Adriatic Island Hopping With Sail Week Croatia

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CROATIA | Hiring a yacht to sail around the Croatian islands is no longer something reserved for the ultra-rich or professional boat racers out there thanks to companies like Sail Week Croatia. You and no more than 9 other guests can have a proper yacht to yourselves for an entire week, moving each and every day to one of Croatia’s many exotic islands.

It takes a holiday in one of the most visually stunning European coastal countries to another all too epic level. Either get a rag tag team of mates together and book your own boat or go at it alone and make some new friends. You and your crew will have a basic yacht to yourselves for the week, sauntering around the Adriatic Sea with a fleet of other Sail Week Croatia boats full of young and excited travellers.

Where To Start

But, if you’re going with a big enough group, we recommend you pool together a bit of extra cash and upgrade your yacht for the week. The regular boats have their own little quirks. The loos which double as showers are pretty damn small and quickly stink out the cabin on the first day. The bedrooms and bunks can also seem a little coffin like. But still, you’re on a bloody yacht. It’s hard to really complain.

Nonetheless, the upgrade will allow you to pick and choose from over 50 different luxury yachts at your own pleasure – just be sure to book well in advance as they can go quickly, especially in July and August. We say that you should opt for the catamaran. You get big double beds, slightly larger bathrooms and an impressive kitchen and living space above deck. Plus, you’ll also be privy to a large outdoor dining seating area, a second deck to relax on as well as two large cargo nets for endless napping in the sun or chilling beneath the stars.

You also get the option of taking two different routes. Either you can go with Sail Week Croatia’s Adventure Week which includes more cultural and scenic outings or you can go for the Sail Week Croatia Party Week. We were fortunate enough to be invited to the Party Week, their most popular option. During the seven days, guests on this trip can go out every day and night with locals, fellow sailors and stray tourists. You can also skip some of these events and simply take it easy, making your own fun on the islands. Sail Week Croatia gives you all the options, it’s just up to you to make what you want from it all.

So once you’ve made all these choices and bragged to everyone you know by showing them pictures and floorplans of your yacht for weeks in advance, you’re finally ready to head towards the beautiful city of Split which is worth a few days exploring in its own right.

Day One

On day one, you’ll check in and be introduced to your skipper. This one person will be your life line for the entire week so give them all your love. Next, you’ll run across a small wooden plank onto your home for the next seven days, and quickly shot gun bedrooms, climb around the deck with a childlike sense of giddiness before making some strange and bewildered faces at the toilet which comes with its own instruction manual. Your skipper will teach you how to pee and poo on the boat. Have no fear.

Then you’ll settle in and get to know your fellow sailors, if you’re travelling alone or with a small group, before immediately starting your journey towards the island of Brac. Your Skipper will give you options for restaurants and will book everything you need. Seriously, the Sail Week skippers are amazing. And unlike most tours, you won’t need to pay for your Skipper’s meals. They’re always taken care of. You’ll feast like kings, with mixed fish and meat platters and then get free shots at the beach bar where you’ll finally see just how many other people are in your fleet. You’ll dance till the sun comes up or retreat early before the boats set sail around 10:00am the next morning.

Time To Set Sail

During your sail from one island to the next, you’ll always have a swim stop. All the boats in the fleet will raft together or drift by themselves for a day party in a secluded cove. You might feel hungover and tired from the day before but nothing cures such pain like diving off your own boat into the eerily clear emerald blue waters of the Adriatic. All the boats will be blasting their own music but the speakers on every boat are good enough to drown out most of the Taylor Swift tunes coming from your neighbours. Or you can turn yours off and get into a bit of ‘Shake it Off’. There’s no judgement here.

You’ll drink, tan and eat on the boat and bounce around in the inflatable toys you bought before setting sail again. Every year these get more and more elaborate. Giant rubber ducks, swans, flamingos and unicorns will swarm around the flotilla. It’s a sight to behold. Everyone is trying to outdo each other. But all you really need is the paddle board that comes with each boat for endless amounts of floating and exploring. You’ll then lift the anchor, drop the sails and head towards Makarska for cliff diving, more beaches, more dinner, more free shots and a night of partying in a cave club by the shore. It’s crazy. And it’s pretty much how every one of the seven days pans out.

Party Or Relax. It’s Up To You

But if this sounds a bit too intense for you, then have no worries as you’re still in charge of your own time schedule. If you want to skip the swim stop and head straight to the next island then your skipper will do as you wish (within reason of course). You can spend more time wandering about the new town, visiting some cultural establishments and get more of a history lesson. Or if you’re just feeling a bit sea sick and crave dry land. We didn’t have the stamina to party hard every night, so often opted to have ‘days off’ lazing about on beaches surrounded by roaming goats as well as having long dinners with copious amounts of superb Croatian wine while admiring some truly spectacular sunsets.

You can also get some quality people watching done on this trip. During the peak season from July until the end of August, your flotilla can number around 60, filling up each party with hundreds of people. Inevitably, you’ll find some overly enthusiastic party people who have no concept of their own boundaries, getting bottles of Belvedere vodka for people they only just met or dressing up for a messy foam party which ends up with a whole heap of lads getting naked and wrestling each other in some strange homoerotic show of masculinity.

They’re bizarre. But they’ll be there. Don’t be put off by them. Just admire them from a distance before getting on with your own fun. There’s plenty of room for everyone to do their own thing. You just need to find more of your own people, having the kind of fun you’re all about.

Other Things You Should Know

Sail Week Croatia isn’t the only company running such offers but you’ll struggle to find a better option. Alternatives could leave you melting below decks with 20 to 30 other strangers who do nothing but drink, rave and repeat or you might find yourself on an impeccably fitted out luxury boat for which you’ve sold your mother’s treasured lamp from Antique’s Roadshow just to get on board. Sail week Croatia finds a way to give their guests no more than 9 other crew members for a fraction of the price of their competitors while allowing guests to party hard with countless others or sneak away to their very own happy place.

But, like any holiday, this one doesn’t come without a few downsides. They aren’t deal breakers but it’s best you be aware of them beforehand so they don’t shock or annoy you throughout the trip. Firstly, the weather is beyond anyone’s control. If the sea is too dangerous then you won’t sail that day and you’ll miss out on an island. Back up activities will be made for more fun at the same location but it will feel like a little setback.

You also won’t be able to flush any toilet paper down the loo. None. I mean it. You’ll need to keep it in a plastic bag in the bathroom, making for a less than luxurious smell throughout the boat on hot days. And be careful. Someone accidentally dropped a sheet or two into our loo and the whole thing backed up. We then had to pay 130 euros between us to fix it.

Being given something that is prone to breaking and then having to personally pay for the costs of fixing it, is definitely a flaw in how they treat their guests. But it seems as if only the larger, far more expensive boats come equipped with proper toilets. In our opinion, a shoddy loo is worth it for having such a small and affordable boat to yourselves.

Conclusion

So, do go to Sail Week Croatia prepared. Know what you’re in for – the good, the bad and the altogether beautiful. You can have one of the most memorable weeks of your life, partying around Europe’s newest place to be, making some brilliant new friends and baring witness to some absolutely stunning sights. Start gathering you friends together now and find your dream yacht. We at The City Lane know it’s never too early to start planning for summer 2018.

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Andrew
Andrew
Andy is originally from Melbourne but has been living in London for the past 2.5 years. He’s obsessed with travel, eating out, and indulging in a few cheeky cocktails around Hackney and Dalston before realising he’s spent all his wages within the first week of the month. Having written for magazines such as The Resident, Absolutely London, 1883 and Men’s Health, Andy has now turned to focus on The City Lane’s Food, Drink and Culture sections. Expect to read about the best new and established restaurants and cultural haunts around London, with a focus on the East.

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