Jelsa is situated in the middle of the north coast of the island of Hvar. The settlement is concentrated by the sea while the hinterland is surrounded by dense pine woods on the sloping hills of the island's ridge. Jelsa is the only place on the island with an abundance of fresh water, which is the cause of more luxuriant vegetation than in the other areas of the island.
Entering Jelsa by road one passes through the alley of poplars that leads into the town park of lush vegetation, which is a certain surprise and very much a rarity in a distinctly stony area.
At first sight Jelsa appears to be a relatively new town with 19th century characteristics in its urban and architectural sense. However, one gradually discovers later on that it is an old town with a history dating back to ancient times.