Croatian Dream, exploring the Dalmatian coast by boat!
Cruising in Croatia has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life! The coast is just BEAUTIFUL, the people are increidbly nice, super hospitable, kind and friendly (and… everyone speaks fluent english!) We really fell in love with the country, the food and the people!
Croatia has many airports, the main ones being Dubrovnik , Split, Zadar and Zagreb.
If you want to charter a sailboat boat, catamaran, or a yacht, we highly reccomend EuroMarine
They own over 100 of sailboats, catamarans and yachts. The bases are located at ACI marinas, strategically positioned in towns’ centers and only a 45-minute car drive from international airports – Pula, Split and Dubrovnik.
They organize the airport transfer and can recommend hotel accommodation also provide crew (skipper, hostess and/chef) onboard for your comfort and safety.
They yachts have everything onboard the highest standards with GPS plotters, autopilots, dinghies, safety equipment, free WI-FI onboard etc.
Believe me, Euromarine will make your sailing holiday unforgettable!
Tip: For total comfort on the boat, choose our skipper service. With the skipper on board you will have no worries because the skipper will take care about the safety of the boat. All skippers are professionals, friendly and they all speak English. Besides the skipper, they offer also hostess & cook service. The hostess will keep your boat clean, serve you breakfast and look after your children. If you decide to choose a cook, you will enjoy the full comfort with style.
EUROMARINE can help you find your ideal boat!
We rented a Catamaran, it was almost new only one year old and in good conditions. We chose a catamaran over a sailboat because we felt safer to have a toddler onboard. There is more space and is more stable.
I am happy to share with you the itinerary we did and enjoyed so much! Herewith are all of our tips and reccomendations on bays, restaurants, activities to do on the islands and more!
However, if you want a personalized superyacht itinerary I highly reccomend my friend Sara who is a virtual assistant/yacht purser/ luxury concierge /travel expert (what you dont find on trip advisor!) who can make you a dream itinerary with local tips, restaurantss, bays and insights.
We landed in Dubrovnik and spent the first night in CAVTAT (pronouncecd tsavtat) which is only 5 mins drive from Dubrovnik airport and is incredibly beautiful small picturesque town. Cavtat offers an air of tranquillity lost years ago in Dubrovnik.
Idyllic seaside promenades line its wooded peninsulas, leading up to a number of pristine beaches. We stayed at Hotel Cavtat, which was perfect for what we needed, just a one night stop after arrival from airport. The hotel is right on the beach and in the city center, and it has a small, but nice (instagramable) rooftop pool.
Tip: Make sure you ask for a room with a sea view.
We went for dinner to the sea food restaurant Leut where Abramovich likes to go. We had fish with bacon for the first time in ourlives and surprisingly, it was amazing!
Dubrovnik, ACI marina
We departed from ACI marina Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is one of those that has best kept its walls and historical center. It is precisely because of its walls that Dubrovnik is a magnet today that attracts numerous tourists, film crews and the global elite. Dubrovnik has been the host of the crews of the most popular TV shows and films were fillmed there: Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Robin Hood.
Restaurants we reccomend in Dubrobnik:
Nautika is probably the most romantic, and best place to see the wall.
We LOVED Orsan yacht club, is so small, not turistic at all only locals where there, the food was fantastic and the whole vibe was so special.
KASAR KONOBA here below, is about a 15min drive from the city center but a true gem, a real dolce vita experience, simplicity, very local and family run, not super fancy, just beautiful and perfect!
Close your eyes and think of Mediterranean. Imagine the bluest sea, and beautiful untouched islands with old olive, fig, cypress and orange trees… Imagine the sunlight on your face and the smells, the sounds… Imagine the secured bays, secret beaches, the forest… Open your eyes.
Welcome to Sipan, the largest of islands near Dubrovnik, a place where Mediterranean culture shaped lives and culture since the Roman times…
This Dubrovnik island hides its exciting history, and it can’t wait for you to hear its legends. But, among its many secret treasures there’s one particular well-hidden pearl, a restaurant which is only accesible by boat: BOWA, which stands for Best of What is Around. It is a secret garden of delights for all senses and a small world of its own! They only serve food from the island and the sea surrounding it.They have a daily tasting menu depending on the catch of the day.
They also have their own tender shuttle, so if you are in the city or dont have a boat, they come pick you up.
Tip:make sure you reserve in advance because they bring the food fresh so they need to know beforehand. We arrived without a reservation and had a drink but they coudnt serve us food. The menu looked amazing, check the menu here. You can either eat at the restaurant, or book your own cabana (highly reccomended) there is also a beach and some sun beds to spend the entire afternoon there, relax, and enjoy!
Polace (pronounced Pola-che) is the largest and the safest bay on the whole Island, is a great place for boats! The village has just over one hundred permanent inhabitants. It has a couple of restaurants and cafes, as well as a shop for basic provisions.
Funny thing about the dalmatian coast, some restaurants provide mooring and table (like bed and breakfast but berth and dinner sort of thing) we had dinner at Stella Maris which is a restaurant that provided our berth for the night. The restaurant has a collection of burgees (boat flags) and they even have one from the Yacht Club de Monaco!
Funny story: apparently there was not electric connection to our mooring, so our amazing captain (he is seriously the james bond of captains!) made everything possible and convinced the restaurant to provide 100meters of cable!! the cable passed through the town and street, all the way to our boat!
The place is very simple, but food is just amazing, you can check some photos here.
Forest-shrouded Mljet (pronounced Myet) is one of the most seductive of all the Adriatic islands. It has a famous national park.
The island retains the unspoilt air of tranquillity that, according to legend, captivated Odysseus for seven years.
Mljet is well known for its white and red wine, olives and goat’s cheese. It is indeed an unspoilt island covered by a dense Mediterranean forest. The sea around here is rich in fish and marine life.
Inside the island there are two salted lakes – Veliko and Malo Jezero that are located at the north end of the island. the best thing to do is to rent a bike, (dont worry they also have electric bikes so you dont have to suffer!) we rented two bikes (one with a baby seat to carry Gracie) and explored the island! It was truly fantastic to be in touch with nature while doing sports. The sceneries were spectacular, we just wished we had a drone following us cause it is not easy to ride and film at the same time.
Around the lakes we found some random little huts that offered food and drinks, we were the only ones there, and it was a special moment of truly living in the present.
Swim stop at Planjak island.
Interesting pebble beaches.
The bottom of the sea here is also interesting as there are a lot of giant pebbles scattered around deep green sea.
Docked in Korčula island, at the ACI Marina there. Both an island and town. It’s like a mini Dubrovnik! Amazing old town, cute restaurants and beautiful scenery.
A legend says that Marco Polo was originally from there and not Italy! There is Marco polo museum and house.
We went to the cutest little restaurant up in the hills, it was another of my #iwannacry moments of joy. We had a local dinner at Konoba Maha, a family run restaurant built in the middle of nature which creates unique dining experience.
We ordered the Octopus PEKA (a local specialty cooked in a large metal baking dish with a bell shaped dome lid. It is used to cook food in an open fireplace, with hot embers placed on top of the dome for even, slow cooking)
Tip: you need to call in advance and order because the peka takes 4 hours to prepare!
Restaurant in Korcula:
In the city, there is also a famous Michelin* restaurant called LD.
Swim stop-Badija island, a peculiar island with a lot of history.
There are also wild small dears (bambi) that are used to people and they approach you.
Tip: Make sure you bring them some fruit (specially green apples!) they love them, they didnt like peaches.
We walked a bit into the forest and 5mins later about 4 deers came to say hi, Gracie was super excited!
We stayed on anchor the night before on Luka bay, Lovište, Pelješac which is a safe closed bay and had dinner onboard that night, the next day we wanted to moor in a marina so we headed to Pakleni island, and stayed at the ACI marina Palmižana . When we arrived the entire group of Yacht week were there! was a party scene with a lot of spring breakers type of tourists. An alternative to yacht week, is MedSailors which has more of a relaxed pace, with a small crew of 8-9 people, it focuses on sailing, exploring rather than partying and drinking everyday.
The bay of Pakleni island was beautiful and I have never seen so many boats in a bay! it was PACKED!
We walked from the marina towards the forest for about 4 mins and ended up in a sandy beach (the softest sand ever!) and we had dinner at Totos’restaurant, we loved it and
highly reccomend it.
Next to it, there is Laganini beach bar which was super cute as well.
This place is famous for Carpe Diem beach club, famous place to party during the day and night. It looked amazing, but not so family friendly to go there with a baby, but a great instagram spot 🙂 check their page here.
From Pakleni, we took a water taxi to the city of HVAR, which is one of the most famous cities in Croatia. Gorgeous town with high end and local markets, restaurants and experiences.
When you arrive, you can walk up to the fortress, there are amazing sunset views. We went to the local market to do provisioning there, went shopping got some presents, and had a drink at a super cute little bar called Ka’Lavanda you must go when you are there!
Alternatively, you can rent a beetle and drive to Stari Grad (the oldest town ) have lunch there and enjoy the scenic ride!It takes about 1h each way.
Authentic dinner at Stori Komin
A gorgeous hidden gem of a restaurant. They don’t have electricity, everything is from the area and the food is amazing.
The taxi drops you off in the middle of nowhere, you walk up and discover an old abandoned village and after about 3min you make it to the top of ruins and the restaurant is right there, on the cliff overlooking the beautiful landscape.
Enjoy in traditional Croatian dish – PEKA – slow roasted dish (chicken, veal, octopus, fish) under a metal bell.
Red cliffs near Hvar
When I look back at our holiday, the day I enjoyed and remember the most was the night where we had dinner at Konoba Nine, this place is so special and close to my heart. It is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO WATCHT THE SUNSET, please put your phone away, just sit down and live the moment, believe me, its worth every second!
The grandfather Nine, decided to open the first restaurant in the island in 1958 (can you believe how life was there before that?) Nine wanted to show tourists the adriatic fish with indigenous spices, and nowadays his grandson Nino inherited the restaurant. Nino wakes up early in the morning to go spear fishing (he has the world record for going diving without a tank! he is truly a legend!) he is the one serving and his mom is in the kitche, only 2 people running the show!
Honestly the food: best fish on the island, the warm hosting service, together with that the sunset view, ranks on the most unforgetatble moments in my life (now, that is a statement!)
After our barefood dinner, we went back onboard and had a night cap on the trampoline of our boat looking at moon and stars, was simply magical.
BLUE CAVE, MLJET
On our way back to Dubrovnik we woke up early to be the first ones at the Odysseus Cave where we anchored and went for a swim and some paddle boarding in the cave. We were the only ones there and it was incredible, the water changed colors and inside the cave was HUGE! The color of the sea in the cave is really like in the pictures, even more beautiful. The cave is actually a tunnel, so when you swim to the other side you can get out of the sea up to the rocks, for rest or to take photos.
According to the legend, because of that Odysseus was shipwrecked and swam to the cave where he took shelter. The island was dominated by the nymph Calypso. Odysseus was charmed by her and the island and he was trapped there for seven years before the gods released him!
There is a little cafe up in the rocks that you can arrive by climbing up hill, is SUPER CUTE and worth it!
Tip: remember to wear anti mosquito spray because inside the cave are a lot of mosquitos. We went inside with the dinghy and paddle board with our little dauther but actually went out quite quickly cause if one thing I am scared of are mosquitos! Did you know, they are the most dangerous animals in the world? responsibel for the most deaths worldwide! but Ok, in croatia there are no deadly cases, but still I wished I had sprayed myself!
Anchor place is: Lopud island, Sunj bay
OTHER SUGGESTED ITINERARY AND TIPS
We cruised from Dubrovnik and around that area. However, another itinerary is to start from Split and finish in Dubrovnik.
Explore Split Old Town, explore cute tiny streets, Diocletians palace, amazing local markets.
Dinner at Bokeria
Enjoy dinner at an amazing wine bar with fabulous food at Bokeria .During dinner you will smell fresh waffle cone from a local ice cream shop next door so that can be dessert number two – Gelateria Emiliana.
Definitely order a bottle of famous orange wine from Croatia.
Stiniva, Vistiniva beach is the farthest inhabited island in Croatia. Stiniva cove is known for its unique natural beauty dominated by high cliffs that form a small “sea entrance” to this pebble beach with clear turquoise sea. It was voted, by tourism organisation European Best Destinations, as the most most beautiful beach
In Vis island, you can do the military tour or rent a car to visit everything, it is a great place for wine tasting.
Nearby there is always Komiža, worth a visit.
Mala Travna restaurant, we dont want to spoil the experience by telling you too much about it, is a place you need to discover yourself! It is the most authentic and natural life experience!
BOL, Brač island
Bol is an island and town. They are famous for a golden tong beach and the view from Vidova mountain.
If you want you can rent a car/buggy and drive the scenic road to the top. It takes about 40min one way. Enjoy the beach and explore the cute town.
Fun fact: the tip of the beach moves from left to right depending ont he wind.
Sušac island, If you need to really need to get far, far away from civilization, Susac (pronounced Soosh ats) is your kind of island. here are no regular ferries to Susac Island so you don’t have to worry about crowds of tourists. You can actually rent out the light house for yourself, and today there is only one family taking care of the lighthouse and one sheepherder, Staying in the Susac lighthouse offers an unusual, ultra-relaxing holiday experience. You can arrange for provisions and the lighthouse keeper and his son will be happily select the lamb and cook it for you that same night!
Make sure to visit the beautiful bays on islands Šolta and Brač.
The city of Trogir is near Split airport, it is a gracious city worth a visit. Trogir was named the best city-island in the world by National Geographic in 2015. Trogir is far less crowded than the major Croatian tourist destinations It is in the UNESCO World Heritage List and named “a remarkable example of urban continuity” … or in layman’s terms it is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.It takes about 30 minutes to walk around Trogir. Stop and admire the beautiful buildings and architecture as you stroll around.
RESORT NEAR DUBROVNIK
We did a boat-and resorty type of holiday, one week on a boat and one week on a resort. We loved the Sun Gardens hotel because it was really child-friendly!
ENJOY AND WELCOME ONBOARD!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, hopefully inspired you to go boating in Croatia or even to make you travel with your immagination for a while.
If you do go, please tag me on your pictures, I love to see your adventures! @onboardwithmarcela