Languidly sailing on a yacht across the startling blue water of the Mediterranean is one of the ultimate travel fantasies - and Croatia is just the place to make this a reality, with its incredible natural beauty, hidden ancient walled cities and Roman ruins. Croatia's glamorous coastline and stunning islands dotted throughout the Adriatic Sea, is the perfect backdrop for a luxury yacht cruise for a small family group or a bunch of good friends.
We spoke to a group of friends (very experienced and discerning travellers) who were celebrating significant birthdays, and had opted for such a cruise. They spent eight balmy Mediterranean days in August on a stylishly comfortable yacht cruising from one port to another. Stopping to explore all the best places from medieval fortresses, green pine forests, unspoiled lakes and secluded beaches - they experienced the very best of this part of the world – and when they were feeling that they had enough of culture and scenery, they could go back to the yacht to their bit of deck or cabin (each cabin has an en suite and the yacht had plenty of deck space) for an afternoon snooze, or a relaxing read, or perhaps simply dive off the side and float about a bit on the bluest of water. For us Aussies, being able to swim in an ocean without fear of sharks or stingers or rips and undertow is a wonderful experience.
“Our crew consisted of a captain (also the owner of the yacht), gourmet chef, butler and deckhand, and we were so well looked after for absolutely everything. We had many breakfasts and lunches on the boat, and the chef made the most beautiful food that of course we would enjoy on the deck, or wherever we moored for the night, for dinner places to try, our fantastic Captain would make recommendations as to the best restaurants and then ring ahead and book for us.”
Relaxation is a big feature for this type of cruise but can certainly be mixed in with as much activity as you want.
“Our days would often start with a wander into the village of the little cove where we had moored for the night - we would have a wander to find a local café for our morning coffee and/or perhaps breakfast, usually along the harbour; then we might go for a hike around the village or check out the local ruins. On a couple of stops we hired bikes (and you can hire them cheaply everywhere) and rode around some very pretty lakes.
One afternoon we got particularly active, and a couple of our group showed (or perhaps showed off) their water skiing prowess, so you can choose to be active or relaxed as you want – there are plenty of options either way.”
There is much to explore with each village offering its own unique insight into Eastern European culture but cruising this region will also have cruisers visiting some truly picturesque towns located on the Adriatic.
“There were many highlights but a real stand-out was the incredibly green island of Mljet. Half the island is National Park with the thick dark green forests of Aleppo pine encircling the two inland salt-water lakes. The lakes, Malo Jezero (big lake) and Veliko Jezero (small lake), are interlinked and connect to the sea by a shallow tidal canal. We had a beautiful bike ride around these lakes.
Another real highlight was Korcula, which is considered one of the most charming of all the islands off the Adriatic coast. Korcula old town is set in a mini fortress surrounded by ancient medieval walls, and we spent a lovely afternoon weaving throughout its network of old cobbled streets.
Perhaps our absolute favourite, was the tiny archipelago (of about twenty islets) that extends along the south side of the gorgeous town of Hvar. The islands are covered in pine trees and we discovered that the pine trees provide a vital source to ‘paklina’ (melted pine resin) used by the local fishermen for ‘water proofing’ their boat decks. Our captain took us to one of the tiny islets where we swam in the most crystal clear of waters that lapped on a secluded beach – absolute paradise.
Our eight days were a perfect blend of relaxation, fabulous food, wine and scenery, swimming everyday in the beautiful Adriatic, with quite a bit of luxury and plenty of laughs – the stuff of priceless memories.”
Our lucky group cruised with On-The-Go-Tours.
Contact your local Travel Associates consultant to find out more about luxury cruising in Croatia.
All images supplied courtesy Sue Rennick.