Mediterranean Delights: Sailing Croatia II
Continued from “Sailing in Croatia Part I”
This industrial town near the boarder between Italy and Slovenia has a pretty bad reputation for being dirty and unattractive. That’s not really true anymore, and beyond the bit of dirt that is still around, you will find Trieste to be a fascinating melting pot of Italian, Austrian, Slovenian and Croatian culture – much more rewarding as a destination than the average industrial port.
In Croatia itself, the Coast of Istria, a heart-shaped peninsula, is very popular for Central European tourists and very busy in the Summer. The city of Rovinj is called “the pearl of Istria” and for a very good reason – very attractive, but busy. Pula has an Austrian Naval Cemetery and stunning Roman ruins, including the second largest arena in Europe after the Colosseum in Rome. The Dalmatian Coast stretches along Croatia South of Istria. It is sparkled with thousands of little islands and a diverse coastline with Medieval towns offers endless attractive destinations for cruiser yachts.
Sail back in time in Croatia
Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, because it is among the best-preserved Medieval towns of Europe. Most of its core was built in the 13th century, and historically interested sailors will instantly fall in love with Dubrovnik’s archaeological museums. A side-note for gourmets: The “slow food” movement is big in Croatia, you should get your hands on a guide of this organization – it will point you to some outstanding restaurants for Mediterranean seafood.
Further South, you will find the cultural highlights of Kvar, Split, Zadar, and innumerable unspoiled islands. As a general rule one can say that the further South you get, the more rustic and Croatian it will get (and cheaper, too!).
So how can you get there? Europeans normally arrive by car. Croatia is expanding its highway system for years now and driving there becomes increasingly attractive. For non-Europeans, planes are with no doubt the best options. Pula and Dubrovnik have significant international airports, but you can also try to get to Ljubljana in Slovenia or Venice in Italy and start your cruise there. Eventually the final destination will depend on where you charter your yacht.
Practical Advice: Flight and Boat Charter
For a particularly cheap deal from the US, you can try to fly into London, and get an Airport-ticket from Heathrow to Luton or Stansted, where many low-cost airlines fly from – this includes EasyJet and Ryanair. Keep in mind that this is a bit of a hassle, though, where you can’t check through your luggage. This is sort of the student’s option.
The best time for cruising Croatia is early to late summer, somewhere between mid-June and late August. Other months might still work well for you – just keep in mind that winds change over the course of the year and take this into consideration when planning your route.
Get good general guidebooks for the country and charts of Croatia as well as some of the extensive cruise literature and sailing charts for the area. Remember that there are few areas in the World where sailors have been active for longer – therefore, there is plenty of information available about sailing in Croatia. To make the best of your vacation, I also recommend a restaurant guide.
Back to “Sailing in Croatia Part I”