Island-hopping in Croatia


Seeking relaxed tranquillity and a touch of romance? Explore the wonders of beautiful Croatia, where picture-perfect beaches, azure waters and quaint seaside towns form a charming distraction from the rigors of everyday life. Bursting with countless natural gems, the coastline of Croatia brings balmy days cruising between verdant isles as the terracotta rooftops of medieval towns appear. Island-hopping on a yacht here is seamless, with easy access to spectacular locations and an array of activities to suit every mood.

Green, tranquil and stunningly beautiful, unspoiled Mljet is covered in forest and criss-crossed with hiking paths. The coastal waters are filled with an abundance of marine life and at the north west tip there are two connected lakes with clear, blue-green sea that offers wonderful swimming grounds. Designated a national park, this wildlife refuge is a huge draw for visitors and is ideal for kayaking, swimming and cycling. The only sandy beach is found at Saplunara in the east, while Limuni or Sutmiholjska beaches are protected bays with pebbled beaches.

Largest, greenest and most independent of Croatia’s islands, said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, Korcula offers architectural delights along every cobbled street. Dubbed Little Dubrovnik, the medieval city walls and terracotta rooftops amidst winding alleyways are teeming with family-run restaurants and quaint shops. Alluring bays dot the coastline with the small pebbled beaches of Zrnovska Banja and Vrbovica offering character and sandy beaches on the south lined with waterfront bars. Diving at westernmost Vela Luka offers some of the island’s best underwater sites.

One of the prettiest and most popular spots in the Adriatic, see and be seen in glamorous Hvar. The traffic-free marble streets and 13th century walls of the town surround gothic palaces and ancient squares, while Hvar’s nightlife is perfect for late-night socialising.  Discover hidden lagoons with crystal blue waters at the Pakleni islands, visit vineyards to taste the famous Plava Mali red wine and join the fragrant Lavender Festival in Velo Grablje. Beaches abound. Idyllic Dubovica is iconic with its’ velvet-sand horseshoe and stone house protruding into the sea. The tiny bay at Lucisca brings hues of emerald to another level in crystal waters and lush landscape, while Milna has two gorgeous small-pebbled bays surrounded by fragrant pine forests and vineyards.

Targeting a back-to-nature escape, remote Vis ticks so many boxes. Blissfully unspoiled, cruising here provides an idyllic opportunity to anchor in isolated turquoise coves, lapped by crystal clear water where the diving is outstanding. One of many sites, the hotspot for experienced divers is a 1944 Flying Fortress plane wreck resting at 70m.  Ashore, the sprawling vineyards and orchards mix amidst ancient monuments and gourmet seafood cuisine awaits. Look out for slow-braised octopus and the local vugava white wine will captivate your tastebuds. Feeling active, then head on a hiking tour to the top of Mount Hum, the highest point on Vis at 587m where the panoramic views are simply sensational. Accessed only by water on the southwestern tip of Vis, Biševo Island boasts a stunning blue grotto where rays of sun bathe the interior in captivating hues of sapphire.

A medieval town on a small island, connected to the mainland by bridges, Trogir is a haven of hospitality. Its restaurants, markets and sights, such as the 15th century chapel, make it a favourite stop on the Croatian riviera. From July to September, the elegant Kamerlengo Fortress is home to the Trogir music festival, offering visitors a range of great entertainment. Explore the labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets bordered by ancient buildings and, on hot summer nights, enjoy the “Riva” waterfront stroll that has become something of a local tradition.

Time is a highly sought-after commodity in a society driven by incessantly busy lifestyles. Unforgettable moments with loved ones are made in a heartbeat and what better way to maximise this opportunity than to kick back, re-connect and relax amidst the perfect surroundings of Croatia?

Nicholas Dean is Managing Partner of Ocean Independence. Ocean Independence is a global leader in luxury yachting, providing a bespoke experience across yacht charter, sales and management.

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Comments (11)

  1. Verity says:

    Well, one thing is for sure… you won’t be short of places to hop to! Croatia has over 1,000 islands but my favourite has to be Hvar.

  2. Carolyn says:

    I’ve heard good things about Croatia. Over the last few years a few of my friends have visited and been really impressed. They report back that the tourism industry is developing nicely and raising standards. I’m getting tempted.

    Every year I like to visit a new country or two and I’m thinking that Croatia would be good for 2020. Island-hoping would be fabulous.

    • Nicholas Dean says:

      We can definitely recommend island-hopping in this beautiful part of the world. Plenty of sunshine, wonderful food, stunning views and lovely locals – you couldn’t ask for more!

  3. Abbie Hurst says:

    I like the idea of island – hopping, it’s the sort of thing that an A List celebrity would do.

    I often get bored after a few days in one place so it’s good for me if I can keep moving on. I’m always looking out for the excitement of new places and new people.

    • Nicholas Dean says:

      Island-hopping on a yacht around Croatia’s beautiful islands is ideal – the view changes every day and you can suit the mood at a whim!

  4. Chris H. says:

    This is a very informative post. Croatis and Eastern Europe is a part of the world that I know very little about. After reading this it’s persuaded me that it’s an area that I ought to explore – and a yacht would be the best method of transport to explore such a beautiful coastline.

    • Amanda says:

      That’s wonderful to hear that this article has inspired you to discover beautiful Croatia. We would be delighted to assist with yachting advice and assistance for your holiday.

  5. Grace Stone says:

    If Korcula is good enough for Marco Polo, it’s good enough for me! I quite like the sound of that area being a tad more homely and quaint. I prefer going off the beaten track a little and going to quieter areas, especially when it’s peak tourist season as places can get far too crowded for my liking. Hvar looks beautiful and peaceful, too, which such gorgeous lagoons. When you mention the streets are free of traffic, do you mean there’s literally no traffic allowed around Hvar? Is that for eco reasons? I definitely agree with these kinds of unforgettable moments where you can actually switch off the noise and be more mindful. I need an escape like that at the moment. I’ve never been to Croatia but I’m still trying to figure out what to do for a holiday next year so I’ll keep it in mind.

    • Nicholas Dean says:

      Hvar town (Stari Grad) itself is fully pedestrianised, so the marble streets do not have any traffic. This is to keep them preserved, clean and free for pedestrians to wander in safety, I believe. There is parking on the outskirts for those bringing cars. All of Croatia is well worth exploring – there is so much to discover, the food is delicious and the locals very welcoming.

  6. Nicholas Dean says:

    Hvar town (Stari Grad) itself is fully pedestrianised, so the marble streets do not have any traffic. This is keep them preserved, clean and free for pedestrians to wander in safety, I believe. There is parking on the outskirts for those bringing cars. All of Croatia is well worth exploring – there is so much to discover, the food is delicious and the locals very welcoming.

  7. Beatrice Weaver says:

    I see Croatia becoming a popular destination for families planning a vacation, especially during summer. That goes for newlyweds as well. The country offers not just picturesque views but also tranquility and peace. I think that just comes from not being too crowded and touristy for a long, long time. Every island in this country has a different look and vibe, but all of it is breathtakingly beautiful. Moreover, I’m happy to see that tourists can enjoy a lot of outdoor activities like hiking, boating, swimming, or cycling.

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