Sailing in Croatia, the restaurant hopping tour Part 1

We sailed around Croatia from the 25th August 2018 until the 15th September 2018. Our sailing started on our boat, a Grand Soleil 40 in Trogir and finished in Trogir.

Trogir is a fabulous town on the island of Ciovo. With something to occupy almost everyone, from the shopping addicts to the “I am hungry” person that is happier eating, to the nightclub lovers or the historians, you can lose yourself for days in this little town which has something to keep almost everyone busy!

Our boat was, based in ACI marina. Here is your tip number 1: if your boat is, based in one of the ACI marinas, download the app or make use of this website https://www.aci-marinas.com/. You can pre-book your berth, and the fact that your boat is, berthed in the ACI marina, request a discounted rate. Provisioning is pretty good as there are numerous large, supermarkets, and a quaint local produce market with amazing fresh cheeses and fruits and vegetables in season. The marina has many shops, restaurants and bars, so even after a couple of drinks, you can easily find your boat. In my opinion, the marina is under pressure during the peak season as there were only four ladies showers that, during the “peak” times created exciting ques in which ladies exchanged entertaining, horror sailing stories.

Our first night out was in a Bay on Brac, close to Sumarin N 43o 17.136’ E 016o 52.253’, with the blue, warm water. We were happy to settle in on the wild side. With 24 miles and an afternoon wind of 20-25 knots, we were happy with the commencement of our sailing trip. The following day we set sail to Kneza on Korcula N 42o 58.580’ E 017o 02.651’ eastern side of Hvar. We had no wind, which graced us with its presence after 2 pm. Our next stop Okuklje on Mljet N 42o 43.586’ E 017o 40.324’ an incredibly well-protected bay, making it the perfect hideaway if you caught in strong winds. You will be, greeted by people at the pier, offering you free mooring. Here comes tip number 2: choose your mooring wisely, and if you want to have your own choice of restaurants ashore, or are prone to changing your mind, I would recommend dropping your anchor. We took the first offering from Maestro Restaurant with free wi-fi. Okuklje has only 15 permanent residences. However, the Maestro Restaurant, which has an incredible view of the bay, serves Cordon Bleu cuisine. We were seriously impressed, and all 5 of us walked out with big, happy bellies. Lopud N 42o 41.260’ E 017o 56.252’ we thought was the description of a “beach”. Your expectations of Croatia is of sandy, golden, powdery, wide stretches of land … stop! This is not Croatia. Croatian beaches consist. So having your personal 'deck' is a definite advantage. Next Lokrum Island N 42o 37.510’ E 018o 07.470’. We motored and used our sails as the wind did a disappearing act. It is a nature reserve so you cannot have line ashore and you have to rely on your anchor alone. Very pretty! Visit the interior of the island, where they have a restaurant as well, and a Monastery. It is a delightful walk. Warning: if you take a dingy ashore, you will not be off the island before 19.00 when the island closes to the visitors. You run the risk of your oars or dingy being confiscated and having to pay a fine to get your goods back. Next up Dubrovnik marina N 42o 40.291’ E 018o 07.210’. It is an ACI marina and my tip number 3: pre-book. The marina has a fantastic swimming pool. Provisions can be purchased in a little supermarket and be prepared – trolleys are not allowed to leave the shop, so organise a trolley from the marina or be prepared to carry the shopping yourself. Dubrovnik is a beautiful old town. We had dinner in a restaurant with live music. The ice cream was great wherever we went, and the selection of flavours was endless. Like a bunch of children all over 50, it became our ritual to have dessert before dinner, as nothing says: “you are an adult” as having ice cream first and then dinner. Dubrovnik marina is pricey so, budget for it. The other thing that you should be prepared for in Dubrovnik ACI marina is that it is “tight” especially if you are on the 40’+ boats. Don't be afraid to ask for help, as we saw many brave skippers, bumping other boats and “hanging” on the lines. We were back on Mljet in Gonoturska, after arriving late, at 22.45 we dropped the anchor and assumed horizontal position and sleep.   The wind did not do us any favours and motor/sailing with 25-knot winds; it was not the most pleasant sailing day.   Korcula Vela Luka N 42o 57.76’ E 016o 42.99’ We had done 46 miles, a good day of sailing. The wind was good at about 20knots, so our sailors had some fun. The next day met us with strong wind for the entire day. Arriving in Hvar. In Hvar swarms of boats looking for shelter from a 30knot wind and 2m swells. Our sails went up, and we went around a corner to hide at Vbroska N 43o 10.75’ E 016o 41.43’. 57 miles in 20+knot winds we dropped our anchor in a little bay where we found, the Bistro-Soline. Bistro-Soline is a must to visit. Great food, incredible service, we loved it so much that we stayed for breakfast and were back there within seven days! Brac – Supertar N 43o 23.198’ E 016o 33.097’ We arrived too late to squeeze ourselves into port, so we snuggled next to a mapping boat for the night. Supertar marina has no facilities, no showers, no toilets, but has an abundance of restaurants. We had dinner in a Michelin Star restaurant. However, I preferred the Bistro-Soline. Supertar is pretty town with narrow streets, as you had to hug everytime a car went past. Back in Trogir where we had, a crew change, one couple left, and another couple joined us. By Monday we were back in Vrboska, yes!, back at Bistro-Soline. During the night the wind picked up to 30knots. Checking the anchor, as well as the boats around us, we didn't have a good nights sleep. This together with the howling wind, served as perfect excuse to stay there for another night and have dinner and breakfast number 3, you guessed it, the Bistro-Soline. N 43o 23.900’ E 016o 17.765’ Solta – Rogac. We dropped anchor on a shoreline in the bay. Both Drvenik Islands were visited, the Blue Lagoon was not that blue during an overcast day, but the Blue Bay lived up to its reputation. So we are on our last day pulling back to Trogir to end our sailing trip.

We did 430 miles, used 54l of diesel, ate out 14 times, and saw some dolphins. What amazed us about Croatia, is that even though they gone through this well-publicised war, the towns have been, restored. There is plenty of opportunities for everyone to find their piece of heaven. People are generally friendly, and the majority of them speak English. Croatia is a sailing destination for relaxed holiday sailors, and all the Sea Wolves will not find the sailing in Croatia challenging. Yes, it was our second trip to Croatia, next trip Seychelles.

Beata and Richard have been cruising for the last 20 years. Richard is a RYA certified offshore yacht master, Beata, the land rat. For more information contact yachting.gauteng@gmail.com

Sailing in Croatia, the restaurant hopping tour Part 1
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Beata Rossudowski

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