with prior notice and sufficient numbers, a more permanent restaurant, Konoba Humac, offers superb local fare in a rustic environment, with memorable views of the sea and mainland beyond. The dining experience is probably best summarised in this Tripadvisor review:
It was an amazing experience, getting there without expectations. Rustic place and food, but the view, the climate are great! Good house wine, delicious lambs, chicken and sausages, salads, the perfect olives and olive oil. No electricity, candles when the sun comes down, smell of lavender, rosemary, grapes... The waitress was so kind telling us about the place, wood tables with families, romantic couples, no noise... Perfect and I recommend!
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.