Adriatic Ports of Call

The Adriatic is becoming an increasing popular destination to charter a luxury yacht, particularly for the 2013 season given the current uncertainties concerning VAT on yachting within French and Italian waters. Our broker Laura Woods offers some personal insight to cruising the Adriatic…

Chartering a yacht in Croatia allows access to one of the most dramatic coastlines in all of Europe – soaring mountains, deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, immense fields of lavender and gently rolling hills dotted with ancient olive trees. More than a thousand islands, mostly uninhabited, rise out of the spectacularly clear waters.

This suggested draft itinerary is aimed at providing a framework for the week’s charter.  It is not definitive, and can be modified depending on the charterers’ tastes and the weather and sea conditions.

DAY 1 Arrive at Tivat Airport, Montenegro, where you will be met and taken to the Yacht which will be berthed at Kotor. After Customs formalities, cruise through the fjords out of Montenegro, to Cavtat (3.5 hours). Spend the night in port, visiting Dubrovnik in the evening.

Both Dubrovnik and Lokrum (a small island opposite to Dubrovnik) are mentioned in the legend of King Richard the Lion heart, who found the shelter against the storm on the island of Lokrum on his return from the Crusades in 1192. He made promise to build a church on the spot where he came ashore, but at the request of the people of Dubrovnik, he arranged to have the church built in the city of Dubrovnik.

The city of Dubrovnik is surrounded by 2 kilometres of walls built between the 11th and 17th century, so we strongly suggest visiting the City walls. One can see the famous main street Stradun, Franciscan Monastery whose cloister ranks among the most inspiring sites of the city; inside this monastery the oldest pharmacy in Europe that still functions as such (opened in 1317), the Dominican Monastery with its finest collection of Renaissance paintings in Dubrovnik, the Rector Palace (15th century) and other famous buildings.

Day 2 Depart from Cavtat and cruise first to Mljet, stopping for water sports at the Eastern end of the island (2.5 hours), and then continuing on to the National Park at the Western end (2.5 hours).  Spend the night at anchor in either Pomena or Polače.

The island of Mljet, one of the best known Croatian islands, was proclaimed National Park in 1960 in order to protect its unique woods around two spectacular salt lakes in the middle of the island. In the middle of the Greater Lake is the small island Our Lady with an ancient Benedictine monastery from the 12th century. An island within an island! Two sea lakes, dense forests of Aleppo pine and holly oak, cliffy coasts, caves, crevices, mud and mineral springs, endemic plants, the sea and the submarine, are all the characteristics of its wonderful nature.

Day 3 Early in the morning, visit the Mljet National Park, and then cruise to Korčula (1.5 hours) for a day of water sports and sunbathing; in the evening, anchor near Korčula Town.

The wooded island of Korčula (it has the greenest Mediterranean woods) as it was named by the ancient Greeks is known for the beauty of its nature and for the richness of its historical, cultural and traditional heritage. The Gothic and Renaissance buildings, palaces, churches, streets and squares emphasise the harmonious ground plan inside the old town walls of the city of Korčula. For centuries, stone cutting and shipbuilding have been the most important professions in this town. It took local builders 150 years to erect the cathedral of St.Marcus, the most valuable building in Korčula. The old knight’s dance Moreska, dating from the 15th century, evokes the battles with the Moors and was popular all over the Mediterranean. But today it has only been preserved on the island Korčula. The greatest world traveller, Marco Polo, also began his great journey in this town. There are also many opportunities for an interesting and active holiday (cycling, moped riding etc.)

Day 4 Depart from Korčula in the early morning, and cruise to Vis (4.5 hours). Visit the Green Grotto, and then take the tender to Biševo to see the Blue Grotto.

The island of Bisevo is the south-west of the island of Vis. Many caves have been carved into its steep coast. Among these, the BLUE CAVE (Modra spilja) with entrances both above and below sea level should be singled out. When the sea is calm the light diffracts and paints the interior of the cave blue, and anything below the water line, silver. The effect rivals that of the well-known cave on Capri. If you are lucky, you will come across the protected species of Mediterranean monk bear, although it has not been seen in these waters for a long time.

Spend the night in the port of Vis, visiting a local restaurant on the beach for fresh local seafood. Vis, known for its fishermen and seafarers, beautiful nature and growing tourist potential, is still relatively unknown and unspoilt, and has a wonderful atmosphere. The Greeks founded their first colony on Vis (named Issa) and planted the first grapevine there as early as the 4th century. Two churches from the 16th and the 17th centuries have been preserved, as well as the number of Renaissance houses. There are 54 bays around the island, each with its own character.

Day 5 Depart from Vis Town and cruise to Hvar (2 hours), stopping for water sports on the Pakleni islands off Hvar. Take a tour of Hvar in the afternoon. Sample the rich nightlife in one of Hvar’s many bars and clubs.

The island of Hvar, the longest Adriatic island, holds the record for the number of sunny days per year. A lot could be said about the cultural traditions on Hvar. The oldest relief of a ship in Europe was found here. The oldest community theatre in Europe was founded here in 1612, on one of the largest Renaissance squares. There is also the Renaissance cathedral with its original tower, rich treasury and many paintings by old masters. Several late Gothic buildings have been preserved on one of the largest squares, the most prominent among them being the unfinished palace of the Renaissance poet Petar Hektorovic. The island of Hvar is also famous for its St. Klement’s islands (PAKLENI OTOCI) small, partially wooded islands with gravel and sandy beaches. In the pine forest beyond there is a fortress, overlooking an exquisite botanical garden. Although the name means ‘Hell Islands’, they are not menacing at all. The word also means a kind of tar used in shipbuilding, which may be why the islands are singled out by yachtsmen.

Day 6 Depart from Hvar, and stop at one of the many coves on Brač for water sports (1.5 hours).  Continue up to Šibenik, then upriver to Skradin (4.5 hours) to visit the National Park and then have a tour of the waterfalls in the evening, finishing with a refreshing swim in the mountain waters at the foot of the falls.

Skradin is an attractive tourist destination, which is actually the entrance into the Krka National Park. The Krka River creates a myriad of cascades and waterfalls. There are seven waterfalls, Skradinski buk, the tallest limestone barrier in Europe (46 m in height) and Roski slap being the most beautiful ones. Between them is a small lake with the picturesque island of Visovac in the middle. A Franciscan monastery was built on Visovac in the 15th century.

Day 7 Depart from Skradin early in the morning, and cruise down to Split (5.5 hours), arriving at midday.

Split is the largest town in Dalmatia and has long been an important commercial and transit trade centre. The city grew up round and within the huge palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, which around 614 year provided the shelter to inhabitants of the nearby devastated town of Salona. Diocletian’s Palace is the largest and best preserved late-antique palaces in the world. The city has a number of interesting museums and galleries. Thanks to its exceptional cultural monuments and tourist attractions, Split has become an inevitable tourist destination for Mediterranean cruises.


Posted on May 10, 2013