- 14 days
Route highlights: ACI marina Split - Trogir - Šolta - Milna & Bol - Pakleni Otoci - Hvar - Komiža - Vela Luka & Korčula - Mljet - Dubrovnik.
Trogir - Island of Šolta - Milna and Bol (Brač) - Pakleni Otoci - Town Hvar (Hvar Island) - Komiža (Vis) - Vela Luka and Korčula (Island of Korčula) - Island of Mljet - Dubrovnik.
Route highlights: ACI marina Split - Trogir - Šolta - Milna & Bol - Pakleni Otoci - Hvar - Komiža - Vela Luka & Korčula - Mljet - Dubrovnik.
To start this route we can suggest two options. Choose wisely as they are both excellent. If you want to breathe in a little bit of culture, a bit of Greeks, Romans, and Croats, of course, set sail to Trogir. One of the most beautiful and best-preserved towns in Dalmatia, Trogir is no less popular among the tourists than Dubrovnik, just a little bit smaller. :) A perfect route to put that to the test, if you decide to start it here, as you will be able to compare it to Dubrovnik at the end. Sail down to the south of the island of Ciovo (because of the bridge you can not reach it directly on the northern side) and then through the middle of the Trogir’s channel toward the town itself. The oldest part is situated on a small island between the mainland and the island of Čiovo. The famous fort Kamerlengo on the left side will greet you in, not like in Medieval times when it would probably cannon you out of the bay. Lots of marinas around to choose for your base for exploring the Tragurion, Tragurium, Trau, Trogir. If you decide to visit Necujam your plan should be to follow the steps of the Diocletian and sail out from the emperor's palace to the royal fishing pond and thermae in the bay of Nečujam on the island of Šolta (about 9 nautical miles from Split). Rumor has it the royal fish bloodline still runs through the finest specimen in the surrounding bays, especially in the bay of Piskera where the royal fishing pond took place 2000 years ago. Anchor the boat in the middle of the bay, take a berth on the seafront or head straight to one of the bays and start catching royals by their scale crowns to start your journey in the right way.
The next destination is Milna on the island of Brač. If you're sailing out of Trogir, head towards the bay of Krnjasi on the island of Veliki Drvenik. Two islands form an amazing Blue Lagoon, well protected from the north winds, where sandy shallows and crystal blue sea set up an ideal scenery for swimming and enjoying in water toys we have prepared for you. Just be focused and keep track of the sea depth as it is often no more than a few meters deep. After a good swim, sail along the north side (or the south side if there's NE wind Bura) of the island of Solta towards Splitska Vrata (Split Gate) between the islands of Brač and the island of Šolta. In this way, you will get to Milna on the island of Brač, one of the best-preserved old towns in that area that hosts ACI marina Milna inside a very well-protected bay. An ideal place to spend the night, we strongly recommend having a look around the town.
In the morning, you will be gone with the wind that will take you to Bol on the island of Brač. You can drop your anchor depending on the wind, which can be pretty strong around here, on the left or the right side of one of the most famous beaches of the Adriatic, Zlatni Rat (the Golden Cape) beach. On the charts, you will find the name Dugi Rat (the Long Cape), but the locals always called it Zlatni Rat and the name has stuck since. A long and pebbly beach of several hundred meters, extending straight out into the sea, Zlatni Rat is a true symbol of Croatia and Brac. You have probably seen pictures of it before since it is constantly used in Croatian tourism promotions and is said to be one of the most beautiful spots in Europe. A visit is highly recommended and very relaxing. You could spend the night in Bol’s bay, but as the harbor is not well protected from winds we do recommend anchoring in Vrboska on the island of Hvar instead.
If you have decided to spend the night in Bol, in the morning we suggest visiting Jelsa or Vrboska on the island of Hvar. The evening can be spent in either of these two towns. In the middle of the Hvar island, indented westwards in a narrow bay, a picturesque town of Vrboska shines as a hidden jewel in a rich Croatian crown. One of the smallest towns on Hvar turned out to be one of the most popular ones for its mixture of stone houses building styles, history and fairy tale streets, bridge and nature. Just a few miles away, the old fishing village of Jelsa can be your stop as well as it has plenty to see and feel. Experience the summer commotion of Croatian coastal town or you can rent a bike and start pedaling your way into inland (although Hvar is pretty narrow) along the old roads and fields with lots of remains from Roman times like "villae rusticae", holiday houses and Starigrad field, the best-preserved example of antique parcellation in Europe done by the Greeks. Several lovely little bays ideal for swimming and sunbathing can be your focal point all day long if you are not the adventure type and want to feel the mixture of Croatian sun & sea.
After Vrboska, you should definitely stay in Hvar area, and head for the Pakleni otoci. Passing along the west cape of the island of Hvar called Pelegrin, wonderful sights, such as the bay of Pribinja, Jagodna and other areas of outstanding natural beauty will capture your attention until you come to this group of islands. A literal translation into English being "Hell islands", you would have expected some different scenery such as a big mountain of fire, Indiana Jones running away from lava or a gulag-like facility with convicts running around, but no. The original word paklina, an archaic Croatian word, from which pakleni is derived, meant "tar", referred to as the pine resin used to coat ships that had been harvested on these islands. Nowadays, these islands look like a peaceful and beautiful nature suburb of Hvar town, a complete opposite of the rush hour that never ends on there. ACI marina Palmižana is an option to spend the night in. For a more romantic setting, there are several well-protected bays to provide shelter for the night. Be aware of the shallows and rocks under the surface.
After a day of swimming and sunbathing on the Pakleni Otoci, practically doing nothing, in the late afternoon you should head off towards the town of Hvar on the island of Hvar. You can try to find a free spot on the waterfront or an available buoy before dark. If there is no room on the waterfront, you can always anchor in the middle of the bay as many other boats will be doing. It is important to bear in mind that Hvar’s bay is not well protected from strong winds and there's always a strong competition as the boats arrive constantly. Rich in monuments such as Hvar Cathedral, Arsenal and Franciscan monastery and a real gem, the first civic theatre in Europe built in 1612, Hvar has a great cultural significance, and historical too. The Fortica Fortress is another example of the long history and architecture. Climb up on it and prey your eyes on the beautiful view of Pakleni islands, numerous bays and beaches. Exceptional gastro offer in Hvar can be tested in many restaurants: fresh fish, olive oil, and wine from the island vineyards will tingle your taste buds. Although Hvar is soaked in history, it is very much alive and synchronized with the modern world, as it is well-known for its parties and nightlife that attract young people from all over the world, among them lots of those coming on sailing boats and catamarans. For the ones longing for some peace and quiet, we suggest avoiding such nights on Hvar (usually on Sunday and Monday night). The evening can pleasantly be spent in one of the restaurants or bars
The next two days are reserved for one of the most popular and most beautiful islands on the Adrirtic, the island of Vis. Sail south of the Pakleni archipelago towards the NW coast of the island of Vis, the cape of Barjaci. Keeping track of time, of course, you can check if the sea around Vis differs from Hvar and Brac on numerous little bays and beaches on your way to Komiža. Passing the cape of Barjaci you will find yourself in Komiza bay. In Komiza you can anchor in the middle of the bay or along the waterfront, which is well supplied with water and electricity. Komiža is one of the loveliest towns in Dalmatia, and has a long fishing tradition. Actually, the oldest known off-shore regatta started in 1593 as a kind of a race for life as the families from Komiža sailed out for fish with 74 traditional wooden boats called "falkuša" and set sail towards Palagruža, the farthest island in Croatia's Adriatic. The distance measured 42 nautical miles and the winners could choose the best fishing areas and positions on the Palagruža's beaches for the entire season, crucial for the success of their journey and their family's well-being. Needless to say, Komiža sports a number of excellent fish restaurants and the narrow old streets of the town in which they are located form a wonderful ambient in a summer night.
Rise and shine as you are about to feel the butterflies, not as morning sickness, no. Sail towards the island of Biševo and one of the most famous sights of the Adriatic, Modra špilja (the Blue Cave). Situated only five nautical miles south-west of Komiža, this nature's wonder is unforgettable. It is highly recommended to come early, before the tide, as the entrance can be flooded or, due to a high number of visitors in boats, jammed, making you wait for your turn even for a couple of hours. The main part of the cave is an open space under the sea which, in combination with the third opening in its roof, about three meters above the sea, creates the most extraordinary and beautiful light effect. After the wonderful “blue experience” you should start sailing along the south side of the island of Vis. Numerous beautiful bays on this side of Vis, the most prominent one being Stiniva cove, form a nature's works of art. Winds and waves have carved in the amazing sights inside and outside of hard Dalmatian rock making astonishing color patterns. Keep your jaws and phones checked in order not to fall into the sea. The tour continues with the Green cave on Ravnik island, and Budikovac island, perfect places for refreshing swimming before entering Vis harbor for the night. Founded by the ancient Greeks as Issa, Vis has always played an important part due to its geographical position and safe harbour. We recommend staying overnight and seizing the day by going on Vis – Military tour (the island had an important role in World war II and afterward was isolated for more than 50 years by being a Yugoslavian naval base till the latest war in Croatia). Other options such as Discovery Tour (tour of ancient Roman excavations, numerous sites that have taken away the breath of Romans and Greeks in ancient times, including modern museums and churches), walking on wine roads, mountain biking, free climbing, paragliding, fishing, diving, and swimming, of course, can play a part in entertaining you as well.
Stretch your legs in the morning as you will be sailing quite more this day towards the island of Korčula passing the island of Proizd on the way. The island of Proizd is famous for its lovely beaches, recognized by the Daily Telegraph as one of the top 5 beaches of the Adriatic and as one of 12 best places for a daily trip in the world by the New York Times...so yes, we most definitely recommend stopping there, diving into the blue water and catching a tan on its pristine beaches. Refreshed and with a wide smile on your face, continue to Vela Luka on the island of Korčula. Vela Luka is the biggest bay on the island and consists of a series of smaller bays for you to enjoy. It is the best-protected harbour and a safe place to spend the night with a gas station to fuel up. While here, go in one of the numerous "konobas" in Vela Luka and ask about Oliver Dragojevic, a late legendary Croatian singer that was born in Vela Luka. You will be up for amazing stories about this great man and a song and dance follow up instantly and naturally while drinking wine and eating delicious food.
Sailing along the south side of the island of Korčula towards the Korčula town will take a long time once more so we recommend an early start. Furthermore, it is good to get there before the sunset to find the berth in the ACI marina Korčula as it's the best and safest option to refill your and boat's batteries. The town of Korcula is the biggest town of the island and was already one of the principal Dalmatian ports by the early 13th century. Korcula is thought to have been the birthplace of Marco Polo, the famous merchant that threaded his way via the Silk Road to China and many other lands in his time. You won't be able to reach China with this route, but even breathing the same air and following steps of young Marco in Korcula should spark up the adventuristic spirit inside of you. Many of the historic buildings, medieval center and walls testify of those times as it was yesterday. It is worth spending some time sightseeing around this place and as well paying a visit to Moro Beach Stupe, a great place for a cocktail on a small island of Stupe just outside of Korcula. It is worth mentioning that there are a few places on the way to Korčula, which you may find particularly interesting and worth visiting. To take a break, you should look to harbors at Karbuni, Prizba, and Putnatska luka. You may even want to spend the night in one of these places.
If you haven’t yet reached Korčula (shame on you!), continue sailing towards the cape of Raznjic and along the way you can visit the island of Badija with a beautiful Franciscan monastery from 14th century that hosts an art gallery worth of seeing. However, if you did spend the night in Korčula, continue sailing further south towards the island of Mljet and the town of Pomena, app. 14 miles from Korčula. You can tie the boat up on the seafront in front of the hotel in Pomena or in surrounding bays. A real paradise for sailors, Mljet is truly a love at first sight where one can find plenty of fish specialties and great hospitality. Paying a visit to the National Park Mljet is a must as you won't be able to believe your own eyes. Pristine beauty, preserved nature in form of a Small and Great lake with an isle of St. Mary on it that is a most visited location on Mljet thanks to the Benedictine monastery built in 12th century are the main attraction of this park. We are sure that no one can beat the beauty of our island-in-a-lake-on-an-island, even though there are several island-in-a-lake-on-an-island-in-a-lake-on-an-island islands. Dizzy? Try to say it faster a few times... :) Ok, ok, ok...get off the boat and take one of the roads connecting all the beauties inside the park, climb up the peak of Montokuc to prey on the breathtaking view of Mljet and the Aleppo pine tree colony from which Mljet got the nickname Green Island. Exactly because of this green richness, Mljet has been heavily connected with a legend of Odysseus and nymph Calypso. Several locations on the island and geographical focal points on the island can be tracked and linked with the original description in Homer's masterpiece. Truth or not, while on your mini-tour, check the Odysseus' Cave on the south side of the island. Who knows, maybe you are the one to find some crucial evidence to uncover the truth!
After Pomena sail on, passing the cape of Glavat towards one of the biggest bays on the island – Polače. Polače is well protected from strong winds such as Bura and Jugo, as it is surrounded by smaller islands. There are six different ways of getting into the bay through all the various islands and all of them are safe. However, after that beware as there is a shallow stretch of water of about 30 meters in front of the little cape below the Stupa peninsula on the NW side of the bay that appears again below the little island of Moračnik (just opposite the peninsula). The central part of this passage is deep enough. All the islands are good for anchoring, but the bay of Tatinica Mala is recommended, just in front of the island of Kobrava, where you will notice the remains of an old Roman palace next to the dock. Can't miss it. After visiting Polace you should be heading towards Sobra and then towards Prozura or its neighboring port, Okulje. Both of these ports are well protected and good places to spend the night so enjoy, swim, hike, just relax on a relaxed island.
After a good rest on a heavenly island, sail towards the heavenly town of Dubrovnik. If you don’t want to go straight to Dubrovnik you can sail to Šipanska Luka instead. The best place for anchoring is in the harbor because the ferry occupies the entire harbor front. The reason behind sending you here you will see as soon as you set your foot on this "olive island" as the olive trees, along with vineyards are the symbols of Sipan. This was already recognized by many nobles from Dubrovnik during their "golden age" mirroring this fascination with summer villas, remains of which can be found throughout the island. If you plan to stay the night mesmerized with the simplicity of this island, just lift your feet up and do nothing except swallowing and chewing delicious food and wine. If you want to spend some time in Dubrovnik, which is highly recommended as you won't be able to live with yourself if you miss this opportunity (or at least risk being beaten from your crew), then get there as soon as you can to catch the main attractions of this gem. To the coast, skipper, to the Republic of Dubrovnik, once a great merchant city-state, squeezed between great empires! Passing the islands of Lopud and Kolocep, another great place to show off your swimming skills, you will arrive at Dubrovnik. Take a taxi or a bus to the Old Town's main entrance of Pile and step into the completely new world of UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk along the main street Stradun and the numerous small streets in and around the city to check the small restaurants and gift shops, but the perfectly preserved city walls and historical buildings are the ones that will take your breath away. Lots of towers, defenses and fortresses were so formidable that no army tried to attack it in the long history. That, and the famous Dubrovnik diplomacy. Sea merchants built this magnificent town and the only way to appreciate the beauty of the place in full is to arrive from the sea, if you have enough time spared, so do not lose the opportunity to sail into the City harbor as sailors have done for hundreds of years. We took the liberty and suggested many locations on this route as there are many worth mentioning and seeing on this fourteen-day cruise, but we would sincerely suggest spending the last two days in Dubrovnik to give yourself enough time to enjoy the city to the full, without looking on your watch and avoiding a swarm of people inside the town.
Pay attention to the prices of berth when choosing a place to secure the boat and reserve the place in advance as it is a must because of the one-way arrangement and your check out on Friday instead of Saturday. Marina Frapa in the Gruz harbor is the nearest one to the Old Town of Dubrovnik, but ACI marina in Mokosica is a legitimate option as well with a long tradition and good facilities. At 9am the latest your journey must end, unfortunately. We hope that 14 days in Croatia was enough for you to experience it in full, but who are we kidding, right?