Croatia has it all. With a fascinating history, fantastic dining options, stunning national parks and a spectacular coastline, there is so much to discover. Europe expert, Milly, discovers the highlights of the Adriatic coastline, combining cultural delights with island hopping on the ultimate Croatian itinerary.
Introducing yourself to the delights of this European gem by spending three or four nights in Split is the perfect way to begin your Croatian adventure. Right in the heart of the city, the Judita Palace is a home-away-from-home offering lovely, spacious rooms, overlooking the historic Peristil square. The hotel is ideally located to get to grips with the city, starting with a private guided tour of Diocletian’s Palace. Learn the history of the Emperor Diocletian, whilst exploring the amazing palace grounds for an insight into how the city of Split came to be. Following the tour, spend an afternoon wine tasting at Paradox bar, enjoying delicious local wines, cheeses and local fig jam.
Only an hour and a half north of Split lies the city of Šibenik, home to one of the best restaurants in the country, Pelegrini, where you can dine on world-class cuisine. From here, you can explore nearby Krka National Park and its impressive waterfalls, by hiking or cycling around the park. There are some beautiful spots to cool off and enjoy a refreshing swim with amazing views of the falls cascading overhead. Head back to the foodie paradise of Split in the evening to try out one of its many great restaurants.
Another gastro highlight for me was a cookery class in Trogir, hosted by the lovely Tatjana. Upon arriving, you head straight to a local market to source all the ingredients needed for the lesson. Explore the old town of Trogir, located on a small island connected to the mainland, learning about its history and admiring its beautiful and somewhat unusual church. From here, you will return to Tatjana’s house to begin preparing your feast. Whilst relaxed, it is a hands on experience letting you get stuck in gutting fish, preparing meat, and chopping the fresh haul of vegetables from the market. After cooking everything, you can sit down and eat a delicious meal with the whole family, in the comfort of their home. They are such a welcoming family, so full of life that you cannot help but leave with a big smile on your face, having experienced so much more than just learning to cook a variety of dishes. I am a real foodie, so this was a true highlight on my trip!
Having explored beautiful Split, it was time to board my home for the week, a yacht moored in the Agana Marina. These catamarans are comfortable, spacious and just ideal for a family of a group of couples. With ample sunbathing space, dining options inside and on deck and en-suite bathrooms; this is yachting in luxury. The cabins are relatively small, however more than comfortable enough for couples or siblings sharing and with plenty of storage space, the yachts are well equipped for groups.
The route is quite flexible depending on your preferences, however I would definitely recommend stopping at Milna on Brac and Stari Grad on Hvar. With stand up paddle boards, double kayaks, snorkelling equipment and fishing rods on board, there is plenty to keep all passengers entertained. Stopping in secluded bays for a spot of swimming, before tucking into a delicious light lunch prepared by your chef accompanied by a glass of local Croatian wine makes for total relaxation. Typically you would spend at least three out of seven nights in a marina and the others on a mooring buoy. This way you can enjoy the local cuisine in restaurants on dry land as well as those cooked by your on-board chef.
Spending a few days sailing across the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic is the perfect end to a Croatian adventure. This fantastic itinerary easily combines culture, relaxation and activities, both on land and in the water. Sailing the coast of Croatia works so well as many of its islands are within sailing distance of each other, yet each has its own charm and personality just waiting to be discovered.