In southern part of Croatia, the perfect place to visit is Dubrovnik. When visiting this magnificent medieval city, also called “the pearl of the Adriatic”, the list of the places to discover by sailboat is long as the surrounding places and islands so rich in history and art surrounded by unspoiled nature and beautiful crystal clear waters have to be added to it.
The Dubrovnik area is certainly one of the most fascinating and popular destinations for yachtsmen sailing in the Mediterranean. This is thanks to this superb medieval city surrounded by majestic white stone walls overlooking the sea, but also thanks to the dozens of surrounding islands, bays and seaside villages that, at a distance of a few miles from each other, offer timeless atmospheres, first-rate nautical services and unspoiled nature far from the mass tourism. In short, ideal for a relaxing 7-day sailing cruise.
The beautiful Aci marina Dubrovnik, located at the bottom of the long and narrow bay of Rijeka Dubrovačka, is the starting port for this sailing itinerary. Already from the mooring on the quay you can see the ancient Sorkočević summer palace which bears witness to the long history and rich tradition of the city of Dubrovnik and its surroundings. You can take advantage of the first evening on board to take a walk in the impressive old town which is just a few kilometers away.
Dubrovnik is undoubtedly the most popular tourist resort in Croatia, whose mighty fortified walls still protect a rich treasure collected for centuries by its citizens, brave sailors and skilled merchants. There are many historical episodes and curious stories to discover simply by wandering through its animated streets. And when you want to rest and refresh yourself, just sit in a nice bar or restaurant and celebrate the beginning of this dreamy holiday.
Day 2: Aci marina Dubrovnik – Luka Šipanska, Šipan island, 15 miles
With a relaxing 2-3 hour navigation through the Koločep channel or, in alternative, the Haropti passage we will reach Luka Šipanska, a charming village located in the bay on the island of Šipan, a small but beautiful green and quiet destination. On the way to Šipan there are many bays on Koločep or Lopud perfect for dropping anchor and swimming in the turquoise sea. To spend the night in Luka Šipanska there are several moorings available on the promenade and buoys scattered around the spacious and well-protected bay, but anchoring is also a convenient solution. Here you can take walk around the village exploring some of the old Renaissance palaces and churches of the island, enjoy its peaceful setting and the beauty of the thick Mediterranean vegetation, as well as dine in one of a few fine restaurants. If you like cycling, you can also take a relaxing ride through the magnificent path that leads from Šipan to Suđurađ.
And if you really want to relax away from the crowds, we will head to the nearby island of Jakljan for a stop at anchor in the delightful coves of Veli Jakljan or Lokardina.
Day 3: Luka Šipanska – Pomena, island Mljet, 25 miles
For the third day of cruising from Šipan we set the course in the North West direction to complete the 25 miles of navigation in order to reach the magnificent bay of Pomena, located in the western part of the “green island” of Mljet. In this small fishing village there is a promenade with several moorings in front of the hotel and some taverns, each with its own pier. Of course, the mooring in front of the restaurant requires dinner, but it’s worth it. The whole bay offers a safe anchorage. Just a 15-minute walk from Pomena takes you to the entrance to the Mljet National Park, a splendid and well-preserved area with magnificent vegetation and beautiful saltwater lakes.
The advice is to allow yourself a few hours to visit and walk around these magical lakes, swim in their crystal clear and warm waters and enjoy the wonders of this unique landscape. On the lakes of the park there is also a small boat that takes tourists to the islet where you can visit an ancient monastery. Pomena and the Mljet National Park are undoubtedly one of those places with a pleasant atmosphere that once visited are remembered for a lifetime.
Day 4: Pomena – bay of Zaklopatica, island Lastovo, 20 miles
The next destination on this cruise is the mighty island of Lastovo, a little-visited island recommended for those dreaming of a simple vacation. All the miles made to reach Lastovo are rewarded by the beauty of nature, its pristine sea and the incredible views of this amazing archipelago protected as a Natural Park. During the stay on the island, the rangers will approach your boat to charge for the entrance fee. Safe mooring or anchoring possibilities in Lastovo include the large Velji Lago cove, with several moorings on the Pasadur waterfront, or the Skrivena Luka cove. Also very popular is the bay of Zaklopatica on the north coast where moorings can be found at the local promenade or at the piers of three or four restaurants.
You can also stop for a swim in the Lastovnjaci islands or moor in Zaklopatica, where you should take a walk in the old town of Lastovo up hill before dinner or in the morning: the particular architecture and the interesting urban structure that arn’t visible from the sea, as well as the centenary heritage of the city will thrill you.
Day 5: Lastovo – Korčula island, 22 miles
We are about to arrive at the real highlight of our cruise, the island of Korčula, one of the most popular tourist destinations for yachtsmen who visit Croatia. It is recommended that you book your berth in Korčula in a fairly small and very crowded Aci marina online in advance, because the island is rightly an extremely popular nautical destination, especially in the high season. Alternatively there is another small marina in the nearby village of Lumbarda or a possibility of anchoring in the bay of Luka. If the weather forecast for the night is favorable, you can also look for a berth on the city’s waterfront on the western side of the peninsula.
The exceptionally picturesque and attractive old town of Korčula is almost completely fortified by massive stone walls. A stroll through its narrow and lively cobbled streets is very rewarding, along with a visit to a Marco Polo home. In fact, some claim that the famous traveler Marco Polo was born here, but it is more likely that he was alone there for some time. However the centuries-old history and many interesting facts of these streets and palaces are worth exploring, as well as the many bars and local taverns.
Day 6: Korčula – Polače, island Mljet, 17 miles
We leave the live athmosphere of Korčula to return to the calm environment of Mljet island. For the night we can choose one of the many safe and scenic bays such as Polače, Prožura or Okuklje. The marvelous and vast bay of Polače with its village might be the smart choice as there are moorings on the docks of a dozen tavernas, as well as plenty of room to anchor. The village of Polače is only 17 miles or about 3 hours by boat from the town of Korkula and another important factor is that this famous bay is protected from all winds.
In case of anchoring, for a really safe sleep, the advice is to tie a stern rope to a rock or a tree on the coast, a very common thing to do among boaters traveling to these areas. In Polače you can enjoy fine cuisine and unspoiled nature. You can also explore the village and the remains of the ancient Roman palace or visit the nearby Mljet National Park. Take this opportunity to recharge your batteries for a return to reality.
Approximately 34 nautical miles remain for the last day of this interesting cruise route to reach the starting point at the Aci marina Dubrovnik. It takes about 6 hours of navigation, but there is plenty of time to proceed at your own pace and why not, choose one of the many bays along the route for a break and a refreshing swim. Among the various stopping options there is the sandy bay of Šunj on the island of Lopud, but an excellent alternative is also Donje Celo on the island of Koločep or the bay of Zaton. All these places are worth your time and will for sure remain in your heart long after your sailing vacation is over.