Written by Missy Johnston
Part of the charm of sailing away on a luxury yacht cruise is the ability to choose where you want to go and when. But sometimes when you have so many sights to see and a limited time in which to see them, that you might find yourself wishing for a planned itinerary.
Northern Croatia is an area with so much to offer that it’s impossible to experience it all in just one week. However, with a carefully created yacht charter itinerary, you can hit the high points that pique your interest the most and still have time left over to enjoy some hidden gems you didn’t even know were there.
As you’re exploring Northern Croatia by yacht charter, consider this northern Croatia yacht charter itinerary to help you prioritize your travel plans and choose when to move on or when to linger a little while longer to soak up the magic in each particular place.
You can follow this itinerary day by day or use it as a guide; it’s your choice! Visiting these locations in the order below is the best way to maximize cruising efficiency to allow the most time to enjoy all the sights in the area.
Pula Old Town Walking Street, Croatia
Begin day one in the incredible historic city of Pula.
Since the time of the Roman Empire, Pula has been a trade and shipbuilding center of the world. It is from here that Northern Croatia’s best exports get shipped to every corner of the globe so that the whole world can enjoy the riches of its olive oils, honey, seafood, and the delicious truffles for which this area is known.
Stop along the protected harbor’s waterfront and watch expert builders assembling ships before heading toward the Roman Arena for some historical exploration.
A private guide can be arranged at Pula’s Roman Arena or you can just wander among the ruins at your own pace. Helpful signage points out the labyrinthine hallways and rooms where animals were kept and where gladiators prepared for battle under the Arena, an area rarely still intact to this extent in any other Roman Arena still standing. In Pula itself, a private tour guide may be worthwhile for a thorough history of the Roman-built water supply, the sewage system, and the many famed walls and gates such as the Gate of Hercules, the Twin Gates, and the triumphal Arch of Sergi.
Be sure to ask about the executions of Crispus Caesar in 326 AD and Gallus Caesar in 354 AD, both of which happened near this site in Pula.
This oval-shaped arena is the only Roman arena left in the world that still has a complete wall surrounding it. In fact, you can catch a glimpse of what the arena must have looked like in its glory days if you stop by an area undergoing cleaning. Where the grime of pollution, dirt, and the passage of time has been cleared away, the bright white stone wall shines through. The vast arena, made to seat 20,000 spectators in luxurious comfort, must have truly been a spectacular sight for visitors approaching Pula in the heyday of the Roman Empire.
From the arena, venture to Pula Old Town. This town also dates back to Roman times, but it grew during future occupations to become a charming, medieval town with meandering streets perfect for an afternoon walk. The Arch of Sergi, which functions as an entrance to the town, was built in 27 BC as a commemorative monument to the Sergi brothers who fought in the battle where Marc Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by Augustus Caesar, who would go on to become Roman emperor.
This is just a hint of the history you can explore in Pula. This town’s fascinating history extends up to World War II and beyond.
After exploring on land, hop back on board and spend the evening dining on the yacht, swimming, or enjoying any of the water toys at your disposal.
Croatia Istria Motovun Medieval Village
Livade, which is inland, is a land trip for the day into the area of Croatia called Istria, which is known for truffles. In the local forests, join a Truffle Hunting Exhibition to see an experienced Truffle Hunter work his trained dogs to learn more about this age-old vocation handed down from father to son.
If eating the truffles appeals to you more than hunting them, be sure to stop for lunch at Zagante Restaurant. Zagante’s fresh truffle dishes are the perfect start to the afternoon. Follow this with a local tasting of wine, honey, and olive oil, and then seafood for dinner at the Restaurant Viking in Lim Bay where oysters and mussels are grown at shell farms, and wild clams, cockles and scallops are harvested from the waters.
Cres Harbor and Waterfront
The Old Town on the Island of Cres features an abundance of history that rivals Pula. Find architecture and other remnants of various occupations throughout the centuries, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Austro-Hungarians, Italians, and Yugoslavians. Currently under control of Croatia, the island still bears plenty of relics from each of these periods.
The island dates back even further than these empires. It was inhabited during the Paleolithic period and its name predates classical history as we know it, which began around the 8th century BC.
Enjoy the 16th century Venetian Tower, the Arsan Palace and Cres Museum, and the old Roman bridge, among other historic sites, before moving on toward Lubenice for the second part of the day.
High on a cliff above Sveti Ivan beach sits the medieval town of Lubenice. This village is a pleasant hike from the beach, perfect for some afternoon exercise followed by a summertime show put on by Croatian performers during Lubenice Evenings.
If there is a scheduled concert time, it is worth a stop. If not, spend the evening exploring the medieval fortress and city wall ruins on the outskirts of Lubenice.
Anchor overnight to set sail toward Krk Island in the early morning.
Old town of Krk in Croatia
One of the oldest towns found along the Adriatic Sea, Krk City is another place that dates back to prehistoric times and has seen the passage of numerous empires over the millennia.
This means you can spend your morning hours among Roman mosaics, Roman ruins, and an assortment of Croatian and Venetian architectural highlights as well. Visit the Frankopan Castle, home of the Croatian ruling family, and then see the Venetian Cathedral of Mary’s Assumption.
Dining aboard your yacht is always a delightful experience, but be sure to save some room for lunch at the Volsonis Restaurant. Savor some great wines and local cafe foods in this 2000-year-old underground historic site and restaurant complete with two altars to Venus and several ancient, underground towers and rooms to explore. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Rab Island, Croatia
After lunch, have your captain cruise on your luxury yacht charter itinerary to Rab Island for a lovely and relaxing evening.
Established around 360 BC, Rab has been home to Illyrians, Liburnians, and Romans, including Emperor Octavian Augustus.
On Rab are beautiful green landscapes, lush pine and oak forests, and charming sand beaches, made more welcoming by the surrounding mountain ranges that offer protection from cooler winds. This is the perfect spot to relax and stay a while.
If you’re in the mood for more history instead of a day on the beach, Rab won’t disappoint. Old Town features many historic churches, including one that houses a 1000-year old reliquary within its Museum of Sacred Art.
Dropping anchor for an overnight in Rab Town Harbor should round out day four of your charter and have you ready to explore Losinj on day five.
Mali Losinj Harbor, Croatia
Plan a full day here, so you can enjoy the “Sea Captain’s Island” at a leisurely pace. This trade and shipping hotspot exploded in wealth and prosperity during the 1800s and had the largest Adriatic merchant fleet by the end of the century. The sea captains’ homes that line the streets are evidence of the wealth the island attracted during its peak.
Once the proliferation of steam engines and ships rendered the shipping business of Mali Losinj more or less obsolete, the island pivoted toward a focus on health and wellness. Take a bicycle ride through the countryside to breathe in the healing, aromatic scents of the island’s vast herbal crops as you take in the scenery.
You can find herbal soaps, natural fresh herbs, and other herbal remedies to purchase, or you can go for the luxury treatment at a health resort or spa.
Once you’ve had your fill of exploring nature’s healing remedies, dine on board your yacht and relax on the bay.
Brijuni Island, Croatia
Take off in the early morning toward Brijuni National park, and have breakfast on board during the roughly four-hour journey.
The fourteen islands that make up the Brijuni Island chain appear to have been used as vacation destinations by each of their occupying civilizations since the Neolithic period. This is likely because the Brijuni Islands are lush with greenery and picturesque seascapes.
Sail past each island to see Roman villas that still remain along the shore, and then drop anchor to have lunch in the peace and quiet of the national park’s waters. Stay overnight before taking the 70-minute cruise to Rovinj in the morning.
Fishing Boat Harbor, Old Town Rovinj , Croatia
Continuing your luxury yacht vacation in Rovinj brings you to the mainland of Croatia, in an area called Istria. You’ll find that the bay is the perfect place for swimming and enjoying water activities. A trip to shore offers you many fantastic restaurants serving local food and plenty of opportunities for a charming walk down the winding streets.
While many of the locations along your yacht cruise so far have been rich with history, Rovinj was the site of one particular incident that still affects the locals who live there.
In the third century AD, St. Euphemia was tortured at the behest of the Emperor Diocletian and eventually was killed by lions as punishment for refusing to renounce Christianity. A millennium later, in the 1300s, as the martyr’s sarcophagus was being transported to Rome, it is believed that the ship carrying it sank during the journey.
The sarcophagus washed ashore in Rovinj’s harbor. Currently, it is kept in the Church of St. Euphemia in Old Town, where the martyr is recognized as the Patron Saint of Rovinj. The church’s bell tower houses a statue of the saint on top of a wheel. It is easily spotted because it is the highest point in town.
Fishermen abide by St. Euphemia’s guidance even today, as she watches over the town. As the wind signals an incoming storm, the wheel spins toward town and St. Euphemia guides fishermen to go back home. When the weather is clear, the wheel turns back out toward the ocean, and the saint lets her fishermen know it is safe to go to sea.
Enjoy the nightlife in Old Town and overnight on anchor in the bay.
Head back to Pula
From Rovinj, Pula is a convenient twenty nautical miles away. Soak up the last two hours and twenty minutes of your private yacht charter during this sail before disembarking and finishing your Pula luxury yacht charter vacation.
Though the entire journey takes only seven days, it is possible to pack several weeks’ worth of activities into this short time. Make the most of your time on this first trip, so when you return on subsequent vacations you can visit your favorite spots all over again.