Après-sail: Places to visit in Croatia

Updated: Feb 22

While everyone has skiing and winter activities on their minds, we pretty much spend the year preoccupied with how to make your Croatian experience even better. That's why we came up with a guide of places to visit and things to do for your time spent outside of the sailing week.

Sometimes before but usually after your time on the boat, you will want to explore certain coastal cities and natural wonders that are out of reach with the sailboat. Luckily, our sailing yachts are all located right next to some of the most exquisite gems of the Adriatic, making it easy to plan an extended vacation to effortlessly see more of Croatia.


Dubrovnik

We are positive that you heard of Dubrovnik, and probably even visited. But did you know that there are not one but two yacht charter bases located here? Dubrovnik is a great starting point for your sailing trip for many reasons. First, you can stay in a hotel or villa and explore the city, even go all the way in and visit neighboring Montenegro. The incredibly beautiful bay of Kotor is only a few hours of drive away. We get asked a lot if it's a good idea to take the sailing boat to Montenegro - it's been done before, but we, however, recommend exploring the islands of the Dubrovnik archipelago, and then driving to Montenegro.

One of the reasons is that the stretch of the coast which connects the two countries is not ideal for a sailing trip due to the lack of islands, coves, and towns. If however this is not your first time traveling to Croatia and you've already seen a lot, it might be a good idea to do so. For those who are not in a rush and want a thorough experience, two weeks on a sailing yacht would give a perfect window to explore even more. Don't forget that you can take a direct flight from the U.S. during the summer months!


Things to do while in Dubrovnik & the area
  • Take a guided tour of the Old Town: Choose between our history expert or if you're a fan, opt for a specialized Game of thrones tour

  • Take a private or group kayaking beneath the impressive city walls and to the nearby coves. Try during sunset!

  • Sleep like a king in some of the best hotels Dubrovnik has to offer, centrally located

  • Dine with a view. Dubrovnik is an interesting foodie spot: Restaurants offer local fare prepared in a tradition-meets-contemporary way, with a creative presentation

  • Spend a day with a contemporary art expert: See and learn about a valuable collection of 3000 artworks from Eastern European contemporary artists

  • Visit the countryside for a unique garden-to-table interactive experience

  • Bike, hike or enjoy zip lining in the sun-kissed nature

Trip to Montenegro

If this has been on your list for a while, we recommend renting a car or having a transfer arranged from Dubrovnik to the Bay of Kotor (2 hours away). There are many beautiful historical towns and villages aligned on the coast, which you can drive to or take an excursion boat. Believe us when we say that you won't be able to single out your favorite place! Visit the little Monastery islands, sunbathe and swim on beautiful beaches, and explore the blue cave. What is incredible and different from Croatia is the immediate proximity of hills and mountains. A number of accessible trails will lead you to a summit overlooking the amazingly close and stunning Bay. A heaven for hikers. We hope you're convinced!


Split

The beating heart of the Dalmatia region, very lively and doing well since the 3rd century BC.

You will immediately fall in love with Split's chaotic charm: The lively waterfront promenade, known as the "Riva" with countless restaurants, cafes, street performers, as well as ships and yachts constantly coming and going. Follow one of the majestic old passages and you will find yourself winding the narrow cobblestone streets in a quieter and more classic setting, with an almost movie-set-like vibe. The old town merely looks like an extension of the Roman Emperor Diocletian's palace which is the focus point of the city. In terms of yacht charter and why is Split the main charter hub, there are several reasons: Split has a well-connected airport nearby, and an impressive marina complex located between the city and airport.

For another exceptionally equipped charter base, you will only have to walk to the end of the previously mentioned promenade in the city center. With these major conveniences in mind, we prepared the list of things to do while staying in the area. It would be a shame not to extend your stay!

Things to do while in Split
  • Take an immersive 5-hours guided tour with a history expert and interactive olive oil tasting and competition, introduction to Dalmatian natural power-snacks, both dance and craft-making class

  • Classical historical tour of the Palace and Old Town - explore other parts by yourself strolling around and visiting the farmers market, promenade, and back alleys with galleries and cafes

  • Explore the food scene from five-star restaurants to traditional taverns and finally street-food corners: None will disappoint you

  • Enjoy evening music and theater performances al fresco

  • Feeling artsy? We are sure you'll like the pop art workshop. Split is the cradle of several major contemporary Croatian artists


Split area & Trogir:
  • Visit Trogir which will absolutely stun you. Its old town is like a walking museum, so magnificently preserved and listed as a UNESCO historical site. Many of our tours start precisely in Trogir's town marina

  • Enjoy a half-day trip to the natural wonder of Krka Waterfalls National Park, lunch in a countryside establishment specialized in local prosciutto

  • Make a trip to Sibenik, this often under-the-radar beautiful seaside town with the breathtaking UNESCO Cathedrale of St.James. We often like to include it as a day tour with the Waterfalls

  • For the adrenaline lovers, a rafting excursion to the river of Cetina is a must-do family adventure

Zadar

Another gem of the Adriatic is located in Northern Dalmatia. With travelers preferring the south of Croatia for their first visit, we recommend second-timers or those willing to sail for two weeks, exploring the more quiet and tame archipelago of Zadar. We will talk about the magnificent islands of Kornati in a different post, and rather focus now on what's in there for you after your sailing adventure ends, and before you rush back to your everyday life across the pond.


What to visit while in Zadar
  • Take a tour of the historical sights: The Cathedral, churches, the Roman forum, City gates

  • Zadar has two major art installations, The Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun

  • Absorb the local history by visiting the Archeological museum, Benedictine monastery, the Museum of church art, and the Museum of ancient glass

  • Relax on the nearby beaches and dine in one of the restaurants on the main square

  • Visit the Krka Waterfalls National Park which is exactly halfway between Zadar and Split, stop for a lunch break in one of the homey places reachable by dirt roads

  • Velebit is the biggest and highest mountain range in Croatia, and there are majestic trails for the nature-lovers and those who are not all just about the sea. Croatia is relatively small and well connected, allowing you to switch between beaches, waterfalls, and mountains all within an hour or two of relaxing driving, yay!


Istria

Last but not least, this peninsula is located in the Northern Adriatic, bordering with Slovenia and heavily influenced by Italy to which it belonged for a significant period of time. This is an adventure on its own, and we recommend taking another week if you really want to get to know the entire and diverse coast of Croatia. Known for its gourmet offer, Tuscany-like landscapes, and vineyards, along with charming coastal towns. The coast of Istria doesn't count as many islands as Dalmatia does, but that precisely makes you want to explore the inland more which is greener and more fertile than the south, offering great wine, truffles, and other delicacies. You can of course charter a sailing yacht from its biggest city of Pula, and explore the coast and the Bay of Kvarner, which is a well-kept secret and currently accommodating only the most insightful travelers (and those hoping for a more private vacation)!


What to do while in Istria
  • Wine tasting and staying in a wine hotel are a must! If you've already enjoyed places like Napa Valley, Tuscany, and Bordeaux, this is a low-key natural next step for you. And oh, do it before everyone discovers it!

  • Guided truffle hunting and truffle dinner; This speaks for itself

  • Visit Rovinj (looks like a postcard wherever you turn), Pula with its Roman colosseum, Labin, and the cutest ever village Motovun on top of a hill

  • Make a day trip to Brijuni National Park: A cluster of islands covered in pine forests, England-like meadows. The islands were once an elite health resort and a place where politicians from all over the world met with the president of former Yugoslavia Tito

  • Take a pasta-making class, enjoy local specialties, gelato, and don't forget the WINE!


Zagreb

Zagreb is the capital and even though located on the mainland, its airport has the most connections, but this is not the only reason why you should visit. If you'd like to add some Central Europe charm to your visit to the coast, you shouldn't hesitate. Often referred to as "Little Vienna", Zagreb's architecture and food will highly resemble the city due to its position, and the history of belonging with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With the most Michelin-star restaurants, best hotel selection, and a number of museums, you can spend here a couple of unforgettable days. Another plus is that on your way up or down to the coast, there are some great stops along the way.



Zagreb & day trips
  • Enjoy the city while staying in great hotels and exploring the vibrant restaurant scene

  • Choose a guided tour of the city center and the historical uptown which once was a separate town. Ride the cutest and smallest tramway you've ever seen!

  • A must-do is an interactive night-time tour inspired by an intriguing tale of the first female Croatian writer Marija Juric Zagorka

  • Visit the Archeological Museum, Museum of Arts & Crafts, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, and learn and understand better Croatian culture and heritage

  • Take a day trip to the hilly countryside, Zagorje, with plenty of vineyards and exquisite rustic restaurants. The specialty is venison with hearty gravies or cranberry chutneys, small-batch organic wines, and strudels that will melt in your mouth

  • Plitvice Lakes: We're sure you heard of this and we won't spoil it for you, but you simply must stop here for a day and enjoy this unique natural wonder

Slovenia
  • Make a day trip to the romantic city of Ljubljana in neighbouring Slovenia

  • For those with an extra day to spare, visit Postojna, THE cave that will take your breath, and the largest cave castle in the world

  • Bled, which is in Slovenia as well, is a dream-like medieval castle surrounded by the lake and on a precipice overlooking untouched nature and the historical town of Bled

Email us for more info and itinerary suggestions! info@anchorandwine.com


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