Written by Missy Johnston
Chartering in Croatia should include the full coastline from Dubrovnik to Venice on a private yacht charter through the myriad of lovely islands and beautiful coastline of this historic land coveted from ancient times to now for the beautiful crystal clear waters filled with fish and shellfish and lovely fertile soil. The mainland and islands of Croatia were where the Greeks and Romans went to vacation and retire to relax surrounded by the extraordinary beauty. Today cruise in the wake of these ancient civilizations and enjoy all that they once did from fresh picked oysters and mussels to beautiful boutique wines, fresh fish, and lovely vine ripened fruits and vegetables. Swim in the blue green waters and enjoy sea kayaking and other water sports in the many anchorages. At the end of your charter glide into Venice just like all seafarers once did; into the Grand Canal and up to St. Marks Square, as a very fitting end to your charter and chartering in Croatia.
Dubrovnik – Venice
Dubrovnik Old Town
Day 1: Board your yacht in Dubrovnik settle in for a lovely lunch on deck. After lunch, visit the spectacular walled city of Dubrovnik. A private guided tour of 2-3 hours is available if wanted. Tours and tour times are flexible and the Captain can coordinate each day with the tour guides in accordance with the guest’s wishes. The tours in Croatia are all walking tours from 1 – 3 hours, depending on the location and the guest’s wishes. The wonderfully preserved 15th Century “Old Town” features ancient buildings, squares, cobbled streets and fountains, all created from the same beautiful cut stone. Visit the historic main square, the priceless collections in the Dominican Monastery, the Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Franciscan Monastery. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site well worth touring. Overnight on anchor and dine under the stars.
Mljet Island, Croatia
Day 2: Leave in the morning for the Island of Mljet. The island was once one of the biggest producers of olive oil in the Med. Odysseus was fabled to have been seduced here by nymphs in Homer’s “The Odyssey”, but it had to be a fable because in real life, he would never have left. Much of this island is a National Park filled with hiking and bicycling trails. After stopping for lunch in a quiet anchorage for a refreshing swim, cruise on to Polace, (literally “palace”) to explore and wander through the ruins of a Roman palace that cut right through this town. Cruising along a long wooded inlet and you could be forgiven for thinking that you were sailing up a Norwegian Fjord. At the end is a protected bay with restaurants including Konoba Ankora, well known for fresh black squid ink risotto? Hike to the large lake and take the National park boat out to the remains of a monastery on a little island. The scenery is beautiful. Relax with dinner on board or ashore.
Korcula Old Town walls and quay
Day 3: Cruise in the morning to Korcula. Awake to breakfast anchored off of Korcula. After breakfast have a private guided tour of approximately 2 hours around the fortified medieval town of Korcula (pronounced KorCHoola) where Marco Polo was born, or wander the town ourselves, it is impossible to get lost. The streets are laid out in a unique plan for better air circulation, and look from above like a fish skeleton. Stop mid-day for a refreshing drink at the cocktail bar at the top of one of the towers, where the drinks arrive by a pulley outside the walls, as the stairs are too steep. If you are lucky, you may hear impromptu Klapa singing.
There are several great wineries across from Korcula on the mainland, or perhaps cruise to the northern end of Korcula island to enjoy a traditional Peka meal at a local farm, with farm grown ingredients. Overnight in a lovely anchorage.
Day 4: Cruise to Hvar Island to Hvar Town. Hvar town is overlooked by a large castle and has the oldest theatre in Croatia (circa 1200). This is where the beautiful people hang out. Enjoy a cocktail at the very chic “Hula Hula” before strolling along the promenade to soak up the atmosphere of Croatia’s Cote d’Azur. Late nighttime entertainment can be found at the Carpe Diem or Carpe Diem beach. The ancients considered Hvar one of the “Isles of the Blessed”. Flower-filled gardens, palms, lemon and orange groves add a fragrance lovely enough to match the visual appeal of this sun-drenched island beauty. Have a private guided walking tour of 1 – 2 hours visiting the theatre of 1506, the Benedictine Monastery, the town square and ancient stone houses. Be sure to hike up to the castle overlooking Hvar Town for a perfect view. Overnight.
Day 4: Cruise to Split. The ancient city of Split was taken from Salona as the metropolis of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The medieval town developed out of the Emperor Diocletian’s palace, which is recorded as a UNESCO – “monument of universal importance”. Other sites to visit include the Peristyle, Jupiter’s Temple and Visesllas’s Baptistery. Explore Diocletian’s Palace alone or with a private tour guide. Stop for lunch at the nearby and excellent Nostromo’s
Split – Diocletian’s Palace
Restaurant, right at the fish market, serving, of course, fresh fish of the day. Cruise in the afternoon to Trogir to overnight.
Day 5: Trogir stands on the foundations of an ancient Greek settlement on a small island connected to the mainland by bridges. This medieval town is a favorite stop, which offers restaurants, markets, and beautiful sights, including the 15th Century Trogir chapel and the 13th Century portal by the master Radovan. Have a private guided tour of 1-2 hours of this lovely little town. The yacht marina is situated on another small island opposite the old city walls, which is an easy walk over a bridge to the old town. Perhaps you might hear Klapa singing in Trogir within the walled area on the island. Across from the island, during the day is a large market place, selling, amongst other items, local honey, and lavender soap.
Day 6: Cruise to Sibenik. Sibenick is the oldest Croatian town on the Adriatic, and is unique because of its extraordinary location in a picturesque and wide bay at the mouth of the River Krka. It lies on the slopes of the hills in the northern part of the bay, surrounded by three fortresses: St.Michael’s, St.John’s and Subicevac. In the old part of the town the houses are made of stone and closely built and the streets are narrow and winding with lots of steps and vaults. This area is easy to see without a guide, just wander the old city and the cathedral is easy to find.
Day 7: After lunch visit cruise up to the Krka National Park to visit the waterfalls on the River Krka. The National Park also includes a re-created village from the 1800’s with craft exhibits. From Sibenick cruise up to the mouth of the Krka River to anchor, perhaps stopping at a shell farm on the way to purchase fresh oysters and mussels. On arrival at the base of the Krka River, transfer to the National Park river boats to cruise up the Krka River to the Krka National Park to see the extensive water falls. There are hiking trails throughout and around the falls. Stop at the re-created village from the 180’s to see how the locals harnessed the power of the waters to create a clothes washing machine. In the afternoon cruise to the Kornati Island Archipelago, enjoying a lovely quiet anchorage to overnight.
Krka Falls National Park
Day 8: The beautiful Kornati Islands are also a National Park. On his visit to these islands, George Bernard Shaw wrote “On the last day of the Creation God desired to crown his work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath”. While very sparsely inhabited now, the Kornati Islands have been home to various civilizations for many thousands of years including remains to be seen from the Neolithic Period. Libernians inhabited the islands during the Iron Age as well as the Romans much later, and remains for these civilizations can be found scattered amongst the islands in the archipelago. There are a great number of lovely anchorages from which to choose, and snorkeling and swimming in the waters of this island group is excellent. Overnight.
Day 9: In the morning cruise to Pasman Island, one of many in the Zadar Island Group. This island group has crystal clear waters and sandy beaches. The sea currents here change every 6 hours, making these waters some of the cleanest in the Adriatic. On shore there are vineyards, aromatic herbs and olive trees. Spend a relaxing day exploring, swimming, wandering the shoreline, or visiting the Benedictine Monastery. If interested in history, perhaps a visit to the mainland town of Zadar to wander the Old Town. Overnight.
Coastal town of Rovinj
Day 10: Cruise to Brijuni, to enjoy the Brijuni National Park. Here there are beautiful forests and meadows in an area that was once a favorite holiday resort area for the wealthy elite. In the tranquility of the island of Vanis, is an 18 hole golf course. After lunch, play a round of golf and then it is back to the yacht for dinner on board, and perhaps a lovely swim. Overnight on anchor.
Day 11: Cruise to Rovinj, located on a large bay on the Istrian Peninsula. An active fishing port, residents of Rovinj speak Croatian and Italian, as this town and surrounding area was once a part of Italy
from 1918 to 1947. Explore Rovinj, and enjoy this city with its very Italian influence. Relying on tourism as its main economy, bars, restaurants, art galleries and shops stay open very late in Rovinj in the summer season. The nearby Lim Estuary is rich in fish and shellfish farms providing Rovinj restaurants with ample fresh fish, oysters and mussels.
Black truffle mushrooms
Day 12: While Rovinj is interesting in its own right, the area and forests around Rovinj is beautiful and home to many wineries, olive oil production farms, and truffle hunting. Many restaurants in the area feature local Istrian dishes with black and white truffles, even truffle ice cream. A half day of truffle hunting can be arranged in the surrounding woods, coupled with a visit to a working olive oil farm to see the production of olive oil and enjoy an olive oil tasting, perhaps with a visit in the late afternoon to a local winery for a wine tasting coupled with appropriate tidbits. Overnight.
Day 13: Leave early for Pula, a location that represents a very fine combination of the old and modern city where many famous writers and composers have found inspiration for their masterpieces. Many cultural and historical monuments dominate its panorama and represent today the unique setting of various cultural and artistic events. Have a private guided tour of 2-3 hours at your leisure. Tourist facilities are located outside the town in woods close to the sea. Beaches stretch along 100 km of beautifully and indented coastline. The area of Pula is magnificent, with country stone houses and buildings of modern architecture. Customs clearance out of Croatia. Overnight cruise to Venice.
Day 14: Awake to the sights and sounds of Venice. After clearing into Italy, tie up at the quay just down from St. Marks Square. Late morning have a private water taxi pickup with your private guide to the island of Torecello for lunch at the famous restaurant Locanda Cipriani, owned by the same family that owns and operated Harry’s Bar in Venice. After lunch continue on with your guide to the island of Murano, home of the famous Murano glass factories creators of Venetian glass for centuries. If there is time, you may also want to stop at the island of Burano where the famous Venetian Lace is made. Return to your yacht for a special dinner under the stars while taking in the essence of Venice and St. Marks Square in the moonlight shadows of one of the most romantic cities in the world. An after- hours private visit to St. Mark’s Cathedral can be arranged if the cathedral is not in other use to see the extraordinary gold mosaic ceilings highlighted by spotlights. Wander the many walking streets of Venice, you can’t get lost.
Day 15: Disembark in Venice.