CROATIA YACHT CHARTER GUIDE
THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN’S TAKE ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA, CROATIA IS A COMPELLING CRUISING GROUND UNTO ITSELF, PARTICULARLY WHEN EXPLORED BY YACHT
Providing charterers with a wonderful mix of simple and sophisticated, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast has become one of the most popular cruising destinations for bay-hugging and island-grazing adventures. A plethora of new beach clubs and restaurants have recently joined the scene, making the beautiful coastline the East Med’s take on the French Riviera. From Split to Dubrovnik, the southern coast harbors glorious remnants of the past – Roman, Venetian and Austrian influences ooze from the architecture and cuisine. The heritage is evident wherever you cruise, and with more than 1,100 islands, it is a haven for the waterborne.
The Dalmatian Coast is for those who want to see from their yacht and not be seen; a place to simply sit back, relax and just be on the water. When you do choose to step ashore there are plenty of cobble-stoned streets and ancient promenades to enjoy. From Dubrovnik north to Split, the southern Dalmatian Coast harbors a hotchpotch of cultures ashore, with Roman ruins and historical sites from its Venetian and Ottoman chapters in history. Further north the stunning Kornati archipelago is home to a chain of islands with unspoiled beaches and shallow bays.
The waters that lap the Dalmatian Coast and its 1,100 islands are warm and inviting. This, combined with the top class marinas and deep-water bays for peaceful anchorages make for an ideal cruising ground. Some of the islands are well-established – Brac, Hvar and Korčula being the most popular, while their smaller neighbors remain quiet – a world away from the bustling waterfronts. And then there are the fashionable walled cities of Dubrovnik and Split, both offering stunning sights that cannot be missed. From Dubrovnik northwards to Split is the true Dalmatian Coast and Northrop & Johnson’s charter experts recommend beginning your charter in Montenegro’s Kotor and cruising to Dubrovnik then exploring the islands as far north as the Kornati archipelago before cruising back to Montenegro for disembarkation.
- Step ashore to the private eco-reserve Klement and stroll through the Botanical gardens
- Enjoy one of Split’s many film and theater festivals
- Stroll along Split’s picturesque waterfront
- Swim in the Blue Grotto, Vis
- Try Croatian wines – the popular white wine is Pošip and recommended red is Plavac Mali
- Cruise in the stunning Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
- Step ashore to the historic resort of Aman Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
- Korčula’s Moro Beach Club is the latest hot spot for the yachting crowd
- For old school glamour head to the Bonj les Bains beach club, Hvar
The unique cooking style of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast has created exceptional gastronomy in the region. Many dishes featuring seasoned vegetables, meats and seafood are cooked under a peka – a cast-iron dome that is covered with wood ash. Enjoy a peka feast at a local homestead farm – an incredible way to experience Dalmatian life and cuisine.
DAYS 1 & 2
KOTOR, MONTENEGRO TO DUBROVNIK, CROATIA (42 NAUTICAL MILES)
The tiny country of Montenegro is the perfect gateway to Croatian waters. The pristine, developing Balkan destination is regaining favor among an international elite that values privacy over glitz. Spend a few days exploring the naturally gorgeous landscape, which ranges from gorges, glacial lakes and hiking country, before embarking on your yacht charter in the dazzling Porto Montenegro. Cruise through the shimmering Adriatic, clearing customs into Croatian at Cavtat, to the old town of Dubrovnik.
DUBROVNIK TO MLJET (35 NAUTICAL MILES)
Stroll around Dubrovnik’s ancient city walls for an overview of the Old Town and discover the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cruise to the island of Mljet for a peaceful anchorage near the village of Polače. The island is a national park of forested hills (Mljet is the most forested island in the Adriatic) and two inland lakes that can be reached by tree-shaded cycle and walking trails.
MLJET TO KORčULA (20 NAUTICAL MILES)
Explore the isolated bays that dot the coastline as you cruise towards Korčula. Flanked with palaces of old nobility, Korčula is said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. Take time to explore its crooked medieval streets and elegant squares dating back to the 13th century, or venture further inland to stroll through olive groves and vineyards. Every Monday and Thursday during the summer the island hosts performances at the Festival of the Knightly Games.
DAYS 5 & 6
KORčULA TO HVAR (24 NAUTICAL MILES)
Hvar is the most sophisticated of Croatia’s islands and has become the island of choice for the yachting crowd. A wide promenade runs around Hvar’s horseshoe-shaped harbor dotted with palm trees and fringed with bars that open out of elegant mansions. In the early evening, dine at one of the many seafood restaurants that line the port before heading to the island’s exclusive nightspot, Carpe Diem. The following day, party at its sister venue Carpe Diem Beach, located on the neighboring island of Stipanska. Spread over a huge area of pine forest and beach, the club has a number of bars, terraces and restaurants.
HVAR TO BRAč (13 NAUTICAL MILES)
Hvar may have the best party scene, but anchoring off a quieter island, such as Brač, and mingling with the locals is equally appealing to many. Anchor to the south of the island and swim ashore to the picturesque beach of Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) near the seaside town of Bol. The narrow strip of sand is Croatia’s most famous beach and is an ideal location for an afternoon of watersports.
BRAč TO SPLIT (10 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise to the old town of Split and spend the day exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will find the stunning Diocletian’s Palace around which the city grew. The waterfront residence is the largest and best-preserved late-antique palace in the world. Made up of towers, fortifications, vaults and apartments that have been turned into a warren of boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants, Split is a blend of ancient and new.
DAYS 9 & 10
SPLIT TO THE KORNATI ISLANDS (59 NAUTICAL MILES)
Spend the next few days cruising around the Kornati archipelago. Comprising some 152 islands and islets, the waters are generally deserted and provide some of the most beautiful anchorages in the Mediterranean. A protected national park area, anchor outside the archipelago at Telašćica Bay on Dugi Otok, renowned for being one of the most beautiful anchorages in Croatia. Spend the next few days basking on board and taking the tender to explore the park’s stunning waters.
KORNATI TO VIS (57 NAUTICAL MILES)
Wind your way towards Montenegro, cruising south for a stunning anchorage off the remote island of Vis. Often likened to Capri, complete with its own blue grotto (but without the crowds), the island has a dense interior of vines and olive groves, while much of the coastline is made up of beautiful white sand beaches. Spend your day exploring the island and its famous vineyards.
DAYS 12 & 13
VIS TO DUBROVNIK (110 NAUTICAL MILES)
Rediscover your favorite anchorages as you continue to Dubrovnik for one last dose of Croatian culture. If you didn’t manage to see the walled-cities major attractions first time round, then be sure not to miss the Rector’s Palace, the Romanesque-Gothic Dominican and Franciscan Monasteries and Sponza Palace.
DUBROVNIK TO KOTOR, MONTENEGRO (42 NAUTICAL MILES)
Clear out of Croatia at Cavtat and cruise into Montenegro. Spend the day anchored off Boka Kortoska before coming in to disembark at Porto Montenegro.