As many people who travel know, a one-week trip can be filled with adventure and emotions. But what I didn’t know is that it can also give you a chance to learn and gain experience, laugh out loud all day and see the another side of each person who made up our group of five.
Our travel adventure was based on the idea that sailing around the Croatian island would be the best way to emerge into the Croatian lifestyle, and it did not disappoint.
The only way to explore the islands of Croatia is by boat. The islands have remained steeped in history and rich in Croatian culture. Settling sail the first day we embarked into an unknown world and a wonder filled adventure.
Day 1: Andorra / Dubrovnik / Split
Our trip started in Andorra (a small country between Spain and France) we all met up and drove down to the airport in Barcelona. Our flight left early in the morning and landed in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik: Although we did not have much time to visit, Dubrovnik is a spectacular little town surrounded by a fortress right on the seaside. All the little houses and buildings are basically made a like, that’s what makes this town so amazing.
We spent some time near the port, where we encountered a really nice food market. They were cooking entire pigs on a stick (amazing).
After a short time in Dubrovnik we took a 3-hour bus ride to Split. The bus ride was really nice, it went alongside the coastline and at one point we crossed through Bosnia.
We arrived in Split in the afternoon, where we had a 30 min. drive to the port of Kastela (where the boat was waiting for us). After a few moments in ‘’ panic mode’’, since we could not find the charter company and were starting to think we would not get a boat, we finally got everything in order and were united with our lovely boat: RAVA. It was bigger than expected and looked just right for our trip. With three cabins, a bathroom, an open kitchen and lots of on deck space. We were ready to roll.
After a long day traveling we decided to spend the first night in the port and set sail the next day.
Day 2: Split / Blue Lagoon / Paklinski Island
Since the hole crew was exited to set sail, we woke up early to get a fresh start on our second day. We prepared everything, and were up and running in no time.
As we left the port, we could see the sunrise just appearing behind the port. That sunrise immediately set us in a relaxed mood and our vacation mode was ON.
We set sail to Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon is nestled between the two islands off Krknjasi. Krknjasi, is the perfect place for snorkeling or swimming because of its amazing crystal clear waters. We spent most of the day there, as we explored the area and just chilled for the rest of the day.
We set sail again, direction the Paklinski Island, that’s when the real sailing experience started. It took a couple of hours to get to Paklinski, but seemingly our crew was already in expert mode. Everybody pitched in and were attentive to the captain’s instructions.
The peacefulness felt as we sailed the ocean was mesmerizing. I could see the whole crew was getting used to this sailing life.
The Paklinski Island is an Island in a zigzag form and so it was perfect for us to try our freshly learned anchoring technics. As we entered the creek we saw quite a few boats parked for the night and that was exactly what we were looking for, that kind of raw sailing experience. Although it was everybody’s first time anchoring a boat, I must say we did a pretty good job at it. And so there it was… our boat was anchored and prepared for our first night in the open waters.
We all prepared the outdoor table and got ready for super. With a home cooked meal and quite a lot of wine, we where all set. We spent hours talking, laughing and enjoying the peace and calm that we could feel. There was no city lights, no car noises, no loud talking, just the sound of the waves and the wind blowing through the trees.
Day 3: Paklinski Islands / Vis / Stiniva beach
We sailed off into day 3 at about 7am in the direction to the island of Vis.
The Island of Vis is the farthest inhabited island on the Croatian mainland; it ‘s not a very big island and has two main towns: Vis and Komiza.
When we got to the island we quickly filled up the gas tank and then decided to walk around the town. It was quite a fun moment as we walked on ancient cobbled roads and took pictures of almost everything as the entire island was still beautifully preserved. We found a surprising amount of cats hidden inside the town. We stopped for a much-needed beer and relaxed as we talked about the first moments of the trip.
After our visit to the town and our much-needed pint of beer we made our way back to the boat and set sail for Staniva Beach. We had read that it was one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, and boy it did not disappoint.
As soon as we anchored the boat we went on to explore this little piece of wonder. The beach is situated between two cliff walls and is about the size of a pool. The most amazing thing was sitting on the beach and staring into the emerald green water that opened up into the sea. It was like a magician had sprinkled fairy dust all over the beach and transformed it into this magical wonder.
We then headed back to the boat and enjoyed another great meal. We talked about our deepest thoughts, told a few funny stories, drank more wine but mostly enjoyed the great music coming from the next-door boat it was a great evening.
It was a really great place to spend the night, the boat was hidden from the wind and water currents, so we had a good night sleep.
Day 4: Stiniva beach / Blue cave / Komizca
On day 4, we could already feel the fatigue come knocking on our door, but even fatigue couldn’t dampen our spirits we were motivated to continue our journey and we prepared to sail into day 4 in the direction the Blue Cave. The blue cave is one of the most visited destinations is Croatia, it is located on the Island of Bisevo right next to Vis, and its total population is about 12 people (I’m not kidding).
We anchored at a beach near the cave where someone came and picked us up in a little motorboat to take us to the cave. The entry fee was about 70 kunas’’ which is about 6 euros. The boat ride wasn’t very long and the guide was very friendly. We entered the cave through a small man made opening and suddenly appeared on the other side where we could see this very bright blue water and as you put your hand in the water it glowed a bright bluish color. I have to admit it would of been fun to be able to swim in the cave, but due to mass tourism and the caves fragile eco system you can only enter with a guide and cannot swim in the waters of the cave. But it is still worth it.
We took a group decision and decided to stay in the port of Komizca for the night. Unfortunately the port was full and we had to anchor right next to the port, this turned out to be rather fun. As a treat for surviving 4 days on a yacht as novice sailors we decided to eat in the town of Komizca. After a much needed on land shower, we were lucky to catch what I would consider the most beautiful sunset of the whole trip. The sun was this bright orange and the moon was a opaque white; it was amazing.
We had supper in a lovely seaside restaurant, where they served all kinds of Croatian seafood, it was splendid.
After supper and a drink, the whole crew ended up at this seaside music festival. The beach was covered with all these lights, which formed different shapes on the floor and walls. The music playing was a relaxed indie kind of music. We had a great time dancing around, and the people there where really nice.
Coming back to the boat we lost our annex boat and practically spent the whole night and early hours of the morning looking for it. At sunrise the next morning our tired crew made their way onto the deck for breakfast where on of the crew spotted something floating in the water in the distance, turns out it was our annex boat, which we had not tired up securely at the port the night before. We couldn’t stop laughing as some of the crew had to return the other boat, which we took because we assumed someone had taken our boat. I have to say it was really funny to watch, the scramble to get the (stolen) boat back to shore before anyone noticed it was missing. The crew were great in this little moment of crisis.
Day 5 : Komizca / Scredo island
Although day 5 started with all of us being pretty tired it was still a fun day.
We got some breakfast, filled our boat with much needed supplies and got in motion. We where headed in the direction of Scredo Island. Even if I slept most of the way, the few moments I was awake and on deck I was lucky to see what must have been the calmest sea ever. The water looked like a silky bright blue, not a cloud was in sight and not the slightest breeze. It was picture perfect.
After stopping at a small port around the island, we anchored in a small creek. After a nice supper we were all completely out of it and headed to bed early.
Day 6 : Scedro island / Hvar
Day 6 started strong, we woke early enough and prepared everything to visit the island of Hvar. The island is famous for its important strategic and nautical position and has a rich history marked by its culture and natural monuments.
The village of Hvar is not very big, but it has a lot of monuments such as churches and other historical architecture.
It was quite nice to walk through the ancient stone roads as we passed by these different stores selling mostly local made products. The village was bustling, not only from tourist visiting but also the locals. We visited the fortress at the very top of the village, where you can see the entire village and have an amazing view of the Paklinski Island and a few other islands. The sea was calm with the sun shimmering on the water, it was breathtaking. We stayed there all morning and into the afternoon and left the island quite late.
After a long day sight seeing we did not travel very far before we anchored the boat since it was getting late. We anchored in a quiet little creek and visited the beach which was really nice and peaceful.
Day 7 : Hvar / Bol / Split
As we woke up to start day 7 we all had a bittersweet felling in our stomach. We knew it was our last day on the boat, but we also new how lucky we were to have lived this experience.
We decided to spend our last day on the Island of Bol where the Golden Horn is located. The golden horn is a beach that extends into the ocean like a horn on the Island. This was the first sand beach we encountered the entire of the trip, since all the other beaches were just big rocks next to the sore. We visited part of the Island, and it looked like a great place to spend on another trip to the Islands.
We spent most of the day on the beach, until it was time to return to the port were it all started.
The sail back to the port was great. We had the music on, we were all giving our thoughts on the trip, and there again was bright orange sun set and just when we thought we had seen everything two dolphins appeared out of nowhere. It was honestly the best way to end this sailing trip.
Day 8: Kastela / Split center
We had an early wake up on day 8, since we had to do the check out of the boat.
After getting everything ready, there we stood, in front of what had been our home for 7 days, our little piece of paradise. We said goodbye to RAVA and left the port.
After a 30 min taxi drive to the center of Split, we left our luggage and went to visit the little town of split. Split is quite commercial, but architecture wise it is the same as Vis and Hvar. It had lots of little shops everywhere but the best part of the town was the ancient ruins in the center of the town. Although half destroyed, what was left of the ruins was kept as a main feature of the town and that made the town rather special for us.
We had a nice dinner in the town, after that we went for drinks in another part of town which came to life at night. The bars were filled with young people ready to party. Although we are quite the party type, we ended up going strait to bed because we had an early flight to catch the next day. That was our wonderful last night in Croatia.
Day 9: Split / Milan (Amsterdam) / Barcelona / Andorra
Day 9: Our last day.
It was with a heavy heart that we got ready to go to the bus station. We all got up and packed our stuff and headed to the bus, after a 30-minute ride, we arrived at the airport in Split. I must say, I have been to my fair share of airports, but nothing was quite like this airport. As soon as the bus dropped us off, we had to do our boarding and baggage check, at the outside of the airport (it was quite strange), after waiting in a long line, we finally got to the front desk.
To cut a long story short. We had an overbooking problem on our flight and one of us had to fly via Amsterdam and arrived a few hours later that us. Even if we had that little hiccup, the flight back was quite fun, we were sending pictures to our friend so he could follow the trip with us.
All in all, it was an intense trip. We learnt a lot sailing skills and what it was like to travel a country by sea. What I will keep from this journey is that Croatia is a wonderful place to visit, with its spectacular views and historical landmarks, with its breathtaking sea points and its beautiful architecture.
Also, I was very happy with the travel team (my friends), and still to this date remember the awesome moments spent with that bunch of weirdo’s.
So if you want my advice, sailing through Croatia should be a must on everyone’s bucket list