Oh Croatia, your islands are beautiful, your water is clear and warm, and your old towns are classic.
If you go to Croatia, go on a sailing trip. It’s the best way to see all of the islands and take full advantage of the Adriatic Sea. Also, Croatia is likely the only place I would recommend visiting during the high season. We were at the tail end (late September/early October) and all of the shops and restaurants were closing, the towns were so quiet you had to whisper, and most of the main tours weren’t running. A HUGE bummer if you fly all the way there and can’t go to the Blue Grotto or the Cave Bar, so be sure to do your research beforehand.
That being said, I highly recommend SAIL CROATIA. We had the most incredible week and made lifelong friends within the most eclectic group of sailers you’d ever meet.
Here’s the lowdown:
First of all, Sail Croatia has multiple price levels:
- Navigator (aka Cheap): It advertises 18-35, but I guarantee these are the 21 year old Aussies who just want to drink and shag the whole time with shared rooms and shared bathrooms. #nothankyou
- Explorer (aka Want to party, but want to chill): These are the “Young Professionals and young at heart travelers”, as it’s advertised. You pay more for your own room and ensuite, and can expect to be with people aged 27-60.
- Elegance (aka Old Farts): These are the 60+ mature, luxury travelers who just want to sit on a nice boat for a week.
Michael and I learned our lesson on this one from the Amazon Cruise and decided to go for the Explorer level to hopefully meet people our age and make friends. Thankfully, we couldn’t have asked for a better, more random group of travelers. Ages 25-60, everyone got along famously, all walks of life, and with the stories behind each person, MTV could have easily made a reality TV show about our cruise. I can’t even make this up.
But in a nutshell, here’s a rough itinerary:
Magellan. The beast. The best boat.
No rest for the wary! Right into our first activity. We sailed to Omis for white water rafting. It was a small group who decided to go, and the rafting was more of a float, with a lot of paddling, maybe two “rapids”, but otherwise it was a great arm workout. I’m still sore.
Spent the night docked in Markasha which ended up being extremely windy. Our guide even warned us that if the wind doesn’t die down we would be stuck in Markasha for the next day as well, which he explained isn’t good because Markasha is his least favorite town out of all of the stops. A lovely dinner in the quiet town, but nothing going on during the low season; apparently it’s usually super packed with tourists. Be prepared to be shocked by how the locals dress: 8 inch heels to the only local club in town, and the 18 year olds look like they’re 35.
Relax on the sun deck, read, swim in the blue clear warm water, lunch, nap, and buggy excursion on Korcula Island. So fun!!
Drive through the vineyards in a caravan with 20 other dune buggies, stop at a beach for a swim and a beer (probably the only place they encourage you to drink in between stops, and don’t make you sign any waivers). #yolo
Korcula itself is adorable. Take a walk through the Old Town, explore the alley ways, and cobblestone streets, short climb to the clock town for a nice city view, then have a delicious dinner at one of the local restaurants tucked away in the alleys. We had a group of 9 (our four new aussie girls, an Aussie guy who now lives in London, two sisters from Wisconsin, & Michael and I). The restaurant shoved us into our own private room off the alley, which was perfect because it’s hard to keep that many people quiet!
Drinks at the top of an old look-out tower.
Unfortunately, there was too much wind to stop for a swim so it was straight to Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic Sea.
A Dubrovnik Walking Tour is a nice way to get your bearings, but honestly it isn’t worth the money. No one likes to walk around with those stupid head phones in their ears and follow a guide like a duckling. Boring. Just walk around yourself and you’ll get the same experience.
However, you should definitely spend the 100 kuna ($15USD) to take a walk around the Old City Wall at sunset. The views are unbelievable.
Tip: Stop for ice cream at the shop next to the fountain as soon as you enter the main gates. They’re hilarious. And only 10 kuna if you show your Sail Croatia card.
If you’re into clubs, you must check out Revelin. It’s built inside an old fort and has great music! We were lucky because I’m not usually interested in clubs, but since it’s the low season now, it wasn’t too crowded (no line at the bar or bathroom), but just enough people to have fun dancing and mingling.
More info on Dubrovnik can be found in my next post: HERE.
The wind finally died down and we were able to drop anchor and have a swim in a beautiful cove. Michael and I were the first two to jump off the top deck. Everyone else was pretty nervous. Personally, I thought it was just high enough for a thrill!
In the afternoon, we docked at Mljet and had an adventure day in the National Park. A 15 minute walk and 70 kuna for the entrance fee (walking is faster than biking as you would have to go all the way around instead of walking up and down a set of stairs), rented a bike once inside the park for 90 kuna, rode to the Benedictine Monastery, fed some donkeys, checked out the smallest church in the world, went for a swim and walked on water (see pic), and biked around the rest of the island. I’ll admit, the ride was longer than we thought it would be, but a good workout and no complaints on the views!
- It’s an island inside a lake, inside an island inside a lake, inside an island inside a lake.
- Take your bikes on the small boat with you.
- On the opposite side of the Benedictine Monastery, go stand on the rock in the water and look like Jesus.
- To get to the island within the island, you wave a flag across to the boat driver and it’s free as long as you buy a drink at the cafe.
Another super windy and choppy day — weather clearly wasn’t on our side.
Finally, a swim stop in a protected, beautiful bay. Michael showed off doing back flips from the top deck!
We arrived in Hvar, the party capital of Croatia, and the majority of the group got off the boat to explore the town and hike to Fortica Spanjola, an old fort nestled at the top of the hill that overlooks Hvar. I do recommend making the trek up to this lookout point because the pictures were amazing and I kinda wish we would have joined the rest of the group.
If you’re not careful, you can spend your entire week off on excursions and not fully enjoy the boat. Our original group of seven decided to take advantage of the downtown and lay low and relax – just what the doctor ordered.
The fort crowd took a group shot at the top of the fort. Naturally, we felt left out so decided to take our own group picture – topless on the top deck. Once the mainland group saw our pictures, they decided to “one-up” us and four women posted “Anyone can do it on a boat” while they were topless at a bar! AMEN! #theywin
[Other picture will not be shown for obvious reasons.]
As previously mentioned, Hvar is known for its clubs and parties so tonight was the group’s big night out. Nautica Bar was an absolute BLAST. Everyone went! Flaming jager bomb shots, dancing and singing our hearts out until 1am. The bar closed and everyone moved over to Pink Champagne. It was terrible. 50 kuna entrance, expensive, smelly, dirty, and creepy Croatian men that Michael wanted to fight. The Croatians sure can party. I’m too old for this. Bed at 4:30am. Ugh.
Naturally, we all slept the day away. The one rule on the boat was to make it to breakfast from 8-9am and then you can go back to bed. That’s exactly what everyone did on this morning.
Once we woke up from our morning “nap”, we were docked in Stari Grad, one of the oldest cities in Europe. Cute, small, cobblestone streets, adorable shutters, sleepy town.
The swimming area had beautiful clear water and was a great hang over cure 🙂
Wine tasting on a farm that night to cap off the day.
Finally had our best swim spot of the trip and it was the last day. Just our luck. The entire boat jumped off the top deck and everyone was having such a great time together. What a fun afternoon!
Back to Split for one last group dinner, complete with tequila shots with our favorite South African couple (John and Ingrid), a late night photoshoot on the boat, and goodbyes to everyone.
This was one of the most fun weeks of my life – The people made this trip extremely memorable and we made lifelong friends that we can now visit around the world! Thank you to all my lovelies – Miss you all!
- Visit Vis – Apparently is better than Hvar. Small bay, blue grotto.
- Pula – Roman ruins
- Low season, everything is closed. Go during high season.
- Weather wasn’t great
- Breakfast too early
- Check out too early
- There is a lot of downtime if you don’t do too many of the activities. We needed to relax, but also didn’t want to miss out on the fun. Just be prepared for the experience that you want.
- Go during high season!
- Make friends with the bartender on the boat 🙂 And always be nice to the Captain!