The pleasant climate and steady winds make for a superb sailing vacation as you discover the dazzling Dubrovnik Riviera. A Dubrovnik sailing itinerary could take you to one of many stunning islands that are within easy reach of the mainland. Visit Korcula, the island where Marco Polo once lived, or Mijet which is a step back in time, tucked firmly away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
Day 1: Arrive at flotilla base, Dubrovnik
The medieval walled city of Dubrovnik lies on Croatia's Adriatic coast and is a fascinating mix of architectural styles from Renaissance to Gothic and Baroque. It is possible to walk a full circuit of the city along the battlements - a great way to get a sense of the geography of the city, which was originally founded by refugees from Epidavros. Modern Dubrovnik is a vibrant, attractive city with plenty to interest the visitor and somewhere worth spending an extra day or two at the beginning or end of a Dubrovnik yacht charter. The city is home to a number of museums - one of the most interesting is the quiet cloister of the Dominican Monastery in the Old Town, which houses a small but stunning collection of Renaissance art. Luza Square in the center of the medieval town is full of pigeons and the location of many sidewalk cafes. In keeping with its rich cultural heritage, the city hosts a summer festival that runs through July and August and if you are in Dubrovnik during this time you'll be able to catch some events in a program that incorporates music, drama, ballet and folklore in various locations around the squares, parks and palaces of the city. At any time of the year you'll be able to enjoy Dubrovnik's many cafes and restaurants and soak up the atmosphere in a city that manages to combine the old with the new and the hip with the traditional so effortlessly.
Mooring: The base is at the ACI Dubrovnik Marina, just 3 miles (5 km) from the Old Town.
To Do: Explore the walled medieval city, Hang out in a café and soak up the atmosphere.
Facilities: Fuel - Electricity - Water - Showers and toilets - Bars and restaurants - Provisions - Laundry service - Tennis courts - Swimming Pool
Day 2: Sipan Luka, Sipan
Sipanska Luka is a pretty waterfront village at the end of a deep inlet at the northern end of the island. The buildings are grouped around an enormous and ancient plane tree - amongst them is a grand through crumbling villa with a balcony supported by lions carved in stone. There's a tiny beach just outside the harbor but there are quieter spots for swimming on the opposite side of the bay accessible by a runs between the olive groves and the rocky shoreline. You can rent bikes to explore the rest of the island and there are a few bars and restaurants - the seafood at Kod Marka is favored by the yachting fraternity. Barka at the Hotel Sipan is the place to head to for after-dinner drinks.
Mooring: You can berth bow- or stern-to on the quay or tie up alongside so long as you don't obstruct the ferry.
To Do: Explore the island on foot or by bicycle
Facilities: Bars and restaurants - Basic provisions
Day 3: Kobas, Stonski Canal
The Kobas Stonski Canal is entered between Rt Veja (Veljara) to the south-west and Rt Pologrina (Grbljava) to the north-east, with the entrance identified by the white-painted metal tower light structure on Rt Pologrina. It is a long, narrow inlet with wooded slopes on both sides. In summer, the woods are alive with the sound of cicadas and the canal has a tranquil ambience. The canal leads to the historic town of Ston, where there is a quay. Along the way there is an anchorage at Kobas and a small harbor at Broce. The small cove at Kobas lies on the south side of the channel, hidden among the trees. The hamlet has been in existence since the Romans conquered this part of Croatia. When it was acquired by Dubrovnik in 1333 there was already a small shipyard here, but there is no longer any evidence of this. In summer Kobas is a popular stopover with flotillas and charters and is worth getting here reasonably early on your yacht charter here to ensure your space on the jetty - and your table at the only restaurant!
Broce is a tiny picturesque village lying at the entrance to the marked channel that leads to Ston. Founded by the Dubrovnik republic in 1349, it used to be where the salt from the salt pans at Ston was loaded on to the boats that came to collect it for onward distribution. A pleasant stroll from the quay brings you three old chapels and the ruins of a 17th century Domincan monastery. The canal onwards from Broce to Ston may not be dredged as often as it should be so be sure to check on the current situations before proceeding.
Mooring: At Kobas, tie up bow- or stern-to the jetty if space allows. Alternatively anchor and take a line ashore. The bottom is firm mud, with good holding. At Broce, tie bow- or stern-to one of the quays as space allows.
To Do: Swim in the cove at Kobas, Visit the ruins at Broce
Facilities: Restaurant at Kobas.
Day 4: Polace, Mljet
The Mljet National Park lies between the villages of Polace and Pomena at the northern end of the island of Mljet, said to be the most beautiful in the Adriatic. Luka Polace is a spacious anchorage located at the end of a long inlet protected by four wooded islands lying in its approach. The ruined castle overlooking the bay probably dates from the 3rd or 4th century AD. It is said to have belonged to Agesilaus who was exiled by Emperor Septimus Severus, and was later pardoned by Emperor Caracalla. Next to the castle are the ruins of an early 5th century Christian basilica. The present village dates from the 18th century.
Luka Polace is virtually landlocked and therefore very well protected. Polace is the best place to leave your yacht while you explore the two deep, forest-shrouded saltwater lakes of the National Park on land. It's about a forty five minute walk over to the lakes via Montokuc hill. Alternatively you can rent a bicycle. Malo jezero (Small Lake) and Veliko jezero (Big Lake) are surrounded by cycling and walking paths and the clear green waters just cry out for you to jump in. The Benedictines established a monastery on St Mary's Island in the middle of one of the lakes in the twelfth century. Overlooked by a sturdy defensive tower, the monastery church features chunky, brightly-colored altarpieces carved from local stone.
Mooring: Moor bow to the quay near the castle, staying clear of the ferry berth. The quayside east of the ferry berth is claimed by the various restaurants, so if you're planning to visit one of them you should not moor there. Alternatively, anchor in the north part of the bay where the best shelter is to be found. The bottom is mud, with excellent holding.
To Do: Explore the Mljet National Park
Facilities: Water - Basic provisions - Bakery - Café and restaurant.
Day 5: Korcula, Korcula
The ancient Greeks called Korcula 'The Black Island' because of the dense, dark forests that cover the island and it is still one of the greenest of the islands in the Adriatic. Korcula Town resembles nothing so much as an over-sized sandcastle jutting out into the sea. It's a medieval walled city that was occupied by the Venetians more or less continuously for eight hundred years from the tenth century on. They left their distinctive mark on the culture and architecture of the town. Korcula Town is famous as the birthplace of Marco Polo and for its Moreska sword dance which is performed weekly during the summer months for the benefit of visitors to the island. Another event worth coinciding with is the annual seaborne re-enactment of the 1298 Battle of Korcula, which takes place in early September. The Old Town of Korcula has plenty in the way of historic sites worth visiting. The Church of Our Lady is paved with the tombstones of Korculan nobles and doubles up as a gallery for local artists in the summer months, while the façade of St Mark's Cathedral has an outstanding rose window and a cornice carved with strange beasts and there is more intriguing stone carving and a Tintoretto altar piece in the interior. The Bishop's Treasury next door has an excellent small art collection which includes works by Bassano, Tiepolo and Carpaccio and the Icon Gallery houses a display of icons in the rooms of the All Saints' Brotherhood.
After all that culture, you'll be in the mood for a nice cold drink and something to eat. Korcula Town has plenty of options - with everything from pizza to seafood on offer. Make sure to try some of the excellent local wines too - Grk, Posip and Rukatac are the ones to look out for. In the evenings, the bars along the seafront promenade are where everyone tends to congregate. Korcula Town has some interesting shops as well as a daily fruit and vegetable market. There is something of the feel of Croatia's capital in its effortless blend of ancient and modern earning it the nickname of Little Dubrovnik
Mooring: Berth as directed in the marina. Things get busy in July and August so it is worth reserving a berth in advance. If the marina is full, moor bow or stern-to on the town quay, on the west side of the old town.
To Do: Explore the sights of the Old Town
Facilities: Fuel - Water - Electricity - Toilets - Showers - Laundry service - Internet cafe - Provisions - Bars and restaurants
Day 6: Scedro
The island of Scedro lies to the south of Hvar, and is separated from it by the Scedrovski Canal. In the past, the island was home to a monastery and had farms and a fishing industry but these days there are few, if any, inhabitants. A Dubrovnik yacht charter to Scedro allows you to explore the coastline of the island, stopping at whichever of the many scenic coves take your fancy. Uvala Manastir on the north coast of the island is the inlet that was the location of the Dominican monastery which was founded here in the 15th century and abandoned in the 18th century. There are a few vacation houses here and one small bistro but no other facilities. Uvala Manastir is a very attractive, sheltered anchorage that is ideal for swimming. Luka Lovisce is another nearby anchorage that is popular with visiting charterers - it's also a great place to spend an afternoon swimming and relaxing before heading ashore for dinner at one of the unpretentious bistros where you can be guaranteed a pleasant evening in the company of other yachtspeople.
Mooring: At Uvala Manastir, anchor in an appropriate depth, avoiding the mooring buoys. The bottom is sand and weed. At Luka Lovisce, anchor in one of the side inlets in 26 - 33 feet (8 - 10 meters). There are some bollards ashore for lines.
To Do: Swim, Relax
Day 7 & 8: Free Sailing What do you want to do today? You can put your sailing skills to the test and go for a big sailing adventure, sail to a secluded bay for some lunch, go to the nearest town for a spot of shopping, or simply relax where you are, it's entirely up to you.
Day 9: Lastovo
Lying to the south of Korcula, the tiny island of Lastovo sits at the center of an archipelago of forty five uninhabited islets. Isolated Lastovo was out of bounds to foreigners for many years and remains charmingly unspoiled by tourism. Even today the densely wooded and stunningly beautiful island has only eight hundred inhabitants. The main settlement on the island is the amphitheatrical-shaped Lastovo Town which has two fine churches with richly decorated interiors dating from the 15th and 16th centuries and a French fort built in 1810. The town is a maze of narrow streets and flights of steps that bend their way between the old houses which are notable for their unusual chimneys shaped like miniature minarets. There are three main anchorages where you can make a stopover on your Lastovo yacht charter. There is a bus up to the town of Lastovo from the ferry port at Ubli or, if you're feeling energetic, you can walk up from either Skrivena Luka, a deep bay backed by sandy hills where there are places to swim or the small harbor of Uvala Zaklopatica. Ubli has a dive shop and a few restaurants, as does Zaklopatica. You can expect great grilled fish wherever you go.
Mooring: There is a small marina at the far north-east end of Luka Velji Lago at Ubli where pick up lines are provided. At Skrivena Luka, anchor in 32 - 39 feet (10 - 12 meters). The bottom is mud covered with weed and offers good holding. At Zaklopatica, there's a mini-marina run by the Augusta Insula restaurant and pick-up lines offered by the others.
To Do: Walk or take the bus up to Lastovo Town. Explore the islands of the archipelago. Scuba diving
Facilities: Restaurants - Showers and toilets - Water - Electricity
Day 10: Lumbarda, Korcula
Lumbarda on the island of Korcula is the location of one of Croatia's best island beaches. Originally the site of a Greek colony, various artefacts dating form that time have been found in the vicinity. The most notable of these is the Lumbarda psephisma, a written record of the names of the colonists in the area and a register of their land. The original is now in a museum in Zagreb. Uvala Prvi Zal is the larger of the two bays near the village of Lumbarda and has a beach at its head. Prizna Bay is a fantastic, two hundred meter stretch of sand served by a couple of small cafes while nearby Bilin Zal is a rockier stretch of coastline with sandy interludes that enjoys dramatic views over the coastal mountains. The wreck of a boathouse that sits on the shore is the Bilin Zal konoba (casual restaurant) which is said to serve a mean hobotnica na buzara (octopus in red wine sauce). There is another good beach at Uvala Tatinja.
Mooring: In the marina at Uvala Prvi Zal which lies on the south-east side of the bay. Tie up bow- or stern-to on the pontoons where space is available, picking up the lines provided. Alternatively anchor in 10 - 16 feet (3 - 5 meters) in sand. You can anchor at Uvala Tatinja and Prizna Bay.
To Do: Swim and sunbathe
Facilities: Water - Electricity - Provisions - Bars and restaurants.
Day 11: Pomena, Mljet
Pomena lies on the north-western tip of the island of Mljet and is the most developed for tourism of all the harbors and anchorages on the island and is a popular stop-over with visiting charterers. There's a large hotel overlooking the bay plus all the facilities that you'd expect to find in a burgeoning resort, with a good selection of restaurants and bars where you'll be able to shoot the breeze with other boaties. You can walk or rent a bike and cycle to the lakes of Mali Jezero (Small Lake) and Veli Jezero (Big Lake) (see Polace) in the Mljet National Park. Swim in the clear, blue-green waters of the lakes, take a tripper boat to visit St. Mary's Island, the Benedictine monastery in the center and walk around the lakes along tree-shaded pathways. This is an area of great natural beauty and well worth spending a few hours exploring on your Dubrovnik yacht charter.
Mooring: Moor bow- or stern-to the quay near the hotel, or the quay on the opposite side of the inlet at one of the restaurant quays. Some charterers prefer to anchor to the south of Otok Pomestak, taking a line ashore, or in the southern part of the bay, to the west of Pomena.
To Do: Explore the Mljet National Park, Visit St Mary's Island
Facilities: Bars and restaurants - Bicycle hire - Electricity - Basic provisions.
Day 12: Okuklje, Mljet
The lush, forested island of Mljet is a thin strip of land approximately 20 miles (32 km) long and 2 miles (3 km) wide that runs parallel to the mainland north of Dubrovnik. Mljet is said to be the place where Odysseus holed up with the nymph Calypso for seven years, unable to tear himself away either from her or the beautiful island, and also lays claim to being the island of Melita, where St. Paul ran aground on his way to Italy and was bitten by a viper before setting sail again. Watch out for the mongooses whose ancestors were drafted in during the 19 century to get rid of the snakes and are still very much in evidence! In its day, Mljet was used by the Romans as a place of exile and later favored as a summer residence by the admirals of Dubrovnik. Okuklje is an attractive, land-locked anchorage surrounded by green, wooded slopes that gets busy in the summer months, so if you are in the mood for socializing with other sailing types it's the place to head for.
There are a number of decent bars and restaurants and you can be assured that things don't finish up too early in the evening. Some of the locals make a decent wine out of grapes grown in the island's vineyards and it may be worth picking up a few bottles while you're here. A yacht charter to Okuklje Mljet, allows you to explore the numerous secluded and scenic anchorages of the east coast of the island as you head north towards Polace and the national park, stopping to chill out and swim at whichever ones catch your eye.
Mooring: Stern-to on the quay on the north-east side of the bay if there is room but be prepared to move out of the way of the ferry. Alternatively, anchor in a suitable spot west of the beacon in 16 feet ( 5 meters). The bottom is sand, some parts of the bay have good holding but it is unreliable in places so make sure the anchor is well dug in.
To Do: Enjoy socialising with other sailors in the bars and restaurants
Facilities: Bars and restaurants
Day 13: Janska
The sleepy fishing village of Janska is one of the most peaceful anchorages that you will find along Croatia's Adriatic coast and exemplifies all that is most appealing about chartering in Croatia. Identified by the small white shrine that sits on the headland to the south of the entrance to the inlet, it's a sheltered spot that is ideal for an overnight stop on your yacht charter if you are of a mind to get away from it all.
There is literally nothing in Janska bar a few houses belonging to local fishermen so be sure to bring provisions with you as you won't find any shops or restaurants although you can walk up the hill to the village of Banici which you'll be able to pinpoint by means of its tall belfry tower. Janska is ideal for a bracing swim - the water's on the chilly side here, due to underwater streams.
Mooring: Anchor in the northern part of the inlet in 30 feet (9 meters). Alternatively anchor and take a line ashore. The bottom is sand and weed and you need to watch out for fishing nets set within the inlet.
To Do: Swim
Day 14: Return to flotilla base
The medieval walled city of Dubrovnik lies on Croatia's Adriatic coast and is a fascinating mix of architectural styles from Renaissance to Gothic and Baroque. It is possible to walk a full circuit of the city along the battlements - a great way to get a sense of the geography of the city, which was originally founded by refugees from Epidavros. Modern Dubrovnik is a vibrant, attractive city with plenty to interest the visitor and somewhere worth spending an extra day or two at the beginning or end of a Dubrovnik yacht charter.