Sailing, a good excuse to explore Croatia!
Why not try sailing to explore Croatia? It is a good excuse to discover and enjoy the beautiful bays and can be combined with a little sightseeing around, on & off the boat. Even though this post focuses on the Yacht Week, you have many other routes & companies taking you through the beautiful coasts of Adriatic Sea. Just pick the most suitable one for you.
The Yacht Week is a yearly event held in several countries such as Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Thailand, the British Virgin Islands. The starting point Croatia is the most popular one. As legend has it, a couple of drinking buddies decided to go on a sailing trip in the Mediterranean and posted pictures of their trip to their social media accounts. People were so amazed by their pictures that they asked to join their next sailing trip. A domino effect of people joining & sharing and social media posts soon led to a business venture.
The Yacht Week has both a Black and Red Route that run the same route, 50 boats per route, but starting and ending in opposite directions. Both routes visit the same locations: the islands of Hvar, Vis and Solta. Routes combine in Hvar and visit the other locations on separate days. Recently, there’s also the Croatia Ultra Route that takes place during the Ultra Music Festival.
The nearest airport is Split Airport. Hit two birds with a stone by arriving a day or two earlier not just to get better prices but also to discover Split itself.
One of the major upsides to the Yacht Week is the mind-boggling number of nationalities that join from all over the world; it’s hard not to socialize. United States and Australia seem to take the top and the average age is 27, if you’re wondering.
Basically a typical day on the yacht will be sailing to the next destination with stopovers to swim, relax & some sightseeing, while the nights consist of parties on or off the boats. You’ll witness the coolest pool at the circle raft party where all the boats form a circle and it’s time you enjoy those floaties. Feel the breeze on your face and help your skipper during the regatta in which all the yachts race back to Split. Here’s the fun part; you’re supposed to come up with costume themes! Enjoy that bottle of champagne at the final party if you’re from the winner yacht. Not to forget the afternoon “crew-boat party” packing all attendees onto the deck of one single boat this time; well in fact an old wooden frigate.
Let’s take a look at what you may come across as for sightseeing around:
The stop in Hvar is a good time to re-up on supplies, explore the city, dine at local restaurants, or contribute to the island’s local arts and crafts economy. Also known as the St. Tropez of Croatia, Hvar, is a UNESCO site and a popular summer destination for the rich as it’s quite expensive.
During the 16 & 17th centuries, Hvar was a center for Croatian literature and its architectural and cultural monuments show the artistic traditions of the island. Stari Grad (old town) and Hvar city are two different towns on opposite sides of the island. Hvar is famous for the cultivation of rosemary and lavender which you may smell on the streets.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral dominates a large square of the same name. It stands in place of the former Benedictine monastery of St. Mary of Lesna. The new Renaissance cathedral building was constructed between the 16th and 18th century, dedicated to St. Stephen – the pope, martyr and patron saint of Hvar.
Just behind the famous Hvar promenade on the Fabrika Street, rises St Mark’s Church, former church of the Dominican monastery and nowadays closed for catholic services. The monastery was founded in the 14th century and was eliminated during the French rule in the early 19th century.
With a picturesque setting Vis Island is the farthest inhabited island off the Croatian mainland. Once known for its thriving fishing industry in the late 19 & 20th century, today agriculture and tourism rule. Komiza is the old town on the western tip, separated by the rest of the island by Hum mountain. Famous for its domestic wine vugava and plavac mali, you can hear the klapa-songs from the taverns/ konobas of Vis. Fort George is a 19th century Croatian citadel built by the British during the Napoleonic Wars, which sits high on a peninsula. In recent times, however, after extensive restoration, the fort has been converted into a venue where music, art, and cuisine all come together in perfect harmony. The tropical retro party takes place here.
The Blue Cave is connected to the ocean, making for quite a nice blue light coming in while The Green Cave provides a nice 40ish feet high cliff jump. The water is quite deep so you don’t have to worry about hitting the ocean floor. Try to hit the water with your feet first not to get injured, I've seen some with harsh bruises. The climb up is a bit tricky as the rocks are quite sharp, so watch out your feet. During the cold war The Submarine Tunnel was used as a submarine hideout from Word War II-era. It also provides an opportunity for cliff jumping with a higher altitude (18m) than the Green Cave.
One of the best-preserved fortresses along the Croatian coast is the arrow shaped St. Nicholas Fortress in Sibenik. The Venetians built St. Nicholas Fortress in the 16th century to block maritime Turkish attacks. Its appearance and reputation alone were enough to deter any attackers so no one even tried to test it. The fortress is accessible by a footpath from Sv. Nikola Beach.
Leave a day for Trogir and even arrange your stay here, so you can get to see things on foot. Trogir is a historic town and harbour on the Adriatic coast in Split-Dalmatia County.
The main city square in Trogir, at the site of the Roman forum, dates back to 1300. with the construction of the commune's loggia and the council chamber. The square owes its final Gothic style shape in a number of operations by Matej Gojković, Niccolo di Giovanni, and then by Tripun Bokanić by the mid-15th century.
The new foundations of Cathedral of St Lawrence were blessed at the beginning of the 13th century, over the ruins of an altar consecrated to Hera. The Romanesque cathedral was conceived as a three-nave basilica with a bell tower added onto the forecourt of the cathedral.
On the northern side, the Chapel of St Jerome was built in 1438-1446. The carved and inlaid late Gothic armoire in the sacristy and the embroidered hood of a bishop's pluvial with a depiction of St Martin on a horseback sharing his cloak with the begger are worthy of interest.
A must see within the cathedral of St. Lawrence is the Chapel of St John which is considered the most beautiful Renaissance monument in Dalmatia. In the gallery of statues in the chapel, Duknovic's masterpiece of St John the Evangelist stand out.
The Croatian architect Master sculptor Radovan, the most important sculptor of Croatian medieval art, worked on the cathedral’s gateway; Radovan's portal. Beside the portal, standing on the backs of two lions, stand the figures of our sinful ancestors, Adam and Eve.
St. Sebastian Church was built in the name of St. Sebastian after the deadful plague of 1465, which brought 2000 dead. No longer used for services, this 1476 church shelters stone sarcophagi and the photos of locals killed in the 1990s war. It's topped by a large, blue-faced Renaissance clock.
Town Loggia dating back to the 13th century is a small version of the loggia in Florence. This big relief sculpture on the south wall represents Petar Berislavic, a Croatian viceroy and warrior.
Just opposite the Cathedral is Palace Cipiko from the 13th century, and it represents a beautiful example of Venetian gothic architecture.
Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia with its rugged Dalmatian mountains as a backdrop and the azure Adriatic Sea lapping its shores.
Considered to be one of the most imposing Roman ruins, Diocletian's Palace is certainly the main attraction in the city of Split. Built as a military fortress, imperial residence and fortified town, the palace today is a Unesco World Heritage site. Don’t expect a palace, nor a museum – this is the city's living heart, where people come and sit on some stairs to enjoy the live music that the restaurant Lvxor offers.
Keep in mind:
- You can book the entire boat watching out “gender ratio” on most routes or make use of The Yacht Week crew finder to fill your boat or join one.
- You can either bring your own skipper or have The Yacht Week assign you one. Also you can choose to have a hostess onboard to have someone cook and clean up but hey, you can’t be that lazy right.
- Do your shopping before you sail off.
- Be aware that not everything is included in the price of the yacht. You will have to pay for the gas, marina fees and water taxis.
- Don’t bring too much stuff as big suit cases are not allowed on the yacht!
- No need to mention sunscreen, sunglasses, a light jacket right...
- Ladies leave your high heels at home.
- Waterproof phone case, gopro.
- Country flag.
- Bring along floaties, water guns and water baloons which provide a lot of water fun.
- Remember it will be a small bed, most probably no air conditioning, definitely loud noise, little privacy.
- Try to get to the marinas early on to get a (good) spot not to have to anchor outside the marina, get a water taxi & miss facilities like water and electricity.
- Not all islands have ATMs.
- Get a travel insurance.
Left in awe at the level of organization, I give a big applause to the Yacht Week crew. Friendships, laughters, sun & fun and of course views of Mediterranean ports and azure water won’t disappoint you. Ready to see it for yourself?
Ready to find out more?
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