Croatia: Beyond our expectations

hallie kopaldTravel

Croatia Sailing Vacation in Hvar

Barb Trailer recounts the 2019 Croatia Flotilla

Awe-inspiring history, charming towns, stunning anchorages, crystal-clear water, and genuinely lovely people; the entire Croatia experience was so incredible we are going back next year. Fifty people, mostly from the PNW, met in Marina Agana, Croatia to begin our adventure. The docks were abuzz with excitement as we hit the docks with groceries, jugs of water, supplies, luggage, power adapters, and guide books.

Croatia had already won everyone over with its 16th century castles and lush waterfalls. Experiences like simply laying our hands on ancient stones, soft and smooth from centuries of being touched, were humbling and magical. Another incredible experience: getting our pictures taken with the Roman Guards; we were all awe struck—I still am two months later! I can’t wait to go back to this special place.

We happened to pick up our nine boats on the busiest day of the year. With a weather system on its way and our first Mediterranean mooring looming across unknown waters on unknown boats, anticipation and excitement were at an all-time high. 

Croatia was the perfect place for this. Navigation is fairly easy and mostly line of sight. The harbors are well marked, docks well-tended and managed. Everyone was very helpful, especially for it being the last week of the busy season. 

Cruising in Croatia is ideal both for being at anchor and on the town quay. The anchorages are stunning—small, family-run beach restaurants at the water’s edge; pristine waters for playing in; town quays where you are stern to a charming village and have the freedom to come and go as you please to enjoy restaurants, museums, historic churches, quaint shops, and morning cappuccinos on the dock (which is what I did…every day. Heaven!).  

Croatia seems to have perfected feng shui

It is the perfect blending of ancient cobblestones and old trees, like in Korcula where the castle walls and trees are in perfect harmony to create an idyllic walkway lined with restaurants nestled in between the fortress walls, overlooking the bay…sigh…it’s that gorgeous.

We had perfect weather for touring, beaches, and water sports, although not a lot of wind for causal sailing. We motored to our destinations most days, which led to some epic adventures, paddle boarding, and swimming spontaneously in the middle of the Adriatic. 

During our visit, we either had tons of wind, or none at all. We had one big day of wind that satisfied the heartiest sailors for the entire trip. Others yearned for a little more wind for traveling from ideal place to ideal place, but really, given all considerations, especially docking in a way that was new for everyone, it was perfect.

We made wonderful friends and amazing connections. In Europe there is a big move for preserving maritime heritage in each area, country, and even island. We have been welcomed into that conversation which is beyond my wildest dreams. Croatia will be the theme for the 2020 Wooden Boat Festival with support from friends we made along the way! 

Join us next year, September 19-29, 2020. Details and more photos online at