Cruising Croatia's Coastline

Heidi Kemsley on 17 July 2012
Croatia had been on my "To Do List" for a while so when the kind Invitation came to join some friends on their 72 ft yacht smiling from Dubrovnik I was delighted!

I took the civilised 0845 British Airways flight from Gatwick & headed off at the end of June for a long weekend. the flight takes around 2 1/2 - 3 hrs , landing around 11am local time. jumping in a local cab we were to meet the yacht tender at the pretty harbour in Cavtat just a 5 min journey. No more than 40 mins from landing we were aboard the stunning yacht Infiniti my home for the next 5 days.

After spending the first night moored in the sleepy little harbour of Cavtat we set sail for the island of Kolocep where we moored in the clearest of waters for lunch & snorkelling. With temperatures around 28 degrees snorkelling & swimming off the back of the yacht was blissful.

The following day we sailed into Dubrovnik Old Town which is arguably one of the most picturesque walled cities. We walked around the top of the city walls, peeking down on the numerous, orange tiled roofs which along with most of Old Dubrovnik have since been re-built following the Croatian War of Independence conflict which began in 1991. The city oozes history & has been sensitively re-constructed using the original stone.

Dubrovnik welcomes many cruise ships each day so I would recommend visiting early morning to avoid the crowds. There is a 70 Khuna (£6.50) charge per person for the City Wall walk which takes around 45 mins. Croatian lace, local jewellery, Lavender Oil & orange blossom honey are good buys here.

We spent lazy days motoring through the beautiful crystal clear waters , sometimes under sail when stronger winds permitted, mooring up for leisurely sea-food lunches in turquoise bays, occasionally taking to the hammock on board, strung between the masts. We visited many islands, some so long it took several hours to sail along their rugged coastlines - odd sounding names such as Lokrum, Lopud, Mjlet, Sipan and Elafits - The Deer Islands which house some of the most beautiful summerhouses built by the rich Vlastela of Dubrovnik. At one end of the island of Mjlet is a huge National Park where a visit to the remote Benedictine Monastery of St. Mary is a relaxing & peaceful diversion.

We island hopped for just 5 days but with the choice of over 800 islands off the Croatian Coast there's plenty to keep avid sailors and deck babes alike happy.

BA flight into Gatwick returns at lunchtime so again convenient and relaxed.

Top Tips : Visit Dubrovnik in the mornings At least 1 island boat trip is a must Pure lavender oil is great value Flat, comfortable shoes for lots of lovely pine clad hill walks Take time to learn a little of the local history - Croatia has a fascinating past. Take a spare memory card for your camera - the views are endless !!