Although small -a total area of about eight square miles, islet Šćedro is known for its stunning and calm beauty. The island is situated 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) off the south coast of the island of Hvar, opposite the settlement of Zavala (municipality of Jelsa). In between of island Šćedro and Hvar there is Šćedorski channel whereas Korčula channel is placed between Šćedro and island of Korčula.
In addition to Hvar, nearest land to Šćedro are the rocks Lukavci – 3 reefs situated 3 chilometers west of the island. Šćedro has two deep and sheltered bays – harbours which played an important role in Adriatic shipping history due to their protective qualities (štedri in old Slavonic means charitable; hence the name Šćedro).
The historical records reveal that the previous name of the island was Torcola, and it was the home of roman Taurica. Šćedro played an important role in Adriatic history – the crucial battle for the Adriatic was placed right here in year 47 BC, in which the Caesar’s fleets defeated Pompey’s. Caesar’s commander Publius Vatinije had won the island Vis which thus became Caesar’s port.
According to the Statute of 1331, the island was communal property and reserved for general pasturing. In the past the island had two large settlements – Mostir and Nastanewhile today they are mostly abandoned with the exception of two maintained houses in the village of Nastane . The land on the island is very fertile and because it was overgrown with woods for centuries. The pine woods to the east are especially beautiful. There is still visible an old quarry at Stare Stine, while gypsum was picked up on the island to adorn the Baroque chapels of the Hvar’s cathedral. Other island’s attractive sights include historical monuments such as well preserved Illyrian tumuli of imposing dimensions, the remains of a Dominican monastery and church of St. Mary of Charity (from the island’s name) from 1465. Due to pirate attacks, the monastery was abandoned in the late 18th century.
An old aero plane wing from the Second World War together with the fuselage placed deeper into the sea can be seen on the south side of the island together. Related to the islet’s beautiful surroundings, there is an anecdote that Šćedro was in the past considered as a home for Marshal’s Tito summer residence as oppose to Brioni where the residence was indeed built.
In year 1972 Šćedro island was protected and declared as an area with significant landscapes. The island is known for its magnificent indented coastline and vegetation typical for Mediterranean – macchia and forests. The islet offers pleasant walks, good swimming and beautiful views, especially on its western side (lovely view of Hvar’s high mountain ridge especially at sunset). Šćedro’s highest point is 110 m above sea level. The climate is even milder than in Hvar and, due to night dew, grain crops used to be grown here in old times (see a plough from Šćedro in the Ethnographical Museum in Stari Grad).
Due to its specific climate the islet’s vegetation is rich in aromatic herbs (sage, rosemary, oregano) and a lovely pine forest. The island has no electricity or water – so water tanks are used as well as diesel generators and solar photovoltaic systems to produce electricity.
For all the above mentioned, no wonder that the travel guide Mediterranean Islands by author Charles Arnold, which describes 200 stunning islands of the Mediterranean, proclaimed Šćedro to be – the most peaceful Mediterranean island.