THE LOWDOWN ON ALL THE STOPS ON YACHTLIFE CROATIA
So you’ve decided to join one of our legendary YachtLife Croatia tours? Congratulations: you’re in for one hefty summertime blowout of deck-top beers and sun-splashed beaches, raucous DJ parties, wild swimming sessions in the sparkling waters of the Adriatic, historic towns crowed with Byzantine castles, endless sunbathing sessions, soaring coastal mountains – the list goes on! And that’s not even mentioning the top people you’re bound to meet along the way, from the onesie-touting partiers to the free-thinking backpackers to the fun-loving tour leaders courtesy of LBW’s dedicated team.
To give you a better idea of just what it is you’ve got yourself into, we’ve put together this lowdown of all the top spots from the YachtLife Croatia tour. With a little more detail than our trip itineraries, it should help give you a feel for some of the awesome places you’re going to see, whether that’s the historic streets of Split or the pine-dressed interior of rugged Vis isle, the blue-hued caves of the Adriatic or the swish cocktail joints of Hvar. Bon voyage!
Our much-loved embarkation point is also one of the most beautiful cities in all of Croatia. The whole town is a breathtaking good looker to say the least, found cascading down the pine-clad ridges of Marjan hill on its very own peninsular. For thousands of years it has been the epicentre of the Dalmatian region. Examples of its rich history await on virtually every corner too. There are the great arched gateways and cobbled alleys of the Palace of Diocletian; a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most immersive Roman ruins outside of Italy. There are 2000-year-old temples converted to pretty Byzantine churches. There are haunting Jewish cemeteries and Parisian palazzos. But Split isn’t just a museum piece! No way. It’s fronted by the uber-cool Riva promenade, where palm trees sway in the sea breezes and bars and cafes spill onto the slabs just meters from bobbing millionaire yachts (ours will be one!). And there are countless coves and hidden beaches peppering the coastline to the north and south, which is where we sail on our second day, down towards the gorgeous mountainous shoreline of Dalmatia.
The gateway to the Makarska Riviera, this beautiful little coastal town just a day’s sail from Split sits in the shadow of the great Biokovo Mountain Range – the second-highest in the country and a truly awesome wall of limestone that buts right up to the Adriatic Sea. But Makarska’s good looks aside, this town has plenty of other treats up its sleeve for the summertime visitor. For one, there are gorgeous beaches like Nugal and Blace Ramova on the shores to the south and north; one nestled between ochre-coloured cliffs, the other poking out into the turquoise waters with sand so white it looks like cotton! And then there’s Makarska’s fabled nightlife. Check out the lively cocktail joints along Marineta Street, which kick into action by afternoon and offer al fresco drinking terraces overlooking the harbor and Makarska Peninsula. Or there’s the legendary likes of Club Deep, erupting in a medley of EDM music each night in an echoing cave cut into the mountains on the south side of town!
After Makarska, the yacht heads south and into the Dalmatian Archipelago. In the center of these islands, which rise like clumps of greenery, complete with rugged cliffs and thick fir forests, from the shimmering Adriatic, sits the island of Korcula. Lumbarda is the town on the isle’s far eastern coast: a charming little place of red-tiled roofs and sunny jetties, surrounded by rolling vineyards and the occasional Roman or Greek ruin. Folk on our YachtLife tour will enjoy a lazy lunch on the harborside here, in the shadow of the beautiful Sveti Rok Church, which glimmers in white stone in the heart of town. The afternoon is spent on the sands (albeit pebbly sands) of Prvi Zal Beach, which sit just five minutes from the center here and offer easy swimming and a smattering of cocktail bars that spill out onto the shoreline.
The farthest inhabited island from the coast of mainland Dalmatia is the perfect place to get into the adventurous spirit. A rugged island of rocky cliffs and scrub-dressed limestone mountains, Vis was once famed as one of the centers of the Croatian fishing industry. Today, wine making has taken over, making this one of the best spots to sample some of the country’s famous Vugava wines – expect a sweet and fruity tipple! Many travellers will opt to rent scooters on Vis and hit the roadways that weave through the inland hills and valleys in a perfect circle (not recommended in conjunction with the win!). Great stop-offs include the town of Komiza on the western shore, which boasts some super-cool fortified churches from the Byzantine era, and ice-cream to rival any Italian sorbet! The nearby walls and towers of Fort George are another must. It’s here that we head after dark, to watch the sun set, and to dance and drink the night away from the rooftop club, shaded by a pretty dash of pine forest and offering sweeping panoramas of the Adriatic Sea to boot!
The Blue Grotto
Carving its way into the cliffs on the island of Bisevo, just a short sail south-west from Vis Island, the so-called Blue Grotto (also known as the Blue Cave) is one of the most awesome sights in the entire Adriatic. A small opening allows travellers to sail directly into the cavern, which is famed for the curious way the light reflects and refracts in through the ocean waters, illuminating the whole place in an eerie silvery glow (best seen in the late morning and at around midday). It’s the perfect place to get a feel for the rugged character of the Croatian coast, and we’ll spend the morning delving deep into the caverns and tunnels of the site, before partying the afternoon away on the open sea!
The perfect culmination of any trip through the Adriatic, Hvar offers a neat cocktail of hedonism and Croatian relaxation. In the summer, the small town on the far western edge of the island of the same name pulses with huge crowds of students and jet setters alike. Millionaire yachts bob along the harbour and chic cocktail bars go on until the early hours. It’s topped with the crenulated bulwarks of the so-called Spanish Fort, while tight-knit cobblestone streets drop down the hillsides to the sea. The Hvar town square is a real beauty to behold; one of the largest in Europe and dressed in gorgeous limestone blocks from head to toe (think King’s Landing and the like!). We while away the day sipping cocktails on the edge of the sea (which is a favourite pastime of most all people on the island), but there are also opportunities to scale the coastal mountains for photogenic panoramas of the sea, to sample hearty Slavic dumplings or award-winning international cuisine, to hit champagne bars, or to delve into the enthralling historic streets of old Hvar and transport yourself back to the 15th century!
If you’re considering joining one of our YachtLife Croatia tours, be sure to check out our itineraries! Or, have you got something to add about one of the destinations on this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…