The best view of Hvar Town is from the sea, the tiny town centre contoured around the bay, grainy-white and brown with green splashes of palms and pines bursting from every crack and cranny. At the centre, the creamy brown main square cuts its way in, flanked by the arcaded bulk of the Venetian arsenal. The upper storey of the arsenal was added in 1612 to house the city theatre ( kazalite ; daily: summer 10am-noon & 8-11pm; winter 10am-noon; 10kn), the oldest in Croatia and one of the first in Europe. It's since been converted to a cinema, but the painted Baroque interior has survived pretty much intact. The square culminates in the skeletal campanile of Hvar's Cathedral (no fixed opening times, but usually open mornings), a sixteenth-century construction with an eighteenth-century facade that's a characteristic mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Inside is routine enough, but the Bishop's Treasury (Riznica; daily: summer 9am-noon & 5-7pm; winter 10am-noon; 10kn) is worth the entry fee for its small but fine selection of chalices, reliquaries and embroidery. Look out for a nicely worked sixteenth-century crozier, carved into a serpent, encrusted with saints and embossed with a figure of the Virgin attended by Moses and an Archangel. The rest of the old town backs away from the piazza in an elegant confusion of twisting lanes and alleys. Up above, the Fortress (Kastil; June-Sept daily 8am-8pm; 10kn) is a good example of sixteenth-century military architecture. The views over Hvar and the islands beyond are well worth the trek to the top. From the fort you can pick out the fifteenth-century Franciscan Monastery (Franjevacki samostan; Mon-Fri 10am-noon & 5-7pm; 10kn), to the left of the harbour, a sliver of white against the blue of the sea. The monastery has a small collection of paintings, mostly obscure Venetian, which includes a tender, dark and modernistic Ecce Homo by Leandro Bassano and, stretching right across one wall, a melodramatic, almost life-size Last Supper attributed to Matteo Ingoli. Next door, the monastic church is pleasingly simple, with beautifully carved choir stalls and a fanciful partition dating from 1583; look out for the extravagant dragon candle-holders. The beaches nearest to Hvar town are rocky and crowded, and it's best to make your way towards the Pakleni otoci (the Islands of Hell), just to the west of Hvar. Easily reached by water taxi from the harbour (about 15kn each way), the Pakleni are a chain of eleven wooded islands, only three of which have any facilities (simple bars and restaurants): Jerolim island, the nearest, offers nudist bathing; next is Marinkovac - partly nudist, but with a main beach, U Stipanska; then Sv Klement, the largest of the islands - here, most people head for Palmizana, one of its most attractive coves with a fine shingle beach. Bear in mind that camping is forbidden throughout Pakleni.