Was Croatia mad at me for not visiting her since 2012? I mean, we’ve had some good times, Croatia and I. Stunning sunset sails. Beautiful beaches. Friendly people. Cool cafés in cobblestone courts. A booming tourism trade.
Croatia was not mad.
In fact, this finely cut jewel of Adriatic yachting destinations, sparkled with new energy and welcomed me with open arms.
Sailing Croatia 7 years later meant a new review of a part of the world that I already loved.
Croatia, as a newly-appreciated vacation mecca has grown in so many impressive ways that I leaped for joy when I saw her this May.
Rediscovering Split and the surrounding islands was a grand adventure and a grand surprise!
Va Va Hvar Voom!
The last time I was in the town of Hvar (pronounced Var) in Croatia, shopping consisted of a few shops and some girls at the harbor selling lavender.
Now, in 2019, Hvar is full of life! The number of shops has increased 70%. Hvar town is now known as the Croatian Riviera with fine restaurants and music, boutique shops selling cheeses, wines, lavender gifts, and fine clothing. Cafés line the main promenade and hidden night spots wait to be discovered in her winding streets.
Do spend time here exploring. For a great exercise and stunning harbor views, walk the path that leads to the Spanish Fortress.
The nightlife is now energetic and colorful. Bars stay open all night yet we found a great jazz club and restaurant far from the madding crowd.
I compare today’s Hvar to Positano, Italy on the Amafi Coast and Hydra, Greece. It’s the heart of the Croatian Riviera!
Sailing in Tandem
Our Croatia “fam trip” (more about that later) began with 11 colleagues, arranged skillfully by the principles of Highpoint Yachting, Sasha and Eva. We sailed in tandem (a brilliant way to travel if you have a large family or group of friends) on a 114’ motor sailor SAN LIMI and a 112’ gulet DOLCE VITA (both built in Turkey).
These two distinctively different yachts totally complemented each other.
Together we had 9 crew looking after us. We rotated eating meals, rafted up in scenic Croatian anchorages at night, and enjoyed the ambiance of living at sea.
All our transportation to, from and in between islands with drivers was provided. We 11 charter brokers and Captain Leo saw as much as any one person can experience by traveling on the fast SAN LIMI tender.
Croatia is a photographer’s dream!
What is a FamTrip?
Many ask me, “What is a famtrip?” You might think it includes my family, but much to their dismay, it does not. A famtrip is an industry “familiarization” discovery trip for yacht charter brokers to gain valuable knowledge of destinations, itineraries, boats and crews.
A yacht charter broker famtrip includes living onboard a sail or motor yacht for 3-5 nights, experiencing the yacht life that their clients will experience.
Below is the itinerary that we 11 brokers traveled this May in Croatia.
Our Croatia Itinerary
13 May, Monday
Embarkation in Split by 12.00noon
Sail to Tiha bay – overnight in Stari Grad, on the island of Hvar.
14 May, Tuesday
From Stari Grad, sail to Budikovac Island. Visit to the Blue Cave on island Bisevo, only recently opened to the public. Sail to Komiza on the island of Vis (pron. Veesh). Overnight in the town of Vis.
15 May, Wednesday
Vis – Trip round the interior of the island. Sail to Pakleni islands. Afternoon visit to Hvar town. Overnight anchored in Vinogradisce Bay, south Palmizana near Hvar. We experienced Hvar town night life where bars stay open all night and people of all ages embrace their youthfulness.