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This stunning cruising area offers the best of everything Croatian. A Pula sailing itinerary will take you to bustling towns with fascinating cultural heritage, deserted islands and beautiful bays. Take your pick of enchanting anchorages on islands such a Cres, Losinj, Krk, Rab and Silba. Pula is the perfect place to begin your sailing vacation and explore the real Croatia

Day 1: Pula

The city of Pula lies on the south-west coast of Istria. The base at Pula is at the marina situated right in the heart of the city, overlooked by its famous Roman amphitheatre which is over two thousand years old and still dominates the landscape of the city. The amphitheatre - the sixth largest in the world - is well-preserved and seats over 26,000 people. It is still in regular use for opera, concerts and an international film festival that takes place each August, the gladiator fights of times gone by having thankfully given way to less grisly amusements. Other Roman monuments still in existence are two triumphal arches - Hercules' Gate and the Arch of the Sergians, a theater and the temple to Augustus, which today houses an exhibition of ancient sculptures. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Pula was variously occupied by the Goths, Venetians and Austrians, amongst others.

These days, Pula is a mixture of a hard-working port and a sometimes brash Riviera town - it's a combination that's quite appealing, and a definite highlight of a Pula yacht charter. The city has a good selection of bars and restaurants, ranging from the cheap and cheerful to the chic and pricey. Truffles are an Istrian specialty and Pula is one of the places where you are likely to find plenty of them on the menu. To sample Pula's café life, head for the Forum and Flanaticka and be sure to pay a visit to the covered market, just east of the Arch of the Sergians, to pick up supplies. It's open every day and sells fish, fruit and vegetables.

Mooring: Bow or stern-to at the marina as directed. Laid lines are provided.

To Do: Explore the Roman remains

Facilities: Water - Electricity - Showers and toilets - Fuel - Restaurant - Provisions - Daily fish, fruit and vegetable market

Day 2: Brijuni

To the north of Pula lie the Brijuni, a small archipelago of 14 islands famous as the private retreat of the late President Tito before they were accorded national park status and opened to visitors in 1983. The islands have long been a popular playground - before Tito, famous vacationers on the islands included Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Wilhelm II and James Joyce, all of whom worked on their tans here at various times.

Only two of the islands - Veli Brijun and Mali Brijun - are able to be visited to this day and although you can moor at the harbour at Veli Brijun, the crew is not allowed to sleep on board, making this better suited to a day trip than an overnight stay. There's an eco-friendly golf course where the fairways are nibbled by deer rather than mown and the greens are made from compacted sand - equipment is available for rent if the temptation to fit in a quick 18-holes is just too much to bear.

Children in particular will love the miniature train that takes visitors on a tour of the island including the safari park, the island's official residences including the White Villa and the Villa Jadranka (where the illustrious guests have included Queen Elizabeth II and Gina Lollobrigida), the ruined Byzantine fortress at the south-western corner of the island and the remains of a Roman villa at Veriga Bay. An exhibition hall entitled Tito on Brijuni has some bizarre animal exhibits as well as a fascinating exhibition of photographs of the late president with a diverse range of luminaries including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Ho Chi Minh.

Mooring: Yachts can moor on the north-eastern side of the harbour.

To Do: Tour the island on a miniature train, Visit the Tito on Brijuni exhibition, Play golf

Facilities:Café-restaurants in the Neptun-Istra and Karmen hotels

Day 3: Pomer

The small village of Pomer lies on the shore of a comparatively shallow area of sheltered water called Medulinski Zaljev that is popular with vacationers and watersports enthusiasts. The setting is perfect for windsurfers and sunbathers who simply want to hang out on a beach, swim and catch some rays - there are several good beaches within easy reach. The village of Pomer has a good few restaurants and the number of visiting charterers and flotilla sailors ensures that you won't be short of good company for dinner or drinks. There's a well-developed shellfish industry here, so you can expect to find plenty of oysters and mussels on the menu. For those interested in historical and cultural sight-seeing, there are the remains of Roman and early Christian graves to be explored and the parish church of St. Mary has some interesting artifacts from the 15th and 16th centuries. In the summer months, your visit to Pomer may coincide with folk events and a chamber music festival with performances in the local churches.

Mooring: The marina is located on the north-western side of the Medulinski Zaljev, near to the village of Pomer. Pass to the east of the small island south-east of the marina and tie up at the marina as directed.

To Do: Watersports including windsurfing, Swimming and sunbathing

Facilities: Electricity - Water - Showers and toilets - Laundry facilities - Provisions - Restaurants

Day 4: Cres

The island of Cres is the westernmost of the Kvarner Islands, with a wild and unspoiled landscape and a couple of attractive towns - Osor and Cres Town - that make for fine places to stop on a Cres boat charter. According to mythology, Cres is the place to which Jason and the Argonauts fled with the Golden Fleece. The coastline of Cres is dotted with numerous picturesque coves and villages just crying out to be visited for a swim or a low-key meal.

Neighboring Losinj is smaller and more touristy than Cres - it's been a resort since the late 19th century. Cres Town is strung around a small harbour and is typical of the attractive small fishing towns in these parts - it's a mass of small alleys, tiny courtyards spilling over with greenery and window-boxes tumbling with brightly colored blooms. There is some interesting 15th and 16th century architecture and the Franciscan monastery on the southern side of town houses a Virgin and Child by Andrea de Murano that is well worth a visit.

The Lungomare promenade is where people head for a swim and the town has numerous cafes and restaurants, mainly along the harbour. Cres is renowned for the quality of its lamb, so be sure to try some while you are there. The island is home to a colony of indigenous griffon vultures and the Caput Insulae Ecology Centre at Beli, north of Cres Town, is charged with monitoring and protecting them.

The Center also has maps for the island's ecology paths, three circular hiking trails, which lead through a mixture of forest, pasture and abandoned villages. You'll also pass 20 open-air sculptures by a local artist on the way. The sparsely populated village of Valun on the western coast of the island has a quiet shingle beach with stunningly clear crystal waters.

Mooring: The best option is to berth as directed by marina staff at the marina in Cres Town.

To Do: Hiking, Visit the historic buildings

Facilities: Water - Electricity - Showers and toilets - Laundry - Provisions - Bars and restaurants

Day 5: Punat

Krk is the largest of Croatia's Adriatic islands and, while the northern half of the island is quite well-developed in terms of tourist activity, the south and east offer mountains, vineyards, olive groves and sun-bleached villages. Krk has been inhabited continuously since the dawn of history, with traces of Neolithic man discovered in caves on the island. Here, earthworks and burial mounds date from the Bronze and Iron Ages scattered throughout the island.

Later Krk fell under Venetian rule and later still under the Dukes of Krk, known as the Frankopans, one of the region's most powerful feudal families. Now, it is linked to the island by a bridge and many of the inhabitants of the island commute for work. Krk Town is a historic settlement built on the site of the Roman town of Curicum and is still surrounded by scraps of its original city wall. The place to head is Trg bana Jelacica, a large open space just to the west outside the town walls. It overlooks the busy harbor and the main sights of the town are within easy reach - the 13th century Guard Tower, the Roman Mosaic, the Cathedral of the Assumption and the narrow JJ Strossmayera alleyway (the town's main thoroughfare).

There are plenty of good cafes and restaurants and the town gets pleasantly busy on summer evenings. Baska, in the far south, is a quirky fishing village with a spectacular sandy beach that can get busy in high season. A twenty minute walk inland from Baska is the village of Jurandvor, the site of one of Croatia's most important archaeological discoveries - the 11th century inscription known as the Baska tablet. The best overnight mooring on a Punat Krk yacht charter is in the marina at Punat, located to the east of Krk Town on the shores of a large, landlocked inlet.

Mooring: Tie up at the marina as directed by staff. It is also possible to berth at the town quay which is administered by the marina. However, there are no electricity or water connections there.

To Do: Explore Krk Town, Visit the 12th century Franciscan monastery on the small island of Kosljun, opposite Punat, Visit the 9th century chapel dedicated to St Donta on the road between Krk and Punat

Facilities: Water - Electricity - Showers and toilets - Laundry - Internet Café - Provisions - Bars and restaurants - Bus service

Day 6: Rab

To the south of Krk and the east of Cres lies Rab, the smallest and possibly the most beautiful of the Kvarner Gulf Islands. The east of the island is rocky and harsh, but to the west of the central spine all is lush and green with beautiful coves and beaches. The Lopar peninsula at the northern end of the island has some of loveliest and sandiest beaches in Croatia. Rab Town is a perfectly preserved, late medieval Adriatic settlement squeezed onto its own slender peninsula where you'll find the city's trademark sequence of Romanesque campaniles. A Rab yacht charter gives you opportunity to explore both. Rab Town is a truly lovely place - all grey and golden-yello buildings interspersed with palms, junipers and cacti - that copes graciously with the summer influx of visitors without compromising its essential medieval character. The city stands on the site of a Roman settlement and naval harbor, but few traces of the settlement remain.

During the 15th century, the medieval town was decimated by the plague and its fortunes did not revive until the late 19th century when it became a popular rest cure destination. The Frankj peninsula just west of town was one of the first naturist resorts in Europe and was visited by King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson in 1936 -- whether they participated in this activity or not is unknown! Rab Town has numerous churches, palaces, monasteries and museums - including one that is home to a reliquary holding the skull of St. Christopher - that make a day here a must for history lovers. The Old Town has some great seafood restaurants.

Mooring: In the marina at Rab Town, go bow or stern-to one of the pontoons on the south-eastern side of the pontoon, as directed. Yachts over 49 feet can tie up alongside the central portion of the quayside to the west if there is room.

To Do: Explore Rab Old Town, Visit the beaches of the Lopar peninsula

Facilities: Bars and restaurants - Water - Electricity - Showers and toilets - Laundry - Fuel - Provisions - Daily fruit and vegetable market

Day 7: Osor

Osor sits beside the narrow strait, which is just 36 feet (11 meters) wide, separating the islands of Cres and Losinj. It used to be a major cathedral town, but is now the size of a small hamlet. It is the oldest settlement on either island, and in its day was a prosperous Roman city. It remained important in the medieval era, thanks in part to the reputation of St. Gaudentius who established the now ruined monastery of St Peter and turned Osor into a center for manuscript production.

A man of many talents, he is also said to have ridded the island of snakes and a tradition developed for local sailors to carry a piece of Cres stone with them on their travels as protection from poisonous snakes. Although the saint died in Rome, his remains miraculously returned to Osor in a sea-borne wooden chest that is now kept on the high altar of Osor's former cathedral. This is now the Church of the Assumption and stands on one side of the funnel-shaped main square.

The Archaeological Museum in the Venetian town hall has Roman relics and a model of medieval Osor. On the other side of the square, a narrow street runs past the 15th century Bishop's Palace where the most impressive item on display is the bishop's throne. A ten minute walk away lies Bijar Bay, where the small beach is overlooked by the ruins of a 13th century Franciscan monastery. Osor hosts an annual chamber music festival in July and August, with performances taking place in the church, and there are some good restaurants here to, making it an appealing stopover for music-lovers and foodies alike.

Mooring: Anchor and take a line ashore in Uvala Bijar, a small bay to the north of Osor. It is too deep here for a yacht to lie to anchor alone. ou can also tie up alongside the quay north of the north entrance to the strait where depths are in excess of 9 feet (3 meters). inghy dockage is available.
To Do: Visit the relic of St Gaudentius, Listen to chamber music, Eat well!
Facilities: Restaurants - Public water tap on roadside - Basic provisions

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