THE BEST PLACES TO PARTY IN CROATIA
From all-nighter, underground bars hidden beneath the medieval slabs of Hvar Town to chichi cocktail joints that fringe Split's star-studded Riva, we range across the sun-kissed lands of Croatia in search of the top spots to party. Let's get wild yachters!
Sparkling on the edge of the Dalmatian coast with its marble-clad harboursides and the palm-dotted walks of the all-new and uber-cool Riva promenade, Split is quite possibly the biggest party town in all of Croatia. It bustles with yachters and jet setters and backpackers alike right throughout the summer months, and all the bars that hide between the ancient stone pillars and great Roman temples of Diocletian's Palace (the UNESCO-attested center of the city) come alive with chatter and talk of the best beaches nearby. But that's not it. Split is also peppered with cool clubs that throb with EDM (check out Bacvice Beach for the best), and hosts the raucous Ultra Music Festival in July!
The second stop on our LBW YachtLife Croatia tour is one of our absolute favourite places to dock up and party in the Adriatic. Nestled under the rugged peaks of the mighty Biokovo Moutnian range, we typically start the evening by seeking out one of the secluded coves that hide along the Dalmatian coast close to the Makarska harbor. As evening sets in, we crack open a few brewskis on the top deck and watch as the sky glows pinkish-red over the ocean. Then, we moor up and shimmy with some cocktails in wild Marineta cocktail bar, all before delving into the caverns of Club Deep – an ancient cave that's now a wild all-night club, cut straight into the Croatian cliffs. Sounds good, right?
Because we like to think we're nothing short of veterans of the Adriatic party circuit, we also like to think ourselves capable of seeking out some of Croatia's more hidden – though nonetheless awesome – partying spots. Cue Vis, which is worth a mention here on account of the panoramic historic Fort George. Once a military stronghold that kept watch over the island's bays, this medley of bulwarks and walls and crenulated cannon spots has now been converted into a swish cocktail joint. The parties will be chilled and laid-back, while the sunset viewing at this far western point of the Croatian islands promises uninterrupted broadsides of the Adriatic as it sweeps out to Italy. Nice.
There are plenty of reasons why Hvar Town is now hailed as the town that never goes to sleep between the months of June and September, and it's certainly got something to do with the huge crowds of European students, backpackers and yacht sailors who flock to its gorgeous harbor to hit the champagne bars and cocktail joints. Of course, we at LBW look forward to our pit stops in Hvar too. We come to scale the hillsides around the city, to sip ice-cold beers in the local tavernas on the shore, and to let loose in venues like KIVA when the sunsets, where you'll discover thumping tunes and shimmying locals on the subterranean dance floors!
Pula is often overlooked by travellers making their way further south down the Adriatic coast to party in spots like Split and the Dalmatian Islands. But there's no question that this ancient town at the very tip of the olive-topped Istrian Peninsular has what it takes to host some seriously wild parties in the summer. All around the headland it sits on, you'll find rocky coves and coastal caves, where locals jump from the cliffs and beer bars spill out onto the shore. In the evening the action transfers to the Forum – the old Roman heart of the city. It's an area of bustling café-bars where rakija sloshes in the shot glasses, and open-air clubs that pump live music into the sultry Mediterranean airs.
Although Zagreb, the happening capital of Croatia, lies far away from where we take our LBW YachtLife folk for a jaunt through the Adriatic Sun, there's certainly no denying the town's hedonistic side. Fueled by the presence of thousands of students, the bars and pubs that fringe the winding road of Ivana Tkalcica are the place to be during term time. And in the summer, there are plenty of places peppering the new town area, around the rattling tram lines of Flower Square. These pulse with backpacker energy, slosh with local Croat wines and frothy Slavic beer, and dance to the tunes of techno and EDM. Just don't expect to finish until dawn!
Zadar bridges the gap between northern Croatia and the Dalmatian coast. It sits facing a series of wide bays on the Adriatic Sea, and comes laden with interesting sights like its own Roman Forum and old Byzantine-style churches. After dark, the city's Old Town area packs a serious punch on the nightlife front too, with oodles of little shot bars and beer joints spilling onto the big marble slabs of countless piazzas. Other revelers will coalesce along the sun-splashed Zadar Riva – a leafy strip of walkway that fringes the sea.
Hemmed in by great limestone walls from centuries gone by, the breathtaking city of Dubrovnik can be found jutting out into the Adriatic Sea from the extreme southern edge of Croatia. Hailed as one of the most handsome cities in all of Europe, it rises from the sparkling blue waves in a series of colossal towers and castle turrets – you can see why Game of Thrones was filmed in these parts! But sights and ancient culture aside, Dubrovnik is also known for its wild nightlife. The action begins on the main drag of Placa Street, where the little piazzas host pint-sized bars and bustling holes-in-the-wall touting traditional rakija. Meanwhile, other drinkers will meet at the salt-washed drinkeries of Banje Beach, which turn into thumping parties of trance and techno and world-famous DJs in the summer nights.
Have you sailed or traveled your way through Croatia? Can you think of any more places in the gorgeous Balkan country (or anywhere else in the Adriatic region for that matter) that simply shouldn't be missed by budding partiers heading for this corner of the Med in 2017? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below. Or, if you're interested in getting aboard our YachtLife Croatia trips in the coming season, be sure to check out the itineraries page.