Written by Missy Johnston
This Croatia Gulet Itinerary from Kotor, Montenegro to Split Croatia, is a terrific one week itinerary to enjoy the highlights of both Montenegro and Croatia on a typical charter yacht available in Croatia, the Croatian Gulet. Gulets are large, usually wooden motorsailors, that are very wide with a large amount of interior living space and wide open decks providing a lot of onboard deck space. While there are masts and sails, because Gulets are heavy and wide, usually the sails, if ever raised are used to steady the yacht, and the engines are used to move the yacht from place to place. A Gulet should really be viewed as a large comfortable platform with a lot of interior and deck space from which to enjoy the Croatian islands and coast that moves mainly under engine power. Because Gulets are built of wood, they usually have beautifully varnished wooden interiors, with high overheads, and large ensuite bathrooms. Gulets are a great pricing value usually with at least 4 crew for full service including a private Chef. Although Gulets move under engine power, the engine speed is often no more than 10 miles an hour, which means that the itinerary should be carefully considered to assure that the highlights of the area can be seen on an itinerary that does not require long cruising periods. The following itinerary was organized specifically for a charter on board a Croatian Gulet.
The Bay of Kotor, one of the few fjords in the region, is truly memorable. With roots dating back to the site of a 3rd-century Roman military outpost, the fortress city of Kotor was a Byzantine stronghold in the 6th century; today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A walking tour takes in the great Romanesque cathedral of St. Tryphon and the Naval Museum, housed in an 18th-century Baroque palace. After exploring Kotor and the city walls behind the walled city, cruise to a lovely anchorage to overnight, perhaps in front of the historic village of Perast.
Day Two: After breakfast, cruise down the lovely fjord to Dubrovnik, about 40 nautical miles to clear through customs and get ready to visit the spectacular walled city of Dubrovnik after lunch on anchor, or enjoy lunch ashore in Dubrovnik in one of the many fine restaurants. The wonderfully preserved 15th Century “Old Town” also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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. Cruise to a secluded anchorage for dinner on deck under the stars.
Day Three: Leave early 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”. Swim and have lunch at a little secluded bay and then on to cruise along a long wooded inlet, part of a national park. At the end is a protected bay where Polace, (literally “palace”) is located. Head ashore for dinner to explore the ruins of a Roman palace located right in town perhaps enjoying great Black Squid Ink Risotto at Ankora Konoba, However first relax in this lovely little anchorage and perhaps enjoy another swim.
The Franciscan monastery of Our Lady of Mercy on the isle of Visovac, aerial view
Day Four: In the morning explore the National Park around Polace, enjoying the hiking trails on foot or on bicycles rented from one of the rental shops in Polace. Be sure to visit Visovac Lake, and take the National Park boat over to explore the little island with the remains of a monastery and church. In the afternoon head to Korcula to anchor in the beautiful little islands off of Korcula for a relaxing swim. Overnight on anchor.
Korcula Island, Croatia
Day Five: In the morning cruise to Korcula and head ashore for a walk around the fortified medieval town of Korcula (pronounced KorCHoola) where Marco Polo was born. Have a drink at the cocktail bar at the top of one of the towers, where the drinks arrive by a pulley outside the walls. Within the house where Marco Polo is said to have been born is a small museum. Enjoy wandering the streets of this little walled city, with a unique layout meant to block and yet still funnel winds through to keep the city fresh. For lunch perhaps over to the mainland for a Rural Homested lunch at Gulin Farm. Reservations required. The peninsula mainland right across from the island of Korcula is famous for wineries with wines, especially red wines created from grapes grown in the soil of this peninsula. Perhaps in the afternoon enjoy a winery visit to Korta Katerina said to make one of the best red wines in Croatia.
Hvar Town, Croatia
Day Six: 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. This is one of the sunniest locations in all of Croatia and the Stari Grad plain is a UNESCO World Heritage location. Explore the town, perhaps hiking up to the castle for great photos. A guide can also be organized for a private walking tour. This is a great island on which to bicycle as the ancients considered Hvar one of the “Isles of the Blessed”. Bicycle guided tours are also available. Flower-filled gardens, palms, lemon and orange groves add a fragrance lovely enough to match the visual appeal of this sun-drenched island beauty. Visit the theatre of 1506, the Benedictine Monastery, the town square and ancient stone houses. At night the main square comes alive with a busy café life, until around midnight, when the night club Carpe Diem opens, along with Carpe Diem Beach on a nearby islet. Enjoy a cocktail at the very chic Hula Hula Bar before strolling along the promenade to soak up the atmosphere of Croatia’s Cote d’Azur. Overnight in a quiet anchorage.
Trogir Bridge from Old City
Day Seven: Leave early for Rogac, a hamlet of the village of Grohote on the northern coast of the island of Solta. In the port there is a citadel dating back to the 17th century. The church of St. Therese has an altarpiece with the portrait of the donor from 1749. The cove of Banje features the remains of a Roman fishpond. Or perhaps head to Masclinica for an upscale lunch at the Martinis-Marchi Restaurant at the Martinis-Marchi Hotel built inside an old monastery. In the afternoon head to the historic town of Trogir to overnight. Wander this lovely medieval walled city through the many walking streets visiting the little shops and boutiques and enjoy dinner ashore or on board.
Day Eight: Early in the am head to Split, to disembark at 9:00am. The ancient city of Split was taken from Salona as the metropolis of the Roman province of Dalmatia. After disembarking, visit the medieval town of Split that grew right within the ruins 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. These ruins were converted in medieval times from pagan to then current religious use. A great location for lunch is the upscale restaurant Nostromo located right next to the Split seafood market (reservations required0, as through the kitchen doors go the best of the day’s catch each morning.