Ker & Downey’s Tiffany Dunn shares her surprise and delight after experiencing Croatia by private yacht.


I would not consider myself a boat person. I prefer to stick to land, touring the sites and walking around old cities to get a feel for a place. So, I was taken by complete surprise to discover that I preferred exploring the coastline of Croatia by chartering a yacht. While exploring Croatia by land is undoubtedly rewarding, there's no better way to truly experience the magic of this coastal haven than by chartering a yacht.

Croatia by Private Yacht

Croatia is full of medieval towns perched on cliffs, ancient ruins nestled in secluded bays, and picturesque villages where you can savor local delicacies and immerse yourself in traditional Croatian culture. It is also known as the country of a thousand islands. Seventy-eight of the islands are proper islands; that means the rest of the islands are islets or rocks and reefs. The most enchanting of these spots can only be reached by boat as you maneuver between islands to discover secluded coves, pristine beaches, and tranquil islands.

After my trip to Croatia, I’ve been converted; Croatia’s stunning coastline is best experienced from the water. Chartering a yacht offers unparalleled access to secluded coves, charming islands, and unforgettable experiences that you just can’t get staying on land. As you cruise along the Adriatic coast, you'll discover a world of natural beauty, historical charms, and breathtaking landscapes.

Winery Croatia Yachting

Why You Should Charter a Yacht to Explore Croatia

A Personalized Vacation

Chartering a yacht in Croatia offers the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity. With the freedom to create your own itinerary, setting sail to locations that capture your heart, it’s the ultimate personalized vacation. With a professional crew at your service, your every need will be catered for, ensuring that your yacht charter experience is truly unforgettable. You can relax on spacious decks, dine on delicious local cuisine, and indulge in a variety of water activities, all while enjoying the stunning backdrop of the Croatian coastline.

Hot Days, Cool Breeze

One benefit of a yacht charter that I didn’t anticipate was the rhythm of touring. On a land-based itinerary, you spend the heat of the day touring the sites. During the shoulder season when the weather is cooler, this may not be a problem. However, in the summer months, it gets very hot. Instead of touring in the heat of the day, you spend the warm afternoons on the yacht. You can maneuver into several quiet coves for an afternoon swim, jet skiing, kayaking, or time spent on the deck. With a cool breeze coming off the Adriatic Sea, it’s the most pleasurable way to pass the afternoon hours. Then after it cools off, you can head on land to see some sites and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. 

Home Base

Another benefit of chartering a yacht to explore Croatia is the ability to unpack and really feel settled, which I appreciated. Instead of traveling between cities, spending just two or three days at each and constantly changing hotels, you unpack once and make the yacht your home base for the duration of the trip. 

The Private Yacht Experience in Croatia

Flying into Dubrovnik, you get a very clear view of the old walled city and all the little islands that dot the coastline. Some of the islands have old forts on them or are uninhabited with historic structures on them. I arrived in the evening and enjoyed a wonderful night’s rest at Hotel Excelsior. The following morning, I took a short ten minute walk to Dubrovnik’s Old City Center, a UNESCO heritage site to explore this charming city.   There was just enough time and perfect weather to take the cable car up to Srd Hill for really beautiful panoramic views of the city and islands scattered along the coastline. 

That evening, I boarded a traditional Karaka replica, one of the most important merchant ships in the Mediterranean between the 14th and 17th centuries.. While on the boat, we enjoyed cocktails, traditional appetizers and snacks, and were entertained with traditional dancing and music. We sailed along the coastline past old villas and luxury hotels before pulling into the old town port right at sunset. As we pulled in, canons fired to alert our arrival, echoing through the city and beyond the hills of Dubrovnik. We were marched into dinner with drummers, arriving at the 16th century Sponza Palace for a private dinner, which was really special. However, another unique dining option for dinner includes a table on the city walls under the night sky.  

The next day, I boarded the yacht at the city’s new marina for my 5-day cruise from Dubrovnik to Split. The distance between the two cities is not very long. If you sailed it straight through without stopping it might only take 5 hours. But with a 7-day yacht charter, you maximize the time spent enjoying the area, both on land and sea. 

Korčula, Hvar, and Split

Over the five days, I visited Korčula, Hvar, and Split. I would love to go back to Korčula. The town has tons of restaurants and cafes lining the coast and up the hill into the old town where you’ll find fortified walls and cobblestone streets. We went to Maha Ranch located up in the hills above town. There was a noticeable change in the temperature as we went up the hills. It was so breezy and cool. Maha Ranch is a family-owned ranch with a farm-to-table restaurant that offers a tasting menu paired with wines and cocktails with most of the ingredients coming fresh from the farm. 

Hvar, often called the sunniest Adriatic island, was so charming. It’s an island for the “rich and famous” so it can become glitzy later in the summer, with the port full of super yachts.  It also has a vibrant nightlife with several bars and nightclubs on the island. While on Hvar we enjoyed a drive through the lavender fields, a wine tasting in a candle-lit cellar, and a traditional three course meal prepared in a local home. Here, we can also arrange a cooking lesson with a private chef. 

When we arrived in Split, we went to Sikuli Winery for dinner and a wine pairing, accompanied by live traditional music and the most stunning sunset. The winery is set in a beautiful location overlooking the city of Split. We were also able to explore the city of Split including a visit to the palace built in the 3rd century. I loved how charming and vibrant the city was; there’s an esplanade lined with coffee shops, where locals enjoy passing the afternoon, sitting and sipping coffee. 

From Split, we continued onto the Plitvice Lakes where we enjoyed a walk along the wooden footbridges lining the crystalline lakes and magical waterfalls. We were fortunate to see the falls in the early part of the summer season, when they are in their fullest force. Towards the end of the summer and into the fall, the waterfalls often dry up. And from there we continued onto Zagreb where I stayed at the glamorous Esplanade Hotel, originally opened in 1925 to welcome passengers from the Orient Express. Zagreb has beautiful examples of Autro-Hungarian and Gothic architecture along with a distinct café culture. The city resembles nearby capitals Prague and Vienna but with a more relaxed atmosphere and fewer tourists.  

Easy Extensions

Croatia sits at a crossroads of culture. While it is easily a standalone destination, there are several countries and regions that pair well with Croatia. Dubrovnik is situated very close to Bosnia and Herzegovina so it would be easy to add on a few days there pre-or-post yacht charter. By adding on a few days in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you’ll get to experience two completely different cultures. While Croatia feels more like Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina feels a lot like Turkey. Montenegro and Slovenia also border Croatia and offer unique extensions that can be easily reached by car.

But if you want to experience a little more Italian culture without leaving Croatia, head to Istria. This region is the most Italian region in Croatia, where the Venetian influence is especially strong in 

Experience Croatia by Yacht with Ker & Downey

Start planning your Croatian yacht charter with Ker & Downey today by contacting us. Our designers will pair you with the perfect yacht that will allow you to explore the world in a new way.

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