Boasting everything from hedonistic party towns that cascade right down to the sparkling Adriatic shore to enthralling historical centers that look like they’ve been lifted straight out of Game of Thrones, there’s a reason that the Adriatic region is hailed as one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. On our much-loved YachtLife tour, a weeklong blowout of ship-deck shindigs and wild swimming in the Med, we hop to a whole host of the top spots along the coast in Croatia. Here’s a look at just a few other gems the greater Adriatic has up its sleeve!
Rimini is Italy’s coastal resort town par excellence, offering mile upon mile of wide, sloping yellow sands and the lapping waters of the northern Adriatic. Sun umbrellas pepper the shore like oregano on a bianco pizza top, while swish hotels and condos fringe the promenades, mixed in with the occasional mega club and al fresco Bellini bar overlooking the sea. It’s not all about kicking back in Rimini though. Not a chance when there’s such a wealth of Roman ruins imbuing the Old Town, telling tales of the emperor Augustus and Julius Caesar alike, not to mention the erstwhile home of revered director Federico Fellini. La Dolce Vita!
A cocktail of the Slavic and the Italian, the Austrian and the Adriatic, Trieste is a curious patchwork of fin de siècle cafes and Slovenian dumpling houses, romantic coffee houses and glorious palazzos raised and decorated by the Habsburgs. Today, the town remains a little off-the-beaten-track, drawing less visitors than chock-a-block Venice across the bay. That means its Old Town cobbles remain eerie and enchanting, its Roman Theatre is a great place to revel in Italy’s ancient past, and the imperial arches and Art Nouveau Austrian Quarter ooze an authentic, raw character. The action in the summer is centered on the Barcola though; a sun-kissed stretch of tree-dotted pathway that’s awash with sunbathers and strollers on the Adriatic shore.
The undisputed party town of the Croatian Adriatic comes in the form of sparkling, marble-dressed Hvar. Poking its way into the turquoise sea swells at the end of its very own island, this beautiful little spot cascades down to a yacht-spotted harbour in swathes of red-tiled roofs and sun-splashed promenades. Amidst the gorgeous stuccoed frontispieces hides one raucous nightlife, while the drinking actually starts early, when glitterati, sailors and jet setters all flit between the cocktail bars that line the shore and the hills above the city. And when it’s time to cure that hangover, the secluded pine forests and empty beaches of the Pakleni Islands await; postcard-perfect one and all. No wonder this is the chart-topping spot on our YachtLife tour!
Enfolded by the muscular mounts of Lovcen and the Dinaric Alps, Kotor is unquestionably the most breathtaking town in all of Montenegro. It sits hidden at the end of its very own coastal fjord, a pristine patchwork of Venetian fortresses and Ottoman spires, Byzantine-style churches and marble-made piazzas open to the sun. Cafes and bars pop up ad hoc on virtually every corner, while yachts bob and drift along the coastline and around the church-topped islands in the bay. Come and delve into the tight-knit, criss-crossing alleys of the ancient Old Town area, wonder at the great domes of Serbian orthodoxy, dive straight from rocks into the waters of the Adriatic and drink just a couple of ice-cold Slavic pivo (beers) in the shade of the mountains.
Shades of Game of Thrones and the super-power republics of the Renaissance all colour the colossal brick walls and marble palazzos of impossibly beautiful Dubrovnik; a town of shimmering white stone that sits nestled between the rugged limestone peaks of inland Dalmatia and the craggy coastal stretches of the Adriatic. And amidst the city’s wealth of historic columns and baroque gateways, formidable port walls and babbling fountains, travellers here can knock back plum vodkas in the al fresco bars, sip rakija (home-brew spirit) over the pebbly beaches, go cliff jumping, sea kayaking and more!
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