What an amazing week, sailing from Split to Dubrovnik on board a luxury small cruiser!
All expectations were exceeded as it quickly became apparent that we are going to experience the best Croatia has to offer. Lovely coastal towns, breathtaking nature and spectacular lagoons perfect for making swim stops were part of our daily cruise itinerary.
I was incredibly happy to have such a nice relaxing cruise after the long period affected by Covid crisis. It was great to be among people again – they were a lovely bunch and we did absolutely everything together. The crew was fantastic as well: courteous and engaging, they definitely just added to our enjoyment. I'm not being funny, but exploring Croatia by sea was the best decision I've ever taken.
One way cruise from Split to Dubrovnik was the best option for our holiday since we had just 7 days to visit the most beautiful islands in the busiest part of the Adriatic.
Stopping in a new destination every day turned out to be fun and not exhausting at all! For the whole week, 30 adventurers including me were accommodated in a perfectly equipped, very well kept and comfortable modern yacht. The words cannot explain this amazing experience: the ocean breeze, the swim stops, the land activities, the food and wine, all done in 1 week.
The Cruise Starts in Split
Split, Dalmatia's vibrant capital, is a great place to start your adventure: ancient heritage, great nature, active nightlife and shopping. All this made our pre-embarkation stay in Split amazing - the city literally has it all. Frankly speaking, we spent a lot of time preparing and packing for our holiday, but you really don't have to worry about anything. Split has all kinds of shops, and it's very important to mention that locals are very friendly, laid back and seem to speak good English.
Now it's time to go and find our boat in Split harbor. Here it is, moored next to another mini-cruiser. The crew helped us with our luggage and voilà! We are checking in! Hvar, Vis, Korčula, Mljet, Dubrovnik – here we come.
It felt so amazing sailing along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leaving our everyday routine behind. Now it's all about the turquoise sea, fantastic views, great sunsets and a very relaxed vibe.
The Cruise Crew Makes the difference
Now, let's talk about our wonderful crew. The team on board really made us all feel special! They took excellent care of us, showing exceptional customer service and Croatian hospitality. The one can really see that they strive to have happy guests onboard and they did their best at all times. We will absolutely miss the heartwarming smile of our waiter while he was serving our delicious meals. Speaking of which. Croatia is a country for foodies. The food is great and plentiful. For breakfast there was a buffet with a choice of eggs, great ham and cheese, vegetables, fruits, cereals, yogurt, honey, marmalade. It was more than enough to keep you going until lunch or even dinner.
The lunch was delicious too. As a three course meal soup, main course with salad buffet and dessert was served. I could already call it a day by the time the dessert was served, but there was no chance I would skip it. Everything tasted fantastic.
Captain's dinner was something amazing. You should see this gastronomic adventure organized by our chef! The Captain was seated at our table and it was a pleasure talking to him.
Nearly forgot to mention our lovely cruise manager who acted like a local host, taking care of the whole itinerary, being very honest with us about what we should or shouldn't spend our money on and was supportive throughout the journey, quickly becoming a good friend of ours.
Hvar- Island With an Attitude
You can never get bored in Hvar town. We were very intrigued to see the fashionable celebrity-infested island of Hvar. But swimming comes first!
On the way to Hvar we made a stop on the Bol - Golden Horn beach, indisputably one of Croatia's most photographed locations. This spectacular beach dramatically sits on the southern coast of Brač island and it has become one of the country's trademarks due to its cool shape. Note that the current is surprisingly strong here – so do not swim too far away from the ship.
Finally, we are heading off to Lavender island - Hvar, the island of green hills, expensive villas and huge wine culture. Due to the town's growing popularity, the number of ships, speedboats and catamarans wanting to moor in Hvar town has grown drastically in the past several years. The authorities of the port of Hvar Town are very strict when it comes to mooring: as the port is overcrowded, you’ll spend some time at anchor while waiting for your ship’s allotted docking time. But it's totally worth it!
We quickly disembarked and met our local guide for a walking tour. Strolling the pretty streets of Hvar town you will note that there is very little shade available in the center but sweet local cafes look very attractive for those yearning for a short break and a couple of refreshments.
If you are fit enough, try to make it to the highest point in town – the Fort. The path zigzags up the hill which makes it easier to walk and once you find yourself on the top you will be amazed by stunning views over Hvar town and nearby Islands! Just be warned: there is a reason why Hvar is considered the sunniest in Croatia. It is blazing hot here during the three summer months, so take plenty of water with you.
After the tour and leisure time we boarded our ship again to head towards Stari Grad. While the poshy Hvar Town is heavily packed and touristy, the cute Stari Grad, on the other hand, is more laid back and quiet with charming narrow streets and stone facades. We loved this calm place so much, and we were happy that we actually docked there for the night.
For those interested in Hvar town's legendary nightlife, the two settlements are connected by a paved road, so getting a taxi or a bus there is not that difficult.
Vis - The Most Remote Island
Oh, how I enjoyed beautiful mornings in the sea! Lounging on the sun deck with a cup of morning coffee enjoying the gorgeous views is a perfect start of another exciting day.
The plan for this day was to go to Vis, known as the Croatian Capri. I can honestly say that the island of Vis was the most anticipated highlight of the cruise for me. We just hoped for a spell of nice weather that day, as strong wind and choppy seas could definitely have a negative impact on the whole plan. But we were lucky. The weather was perfect.
The mysterious island of Vis is situated in the outer Adriatic Sea, way farther from the mainland than any other of Croatia's inhabited islands. The place has a long and vibrant history going back to the fourth century BC, when the Greeks settled here. Another interesting fact about Vis is that for several decades the island served as a Yugoslav military base – the reason why it was closed for tourists for quite a long time.
Vis town was our port for the upcoming night - an elegant settlement with a long palm-sprinkled promenade. Our cruise manager recommended getting a local bus to Komiža - another tiny settlement on the western side of the island. We enjoyed our 20-minute picturesque bus ride from Vis town to Komiža. The place is very cute, with traditional stone facades from the sixteenth- and seventeenth- century, fishing boats and a couple of lovely beaches. When done strolling along the waterfront, have a coffee and a local Komiška cake in one of the local cafes!
Finally…. The Blue Cave
Once you make it to Vis, don't forget to visit Biševo as well – a tiny island just outside Vis that really sticks out. The funny thing is that it doesn't look attractive at all when you look at it from Komiža – just a small barren strip of land in the outer sea.
Biševo is famous for concealed real miracle: a unique natural phenomenon discovered in the 1880s by an Austrian painter Eugen von Ransonnet-Villet. It's a modestly-sized grotto which looks absolutely fabulous when the sun is at its height. The trick is in the play of sunlight. As the sun beams go through the water and reflect from the white rock sea bottom of the cave it paints the grotto in bright aquamarine colors. The shimmering effects underwater were spectacular.
We were lucky to be among the first to get inside the cave on a small boat. The grotto is not big, that's why you might have to wait for your turn in high season, causing many people to call the Blue Cave the biggest tourist trap that doesn't deserve the hype. However, for us (most other passengers we talked to agreed) it was definitely one of the most stunning experiences during the cruise.
Find out more about this magical trip and a continuation of our cruise in the second part - Seven days Cruise - Sailing from Korčula to Dubrovnik!