When we went sailing in Croatia in September I posted a photo of a lovely scene on Facebook. Someone raved about its beauty and commented that it is an “undiscovered” part of the world.
I thought about that a bit questioning this comment. While many areas of Croatia are remote and undiscovered, I had been reading about overcrowding in Dubrovnik. The locals have been protesting the masses of tourists taking over their home. They are tired of the thousands of people the cruise ships spew out on stops between Venice and Greece
Game of Thrones Creates Interest in Croatia
Another reason for Croatia’s popularity is that Game of Thrones has been filmed in a variety of historic venues in Croatia. Game of Thrones tours have popped up to meet the demand for seeing these locations like the one pictured above.
I asked our skipper, Deni, whether he thought Croatia was “undiscovered” and he laughed. “Oh we’ve been discovered all right.”
The Croatian native said he has seen huge increases in hip and happy Europeans who descend on the Croatian Islands in the summer to party. He shared that there are even “party cruises” on boats like the one we were on that take people to the beaches and the happening party places like Hvar.
They advertise their vacation trips saying they are “in the know” about the hottest places to hang out. He also commented that many Europeans who have traditionally vacationed in Turkey are now heading to Croatia because they view it as safer.
Croatia: a great place to sail
We weren’t part of the Game of Thrones or the party group. We joined many sailers who go to the Dalmatian coast because it offers some of the best sailing in the world—mostly in May and September—before and after the party season.
It isn’t as hot and the wind is better than in the summer season.
At the airport in Split, where sailers fly in and out to board the boats in Trogir, I chatted with a woman from Antwerp who asked me, “Why do you come here? Don’t you have good sailing at home?”
Of course, we have good sailing in the US, but this got me thinking. I decided to devote this blog post to answering her question. Why is Croatia such good place to sail.
First of all there are vast waters to sail where the wind is strong but boats are protected from open water by the hundreds of islands along the coast. Perfect. The landscape is truly beautiful and unspoiled.
The little villages are charming. Many are only accessible by ferry or small boats so they aren’t overrun with tourists. Cruise ships can’t get into the small marinas. We love the winding streets, historic churches and charming traditions.
The restaurants are fabulous. The servers bring you platters of fish caught that morning. You choose what they are going to cook for you. The emphasis is on fresh, delightfully prepared dishes.
There’s a wonderful camaraderie of sailers. The boats line up along the village docks. It’s fun to be part of the group.
We did experience some rough weather one day, but with an experienced skipper in charge we felt totally safe. It was actually quite exciting.
Here are a few images of what you might see if you visited the islands on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia.
Thank you to JoAnne Tompkins for contributing several photos to this blog post and for you and Jon for being such a great sailing companions.