The time of year has arrived when sailing enthusiasts swarm to Croatia to spend a week on the water, letting the maestral winds guide you to unexplored bays, quaint fishing villages and a heap of onshore activities. With over 1,000 islands dotting the Croatian coastline, choosing an ideal sailing route can be a challenge.
Beyond the port of Split are a handful of islands which can all be reached within a day and with a week at your disposal, you will have plenty of time for new discoveries in between trimming the sails and controlling the helm. Let’s embark on a Dalmatian journey.
Saturday : SPLIT
You probably won’t be able to hop on board until after 15:00 as that’s the customary earliest check-in time for charters, so why not use that to your advantage and discover beautiful Split before bobbing to sleep in the ACI Marina west of town? A stroll through the labyrinthine Diocletian Palace at the edge of the waterfront in Split is a must; the 1,700-year-old UNESCO Heritage Site is the breathing lift of the city with remarkable monuments, cafés, restaurants, shops, and homes tucked tightly within its thick walls. Get a lesson on Dalmatia’s indigenous wines at Paradox Wine & Cheese Bar (Tina Ujevića 2) so you can understand the wines lists on your island journey, or have a hearty countertop meal at Villa Spiza (Kružićeva 3) as you sit shoulder-to-shoulder with local city-dwellers. Meander along the Riva waterfront and the sparkling new West Coast promenade, leading you to your floating home for the night.
Sunday & Monday: MILNA, BRAČ ISLAND
Wake up and just take it easy, Pomalo they say here, put together a brekky to enjoy in the cockpit and slowly sail out in time for the favourable maestral breeze to kick in around noon. Follow the compass south towards the Gateway to Split, the narrow opening between the island of Šolta and Brač. Within the gateway is the little islet of Mrduja, marking the opening of the deep bay of Milna on the island of Brač, the biggest of the Dalmatian islands. Take refuge for a few days in Milna, a quaint village with a heap of berthing places and a starting point to your onshore exploration of a continent waiting to be discovered.
Select Croatia will sort you out with a custom 2-day itinerary between your swims in secluded bays. Not-to-miss is Škrip, the island’s oldest settlement, the 16th century Blaca Hermitage built on the edge of a cliff by Glagolitic priests, the humble Senjković Winery in Dračevica before nibbling on bizarre island bites such as vitalac, lamb’s innards on a spit, or dormouse (puh in Croatian) and Bročki spuži snails in the Kopačina Tavern in Donji Humac. On your second day on Brač, decend to Pucišca, a settlement dedicated to the island’s quarrying traditions with a stonemason school and a heap of stone sculptures around town. After a history lesson, laze on the famed Zlatni Rat beach peering out in the Adriatic before sipping on local wines in the state-of-the-art Stina Winery in Bol.
Tuesday: STARI GRAD, HVAR
Release the mooring and take an easy sail to the island of Hvar, Croatia’s sunniest island and opt for the quieter Stari Grad rather than the glitzy and bustling Hvar Town. Stari Grad is an ancient settlement dating back to 384 BC and dotting its picturesque Riva-front are a growing number of art shops, charming cafes and restaurants. Try the island’s famed gregada in Antika, a fish stew concoction, which is shaken, not stirred before making it to the Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO-protected landscape with a 2,400-year agricultural history. Take a trip to Jelsa, a charming village east of Stari Grad and visit the Duboković Winery and taste the result of 2,718 hours of sun in a bottle before tasting the 100% Hvar-based Il Forito cocktail in the Mojito Cocktail Bar.
Wednesday: KOMIŽA, VIS
Start out early from Stari Grad to get to Vis, the most remote of the Dalmatian islands and its previous status as a military base during Yugoslavia meant it was largely isolated for 50-years. Therefore, Vis has remained untouched by tourism and is a gem waiting to be discovered. Sail into Komiža, an ancient fishing village with traditional Falkuša boats with tangled fishing nets bobbing along the harborfront. This place oozes with charm and a simple stroll along town will make you fall in love immediately but a really cool way to get to know the island is with a top-secret military tour of Tito’s mysterious tunnels and army installations that Select Croatia plan, marked off with a traditional peka roast at Roki’s in Vis’ interior.
Thursday: PAKLENI ISLANDS, HVAR
It’s time to make your way back towards Split with a few pit-stops enroute. First, throw your anchor in Palmižana on the St. Klement island, one of the gems of the Pakleni archipelago across Hvar Town. This is a botanical haven that has been nurtured for more than a century by the Meneghello family and a swim in this crystal clear bay, visited by the elite, is simply magical before sharing a pot of scampi in Toto’s.
After drying up on deck, grab a taxi boat that takes you to swanky Hvar town for a stroll amongst eight centuries of architecture and find you’re a spot to eat in the backstreets of St. Stephen’s Square.
Friday: ŠEŠULA BAY, ŠOLTA
Before berthing back at the marina in Split, make a stopover on the olive-draped island of Šolta for a dip in the uninhabited Šešula Bay and a bite to eat at Šišmiš just above. This serene bay marks a perfect ending to a magical week on the azure Adriatic. Spend the night on board in Split and disembark Saturday morning.
Welcome back to Split. Where will you go next..?