10 AWESOME CROATIAN TOWNS YOU CAN VISIT AFTER LIVING THE YACHTLIFE
Once you're done glugging rakija and partying till dawn on the beaches of Split, perhaps you fancy getting a dash of Dalmatian culture and sun? Or, maybe you're just determined to keep the hedonism (and the rakija) flowing? Whatever your reason for wanting to stay in the gorgeous land of Croatia, we can hardly blame you (the LBW fam is simply obsessed with the place!). Here are some suggestions on where you can go and why…
Rovinj is one of the undisputed jewels of the Istrian Peninsula. Jutting its way out into the sparkling waters of the Adriatic Sea, it's a medley of marble church spires and stuccoed buildings where washing lines sway in the breezy, tight-knit streets. Across the sky-blue bay from the old town of Rovinj, small islets rise and fall from the water with spear-like fir trees on their rocks. Meanwhile, the sunny piazzas in the heart of town beat with tourist chatter and the smells of sizzling Croatian seafood. It's not to be missed if you're heading up north!
Ah, Dubrovnik – what can we say? You rarely fail to enchant with your wonders: Those bustling streets of ancient stone; those Game of Thrones-esque turrets and bulwarks; those shimmering red-tiled roofs. There's something fantastical about the way the castle-topped old town of this Croatian mainstay drops straight into the shimmering Dalmatian Sea; something otherworldly about the way the city seems to protrude organically from the rugged rocks of the Dinaric Alps. Oh, and it's just a stone's throw from places like Split and the Makarska Riviera, making it perfect for anyone fresh from the LBW YachtLife.
Sibenik is an oft-overlooked beauty of the Dalmatian coast. Nestled on its own perfect-blue bay across the waters from the Kornati archipelago, it's popular with yachters, who come to moor up before drifting out to explore the nearby pebble coves and inlets. In the town itself, there's the carved façade of the Cathedral of St. James, which overlooks one lively piazza where summertime jazz twists and turns in the air.
Motovun soars atop the green hills of Istria. Like a limpet, the stone-clad village has crowned its own olive tree-spotted mound since the medieval ages. Just as all towns in the north of Croatia, it's heavily influenced by Italian culture, and it's possible to smell out truffle-packed pastas and wood-fired pizzas as you wander the cobbled lanes to the piazzas in the heart of the place. Once you're done gawping at the views and historic city gates, be sure to head out and sample local Istrian olive oils in the nearby agriturismo farms.
Half mainland Croatia, half island Dalmatia, the pretty town of Trogir spills down the coast and over the Adriatic to the shoreline of sunny Ciovo. Just a stone's throw from Split, you’re likely to pass this way as you drift out of the docks on that LBW yacht. Still, you might be too busy partying to notice the gorgeous warren of old homes and cobbled lanes, the enchanting Kamerlengo Fortress, the 800-year-old Duke's Palace, and all the rest!
It might be something of a trek from the sun-kissed beachfronts of Makarska and Dalmatia to the throbbing capital of Croatia, but backpackers mark our words: it's worth it. Nestled in the foothills of the eastern Alps, the city is one part Soviet sprawl, one part medieval gem. You'll see churches and beautiful botanical gardens by day, and get to wallow in the wild student vibe that pulses up and down Tkalciceva Street once the sun sets. Enjoy.
You can see Pula from miles away as you drift across the straits of the Adriatic and into its pretty docks, what with that colossal Roman amphitheatre standing tall in the heart of the town – it's considered by many to be the best in the world outside of Italy! Delve deeper and you'll discover temples built by Augustus, a lively Forum with summertime music concerts, and – just a little to the south – the windblown coves of the impossibly gorgeous Kamenjak reserve.
Zadar has it all: Roman relics, historic medieval chapels, oodles of raucous nightlife spots, and a prime location right on the edge of the Dalmatian coast. It's really hard to find something to dislike as you wander the stony streets of that awesome old town (one of the oldest in the country, in fact). Just check out how the locals flit between the beer bars, the piazza cafes, and the town-side swimming spots of Kolovare. Oh, and be sure not to miss the famous Sea Organ, which balances out the ancient wonders of the Zadar Archaeological Museum with its thought-provoking modernist edge.
Shimmering in hues of white and red as it rises with its marble facades and terracotta roofs from the seas of North Dalmatia, Primosten has garnered a deserved rep as one of the most handsome places in the country. Go to the edge of town, where the pebble stretches at Raduca are popular with local swimmers. Or, head into the history-packed centre, which has mind-blowing church spires and countless cafes hidden down its alleyways. Finally, Primosten is famed for its wine output and vineyards, which means this is the place to come to sample the Balkan's top-quality white tipples!
Lurking between the pine forests and the rugged coastal hills of its very own (and namesake) island, old Korcula sits just a short boat ride away from both the Makarska Riviera and the lively yacht town of Hvar. That not only makes it uber-accessible for folk fresh from the YachtLife, but also a fine place to come and cure the hangovers once you're done in the champagne bars up north. From the main promenade, you can expect sweeping views of the Dinaric Alps across the bay, while a history of Venetian traders and Serbian militarisation awaits to boot!
If you can think of any more gorgeous Croatian hideaways that are worthy of a trip after the week-long blowout that is LBW YachtLife, we'd love to hear about them in the comments below! Or, if the sun-kissed Adriatic towns above have got you thinking about hitting the European seas, be sure to check out our awesome offering of tour packages.