It’s time for another Travel Adventure and today we are headed to one of my top 3 destinations on the whole planet.. yep that’s right the WHOLE PLANET.
Now when we set off on our adventures, this was somewhere I was not really all that enthusiastic on (mostly to do with the demise of an Australian Backpacker a few years prior but lets not dwell)
Hubby, however was hell bent on getting there and I’d dragged him round a few countries he wasn’t that keen on so I guess fair was fair.
And so we were off to CROATIA.
Which ultimately, over-all, I really loved.
Today’s Croatian adventure sees us sailing the Dalmatian Coast between Split and Dubrovnik. But this is a trip where – things can really come unstuck if you have not done a little bit of prep work.
Sailing Croatia is something hotly debated on many travel blog sites – is it one of the most fantastic weeks of your life – or is it overated?
There are almost 1200 islands dotting Dalmatia, along the Croatian coast-line. To see all of them would take far longer than our 8 day sailing trip – however most tours give you a good taste of the more popular ones.
Though it would be great to go back and hire a private boat so we could explore away from the crowds.
And in summer – believe me, there are crowds.
The sailing itinerary ( and this is pretty much the same for all companies offering the tours) goes a bit like this.
Wake up – Have breakfast – Sail a bit -Stop
Swim a bit – Have Lunch – Sail a bit -Stop
Swim a Bit – Have Drinks – Sail a bit – Stop at an island
Explore – Have dinner – Party or sleep – depending on the type of boat and fellow shipmates.
Do it again tomorrow.
Choosing a boat is important.. a large number of them are backpacking hostels afloat. and that’s the clientele they attract. Cool if you want to sunbake drink, sleep drink, party drink, be hungover, drink. Saturday morning when the boats arrive back in Split show the outcome of this as the waterfront is littered with backpackers sleeping off their week long sailing trip.
Needless to say Scott was more than a little concerned about what we were getting into (having just spend 15 days on a bus with 18-25 year old party animals
But I’d thought ahead… the more upmarket you go, the less backpackery it gets (and I think the less watered down the vodka and tequila is to be honest!).
We ended up on a boat with fantastic facilities, cabins we air conditioned (most boats are not) and we were with like-minded travelers. The average age on most boats was probably about 18-25, however ours was 30 – 70 (Teaching a 70 year old grandmother to do tequila shots is hilarious.. especially when busted by her husband!) – Actually in hindsight I think we were still on a party boat (except we all managed bed at a semi respectable time rather than crawling back in the morning.
But it’s not all partying either. There is plenty of time to relax and we pulled up in some beautiful secluded coves to swim in. Reviews from many other boats say they only pulled up at crowded and often dirty beaches, so I guess it depends on the captain and where his preferences are to go. While there are some main sites to see on most itineraries – other stops were based on crowds, weather, current and captains preference. We were lucky and did okay.
Breakfast and lunch were usually served on the boat and we the islands where we stopped fro the night were full of cafes, restaurants and bars to choose from – some bigger and rowdier and some small and quaint – depending on the island.
My two favourite stops along the trip were at Korčula and Mljet.
Korčula is one of the larger islands and is said to be the birth place of Marco Polo. All over the town you can find various souvenirs. But beyond the gimmicks, it’s actually a beautiful medieval town with lots of character.
Mljet has a spectacular national park that borders two saltwater lakes. Its easy to get a way from the crowds by exploring the many tracks through the national park.
It’s worth the trip to the middle of the lake to see the benedictine monastery. There are plenty of swimming spots to cool off when it gets a little too hot.
We were at the very end of several months travelling with only a week left after the sailing trip. Believe it or not we were pretty exhausted after exploring the Souks in Morocco, standing in awe of the pyramids in Egypt, playing Indiana Jones in Jordan, waling in the foot steps of Jesus in Israel, soaking up the histroy iof the Ottoman empire in Turkey… and well.. the list goes on for another few months after that – so you get the picture. We were up for some R and R!
We definitely got a lot of time to unwind on the boat, sun-baking, swimming, reading, sleeping. Sometimes it was just nice to watch the beautiful and rugged coastline go past.
‘d recommend a sailing trip trip around the Islands in Croatia – and because of the cheaper price point Aussies had been opting for it over Greece for a while. I would say however, do your homework, understand what type of trip you want to have – check out the itinerary and what type of clientele the tour attracts.
Doing the prep work will ultimately decide the fate of your trip – best week or an over-rated tourist trap.