sailing Adriatic
© Saša Drobac

Game of coves

PHOTOS: Seven swoon-worthy days of sailing through the Adriatic

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Have you ever considered sailing through the Adriatic or wondered how it would be? We’re here to show you. Join us for a peek into a seven-day sailing journey through the southern Croatian islands.

DAY ONE OF SAILING IN CROATIA

It’s late June. Around 11am, we take off from Croatia’s buzzing capital city for the coast. We journey through the mountains and greenery of the gorgeous Lika and Gorski Kotar regions.

Our destination is the Trogir marina, from which we’re setting sail. A few signed documents (and a round of žestica, that is, rakija – for good luck, of course) later, and we’re boarding our floating home for the next seven days. Her name is Danica and she’s a Bavaria 50 booked with Zizoo boats. She’s the perfect size for our crew of six.

Taking off from Trogir, we head toward Šolta. Energies are high, Dino Dvornik is playing, and we’re sailing into the sunset (literally – it’s around 6pm by the time we head out). For the first night, we dock in a tiny turquoise cove on the west end of Šolta. It's just Danica, the sea below and the stars above.

sailing adriatic

 

© Saša Drobac

 

DAY TWO OF SAILING IN CROATIA

After a day of exploring endless inlets and having fun under the Vis sun, we dock in Komiža, a fishing village situated on the western side of Vis under 587-metre Mount Hum.

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

It’s around 8pm as we pull into the marina and plenty of summertime sun is left in the day. We stroll the narrow alleyways of the town, oohing and aahing at the artisan boutiques around us showcasing seashell jewelry and ogling the characteristically turquoise window shutters scattered around the stone buildings.

Come 10pm, we head into town for a meal – this is the Mediterranean, after all, and we are on vacation… So late-night dinners are a no-brainer. Among the six of us, we chow down on maneštra stew, prawn burgers and sweet red wine washing it down with even sweeter cherry and lemons rakija.

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

DAY THREE OF SAILING IN CROATIA

The next morning entails coffee and one more walk across the small seafront of Komiža – stopping in artisan gift shops and making a few new local friends along the way.

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

We sail out of the town and into the most beautiful bays (thanks to our expert skipper) of Vis. The most crowded (if you can call it that, with just a handful of docked boats) bay we stopped in during the entire trip is Vis’ famous Stiniva.

sailing adriatic

 

© Saša Drobac

 

Other than that, we actively seek out the most peaceful inlets possible, where no other boats are to be seen. Call it the game of coves.

sailing adriatic

 

© Saša Drobac

 

Just because there aren’t a lot of humans around doesn’t mean we’re sailing solo. Vis is surrounded by jellyfish – as 3/6 of us can attest first-hand. The first is stung while swimming, the second almost escapes but is caught while getting on the boat, and the third while rinsing out cutlery in the sea with one hand.

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

You may have heard claims as to what the best ways to treat a jellyfish sting are… But here’s a tried-and-true pro tip: apply vinegar or lemon to the area as soon as possible after being stung and hold a cold compress to it (a Karlovačko from your ship’s fridge will do just fine). Most Adriatic jellyfish stings go away on their own – but if you’re in pain or it seems inflamed, it’s best to see a doctor.

Around 8pm, we reach our cove-tel for the night: Proizd Island.

sailing adriatic

 

© Saša Drobac

 

The hidden bay we dock in is full of round, white stones lovingly smoothed into shape by the sea and gracefully bleached by sunshine. Just before the sun goes down, we take a dinghy to the shore, bottle of champagne in tow. Our bonfire-expert skipper lights a bonfire (and puts it out properly later).

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

This is one of the highlights of the trip – us, delicious champagne, and a fire burning on the shore as we watch our fireball sun disappearing beyond the watery horizon... 

DAY FOUR OF SAILING IN CROATIA

The next morning begins with swimming in crystal-clear waters before sailing off (or in this day’s case, getting a little necessary help from the engine) on totally bonaca (calm sea) waters.

sailing adriatic

 

© Saša Drobac

 

Breakfast consists of palačinke – Croatian crepes made in the galley. Next stop: Korčula’s marina in the island’s Old Town, where we arrive around sunset. We, naturally, have a quick dip in the sea before receiving a royal welcome; one of us is from Korčula and his friends roll out the red carpet for us.

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

Here’s how the evening goes… We’re picked up by a mini open-air bus and driven down the waterfront and to De Canavellis. The restaurant is located within a tower of the city's old stone walls. Our alfresco table is nestled beneath an orange tree.

sailing adriatic

 

© Natalija Al-kahbybeh

 

We gouge ourselves on fried octopus, scallops, local hand-rolled pasta makaruni with prawns and tomato sauce, freshly grilled tuna steak. Dessert consists of custard-based rožata made with rose rakija, which the island is known for. Everything is organic, fresh-caught (wild), and grown in the restaurant's garden – apart from the autochthonous Grk wine, cultivated across Korčula. After dinner, we enjoy drinks out on the town and roam the cobbled streets illuminated by the moon and golden streetlights.

DAY FIVE OF SAILING IN CROATIA

We say a parting hvala (thank you) to Korčula after a pit stop in Cukarin bakery. All the goods here are handmade by the lovely owner, and we depart the island with bags full of Cukarin goodies like harubica: a muffin-type pastry with carob and arancini.

Our first stop today is Vrnik Island – a tiny islet that has no cars and only one family lives on year round.

At the island’s Vrnik Arts Club restaurant (which houses a former schoolhouse and art gallery), we enjoy a group meal called riblja plata (fish plate). It's a sort of Mediterranean mezze with octopus, local cheese, anchovies, sardines, stuffed cherry tomatoes and warm pogačice (fried bread buns).

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

As we eat on the patio, we take in the lovely 17th-century church, beach, and Adriatic flowers galore surrounding us, and make a furry friend.

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

After a lunch and swim stop on Stupe islet,

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

we cruise down the picture-perfect Pelješac Peninsula, crowned by the 961-metre-tall St. Ilija peak. Our route takes us through windsurfing territory; next to the Pelješac Peninsula's villages of Viganj and Kučište, which regularly host world windsurfing championships as one of the best areas in the world for the sport.

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

We sleep in a little cove on Šćedro Island, a protected nature park spanning just over eight square kilometres.

sailing adriatic

 

© Saša Drobac

 

DAY SIX OF SAILING IN CROATIA

Our destination today is the hotspot island of Hvar’s same-named main town. On the way, we cruise down the island and behold its landscapes which include vineyards,

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

rock formations,

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

and sea caves aplenty.

sailing adriatic

 

© Lara Rasin

 

Another highlight of the trip are Hvar’s Red Rocks – which we swim right into and between the caves’ craggy limestone walls.

We eat lunch made on the boat off the coast of Hvar. On the menu is risotto with mushrooms and asparagus with a bottle of wine bought on Vis. Upon arrival to Hvar, we roam the town, stopping for ice cream, sipping coffee, popping into boutiques, and making four-legged pals along the way as we please.

adriatic sailing

 

© Lara Rasin

 

As sunset approaches, we climb to the Hvar Fortress which has been faithfully guarding the town since the 13th century. The views speak for themselves and the entire pathway up is flanked by a marvelous Adriatic herb and plant garden. The climb lasts 40 minutes and consists of stairs and gravel pathways.

adriatic sailing

 

© Lara Rasin

 

DAY SEVEN OF SAILING IN CROATIA

Departing from Hvar, we make a stop on the coast of Brač Island to swim and eat lunch, which is homemade pasta carbonara with Slavonian black pork bacon (slanina od crne slavonske svinje) and champagne, or rather, Bakarska Vodica – a late-20th-century, old-school bubbly wine once popular in Croatia.

adriatic sailing

 

© Saša Drobac

 

En route to Trogir, we opt to take our sailing experience to the next level (this was our collective decision with our professional skipper – no one on such a sailing trip has to do this if uncomfortable!): we hit the wind hardcore, averaging 20 degrees slanted and reaching 33 degrees at one point. Adrenaline junkies, you know what to try on your sailing trip.

We spend our last night on the seas in the Trogir marina and feast on barbecue for dinner (can you tell there are a few Slavonians in the group yet?) as airplanes sporadically fly into Split Airport above us...

...carrying passengers excitedly arriving to their seaside destinations as we, sad but with satisfied souls, depart ours.

Check out a map of the journey here:

sailing adriatic

 

© Saša Drobac via Navionics by Garmin

 

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