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What An End To Summer: Our 3 Day Sailing Croatia Adventure
There’s no doubt that Croatia is a beautiful country, heck the hundred of blog posts on here attest to that – and even when the sun isn’t shining, somehow the place still glitters!
But, by golly when the sun is shining, there is no better place to be, than on the Adriatic Sea. Meandering through a network of islands, waving at other yachts passing you by, and stopping in secluded bays for a dip, to cool off, snorkel or just relax? Couple that with some fantastic Croatian cuisine over several days and you have the perfect vacation in Croatia.
If you’re a person with good sea legs, and you want to head out and explore in total luxury, then will be right up your alley. Read on.
Picture the scene – three nights spent sailing around the stunning Croatian coastline, soaking up the sun, checking out small coves and islands that you would never have otherwise realized existed, and learning all about the history of the area first hand.
In the middle of all of this, you can explore your island stops with a dash of on land adventure by cycling and walking. Oh, and what about stand-up paddling (SUP), that’s also a part of the adventure.
Sounds idyllic, right?
Yup, that is why when Raftrek invited our family to join them on a three day sailing adventure, we could not have signed up fast enough.
The itinerary is fantastic and covers the Kornati National Park archipelago, which sits in the middle of the impossible blue of the Adriatic Sea. You’ll set sail from Skradin, which means you can easily spend a few days checking out the wonders of Krka National Park before or after your trip.
The actual route can vary a little, depending on a few factors, but no matter where you go, there is an abundance of natural beauty wherever you stop, and the crew will be sure to show you the real, authentic way of life on the islands in this region.
Throughout the trip, there are opportunities to become active and really explore the region on your own. You’ll undoubtedly make some fantastic memories along the way, and get to see a part of Croatia that is indeed breath-taking. I know my family did.
We joined the ever patient Captain Luka and our host Vana, on Monday afternoon. We rolled up with all our bags and travel cot like a scene from a bad movie. Seriously, I really need to learn how to pack lighter. Anyhoo – we rolled up and were warmly greeted, and the crew helped us move into our enormous rooms! We had two rooms, both with an ensuite, so it was a total luxury.
The last time we sailed was about two years ago – prior to the Baby Donkey joining our family – and the rooms on the yacht were tiny. So, the size of the rooms on the Nautitech 44 Catamaran was a pleasant surprise. As was the fact that our room had an ensuite. Last time I had to share that one toilet with four grown men. Gross.
After unpacking, we met our co-holiday makers who were to share the catamaran with us (there are four rooms on board). A lovely couple from Brazil. Then, the six of us & the crew set sail to start our adventure.
We spent four nights on board (though, if you go in 2019 it’ll be three nights for you) and, I can say it was the best way to end summer. It’s total #FirstWorldProblems I know, but we worked very hard this summer with the transfers business – so I can say with my hand on my heart that this family vacation was just what we needed before we got back into the day-to-day workings of school and activities.
The trip was a wonderful family experience, the Little Donkey was so interested in the maps and navigation equipment and he jumped up in the captain’s seat at every chance he got! Lucky for him, Captain Luka was beyond accommodating.
Stops On Our 3 Day Sailing Croatia Adventure
There were several stops on our sailing trip, but let’s talk about some of the notable ones, to whet your appetite for what you can expect! Just remember that the stops can vary depending on the weather and sailing conditions.
If you love cycling, this is the island which is going to be your favorite stop off point! From an aesthetic point of view, the island is truly stunning, with plenty of lush greenery, sloping down to the bright blue of the sea and a charming town which has maintained its character, no ugly apartment buildings here! The island is probably one of the lesser known islands in Croatia, but that makes it a fantastic place to explore, without major crowds.
We mentioned cycling, and the hills and green nature really set that up perfectly. So, lucky for you Raftrek have bikes onboard – score!
This is an island which is really all about nature, and not about major tourism and nightlife – a very impressive change!
Zlarin also has a great kids park, and there are several places to eat dinner, and grab a coffee before you depart in the morning.
Sali, Dugi Otok
A small but popular town on the island of Dugi Otok is Sali. It was my second time to this port to overnight here – and it was no issue, as it’s a great little stop.
You can get some insight into true Croatian island life by visiting this town – like when you see the fishing boats rolling in early in the morning.
In keeping with the active vibe of the trip, be sure to grab your bicycle and cycle your way up to Salt Water Lake, located in the Telascica Nature Park. This is one of the most beautiful areas on Dugi Otok and the lake is connected to the sea by underwater channels. Cycling to Telascica Nature park is well worth the effort as you will be rewarded with some spectacular sites.
Don’t let the small size of this island fool you – the color of the water will simply take your breath away. The stop here is late in the day (as you’ll be on the open water swimming and SUPing all day), but the dinner and overnight port stops are one of a kind.
Just in front of Konoba Kunjka is where you’ll stop for the night – and then eat dinner at the Konoba (Tavern). The views overlooking the Adriatic and the fresh seafood makes for a memorable experience.
As we sailed up, I could see a man crouching down, cleaning a fish at the steps of the restaurant. Talk about taking ‘fresh seafood’ to a whole new level.
Kornati Islands National Park
The Kornati Islands National Park consists of 89 islands, islets and reefs spread over 217 square kms. The Kornati Islands are a dense cluster of privately owned islands with copious amounts of small coves, beaches, and bays where you can stop and just take a swim, and take in the pristine environment all within close proximity to each other.
The islands look like little and big bumps popping out of the sea. They are truly wondrous. The Little Donkey asked me several times “how many more are there, will they go on forever”?
We also spent a night docked at Konoba Darko Striznja, a family run restaurant which has some of the most mouth-watering dishes you’ll ever taste in your life! Obviously, the menu is primarily fish and like all these little Konoba’s they catch their own. We opted for fish soup for the kids, and a fish stew called brodet for us.
Everyone always asks me where are sandy beaches in Croatia – there are some – just not many. But never fear Captain Luka knows the spots, and he was able to find us one to take the kids too. And, bonus points it had a beach bar. Whoop whoop.
Why Is This 3 Day Sailing Adventure Different?
Aside from seeing all these wonderful hidden gems, you’ll also be able to get completely active! Think about it – you can eat whatever you want because you’re basically burning it all off. The catamarans are all super modern and spacious, meaning you can kick back and relax while you’re traveling, before exploring at your stop-offs. You might even get to see a few dolphins en-route as we did!
The trip, in general, is designed for those who love the great outdoors, and not for those who merely want to sit on a sunbed and soak up the sun all the time. Of course, you can do this while you’re on the move, but when you dock at a stop off point, it’s all about walking, hiking, cycling and swimming.
In terms of seeing this somewhat hidden part of Croatia, this sailing trip will open your eyes to the area’s true natural beauty.