Written by Missy Johnston
Day 1: Board your charter yacht in Dubrovnik and cruise to Sipanska Luka, a delightful little village with an old quay to moor against. It is a lovely walk up the hill to a church where you can see for miles around. Overnight on anchor.
Mljet Ruins of the Palace in Polace
Day 2: 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”, but it had to be a fable because in real life, he would never have left. Anchor in front of the village of Polace surrounded by the National Park. (literally “palace”) Ashore you can see the ruins of a Roman palace right in the village. Enjoy lunch on board and a refreshing swim.
First identified geographically by Greco-Roman historians, the island of Mljet was popular during Roman times as referred to in various ancient texts as Melite or Melita. In later centuries, Mljet came under the rule of the Benedictine Order, with a monastery built in the 12th century on an islet in what was then a freshwater lake. In the 16th century, the monastery was the center of the Mljet Congregation, a gathering of all of the Benedictine Monastic Orders in the Republic of Ragusa. By the early 1800’s the Benedictine importance had waned and the monastery was disbanded.
In the afternoon perhaps head ashore and rent bicycles to cycle on the National Park roads, and be sure to cycle over the hill to take the park boat to the little island to explore the abandoned monastery. Return back on board to clean up for dinner ashore at one of the many restaurants ringing the harbor in the tiny town of Polace. The Captain is sure to have a favorite restaurant. Black squid ink risotto is a favorite here in Mljet. Overnight on anchor.
Korcula Old Town
Day 3: In the morning cruise to the Orebic area to anchor in front of Korta Katarina Winery which makes an award winning red wine made from grapes grown on the Peljesac Peninsula. Come ashore by ship’s tender and walk up to the winery for a wine tasting just before lunch and a brief tour of the winery. After cruise to the islands just off of Korcula Old Town anchoring off of Otok Vrnik for lunch and a swim. After lunch cruise to Old Town, Korcula, and come in stern to on the quay to overnight.
Head ashore to 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, as the stairs are too steep. The whole of Korcula Old Town is surrounded by 14th century medieval thick stone walls including towers that were used for defense of the town during past centuries. The inside of the walled area, which was built on an oval shaped raised area of ground was built with a main walkway along the highest area of the ground with small walkways off to either side, so that the interior area outlay of roads is often referred to as a fish skeleton. This layout of the town in a somewhat herringbone pattern allowed free air circulation but protected all inside from the strong local winds. The interior streets are all walking streets and are all stepped, which further retains the Old Town for pedestrian traffic only. Inside the Old Town are shops, restaurants, cafes and a museum in the house said to be the original home of Marco Polo.
Have your Captain call in advance for reservations at Konoba Maha outside of Korcula Old Town and reserve your Peka Bell meals. This restaurant requires a taxi but is in a lovely old building in the countryside and is a treat. Perhaps on returning to town head back into Old Town for night life. Overnight on the quay in Korcula.
Day 4: In the morning cruise to the Pakleni Islands to anchor for lunch and enjoy swimming and using the water toys. After cruise into 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. Head ashore to explore, perhaps walking up to the castle ruins overlooking the town for a great photo op. Visit the theatre of 1506, the Benedictine Monastery, the town square and ancient stone houses. There are good shops and boutiques in Hvar Town, and along the water are little kiosks with lavender products as this is the island that grows most of the lavender in Croatia. Return to the yacht to get ready for a night on the town. Ask your Captain to make dinner reservations at a restaurant that he recommends or if you want to splurge there is always Garuful Restaurant, with great views of the harbor.
To begin the evening, enjoy cocktails at sundown at Hula Hula bar, then walk into town, perhaps shopping a bit before dinner and then enjoy your dinner reservation. After dinner stroll along the promenade to soak up the atmosphere of Croatia’s Cote d’Azur. 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. Or have an after dinner drink at one of the cafes lining the main town piazza. At 12:00midnight Carpe Diem opens up along with Carpe Diem Beach for nightclub fun all night long. In front of Carpe Diem are tenders for Carpe Diem Beach across the harbor. And whenever bed calls, call your crew to pick you up, they are always available. Overnight on anchor.
Komiza quay with Lobster Traps
Photo Credit Missy Johnston
Day 5: After breakfast, cruise to the island of Vis into the harbor of Komiza, where Tito hid from the Germans during WW2 and where there are two excellent restaurants serving fresh fish, and more importantly, lobster, which are fished for by the locals. The harbor is very clean, so jump in for a swim. Ashore there is much to see and do. In the Gradina area are remnants of the ancient Greek town if Ussa. On the small Pirovo promontory are remains of a Roman theatre and thermal baths. This is a great island for hiking and also for WWII history. After WWII ended, this island was used as a military base and was closed to everyone until 1989, at which point all of the British and local military picked up and left, leaving all behind. Today WWII tours are available on the island including submarine bunkers, and the cave where Tito hid. And military equipment can be seen just rusting in the fields. In the early evening, explore the town of Komiza, ending with dinner reservations made by the Captain at Konoba Bako on the edge of town, for, what else, local lobster. Overnight on anchor.
Gulin Farm Peka Bell Cooking
Photo Credit Missy Johnston
Day 6: A morning sail returns you back to the island of Korcula to the other end from where Old Town is located to the little port of Vela Luka, for a Homested Peka Bell meal at Gulin Farm with Klapa singing after by the men of the family. This is traditional Dalmatian Cookery, where food is cooked under a cast iron bell on top stone well heated by a fire, with the fire ash piled on top of the peka bell after it is lowered over the food which is placed under the bell to cook with local wild herbs. Everything served at Gulin Farm is raised, made or grown on the farm, or fished from the waters in front of the farm. And after the meal of fish and meat, the male family members will provide a demonstration of Klapa singing, a Dalmatian age old acapella form of singing traditional folk songs, that has been passed down through families for centuries, with each family member learning their part depending on the pitch of their voice.
After lunch, cruise to the Lastovo Archipelago, a beautiful little group of islands to overnight, and enjoy relaxing, and swimming in the lovely water and have dinner on board. Anchor overnight.
Lastovo Town Chimney Pots
Day 7: In the morning cruise to the town of Lastovo on the main island of Lastovo. A military island until 1992, Lastovo was out of bounds to civilians and thus is completely undeveloped and spectacularly pretty. The lovely anchorage is well protected. A very quiet island where few visit, Lastovo is Croatia from decades ago. Head ashore where traditional stone buildings abound, all topped by terracotta chimney pots that seem to be mainly in use on this island, with more ornate chimney pots heralding the wealth of the occupants of the building that the pots sit atop.
Return back on board to cruise out to another part of the Lastovo Archipelago, all of which is a large national park and is one of the largest marine protected areas in Croatia. Enjoy lunch on anchor and swimming and after lunch cruise to the small town of Ston for dinner ashore in Mali Ston at Bota Sare with reservations made by the Captain. The restaurant will send a bus to pick everyone up for dinner and return all to the yacht after. Bota Sare has its own oyster shell farm for very fresh oysters and mussels, grown in the special brackish waters of Ston Bay, known for a special mineral content creating very flavorful shellfish. The recipes at Bota Sare were passed down through generations, wood fire cooking is featured, and their vegetables and olives for their olive oil is grown on their own land. Overnight on anchor.
Day 8: Leave early am to return to Dubrovnik to disembark.
Old Town Dubrovnik