- 14 days
Route highlights: ACI marina Split - Milna – Hvar/Pakleni otoci – Lovište/Korčula - Pomena - Dubrovnik - Ston – Lumbarda - Lastovo – Vela Luka – Vis – Stari Grad/Tiha bay – Stomorska/Rogač – ACI marina Split
ACI marina Split - Milna – Hvar/Pakleni otoci – Lovište/Korčula - Pomena - Dubrovnik - Ston – Lumbarda - Lastovo – Vela Luka – Vis – Stari Grad/Tiha bay – Stomorska/Rogač – ACI marina Split
Route highlights: ACI marina Split - Milna – Hvar/Pakleni otoci – Lovište/Korčula - Pomena - Dubrovnik - Ston – Lumbarda - Lastovo – Vela Luka – Vis – Stari Grad/Tiha bay – Stomorska/Rogač – ACI marina Split
14 days in Croatia on a boat! As our grannies would say: "you've grabbed God by his beard". What a treat you will have, with or without following our propositions on this route. We don't want to nag you too much for your first day, so start sailing towards Milna, one of the favourite "Saturday stops" in the Croatian charter business. Protected bay and ACI marina at the end of it are one of the "whys" behind this popularity, but Milna is also one of those cute old fishermen villages on Croatian islands. Perfect opportunity to take a peek through the window to the whole new world opening up before you on this tour. A mixture of modern and the old, history and culture intertwined with nature, similar in one way and totally different in another depicting the turbulent but colourful history of Dalmatia. Either by dropping an anchor in Bobovišća bay or staying in the marina, you will have a proper introduction to the island world of Croatia.
Consider day two as a crossroad in some board game where you need to decide your future path. One road leads to the summer chaos, culture, and history of town Hvar and surrounding beehives of fun in the shape of clubs and bars that send vibrations across the bay between the island of Hvar and Paklinski islands, group of islands that can be your alternate destination. That road is full of nature, swimming, beautiful sunset in one of the numerous bays, crickets chirping on the pine trees, where the romantic set's finale is the moonlight mirrored on the sea surface while you dive in for a refreshment. If you choose Hvar, make most of the day by visiting the cultural and historical highlights of this beautiful town. Climb up on Fortica, town's fortress with a stunning view on Hvar and Paklinski islands. A photo is a must here, but we're sure you'll get that on your own. Get down to the centre and wonder around catching shades wherever you can and invest in your clear head during the hottest hours. It is not in vain that the island is the sunniest in Croatia, this heat accumulates everywhere, don't be the one to witness it. Ice cream on the white promenade should cool you down and a visit to the restaurants fill the empty belly before you continue sniffing through the cultural treasure boxes around. One of the oldest theatres in Europe, being built in 1612, is the treasure preserved in a practically same appearance to this day, and the baroque cathedral continues the long-known Croatian devotion to faith. We will leave some exploring to you, but check out the 15th-century Franciscan monastery and museum collection inside. Lots of artefacts will catch your eye and serve as a timetable from Greek and Roman times to this day. The nightlife will be something you look forward to as Hvar has become most famous in the last decade because of the parties going on until the early hours. Many venues to choose from so ask around during the day what is the best place to go to that night and have a blast! Plan ahead to catch a berth in Hvar or take a buoy outside in the bay. The bay is not protected from winds, so if you're unlucky and have some storm or heavy wind coming in, it would be wise to go somewhere safer. Stepping on the second path, choose between staying in ACI marina Palmižana or in some of the bays that bloom around the islands. Watch for shallows and hidden rocks, but relax and enjoy the scenery, use our water toys or visit some of the beach bars around. You will never feel sad if you choose to spend the day just chillin' beside or in the sea.
Wave a long goodbye to Hvar but don't fall off the boat as you have some miles to sail direction east. While sailing, contemplate life and the afterlife but also think of what to do with your day this time. Let's be crazy and reverse the roles this time. Nature is where you can go rogue this time as we want to send you to Lovište, the final tip of Pelješac peninsula. As if the peninsula is a flower that blooms at Lovište in a form of beautiful bays like petals spread across, this site is very popular in the nautical world. Lots of beaches and bays can accommodate many boats and give you some privacy to enjoy the gifts of nature. Speaking of privacy and gifts of nature, you can combine these two in even more literal and, to some, more interesting way as Lovište has a beautiful FKK beach where you can take off the excess weight and feed your body with vitamin D even in the places that haven't seen any since childhood when you bathe in a plastic bucket. Swim, sleep, do whatever you want to do just don't combine the two at the same time or you will wake up in the middle of Korčula channel and your boat will go in a different direction. The peace and quiet on this day can be found in the town of Korčula. Although it lives off tourism, Korčula is not so crowded and exploited as Hvar. ACI marina can give you the place to leave your boat and you can go marvel the sights around. You will be amazed by the preserved walls that still encompass the old town of Korčula, beautiful towers in the corners that gave the most needed defense in the time of crisis. There were a few throughout history as Korčula as an island was inhabited from prehistory. After Illyrians, the Greeks, and Romans had their colony in the site, Byzant and Venice always crafting their influence web around Korčula. Probably the most famous fact about Korčula is that Marco Polo, the famous merchant, was born in Korčula as the Polo family had a house in the town, preserved and well-visited to this day. He was even captured in waters around Korčula after a sea battle between Venice and Genoa, triggering the series of events leading to his story being told and written down. Story of many travels and wonders he has seen in his wonderings along the Silk Road. Stay around and catch some of the stories from the Korčula's elders as sometimes they tell of how naughty and adventurous Marco has been in his childhood. Alcohol can be a friend and a foe sometimes. Be careful with it. Check the tight alleys, check the beautifully decorated stone houses and the walls that saved Korčula a few times and lived to this day. The alleys will eventually lead you to the Korčula's summer theater in which you can see some plays during the fertile cultural summer period. The main event is definitely the sword dance of Moreška, one of the greatest and longest traditions of Korčula. This mock dance was introduced to the island as it originates from a Spanish sword dance where, in the form of a play, Christians and Moors fight over a lady. Other countries as well have their own version of this or similar mock dances, but the one in Korčula is special because of the costumes, use of two swords instead of one, and a great scenery of course. For some more info about the dance, as we don’t have enough room to explain the whole complexity of the dance, and schedule of plays, you can always visit the official web page of Korčula's tourist office.
If you spend the night in Korčula, have a morning coffee and continue sailing further south towards the island of Mljet and the town of Pomena, app. 14 miles from Korčula. On the other hand, if you decided to stay in Lovište, forget about coffee while anchoring and hit the wave right away! Just kidding, plan your time by checking out our suggestions to reach the destination in time for your other activities. Don't forget to dress!!!! 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, connected saltwater lakes 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 breath-taking 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!
We want to apologize to you in advance because our country is so beautiful making it hard to decide which wonder to visit and which one to pass this time with a heavy stone on your heart. Helping you out isn't an option as we have to present you with the possibilities, and we lost the time-travel key that helped us a few times...that stupid dog! Anyway, Mljet will get you dizzy in a way that you will forget the time, but shake it off if you wish to see other southern gems. Sail on direction east until you come to the Elafitski otoci or "Deer islands" (Latin origin of this name comes from elaphos, "deer" in English). No deers on these islands anymore (deers at that time had no strategical education it seems, to stay on small islands is a suicide) but plenty to see as Dubrovnik Republic had been the main force for a long time and many captains originating from these islands have built many beautiful houses, along with the nobles of Dubrovnik, churches, monasteries, and fields full of olives, citrus, and other Mediterranean plants. Do we need to point out anymore that you have lots of beaches around to exploit on your way to Dubrovnik? Don't exploit them too much as you have things to do in Dubrovnik. You probably heard about this town a lot, if not before, then definitely after the Game of Thrones where it served as King's Landing. Sail around the old town to catch a glimpse of the massive walls and fortresses protecting Dubrovnik since its beginning and see for yourself that it didn't need much of special effects in the series making. Once off your boat, there are two marinas in Dubrovnik so have your pick, you can take a ride to the old town and start picking the ripe fruits of history and culture the Republic has gathered through the history. Game of Thrones tour, City Walls tour, this tour, that tour, it's not important where you go as you have plenty to see with each step you take. Take it through Stradun, the main street of Dubrovnik, and just by looking at all the buildings along its length you can lose all day. Check the old municipal buildings, churches, monasteries, museums, the old port, a former fortress and now night-club Revelin to spice it up in the evening...no need to mention all the restaurants and bars in the walls and outside on the rocks...so many things. We would love to tell you all about Dubrovnik and its long mercantile history, but it would take longer than 14 days to do it.
Not being able to see all you wanted to yesterday shouldn't be a problem as you can spare some time today. Your next stop is Ston, a small town at the beginning of Pelješac peninsula. On your way, you will pass by Elafiti islands so you can perhaps mix up the previous day, and instead of visiting Elafiti on your 5th day - go straight to Dubrovnik and visit the Elafiti today. Hard life decisions these are, we know, but nothing that a coin toss can't solve! And off you go to Ston, picturesque medieval town once part of the Dubrovnik Republic. We presume you've never even heard of Ston, and in tourism, people say that a lot, but Ston really is a hidden gem and it opens the door to a world of great delicacies and interesting facts. Probably the most well-known thing about Ston is the saltwork dating back to the 14th century, still up and running as I write this piece. Visiting it is highly recommendable as you can see the process behind, buy some souvenirs and the most precious of all - the Flower of Salt. Because of this treasure, very important in medieval times as it gave the salt, wealth and power to the Republic, a monumental defence system, the largest fortification-urban enterprise of Europe at that time has been erected. 5500 m of walls encompassed the Ston and Mali Ston settlements. Hard to describe by words only, these walls are a must-see as they are being completely renewed and the stories behind its construction are something to keep an ear on. The bay of Mali Ston, known for growing shells, especially oysters and mussels, is something you cannot avoid if you want to enjoy sea delicacies. A boat ride to the oyster farm to have a bite at this natural aphrodisiac coming straight from the sea following with a glass of superb indigenous wine sort from Pelješac will enrich your taste buds and the whole visit. Just make sure not to leave the climb to the walls for after the feast, shells in a liquid state don't go along with the Dalmatian rock and won't grow in the soil. We recommend spending your night in the bay of Kobaš, just at the entranceway to Ston. A berth and few restaurants are all you need for the night.
Next morning, breakfast, coffee, whiskey, whatever suits you, and continue westward hugging the coastline of Pelješac until you reach the tiny island Lirica. From there, follow the straight line to Lumbarda, a small village on the bank of the island Korčula, only a few miles further of the town Korčula that you visited, or not, on your way down south. Lumbarda is one of those lovely island villages, not special for any particular reason, but with a feeling that captivates your heart and soul. Lots of small churches and stone houses will please your eyes as good as the restaurants will fill your stomach. The islets and beaches around will call you for a play with our toys for water sports, but you are free to join the locals and play some "picigin", endemic sport of Dalmatia. If you love jumping in the water, splashing, and like to concentrate on a small ball flying through the air towards you as the sun gets in your targeting system, this is the sport for you. In case Lovište captivated you on the way down, we recommend visiting Korčula for the above-mentioned reasons.
As if you didn't see any of nature's best in the previous week, we send you to the Park of nature Lastovo. Going south, south-west from Lumbarda, you will reach a group of small islands in front of the eastern bank of Lastovo. For this route, we recommend going on the south side where you will find Skrivena Luka, "hidden harbour" in English. Pretty much catching up with the reason for its name when you see the bay and the village itself. You can anchor in the bay or tie the boat up in front of one of the restaurants and say thanks to the owner by eating half of the stash. They say fish is good around here. The second option is continuing to Ubli on the western side, but Ubli is a ferry port, can be crowded sometimes and, let's be frank, it's further up then Skrivena Luka. Sun, sea, sleep is the agenda here so start checking the facts behind the Park of nature title. If you feel like it, you can call a cab and visit the town Lastovo on the opposite side. Situated inland instead of the coast as the pirates used to roam the island frequently, Lastovo emerged on a slope of the hill in an amphitheatre shape with an old "kaštel" on the peak of the hill protecting the town. The picturesque medieval town has that natural beauty in it that pulls you in instantly. The calmness that envelops you as soon as you set your foot on the island is when you get enchanted with a place where the time stops. Old stone houses carry a specific detail that the old habitants obviously held dear to their hearts, stylish chimneys, one better and more original than the other with ornaments such as animal horns or simpler ones. Get back to Skrivena Luka and spend the night with the sound of crickets
The next day head toward the island of Korčula once more, this time on the far west of the island to Vela Luka. Lucky you, there's no more of this island after this or you would be pronounced as the island's godfather. Even though it's not on the way, we would advise you to visit Proizd. 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. A cosy village, Vela Luka can give you the basic thing to satisfy your needs, and some culture to look at as it has several art collections worth seeing. While here, go in one of the numerous "konobas" in Vela Luka and ask about Oliver Dragojević, 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.
Go direction NW until you reach the eastern side of the island of Vis where you will come to the small islands of Budikovac and Ravnik. The tour continues with the Green cave on Ravnik island, nature's works of art. Winds and waves have carved in the amazing sights inside and outside of hard Dalmatian rock making astonishing colour patterns. Keep your jaws and phones checked in order not to fall into the sea. Coming to the beautiful Budikovac you can sail into the lagoon where you will find an amazing pebble beach but bear in mind that it's quite shallow and there are some underwater rocks on one side of the Laguna. Now sail on to the town of Vis. Before getting there, you can make a stop at Stončica bay with a beautiful sandy beach and a lovely restaurant. Perfect time to get to know „picigin “, Dalmatian beach sport. Time to visit Issa, the first Greek colony in the Adriatic, after you were introduced with Pharos. Inhabited since prehistory, Vis as an island was on a perfect geographical position on the Adriatic Sea routes. It was Illyrian before the 4th century BC when Syracuse founded the colony of Issa. Afterward, it was a Roman town. Nowadays a typical Dalmatian town, beautiful and full of history Vis has a lot to offer. We recommend staying overnight and seizing the day, if there's any left of it, 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 former Yugoslavia 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. Vis as an island and as a town is getting recognized more and more, just like the rest of Croatia, as a perfect place to shoot movies and series. The latest one is the mega-hit, a sequel of the musical Mamma Mia, full of mega-stars such as Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Andy Garcia, was shot in Vis, Komiža, and Barjoska beach. Actually, Vis served as a fictional Greek island Kalokairi. They didn’t make any mistake, right? Take a walk, maybe you run into some of the movie gods strolling around…they said they will be back.
Sail on in the morning to the familiar landscape of the Hvar island, this time substituting Paklinski islands and Hvar with the northern side of the island. Even though there are lots of bays around, Tiha bay, consisting of lots of smaller bays that can be your next stop for this day if you just want to swim and relax all day is the place you need and it is a frequent nautical stop. You know what to do in Croatian bays, right? The alternate option, the town of Stari Grad, awaits you since 384 BC when it was founded by the Greeks as Pharos. It is the second oldest Greek town in Croatia after Issa on Vis, with numerous sites and buildings that speak of history and tradition from that and previous age, all the way up until our time. First of all, your vehicle. It would be wise if you intend to tie the boat on the promenade in the town itself, to reserve it in advance as it can get crowded. The other option is to catch a buoy out there or in some of the bays around the town. When you set yourself free, start exploring the town and dive into the old times. Imagine the old Greeks coming into the same bay as you with their ships (no problem with berths for sure) and settling on this fertile piece of land. They exploited that and created their parcellation in the long field to the east of the town, nowadays the oldest example of that kind of parcellation in the Mediterranean, making it one of the most important pieces of cultural heritage in the world, which UNESCO recognized in 2008. Along the field, going further inland, there are a lot of small stone churches, tiny old stone houses, and the remains of villae rusticae, Roman holiday houses. One other thing you will notice wandering around Hvar is the smell. Some will notice it immediately as it will resemble those from their private quarters back home, only that one is mixed up with lots of smells and odors and…anyway, on Hvar it comes from the vast fields of lavender that grow all around. The same case is with the wine and vineyards. I’m not talking about the smell. You should go for some of the indigenous wine sorts such as Plavac Mali. The reason behind all these growing and prospering on the island is the climate of course, as Hvar is “the sunniest Croatian island” with around 300 sunny days throughout the year. In the town itself, a more modern holiday house, dating from the 16th century, belonged to one of the noble families of that time, the family Hektorović. The head of the house at that time, Petar Hektorović (a famous Croatian poet in his free time) has built Tvrdalj, a semi-castle, semi-holiday house that attracts tourists with its architecture, inscriptions in Latin and a fishpond in the middle of the complex so definitely check it out. Other interesting places to see include several churches, Biankini palace with an art gallery, and an old windmill. Spend the night with the old Greeks and their heirloom.
After Hvar, let's hop across the street to the southern side of Brač and famous Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) beach for a swim and some adrenaline. Shaped in this unusual form thanks to the winds blowing from both sides, the horn can be seen in almost every Croatian tourism propaganda and commercial set, let alone in numerous official postcards and photographs. It's not unusual to find the peak of the horn facing the opposite direction than the day before after a windy night. Kids love the beach, the adults too by playing "picigin" or just chillin' with a cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other. That could be your scenario too, or you can try the other pastime provided by the winds such as surfing and kite-surfing, very popular in this area. In spite of all these fun activities, be aware that these winds can influence the boat's stability too so better find another place for anchor if heavier winds roam around. To be more precise, do not stay overnight in case of heavy winds! We can recommend the Lučice bay, further west following the coast of Brač. You can't miss it as it looks as though a dinosaur stepped on Brač leaving a footprint. Drop an anchor in one of the toes or use one of the buoys in front of the restaurants situated on the sides. Be aware that the buoys need to be paid for. Almost perfectly protected from winds on all sides, Lučice is popular among the sailors. The reason will be clear as soon as you arrive at the bay. Enjoy in the pristine bay and crystal-clear sea
We think it's time to visit the only bigger island you've missed on your tour of the southern island. The island of Šolta is most certainly not the one to miss. Even though it is not such well-known as the bigger islands around it, Šolta has its worth and charm. To get to the two towns we can recommend on this route, sail through Splitska vrata between Šolta and Brač and head either to Stomorska or Rogač on the northern side of the island. Practically, there's no particular thing to pick one out, but do note that Rogač is the only port on the island and therefore is used for the ferries, transporting humans and goods, causing a bit of a fuss in the summer. Nevertheless, peace is guaranteed here and a berth in the marina if you don't want to drop anchor or tie the boat somewhere else like visiting the picturesque bay of Kašjun in the neighborly bay. Swimming, enjoying in the sun, food, and drinks can be the activity of the non-active members of your crew, and the ones that like a little bit of adrenalin can take bikes and go inland and explore the other side of the island. In Stomorska, the agenda would be practically the same as after 12 days at the sea you can relax and start to feel the steady soil again in full. You can tie the boat on the promenade and explore the oldest coastal village on Šolta, the home of great captains. Taking a bike tour or climbing up to the Vela Straža peak of 238m and gazing down on Split, Šolta, and other islands can be the perfect photo to end this epic journey. Just be aware of the conditions and gear you need for climbing! Our rescuers have a habit of mocking the tourists trying to conquer our hills and mountains in flip-flops and just their saliva for hydrating. Yet again, we can always use a good laugh.
After Šolta, the next morning is time to start planning the way back to Split. About an hour of sailing to your starting point so you can either roam through the bays on Šolta and then head for Split (in-between please fuel the boat up, or go directly to Split and our ACI marina stopping on the way for some swimming and water sports with our equipment. For a final splash of Croatian culture, visit the old town in Split, the Diocletian's palace and Riva, the beautiful promenade with lots of bars and restaurants. Start making those «ale stories», building up the foundations of the fairy tales you will be telling your grandchildren about the greatest trip ever on the beautiful Adriatic, with beautiful people on a beautiful boat. Some things are true no matter what you do, but some things are better left with “what happens in, stays in…”