Blue & Beyond #15 - Exploding With World Heritage: Croatia, A Thousand Islands, A Thousand Things To Do

Hvar, Vis, Dubrovnik, Split. Been there, done that. As UNESCO-protected cities become Comic-Cons for Star Wars fans and as Adriatic islands are given over to Hollywood honeymooners, it’s time to sail away. Fortunately Croatia has 1,240 islands to choose from, so yachting serenity is assured.

By Kathryn Tomasetti • 21 January 2020
This necklace of emerald gems, scattered atop a lapis Adriatic, shimmer from Italy to Montenegro. These include Budikovac, a sandy speck inhabited solely by a retired naval captain who operates a single seafood restaurant. Plus dozens of unnamed islet shards off Lastovo, a National Park island halfway to Italy. Here a sailor could plant a flag and picnic basket then call the island their own.
The most tranquil section of Croatia’s 6,000km coastline will always be Istria. The love-heart-shaped triangle near Italy belonged to Venice for centuries. In red-roofed towns like Rovinj locals still shout buona sera while eating tonno affumicato. Since 2019 a brand-new marina has welcomed 50m yachts, plus longer vessels with advance notice. Rovinj’s harbour leads onto Lim Fjord, a watery crescent famed for oysters, clams and crustaceans. It was the favoured holiday spot for Venetian lover boy Giacomo Casanova who gobbled the shellfish as an aphrodisiac, then diarised his vacation conquests. On Istria’s eastern coast, Rijeka will shine as Europe’s Capital of Culture 2020. Here fancy Austro-Hungarian mansions dating from Viennese rule house no-nonsense restaurants. Choose between marinated mullet, sea bass carpaccio, wild asparagus, truffle omelettes and local Kvarner prawns.
Croatia’s combination of sun, seclusion and sublime settings have rendered it a festival go-to. The 20,000-capacity Roman amphitheatre at Pula hosts Verdi operas alongside alfresco shows from Jamiroquai, Manu Chao and Elton John. Fatboy Slim plays Sea Star, a festival alongside an Istrian lagoon. Electronic musicians have found a far better use for Fort Punta Christo, an abandoned Austro-Hungarian gunnery base. It now hosts Outlook, a four-day beach rave that continues aboard a flotilla of 50 Adriatic barges.
All too noisy? Experience Croatia’s timeless beauty of yachting on the eco-island Dugi Otok. It’s here that you may attend the annual donkey race. Run since medieval times, the first-place pony wins a slice of Prosciutto, while all riders dive into the sea at the finish line. Make sure to reserve a large-screened yacht to watch the 2020 Olympics too. Quite naturally, Croatia’s medal-winning legacy is focussed on four maritime sports: swimming, sailing, rowing and water polo.

If you want to know more about chartering a yacht in Croatia, please contact the Bluewater Charter Specialists.