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The Dalmatian coast is considered by many to be the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world.
Over 1400 islands and a mild climate with reliable winds make yachting a joy and manageable distances mean that both motor and sailing yachts can enjoy a fabulous week of contrasts with relaxing short passages between the many islands.
The vagaries of the Croatian system punishes foreign flag vessels so that many yachts pick up or drop off their guests in Kotor, Montenegro, a short drive from the airport of Dubrovnik to ensure that one end of the charter is outside Croatian waters.
Our itinerary can work in either direction and there are similar possibilities for Northern Croatia using Split and embarking or disembarking at Trieste in Italy or Koper in Slovenia.
Dubrovnik is a mere 50 kms from Kotor, jewel in Montenegro’s crown. A beautifully preserved medieval town and World Heritage site huddling in the bay with high mountains surrounding. It is worth a stroll around to view the mainly 12th and 14th century buildings and climb up to the fortress for a view of the town and the beautiful fjord. Five miles to the north of Kotor lies Perast and the twin islands of St George, with its intact Benedictine Abbey, and Our Lady of the Rock. The fjord is a delightful place to overnight.
A two hour cruise takes the yacht out of the fjord to the Adriatic and into Croatian waters. After a late breakfast, the morning is spent swimming in some of the deserted coves that characterise this part of the coast. Following a leisurely lunch, Cavtat is the first Croatian port of call. Originally founded in the 6thC by the Greeks as Epidaurus, its current name derives from the Latin Civitas Vectis, the Old City. From Cavtat it is a short passage to Dubrovnik although some guests prefer to remain overnight in the quieter Cavtat port, taking an evening taxi to sample Dubrovnik’s vibrant nightlife.
It is a 23 mile steam to the delightful island of Mljet, which according to legend, was the island of Ortygia where Odysseus was imprisoned by the nymph Calypso. Mljet is derived from Melitta meaning honey and has been dubbed the most seductive Adriatic island with few residents no major roads or large towns. Half of Mjlet is a national park and there are numerous opportunities to explore its forested landscape. Sobra on the north coast with its handful of restaurants and 80 inhabitants is a delightfully peaceful place to anchor.
Days 4 & 5 This morning we up anchor and steam over to Princess Royal Island, fourth largest in A 45 mile steam to Korçula, sixth largest island in the Adriatic, reveals a dramatic coastline with 30m cliffs rising on the south shore and many sheltered bays and anchorages. Settled first in the 6thC, the Greeks gave it the name of Black Corfu due to its wooded appearance. The walled town of Korçula is romantically located on a spit and best enjoyed when the crowds and the frequent cruise ship visitors have gone. As the legendary birthplace of Marco Polo one can visit the former house of the explorer and the town is home to the legendary Moreska Sword Dance.
From Korçula to Vis is a two hour passage to a landscape contrasting markedly with the islands previously visited. A large wine growing region, the island is covered with scented maquis boasting the cleanest seas in the Adriatic and, as a result, some of the finest seafood. Good walks around Vis and Komiza can be enjoyed before a short steam over to the fabulous island of Bisevo with its population of 14, hidden coves and extraordinary caves. These include the legendary Blue Grotto, accessible only by boat, whose under-sea floor is illuminated by shafts of sunlight giving it an iridescent blue quality.
From Bisevo, Hvar is a mere 20 miles and is reputed to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world and the sunniest in Croatia. Long one of the main sailing centre for trade and now tourism, Hvar has been variously Venetian, Austrian and Italian and Hvar town pulsates in summer with nightlife and a constant stream of large yachts. On the north coast, sheltered from the southern winds are many beautiful bays and pretty harbours with opportunities to go ashore to sample one of the mainstays of the island, the production if lavender oil. Vrboska on the eastern side of the protected UNESCO heritage site of Stari Grad is a delightful small yachting port to overnight.
The island of Brac is a natural stopping point on the return to Split. At the western end is the delightful port of Milna with protected anchorages and a pretty town to explore. Noted for its cuisine some great places to eat. From Milna it is a gentle steam across the strait separating Brac from the peaceful island of Solta. The sheltered northern coast has a few tiny ports with anchorages and the delightful Stomorska is a lovely spot for a last night before the return to Split.
Generally yachts prefer to berth in Trogir, a quiet yacht harbour 12 miles from Split town but very close to Split airport. For those with flights later in the day, Split is well worth exploring. As the former retirement home of the Emperor Diocletian, it has some wonderful Roman buildings blending in with more modern (albeit medieval) architecture.
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