Pedestrian’s Guide To Croatia Sailing & 24 Hours In Split

Editor’s note: Our boss Oscar Martin left for a six week holiday earlier this year and we were all “Bon voyage, have a marvelous time!” To his face. The subsequent accounts of his travels (including 24 hours in Singapore, a stint in Istanbul and the in-no-way-stressful Amalfi Coast) have been a sweet reminder that it won’t be long until we’re all due a little annual leave. Oz’s latest installment of travel tales comes to you via the obscenely picturesque coastline of Croatia where the best way to travel is, naturally, by boat.

When mother dearest asked where Hawk and I were globetrotting, her ears pricked up with mention of sailing the Adriatic in Croatia. It just so happened she was “close by” in London at the time… And perhaps Auntie Lindsey would be keen. Suddenly I had been crowned first mate (to her yachting partner Steveo) and, as the only one familiar with using the internet, was tasked with organising a 44 foot, 4-cabin vessel with skipper from 10,000 miles away on the other side of the world. Aye Aye! We quickly found out, and can now confirm, there are a few ways to do sailing in Croatia:

1. Yacht Week Schoolies afloat! – “It’s just great, that’s it.”

2. Nude. We’ve never seen so many rock spiders.

3. With the boys.

4. Or as Hawky and I did, as a family vacay (with the occasional Yacht Week shenanigans thrown in).

I’d highly recommend starting and ending in Split. You don’t want to attempt to sail from Split to Dubrovnik or vice versa. It’s possible, but you’ll spend the whole time sailing which I can assure you will quickly feel like a burden if lazy swims, long boozy lunches and a bit of a sail each day is your kind of vibe. Oh and winning the Croatian Diving Olympics;

There are a heap of charter companies to choose from. We ended up booking an Elan 434 Impression – 2007 with Croatia Yachting Charter which was fantastic. One valuable piece of advice is to take extra pillows for slothing about… Oh and showering off the back was easiest!

Here’s a breakdown of what it cost between 5 of us (we could have easily had 6 making even cheaper):

– The boat for 7 days (think of it as paying for 6 nights accommodation) was EUR 2778.
– Skipper. I couldn’t recommend this enough. Think of it as doing your bit for the local economy while being an indulgent shlepp. EUR 125 per day + food
– Residence Tax – 1 EUR per day / per person
 – Deposit – EUR 1600
Total = AUD $1,100 per person + food.

If in doubt…

Below are a few popular places to visit while traversing the Dalmatian Sea.

Vis – Vis Island If I lived in Croatia I’d be happiest here. Stone houses, beautiful design, as pretty as it is quaint. Definitely worth a wander around.

Great place to stock up on super fresh supplies, too.

Hvar – Hvar Island – The St. Tropez of Croatia. Go here to party. The most popular places include…

Carpe Diem Bar – As is often the case, the most popular spots aren’t necessarily the best and I wasn’t blown away by Carpe Diem bar (particularly its terrible name). It was ok.

Carpe Diem Beach – You get here by water taxi (about 15 minute drive) from the above.

Veneranda – It’s situated within the walls of a one-time monastery. Photos of Prince Harry gone wild circulate the Internet from this place of origin.

Hula Hula  Think Cocktails, Tunes, Swimming etc…

We had the most fun at Nautica Bar.

Brac Island – Zlatni Rat Beach – The most famous of Croatia’s beaches.

Blue Grotto 100% swim in here! It’s amazing.

It’s likely in another ten years Sailing Croatia will be nothing like we experienced. Developers will no doubt cash in on the largely sparse 2,000 mile coastline. So book now. Pedestrian’s travel partner Contiki offers an amazing Croatia sailing package for cheap Book Here!

STAY Hotel Vestibul Palace – Split

After seven days at sea, it’s more than likely you’re going to want to spend some time on dry land in fixed quarters. And what better place to stay than in a motherfreakin palace?! Hawk’s always told me to treat her like a princess! One of the oldest cities in Croatia, Split centres around Diocletian’s Palace (a World Cultural Heritage building, built in 305AD – no biggie). Inside the palace is Hotel Vestibul Palace (palace inception!) and this is the perfect place to wear off those sea legs. The hotel only has seven rooms PLUS a bar, restaurant and wine cellar, making there absolutely no reason to leave this place. EVER, if you have the means. We stayed in the Emperor’s Quarters – I have a feeling it’s been slightly updated since the Roman emperors shacked up here 1700 years ago though.

Boris, hotel manager and staff made us feel like royalty.

Buffet FIFI – Cheap and amazing Sea Bass. Hawk introduced me to black risotto. Definitely eat here. We adopted a formula of “eating where the locals eat” which proved invaluable.

It just so happened Ultra Music Festival was on the night we returned to land at Split’s Stadion Poljud. Crazy.