Eastern Adriatic: Dalmatian Exploration

The western coast of Croatia is a yachtsman’s dream.  There are so many islands, bays, and interesting port towns that you’ll wish boating season lasted forever!  Luckily, coastal Croatia has hot summers and mild winters so you’re free to go anytime.  The maestral winds of late spring and early summer make for particularly great sailing, and there are plenty of marinas to choose from.  Long stretches of coastline are always best explored by boat.  Climb aboard and start your trip!

BRAC:  This is the largest island that central Dalmatia has to offer.  Though it rose to prominence as a provider of marble (some of which made its way to The White House), it is currently more renown as a vacation destination.  Brac has a hilly interior and a popular beach at Golden Cape.  The stone villages and small farms are a visual treat after you’ve been out at sea!

DUBROVNIK:  This is the highlight of many people’s Croatian adventure, and there will be crowds to prove it!  Having said that, it is definitely worth visiting to see what all the fuss is about.  Inside Dubrovnik’s fortified walls you’ll find recognizable brands, fun souvenirs, and people of every European nationality.  Visit Gundulic Square, which hosts a farmer’s market by day.  If you’re staying in Dubrovnik for a bit, use it as your base for day trips to nearby Cavtat, Mljet Island, or Lokrum Island for some beach time and privacy.

HVAR:  You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the cluster of large yachts docked around the island.  Let the smell of lavender coax you off your boat and onto the island.  Hvar has been dubbed the most alluring of all the Adriatic Islands so you’ll be in posh company if you decide to go.  Hang out at St. Stephen’s Square or take a seat in one of the chairs that faces the water along the quay.  Find all manner of accommodations, restaurants, and bars in Hvar Town; go to Stari Grad on the coast for tranquility.

KORCULA:  Korcula was previously under Venetian rule so you’ll get to see some lovely Renaissance era buildings among the island’s cypress, oak, and pine trees.  The southern coast has beaches and little coves, but the northern shore is where you’ll find the most natural harbors.  Raise a glass to the local grape crop and enjoy the delicious fruits of this island’s labor.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

In general, you’ll find varied and attractive menus as the food reflects Croatia’s fantastic location.  There’s seafood from the Adriatic and wine from local vineyards as well as Italian style risottos and Slavic dumplings from neighboring country recipes.  The geography of Dalmatia is varied too.  The Mediterranean climate is conducive to enjoying excursions to mountains, rivers, coves, channels, or a national park.  Head to the nearest beach anytime you need a rest!

This short list of Dalmatian destinations is in no way complete.  There is so much to see that you’ll soon understand the value of mapping out a plan that allows you to relax and savor a select few spots.  If you aren’t touring the area in your own private boat, then you have the option of using ferries.  The Dubrovnik to Split route is very popular.  However you decide to go, you won’t be disappointed!  Croatia is for the curious not cautious… start adventuring soon!

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

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