I first sailed the Dalmatian coast of Yugoslavia in 1969, before it became the cruising destination it is today. This past September I went back with a group of 10 on a family heritage trip, visiting the island of Hvar, my wife’s grandfather’s birthplace.
Instead of a sailboat, this time we booked cabins on an 85’ Croatian-built steel ship out of Split, carrying 30 passengers and 30 bicycles, and billed as an active boating and biking trip. The ship was seaworthy, the food wonderful, the crew fantastic, and the biking superb and challenging with long steep climbs and fast winding downhill runs. The weather was 85 degrees and sunny, the terrain dry and rocky. The scenery included lavender and purple grapes, limestone quarries, old red tile roofed villages, and Roman-era castles and palaces.
As cruising guide books will tell you, the winds in the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas are light and variable during the summer months, which proved to be true. We saw many charter catamarans and monohulls sailing in the light morning and late afternoon breezes, and motoring during the heat of the day. Good anchorages and overnight docking places abound, the walking is easy around the ports, and bicycles are found for rent in many places.
The waters of Croatia are a special color of turquoise, the temperature was perfect for swimming, and the pebbly beaches offer easy access to the water. We swam almost every day.
As with most sailing destinations in the world, the most interesting things to see and do are on land, related to the area’s history, culture, food, art, and people; Croatia is no exception. Read up on its fascinating history before you go!
Croatia is hard not to fall in love with, and I can’t wait to go back.
We’re heading to Croatia September 21 – October 1, 2019. We hope you’ll join the flotilla! Learn more here.