Situated on the northern and southern coast of the central part of the island of Hvar. It covers a land area of 121.2 km2. According to the census taken in 2001, the Municipality of Jelsa has a population of 3,656. It encompasses 12 settlements: Gdinj, Gromin Dolac, Humac, Ivan Dolac, Jelsa, Pitve, Poljica, Svirče, Vrboska, Vrisnik, Zavala and Zastražišće. The area of the Municipality of Jelsa along with the entire island has a richly devleoped coastline with many coves, islets and islands. Jelsa borders with the two highest peaks on the island – Sv. Nikola on the west and Hum on the east. Jelsa has a mild climate with warm winters and pleasant summers and the entire region has an abundance of Mediterranean vegetation.
The scents and flavors, the boats and people of a small town with a big harbour captivate Jelsa with a brook that separates Vela Bonda (Large Side) and Mala Bonda (Small Side).The settlement of the Jelsa region dates back to prehistoric times, to the time of the Greek colony and the Roman Empire. Jelsa, as well as the entire island, was settled by Croats in the 8th century. Jelsa is first mentioned in the 14th century as a harbour of the Pitve settlement (Portus de Pitue) built around St. John's Church. The Municipality of Jelsa began developing both in the economic and tourism sector in 1945.
During the Homeland War, which began in 1991, and the creation of a democratic State, the inhabitants of Jelsa as well as the neighboring towns took part in defending their country. In 1993, the Municipality of Jelsa was founded comprising the 12 settlements.