When it comes to yachting vacation in Croatia or Adriatic in general, the choice for a regular weekly or fortnightly sailing, in particular non powerboat cruise, is quite large.
One can choose from a huge number of marinas and itineraries in Zadar, Sibenik and Split region alone, where 500 islands and islets are found within 50nm radius (Zadar archipelago) or where circumnavigating one island (Korcula, Vis, Hvar or Brac within Split archipelago) can be a one week sailing cruise on its own. However, if you embark on a longer term or one way sailing yacht charter starting in Dubrovnik and ending in Istria for example, you can indeed choose some of the best islands for any type of occasion, adventure or holiday.
Starting in the North, Mali LOSINJ is one of the secret gems for sure. A year round island with excellent climate and cleanest air, many are certain this special island is best for nature based revitalisation, well managed walks and exploratio of fabulous nature. One of the best, uplifting activities are dolphin watching. The local Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Coservation on Losinj runs dolphin-watching boat trips (from ca. 45 Euros) and you are bound to see them summersault into the sea during the trip. This fabulous society also protects thee joyful creatures and issues splendid certificates for children as a form of ideal present. After your breakfast, you can wander through the islands rare aromatic garden which is planted with medical herbs such as mint and lemon verbena before sailing around to indulge in the local spa on the same afternoon.
Only a day sail away, you will come across another one of rarely visited but spectacular islands. With most of the Croatian Adriatic coastline covered with rugged cliffs and sharp pebbles, sailors who hit the Rab island are positively surprised when discovering many sandy beaches. Here however, in particular on the Northern side of the Rab Island, you can anchor for days at the hugely popular Paradise beach. Almost two kilometres of sandy beach with suitable sunbeds and palm fringed walks are located in this wide, yet shallow bay. Another one, called Sahara thanks to its desert like sand, is even quiter and more ideal for yachtees for sure. Apart from other few hidden anchorages, almost on the Southern side of the island there is also a Pudarica beach which provides direct views to the capital of the island, the medivial Rab Town with its four elegant bell towers where you should seek a more permanent shelter and spend days on end shopping, relaxing, people watching and dining.
Following days of toping up on your suntan by sunbathing in locations rarely visited by other yacht charter crews, you can start to hit secluded archipelago of Kornati islands. Most certainly, this is the true yachting paradise and a location best for escapism where mass tourism simply does not exist and where only sailing enthusiasts can feel at home. With around 140 islands in the area, of which around 90 are totally deserted, you can explore the blissfully wild islets, rocks and numerous secluded bays inviting just you and your crew to stay overnight. Best of all, there are a good dozen of special, privately owned restaurants which open only for the summer season and as a rule of thumb, only serve the catch of the day or fresh lamb meat and home grown vegetables. The menu does not exist in these eateries, it is all agreed on the day so do find best anchoring spot and dinghy out to the reception to agree the time and sort of lunch or dinner you wish to have. Staying here days on end is likely to be on your schedule so enjoy it while it last as such a paradise on Earth is not easy to find.
And while you are making your way down South most likely seeking top entertainment, glamour, partying or simply more adventure, heading initial to Island of BRAC is the way to go. Known to be best for windsurfing and adventure sports in general, you should not miss out a visit to Bol. Difficult to access in terms of anchorage or overnight stay due to strong winds and limited mooring facilities, this is a location where you should be active and ready to sail away as and when needed. On top of windsurfing, sailing or racing indeed, you can also hike or cycle through islands hilly interior, where rugged rocky peaks provide superb views down on to the deep blue Adriatic. The thick oak and pines woods will provide both necessary shade and lovely fresh air to breath in. When exhausted and keen on a more cultural or historical insight into local culture, the island of Korcula is the one to go to. Place where Marco Polo is apparently born, here you can sample excellent wines too.
Best known varieties are certainly Grk and Posip, almost unknown in the North America or even in many parts of Europe. Here however, they are the prime sorts of drink, cultivated here more than 18 centuries now. And just across on the mainland, you can also sample the dark red Dingac, one of the best European red wines. Once you have stocked up on your favourite wine, it is finally time to hit the island of Hvar. This is the place to see and to be seen wit port of Hvar and its hilltop castle a sight to behold. The celebrities and royals from across the world come here for their summer holidays with the town of Hvar drawing in both young and stylish crowds throughout the night and day.
The town of Hvar is one of the trendiest places in Croatia and it invites visitors thanks to beautiful climate, amazing architechture, amazing smell of lavender fields and very special beach clubs which dot the emerald-green bays around the port of Hvar and within the neighbouring Pakleni Archipelago. Visitors such as A-list celebrities from Hollywood and Pop scene are targets of major gossip magazines each summer. This in turn attracts the newly rich and famous with their own superyachts and fast tenders many of which get in and out of the port on a minute by minute basis. Carpe Diem beach bar is the one to go to so make sure you do spend at least a few days, over a sunny weekend in July or August amongst these beautiful and glamorous sites.
In the next few days, sailing further South for some more escapism around National Park Mljet and Elafiti should slowly take you closer to the end of your charter. Visiting Dubrovnik where the combination of city living, highest end cultural events, top festivals and best yachting lifestyle locations is visible everywhere. Some yachting charter crews will also want to visit lovely historic town of Cavtat or even head further South to Montenegro and its mesmerisingly beautiful fjord of Kotor.
Whatever you do when enjoying a long term yacht charter in the Adriatic, do not forget that one way sailing is only one of the options. You may namely fall in love with one or the other scenery so that coming back is most certainly going to appeal you. Avoiding one way boat rental therefore is to be seriously considered.