Totalling more than 6,000km, the Croatian coastline is one of the most indented in the Mediterranean, with ample natural bays, secret coves, sheer cliffs and beautiful beaches set against sparkling azure waters. Making up part of the Eastern Mediterranean, the best time to visit Croatia aboard a yacht is certainly in the European summer, where the peak cruising window spans over six months. Increasing in popularity as a nautical tourism and charter destination in its own right, Croatia is no longer simply ‘a cheaper alternative to Italy’, but rather a desirable location for sun worshippers and yachties alike. While the main cities of Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb remain Meccas for nightlife, shopping and eateries, Croatia offers many secret islands and unique hideouts for those looking to escape the crowds and explore the country’s natural sites and scenic landscapes – all of which are best travelled by yacht. Of Croatia’s 1,000+ islands, only around 65 are constantly inhabited. They spread across a total of around 3,300sq km and offer up some great cruising routes for those on charter.
Komiza is considered the cradle of fishing in the Adriatic with its fishermen well known throughout the Mediterranean as experts in their field. A small but picturesque village sits behind a large seawall, with narrow streets and a busy main square with many cafes and local shops. It is also said that the first grape vine in Dalmatia was planted by the ancient Greeks on Vis island and today you can taste the most famous, the Vis Vugava wine, at the numerous restaurants and wine cellars on the island.
A short cruise out to the west, lie the blue caves on the island of Bisevo, famous for their unique iridescent reflection of shades of blue and silver that delight the visitors. The Blue Grotto of Bisevo is one of those places that will cause you to blink twice and then rub your eyes in disbelief to check it still exists. Between 11am and noon is the perfect time to take a tender into the stretched mouth of the secret cave and enjoy the electric blue waters.
Korcula is the name of both the island and the main town. The island is a haven of perfect calm with quiet coves that seem to beckon you to plunge into the waters and swim away from your yacht. Korcula town is a magnificent sight, ringed by imposing defences, this coastal citadel is dripping with history. Marble streets rich in Renaissance and Gothic architecture and a maze of silver jewellery shops, you can stumble upon treasures such as the birthplace of the explorer Marco Polo. The variety of options means that you can spend a day snorkelling around the bay, wandering the flushed vineyards and shady olive groves, watch traditional sword fighting dances before choosing one of the many fine restaurants on the waterfront.
Facing the island of Korcula, Lastovo is one of the best hidden gems in Croatia. It is the perfect destination for those who want to get off the beaten track and discover the beauty and calm of an authentic Croatian lifestyle. The tiny paradise is nearly bereft of tourists most of the year and attracts only a light sprinkling in the summer season. With no sandy beaches and only one hotel, the island lends itself as the perfect yachting stop for some peace and quiet in some of the cleanest and clearest waters in the Adriatic. Here the traditional way of life that still reigns, and rewarding hikes around the island can be made through the pine wooded trails.
Be sure to look up at night as the island also markets itself as ‘the island of bright stars’ with the island having been declared by astrographers as the most beautiful starry sky in the whole of Europe.
Cavtat is not a place for those seeking clubs and wild nights. It is a place to relax and recharge your batteries while enjoying gorgeous scenery, food and wine. Life goes by slowly in this part of the world, a quality which made this place a desirable destination for a proper laid-back vacation. Its best kept secret is the old town centre that hides many lovely cafés and restaurants. It has a stunning waterfront lined with palm trees and has been described as closely resembling Saint Tropez.