Europe’s answer to the Caribbean
The Adriatic Sea lies between the Italian and Balkan peninsulas in southern Europe, bordered mainly by Italy and Croatia and feeding into the Mediterranean. The Adriatic is home to over a thousand islands of all shapes and sizes, of which 66 are inhabited. Both coasts and many of the islands offer stunning landscapes and a multitude of exciting destinations for travellers.
Exploring the Adriatic see by boat is one of the best ways to ensure as many sights as possible can be absorbed and experienced. Split is Croatia’s second-largest city and serves as an ideal starting point for an ocean adventure in the Adriatic. Starting a yacht charter in Split region and heading up the eastern coast of the Adriatic takes in much of the beautiful Croatian coastline, with the opportunity for a quick stop in Slovenia before navigating the western coast and shores of Italy. Coming back around, the southern reaches of the east coast border Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, before returning to beautiful Croatia and its many spectacular islands.
Island Hopping in Croatia
Croatia is home to leagues of sparkling clear ocean waters, splendid sandy beaches, and fabulous unspoiled coastlines, with multiple islands to explore just off the main body of land. The most celebrated islands lie in the waters between Split and Dubrovnik, so those who are planning a shorter trip may want to consider this area.
Starting a Croatian yacht charter in Split and heading south towards Dubrovnik means passing some of the region’s most exquisite islands, many of which can be visited and explored.
Hvar is one of the largest islands in Croatia and is renowned for attracting the rich and famous. Regular visits from the glamorous jet-setting crowd ensure there are a plethora of luxurious villas, hotels, boutiques and restaurants in the town centre. However, there are also many more modest areas to visit, steeped in tradition and ancient culture. Hvar is home to many prominent winemakers offering tasting tours alongside delicious local dishes including oysters fresh from the ocean.
Vis is the furthest inhabited island from the mainland of Croatia and was out of bounds to tourists from 1950 until 1989, when it served as the National Army base for Yugoslavia. The result of limited visitors for many years is a spectacular unspoiled landscape, with numerous secluded beachy enclaves dotting the coastline. The main attractions lie in the two towns of Vis and Komiža, while the blue cave of Biševo just off-shore is must-see.
Rab is the antithesis of Hvar, with a rustic charm and ramshackle appearance. The town is a sprawling patchwork of soaring church towers and cream walls topped with terracotta roofs, while the beaches are sheltered from the ocean winds by a series of tall ridges. Rab is best known for its summer festival, when the locals take to the streets and the whole island becomes one big party. It also has a tradition of being accommodating to nudists in several areas, ideal for those that enjoy the tradition of nudist beaches along many stretches of the Caribbean.
The island of Korčula is a definite must-see on any wine-lover’s list. Famous for producing crisp white wines from the endemic posip grapes, Korčula has a rustic feel to it, with vineyards, woodlands and multiple hamlets dotting the island, with a more friendly fauna than many Caribbean areas. Despite being the second-most populated Croatian island, the inhabited regions of Korčula are so spread out that is feels like a secret.
Lovers of adventure sports will want to make a stop at Dugi Otok in the Dalmatian islands. Dugi Otok means long island and is a long sliver of dramatic natural beauty. Soaring cliffs and stunning woodlands make this island an ideal spot for climbing, cycling and trekking, while the crystalline waters surrounding the island are perfect for scuba diving and easily as picturesque as those in the Caribbean. The south-eastern region of Dugi Otok is one of Croatia’s most beautiful National Parks.
Nature lovers have plenty to get excited about in the Croatian region of the Adriatic. Dugi Otok is by no means the only area with a National Park – both Krka and Sibenik are dazzling, Sibenik is home to awe-inspiring waterfalls splashing down into serene pools of turquoise waters perfect for cooling off on a hit day.
Split and Dubrovnik
The two key cities on this stretch of the Croatian coastline are Split and Dubrovnik. Each makes an excellent starting or finishing point for a yacht charter but even if they are not the goal, including them in an itinerary is a decision that will not be regretted. Choosing the right time for a Dubrovnik yacht charter is essential, as when the large cruise ships are docked the streets can become impossibly crowded. However, outside of these times the city has much to offer, including some of the best restaurants in the country.
Split is steeped in history and features stunning architecture as far as the eye can see, with ancient cathedrals and palaces at every turn. The waterfront at Riva rivals any Caribbean port, with quaint bars and restaurants overlooking the waters.
The Mediterranean climate means the Adriatic Sea is warm enough to sail year-round, without the overwhelming summer heat of the Caribbean to contend with.