A Cruising Itinerary for Croatia & Montenegro
Why choose Croatia & Montenegro for a yacht charter?
Lush forests spilling down to golden beaches fringed by crystal clear turquoise waters characterise the Croatian and Montenegrin luxury yacht charter grounds, which the wider world are only now beginning to discover.
The bays and islands will enchant adults and children alike and are suited to beginner swimmers through to advanced Scuba divers, who have a wealth of coral reefs, caves and wrecks to explore. Travel with a professional crew and savour top quality meals, efficient service and additional amenities such as spa massage services or training for the jet skis.
Begin in the western Adriatic and take in the delights of Venice, the waterside city famous for its elaborate carnivals and Murano glass, and make your way down the coast to some of the most stunning cities and beaches in the Mediterranean that show a sedate side by day and burst into life after sundown.
Split and the Dalmatian Islands also has a great selection of more challenging Scuba dive sites for the more experienced, and even beginners have a stunning assortment of locations to practice their skills and become comfortable with the equipment for future underwater adventures.
When you return to your yacht charter accommodation for rest and relaxation, your group can spend time on hobbies in comfort as you avoid the crowds and cruise from one destination to the next.
The Suggested 14 Day (two week) Itinerary:
Day 1: Venice
Famed for its waterways, lavish costumes and romantic charm, Venice is a city where elegance and enchantment are around every corner - and the archipelago makes for a quick getaway for a snorkelling and swimming in privacy.
Visitors will be spoilt for choice with the shopping opportunities available, from high-end department stores to highly specialised shops such as San Marco 801 for Murano glass and La Bauta, where a Venetian mask is an iconic souvenir of the city and its carnivals.
Spend your time exploring the charming islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, the latter wonderfully verdant and quieter the central Venice, so that you can properly take in the atmosphere at Chiesa di Santa Fosca and Museo di Torcello.
For more culture, St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace (Basilica di San Marco and Palazzo Ducale) are the top attractions during the day, and in theatre performances and concerts for an evening of entertainment away from you luxury yacht.
Venice also has an extraordinary selection of Michelin-starred restaurants, including Quadri, Il Ridotto, Met and Oro, for a memorable and special celebration on land.
Location highlights: Basilica di San Marco and Palazzo Ducale, Murano, Burano, Torcello, Chiesa di Santa Fosca, Museo di Torcello, San Marco 801, La Bauta, Quadri Restaurant, Il Ridotto Restaurant, Met Restaurant, Oro Restaurant
Day 2: Rovinj
Your first stop in Croatia is the sprawling city of Rovinj, surrounded on all sides by white sand beaches and clear blue seas that are home to sea horses, dolphins and sea turtles. Snorkelers, Scuba divers and those powering along by Seabob will behold an underwater paradise, while those above water can take advantage of the winds to sail, wind surf and kite surf.
In town, the promenade is overflowing with gelateria, cafes and restaurants from its Italian past, and Michelin-starred restaurant Monte is an attractive setting with creative cuisine for a memorable start to a night out among the incredible bars and clubs. During the daytime, take a stroll through the picturesque Trevisol Street and visit The Church of St. Euphemia in amongst your shopping.
Just north of Rovinj, the Limski Fjord - or Limski Kanal as it is known locally - is a haven for fishing and your on board chef can prepare a sumptuous meal from the fresh mussels, scallops or oysters to be found there.
Location highlights: Trevisol Street, The Church of St. Euphemia, Monte Restaurant, Limski Fjord
Day 3: Pula
During the summer, the Amphitheatre in Pula hosts concerts both modern and classical as well as an annual film festival. Depending on which day you arrive, you may be in luck to see the weekly family-friendly 'gladiator fight'. Beneath the amphitheatre is an underground museum to exhibit ancient olive oil and wine production techniques. Holidaymakers who prefer art have Zerostrasse, a series of tunnels built as bomb shelters in the 1900s and now used as a contemporary gallery. The nearby Sveta Srca (Sacred Hearts) is an old church and convent with an interesting display of neolithic through to medieval art. From local markets to high-end boutiques, there is some great shopping to be found for an afternoon before treating your group to some pampering in the local spas, or back on board your superyacht.
Nature lovers and sunbathers will be in their element in the nearby Nacionalni Park Brijuni, an archipelago where the coast is has one long sandy beach after another and the island interiors are a suitably flat for hiking and biking along the trails. Ancient ruins and monuments are to be encountered on your route, along with a public golf course and the occasional restaurant or cafe close to the sea.
Kayak, paddle board of learn a new skill with confidence in the clear shallow water, while Scuba divers have a variety of caves and open sites within the area to choose for their ability level, each with their own unique features and wildlife.
Location highlights: Pula Arena, Zerostrasse, Sveta Srca, Nacionalni Park Brijuni
Day 4: Zadar
Zadar is a city of two halves: The modern and the ancient 'Old Town', situated opposite the marina and accessed by bridge. The Old Town has streets paved in marble in testament to its past prosperity, and the white-washed-red-tiled houses create a labyrinth filled with shops, bars and restaurants to peruse at your leisure. Take in local history and culture at Church of St. Donatus (Crkva sv. Donata), the Roman Forum and the Archaeological Museum Zadar, or enjoy the high-end shopping and modern art available in the many galleries throughout the city.
As impressive as Zadar is, it's the nearby Nacionalni Park Kornati that will steal your interest: Dugi Otok in particular is a rewarding warren of sea caves and scenic seaside villages, where fishing boats hover above clean, crystal seas. Cave dives and wreck dives await Scuba divers and snorkelers, who have excellent visibility through the transparent waters, and there is one secret bay after another to play on the motorised water toys or host your own party on your sundeck.
If you have the time, stay and discover the magnificent Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some breath-taking waterfalls that plunge into deep cool lakes along the forest paths.
Location highlights: Crkva sv. Donata, Roman Forum, Archaeological Museum Zadar, Dugi Otok, Nacionalni Park Plitvička Jezera
Day 5: Sibenik
Surrounded by forest scenery and still waters, Sibenik is old-world beauty with all the modern conveniences. The past prosperity of Sibenik has left behind a legacy of UNESCO status World Heritage sites, among which is St. Nicholas Fortress that you will cruise past on your way in to Marina Mandalina.
The 16th Century Cathedral of St. James is a must-see attraction for most visitors who enjoy a stroll through the city to discover the medieval gardens among the baroque and renaissance architecture. An array of cafes, bars and shops are nestled among the pales stone houses, including the Michelin-quality Pelegrini.
Beyond the city is the stunning Nacionalni Park Krka (Krka National Park), the location of 17 fantastical waterfalls where guests can hike and swim in the clear cool pools. Water sports enthusiasts will not be left wanting either: The nearby islands of Kaprijie and Kakan have a wreck dive from WWII as well as cave and open water dives, and the archipelago allows for private time playing on the high-adrenaline water toys or complete peace and privacy while unwinding on your sundeck.
Location highlights: St. Nicholas Fortress, Cathedral of St. James, Pelegrini Restaurant, Nacionalni park Krka, Otok Kaprijie and Otok Kakan
Day 6: Split
As you cruise from Sibenik to Split, one golden beach and quiet bay after another will tempt you for a swim in the warm waters. Wine connoisseurs have a choice selection of vineyards to explore on a laid-back food and wine tour, all before an afternoon of shopping and sightseeing centred around the well-preserved Roman ruins of the Diocletian's Palace.
Croatia's second-largest city is a great place to get in some souvenir shopping or update your summer wardrobe, and a tour of the winding Old Town will yield charming boutiques as well as art galleries such as the Split Gallery of Fine Arts. For daytime family entertainment, there are several museums to impress, including the Live Museum and the contemporary Museum of the Senses.
Kayak and paddleboard along the city beaches and snorkel among the rock pools before recuperating with a delicious three-course meal prepared by your on board chef. Watch the sunset over the bay, then host your own party on the sundeck, or head to Jadran Beach Bar or the warren of streets around the Diocletian's Palace to mingle with locals and find your own amazing hangout.
Location highlights: Old Town, Diocletian's Palace, Split Gallery of Fine Arts, Live Museum, Museum of the Senses, Jadran Beach Bar
Day 7: Vis
From Split it's time to launch into the Dalmatian Islands and discover for yourselves why this coastal region is so popular with luxury yacht charter groups year after year.
With the majority of the summer tourists remaining on the mainland, Vis is truly an island paradise that draws visitors looking to indulge in its rugged natural beauty and local culture. Rock climbing, caving, paragliding and abseiling can all be done from Mount Hum for adrenaline seekers who want a change from the numerous clear water snorkelling and Scuba diving sites the region has on offer.
There are myriad beaches close to Vis town, such as Stenjalo beach and Stončica, however it is the southern coast that is famed for Stiniva cove and Srebrna beach that act as the main attractions.
Use your leisure time on board to sunbathe, catch up on the latest bestseller or fish for your supper - the rich seabed is home to lobster, scorpionfish and mackerel that become even more flavoursome when consumed with the locally-grown lemons and wine.
A small island to the south east is the location of the beautiful Zelena špilja (Green Cave), and south west of Vis, Bisevo is just as wonderfully underdeveloped and its own gorgeous Modra špilja (Blue Cave) is also worth visiting with the kayaks or snorkelling equipment.
Location highlights: Mount Hum, Stenjalo Beach, Stončica, Stiniva Cove, Srebrna Beach, Zelena špilja, Modra špilja
Day 8: Brac
Make time for family and friends on the island of Brac with a mellow day of cocktails and sunbathing on board, or an exploration of the scenic hiking trails and vineyards that cover the island. The consistent winds coupled with the clear shallow water make for great conditions for younger members of the family to discover windsurfing or kitesurfing, and snorkelling and Scuba diving sites home to myriad fish species are abundant.
Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) is a favourite among luxury yacht charter groups for its fine sand beach and selection of cocktail bars and restaurants, where the summer beach parties last long into the night. The vibrant natural colours are a photographer's dream come true and the villages will transport visitors back in time.
Location highlights: Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn)
Day 9: Hvar
Meet up with other luxury yachties and shake up your nightlife on Hvar, where you can watch the sunset or dance the night away at beach-side bars Hula Hula and Falko. Take the party with you and cruise to one of the nearby secluded beaches for all-night entertaining under the starry skies.
On a walking tour of the city, Sveti Stjepan (St. Stephen's Church) and Franjevački Samostan Hvar (Franciscan Monastery) are close to the marina and the latter is surrounded by a beautiful traditional Mediterranean garden, and the fortress on the hill has sublime views over the city and marina.
The nearby island Sveti Klement is an ideal for escape for kayaking and paddle boarding, made all the more attractive by the beach bars and the Palmizana Botanical Garden for a leisurely afternoon.
Location highlights: Hula Hula Beach Bar, Falko Beach Bar, Central Park Club, Franjevački Samostan Hvar, Fortica, Sveti Stjepan, Palmizana Botanical Garden
Day 10: Lastovo
Cruise past Korcula to Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park where myriad caves and wrecks await Scuba divers, and discover a vibrant coral reefs beneath the glassy waters as you swim with dolphins and sea turtles. Hike or bike the local trails and stop by at churches and vineyards along the way.
Location highlights: Medjedina dive site, Bratin dive site
Day 11: Mljet
Topaz waters and small scattered villages along the coast characterise Mljet, half of which is a nature reserve where guests can hike or bike amongst the pines with the opportunity to spot the rare eagle owls. The two lakes, Veliko Jezero (Great Lake) and Malo Jezero (Small Lake) are nestled within the heart of the park and the peaceful Saint Maria monastery is located on the island of the same name.
The bay around Polače is one of the most popular anchorages for superyachts because of its quiet port and verdant surroundings for memorable alfresco dinners, parties or romantic nights beneath the stars.
Kayak along the southern coast for beautiful white sand beaches such as Limoni, and discover Odisejeva špilja (Odysseus's Cave), a popular tourist attraction where reflected light dances on the ceiling of the 20m/66ft tunnel - visit early in the day or late in the evening
Location highlights: Nacionalni Park Mljet, Veliko Jezero, Malo Jezero, Pristanište Sv Marija, Limoni Beach, Odisejeva špilja
Day 12: Dbrovnik
The next stop on your itinerary is the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik, a cultural haven brimming with art galleries, luxury boutiques and tours for local history as well as cuisine.
Kayak around the fortress walls, walk around the Medieval streets in Old Town and take in the breath-taking details of Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Rector's Palace. Guests can extend their stay in the Old Town and browse the Maritime Museum and Dubrovnik Aquarium, or take a ride in the cable car to the summit to watch the sun set over the city.
Finish your day with a relaxing visit to Lokrum Island. 'Otok Lokrum' has a very different atmosphere to the town and visitors can wind down with a walk to Utvrda Royal (Fort Royal), the Benedictine Monastery of St. Mary and the Botanical Gardens before savouring a beach-side meal by candlelight as the lights of the city dance across the harbour.
Location highlights: Old Town, Dubrovnik Cathedral, The Rector's Palace, Maritime Museum, Dubrovnik Aquarium, Otok Lokrum, Utvrda Royal, Benedictine Monastery Of St. Mary, Botanical Gardens
Day 13: Kotor
The attractive Medieval villages of the Bay of Kotor each have their own landmarks for your group to explore, including Muzej grada Perasta (Maritime Museum) and myriad impressive cathedrals, of which the gold and silver relics in the 1166-built Katedrala Svetog Tripuna.
Scuba divers have a great variety of dive sites to explore, among them two wrecks and a cave dive that offer great visibility at depth in the clear Mediterranean water. The sheltered bay is a great opportunity to play on the windsurfers and kite surfers and gain confidence in the glassy seas, surrounded by verdant hills rich with wildlife.
For boutique shopping and a choice of bars, head to the lavish Porto Montenegro marina, home to the famous Porto Montenegro Yacht Club.
Location highlights: Muzej grada Perasta, Katedrala Svetog Tripuna, Porto Montenegro Yacht Club
Day 14: Sveti Stefan
Stop off at Sveti Nikola Island for the northern beaches and water sports, followed by a freshly caught seafood lunch at one of the local restaurants. The region also offers a variety of other sports, including paragliding and canyoning for those looking to explore the area in more detail and try something different.
From Dukley Marina in Budva walk to the Old Town and peruse the galleries, museums, churches and the ruins of an ancient Roman necropolis, then rest with one' of the city's delicious coffees before carrying on your walking tour.
End your two-week itinerary on the gorgeous Montenegrin island of Sveti Stefan, the retreat of superstars and open only to guests. Before flying home there is the opportunity to spend the night at Villa Milocer, once the summer residence of the Queen of Serbia and placed between olive groves and once of the most spectacular beaches along the Adriatic Sea.
Location highlights: Sveti Nikola Island, Budva Old Town, Becici Beach, Perazica Beach, Milocer Beach, Drobni Pijesak Beach, Lucice Beach, Queen's Beach
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