Croatia has something for everyone. If you want to party, as well as enjoy the sailing and the scenery, then have a look at this account of how to do it with style!
Thanks to the Travelettes for the photo too.
The Definitive Guide To Cruising The Dalmatian Coast And Islands
Croatia has something for everyone. If you want to party, as well as enjoy the sailing and the scenery, then have a look at this account of how to do it with style!
Thanks to the Travelettes for the photo too.
As regular readers will know, Trogir is one of our favourite places and was our first home when we moved to Croatia in 2002. Close to Split airport, it has a life all year round as well as being a popular tourist destination for its UNESCO protected medieval walled town, its cobbled streets, a plethora of shops, cafés, bars hotels and restaurants, and its wide Riva (seafront promenade) lined with luxury yachts on one side and more cafés, bars and restaurants on the other.
Unlike Dubrovnik, Trogir did not lose its soul to the mass purchase of old stone houses by foreigners and that’s part of the reason for Trogir’s still very “local” feel and all year round ambience. A school on the Riva and an active shipyard, across the way on Čiovo island, are two others.
There have been rumours for many years that the school’s prime location makes it a key target for various tourism projects but, so far it has managed to resist. And we are delighted to see that the now privatised shipyard in Trogir is making the most of its assets by building on its history as a shipyard, as well as embracing the opportunities of nautical tourism by turning some of this prime site into a deluxe marina. We originally shared a landlord with a Finnish neighbour who was working at the shipyard. He told us that Finland has been doing business with the shipyard for many years so it’s no surprise to see that the owners of the newly privatised Brodotrogir are Finnish group Kermas who see the new marina as part of a wider strategy to diversify and modernise the activities of Brodotrogir, thus ensuring a sustainable future.
Marina Trogir should be ready for visitors by the end of June and will have 170 berths for yachts up to 120 metres in length, with a further 30 berths to follow by 2018. Modern, 5-star, purpose built, facilities will include 24/7 security, shops, bars and restaurants, and, of course, repair and maintenance facilities including lifting services on floating docks for yachts up to 8,000 tonnes.
Trogir already has one marina in town, owned by state run ACI. However location, and the fact that it was built when the average size of yachts was smaller, means it can generally only handle smaller yachts. Superyachts have traditionally berthed alongside on the Riva but there’s only space for a handful and the channel can get quite busy, particularly when the cruise boats are loading and unloading their guests, so they should be particularly happy about the new marina.
Another alternative is the relatively new Yacht Club Seget, roughly opposite Marina Trogir, on the mainland, in the peaceful village of Seget Donji. In fact if you look at the photo on the following posting - Croatia Cruising Companion - 2011 Marina Prices – you can see the pontoons of Marina Seget, just to the left of the solitary tree. The new Marina Trogir lies on the tip of the peninsula across the channel but bear in mind this photo and posting are a few years old!!
For more information, check out the following links:
And just for fun, for the historians amongst you, you might be interested to read what we said about the Croatia shipbuilding industry way back in 2006 on sister site Croatia Online!
Quite a lot has changed since then!
Today’s photo has been kindly sent to us by Marina Trogir. Good luck to them with their opening and we’re sure their presence can only enhance Trogir’s reputation as a luxury yachting hub and all round idyllic Croatian destination. And keep an eye on owners, Kermas, as we’re expecting to hear plenty more exciting news from them before too long!
Readers who want to relax and let someone else do the skippering might be interested in the following report on a luxury Gulet holiday in Croatia. Telegraph Travel - Croatia By Gulet
However, if you want to make sure your skipper takes you to the places that might suit you best, it will pay to do a little research in advance. And what better way to do that than by reading our Croatia Cruising Companion!
Today’s photo is of Bol on Brač island. In the foreground is the local harbour where you can moor. In the back ground is Bol’s famous beach, probably the most popular and photographed beach in Croatia!
We’ve met quite a few expats and UK residents who keep their yachts in Croatia and even more who have holiday or permanent homes on the islands. If the new project for affordable seaplane connections to the islands happens, as promised for summer 2014, then perhaps the island marinas will become more an easier option for annual berths and regular visitors will be able to get to their homes a lot quicker?
See Croatia Online for the full story.
Today’s photo is from a jet airline from London to Split, looking over somewhere not far from Luka Telašćica
Our latest update on Croatian marina prices is well overdue so here it is!
Prices continue to rise steadily though not exorbitantly. Perhaps of more significance to those that prefer to spend their nights in quiet anchorages and bays, rather than marinas, is that it is becoming increasing challenging to find good sheltered bays that are not now under concession and where fees are therefore due. However these fees are still normally considerably less than marina prices.
Croatia now has over 55 marinas, well spaced along its coastline and around the islands. with the highest density in Dalmatia, its sailing heartland and the area covered by our Croatia Cruising Companion.
In general these marinas are all of good quality and with a similar standard of essential facilities – relatively easy access to electricity and water from most or all berths, lazy line moorings, toilet and shower blocks, etc. Many of the older marinas have regular upgrades and of course the newer marinas have mostly installed the latest technology. Still rare, though increasing, is the availability of modern pump-out facilities. A few marinas have geared themselves towards the superyacht visitor but many can accommodate larger yachts though it is advisable to check depths and availability in advance.
ACI, the state owned chain of marinas, celebrated its 30th birthday in 2013 and owns 21 marinas providing over 6,000 berths. 17 of these marinas are open all year round. There are a couple of other smaller independent chains of marinas but most of the rest are independently owned.
Comparing marina prices in Croatia is not particularly easy as there are a wide variety of different deals and different methods of charging for eg electricity and water. We’ve supplied a few examples below to give you a general idea but there are a few things to bear in mind when budgeting for overnight stays at marinas.
1. Almost invariably the quoted price per day/month/year changes depending on the season, the length of stay and, of course, the size of yacht.
2. Some marinas include “normal” consumption of electricity and water in the price quoted and some charge separately. Sometimes you’ll need to buy tokens for electricity and water and sometimes usage will be metered.
3. There is normally an additional charge of at least 50% for catamarans and trimarans.
4. Some marinas will give, for example, the third day free if you’ve already stayed for two consecutive days.
5. It is rare for eg toilet and shower facilities to be charged for separately.
6. Lifting in and out and other repair and maintenance facilities will normally be charged separately.
7. Some of the busier marinas may be quite strict on when you can arrive and leave and may, for example, charge extra if you arrive before 2 pm.
8. Yachts that are part of a charter fleet may attract eg a 20% surcharge.
9. Check whether parking fees are applicable if you are planning to leave your car at a marina.
10. Quoted rates normally include VAT at 25% and tourist tax.
11. Advance reservation of a berth may incur an additional fee and is not always easy/possible.
The examples below are the basic fee per day for transit visits for a 10 metre (33 foot) monohull yacht:
a) ACI Marina Split – one of ACI’s busiest marinas and at the upper end of its pricing scale:
October to May inclusive - €62; June & September €68; July and August €73. “Normal” consumption of water and electricity included (eg not boat washing or filling tank from empty)
b) ACI Marina Žut in the Kornati islands – open April to October inclusive:
01.04 to 19.06 and 13.09. to 31.10 - €46; 20.06 to 19.07 and
23.08 to 12.09 - €46 to €49; 20.07to 22.08 €55
c) Marina Kaštela, near Split (privately owned)
d) Marina Frapa, Rogoznica (pictured)
July and August - €74; all other months - €57
Hopefully the above will give you an idea of what you might have to budget for and what questions to ask. If you can sail out of the main high season then it’s obviously generally a lot cheaper, a lot easier to find a berth and the waters are not so crowded.
If you’d like to get an idea of how current prices compare with those of three years ago then have a look at our 2011 posting on the same subject Croatia Online - 2011 Marina Prices
Readers will be pleased to note that a new marina is about to open in the hugely popular destination of Trogir and we'll give you more news of that in due course.
In the meantime thanks to the many readers who have contacted us for help sourcing our Croatia Cruising Companion book and we are pleased to report that it should again be widely available in the UK now. Once we know where it is available elsewhere, particularly in Croatia, we will let you know. However, in the meantime, please check before making a special journey to any of the Croatian sources listed in the link above right. Thanks also for the many helpful comments and kind words we’ve had from those who already have the book.
We’re pleased to report that the Croatia Cruising Companion is straight back into Amazon’s top ten for all travel and holiday books on Croatia, currently sitting at number 5. We’re pretty sure its continued popularity with land based visitors to Croatia, as well as nautical visitors, is partly down to its unique detail on, and comprehensive coverage of, the Dalmatian coast and islands.
Cavtat is one of Croatia’s most popular harbours, especially amongst the superyacht fraternity. It’s close to Dubrovnik International airport, does not attract the same crowds that Dubrovnik does, has some great fish restaurants and has that very traditional Croatian feel. Part of its very relaxed ambience is down to the fact that it has not been over developed, or even developed very much at all!
That might all change a little, hopefully for the better, when the Čista Luka Resort project goes ahead just a short distance away from Cavtat’s main bay. Translated into English as the Clearpoint Resort Project, the blueprint specifies a three-phase master-planned five star resort, residential and marina development covering approximately 100,000 square meters of land, with approximately 68,000 square meters of waterside area dedicated to the marina. A large five star hotel, 80 room boutique hotel, residential villas, town homes and apartments, restaurant and retail outlets are all part of the plans.
The marina is expected to provide 200 berths.
For more information on the project link to Dalmi Resorts - Cista Luka Project
To read what we said about Cavtat in an earlier posting link to Croatia Cruising Companion – Cavtat.
For those interested in Croatian pronunciation, the phonetic spelling for Cavtat is “Savtat” (a soft “c”)!
Follow the link immediately below to read the story of how Wall Street Journalist Jonathan Gornall falls in love with Croatia after chartering a boat from Kremik Marina, near Primošten.
Today’s picture is of Maslinica on the island of Šolta. The red tiled building in the foreground, surrounding the swimming pool, is the luxury boutique hotel Martinis Marchi. You can read more about that in a posting we put up in June 2012 - Newly Refurbished Marina On The Island of Solta – and, with no disrepect to the hotel at all, you’ll find out in Jonathan’s article why it’s the first time he felt sorry for “folks in a five star hotel”!
The hot news is that Croatia is now a member of the EU and that should make the paperwork a little easier! Old news is the fact that Croatia continues to emerge as one of the best cruising grounds in the world – over 1,000 islands islets and reefs, a Mediterranean climate, charming locals, great food and drink, excellent facilities, fascinating history and a huge variety of architecture, culture and entertainment. There’s something for everyone, it’s relatively safe, at sea and onshore, and the cost of living won’t blow the budget. If you’re chartering it’s a buyers market though it is still best to avoid the very high season when all the continentals drive to northern Croatia and sail in fleets down to Dalmatia.
Below are links to some of our earlier postings that might help you enjoy cruising Croatia better:
And for an up to date guide to marina prices, have a look at the ACI website. State owned ACI run a chain of 21 marinas along the coast and on the islands, providing over 6,000 berths with a high standard of facilities. You’ll find information and prices for each marina. Prices vary according to length and season. There are web pages in English but you do need to know what the days of the week are in Croatian to understand that price list fully so here they are.
Ponedjeljak - Monday
Utorak - Tuesday
Srijeda - Wednesday
Četvrtak - Thursday
Petak - Friday
Subota - Saturday
Nedjelja – Sunday
I’m pleased to say that I got the spelling right, before I double checked as it’s been a few months since I used them!
Today’s photo shows the view from our favourite Pizzeria in the lovely and UNESCO protected town of Trogir, near Split.
“Our aim is to develop an international chain of marinas under the umbrella of the D-Marin brand and to expand Doğuş Group service quality to a broader portion of the Mediterranean,” said Doğuş Group Chief Executive Officer Hüsnü Akhan in the company press release.
Doğuş Group already has a substantial investment in Croatia’s first dedicated megayacht marina – Marina Mandalina in Šibenik and owns a handful of successful marinas in Turkey.
Marina Dalmacija, next to the lovely village of Sukošan, near Zadar, is Croatia’s biggest marina, and one of its newer ones. It reminded us of a scene from thunderbirds when we first saw it. Marina Borik is also relatively new and tucked away in a tourist area just north of Zadar.
Having assisted in a few marina investment projects ourselves, we know the challenges foreign investors face when investing in the Croatian Marina industry and have nothing but admiration for Doğuş.
For more information try the following links:
Today’s picture is on Marina Borik
A few weeks ago, Wolfgang contacted us after enjoying reading the Croatia Cruising Companion and thought we and our readers might be interested in another great tool to help make the most of Croatia’s anchorages. We were and here’s what he told us!
“The Croatian Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure (MPPI) provides a Concession List that lists the official licensed Nautical Anchorages in Croatia. Since this list is not very handy to use aboard, I created a little piece of software that adds the information and coordinates of the Concession List to a Google-Map. I also write a Blog about news regarding this Map.
You can find the Google-Map here: http://www.wosamma.at/bojenfelder/map.php
You can find the Blog here http://anchoragesincroatia.blogspot.com "
And we’ve just checked Wolfgang’s blog again and it seems he’s now developed an App!
Thank you Wolfgang and we’ll try and keep up with you!
Today’s photo was taken at Smokvica Vela
We’ve just come across what looks like an excellent choice of routes for a one design yacht rally next summer. Sail World plan a flotilla event around some of our favourite and less discovered parts of Croatia including Zadar, Šibenik and the Kornati islands. All are covered in depth in our Croatia Cruising Companion and, in this area, you can be sure of spectacular scenery, challenging sailing, and the best of Croatian culture, history and architecture.
Read more about the trip on Sail World's web page.
Read more about the area on the following pages of sister site, Croatia Online :
or browse through this site and Croatia Online for a real taste of what to expect.
Today’s photo was taken at sunset in Zadar. The world renowned civic architect, Nikola Bašić, based in Zadar, designed the Greeting To The Sun, powered by photo voltaic cells, to accompany the haunting sounds of its neighbour, The Sea Organ, powered by the waves. In the distance, just a hint of what you might expect on Sail World’s sailing trip.
Whilst it’s still not possible to get duty free fuel in Croatia itself, there are now two great options on either side.
To the north, Camper and Nicholsons’ Porto San Rocco was granted permission, in June 2010, to sell duty free fuel to leisure craft. Located in the Bay of Muggia, within the Gulf of Trieste, 15 miles north east of Croatia, the position of Porto San Rocco in the northern Adriatic makes it very accessible to those cruising the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. Even better for those who berth their yachts in Istria, a convenient drive from Germany and Austria, and then head south to Croatia’s sailing heartland. Vessels must leave the EU within eight hours of bunkering which, of course, poses no problem! With Trieste’s airport just a 45 minute drive away, it’s also a great spot to pick up guests or change crew. For more information link to Porto San Rocco’s website.
To the south of Croatia, just beyond Dubrovnik and Cavtat, there’s Porto Montenegro whose September 2010 berth extension also came with duty free bunkering and quite a lot more. Self styled as the “New Port of Cool” there’s no doubting Porto Montenegro’s appeal both in location and facilities. For more information link to Porto Montenegro.
For those that don’t want the hassle of clearing customs etc and/or prefer to do all of their sailing within Croatia, fuel is still cheaper than in the UK and the coast and islands are dotted with fuel stations. We detail them, port by port, in the Croatia Cruising Companion. Good news also that Croatia is finally paying attention to providing pump-out facilities though co-author, John Nash, of Marina Facility Solutions, has been banging that particular drum for more time than we care to remember! See our earlier posting on Pump-Outs for the situation as it was and keep an eye out for an update, here, soon.
Thanks to Camper and Nicholsons for today’s photo of Porto San Rocco, Trieste.
Berthing rates at Croatian marinas have been creeping up steadily since Croatia was rediscovered as one of the world’s best sailing grounds, now some years ago. With more than 50 marinas, over 1,000 islands, crystal clear waters and such a lovely way of life it’s a yachtsman’s paradise.
It’s still cheaper than many other places, including the UK, but a 10 metre berth will now cost around €50 a day and €4,500 per annum plus uplifts of between 10% to 75% in the more popular months. Some are cheaper and some much more expensive, usually according to demand and facilities. There are increasing variations in prices and it pays to shop around, if you can, though you will have limited choice for daily berths in July and August.
All of the marinas are pretty well equipped although the older ones have limited space for larger yachts. Some of them have been able to extend facilities and some of the new marinas are able to welcome superyachts with panache. The state owns just over 20 marinas - ACI Marinas. Most of the others are independently owned though there are a couple of organisations operating more than one marina.
We’ll be looking at individual marinas in more depth in subsequent postings but in the meantime, today’s photo shows the pontoons of Croatia’s newest marina Yachtclub Seget, near Trogir. Its pontoons are just to the left of the tree. On the peninsula jutting out to the right is Trogir Shipyard, surely also destined to become a marina before too long.
Those who have read our Croatia Cruising Companion and other writings on Croatia, will know that Croatia is a relatively safe place, on land and sea. At sea, you are never very far from a protected bay, and on land, you are surrounded by the people of a nation that, on the whole, need ASBOS as much as they need to learn about organic produce, ie not at all. Of course you need to observe the proper precautions, and the big cities hide a few reprobates, but compared to other European destinations, you can relax in this respect.
So why, you may ask, are we reporting on pirates?!
The town of Omiš, about half an hour’s drive south of Split, on the way to Makarska is one of Croatia’s undeservedly unsung destinations, as you will see on the latest posting on sister site, Croatia Online. It’s the heart of Croatia’s "Klapa" folk music, has magnificent mountain scenery, and perhaps most importantly of all, a fascinating and unique history as a haven for pirates, who greatly contributed to the wealth of the town.
Since our Croatia Online posting on Omiš, we have been reminded that the annual reconstruction of the Pirate Battle takes place on 18th August this year on the sea front, and it’s an occasion not to be missed.
Get a taste of it by following this link on YouTube.
Many thanks to Mr Joško Stella for the photo and information, and, readers, please rest assured that the risk of finding modern day pirates around Croatia’s shores is extremely remote!
Six months is a long time in blogging and as you’ll see from sister blog, Croatia Online, we’ve not been idle. However that’s no excuse and apologies to our readers for the unusual gap in postings. The mountain of news and excitement to report has made our return to regular postings a little daunting but, as seadog and Croatia Cruising Companion co-author, John Nash, would say, just take it one step at a time.
So we’re bridging the gap with an extract of one of our latest nautical articles for Time Out’s Visitors Guide To Croatia 2010.
Croatia’s lovely Venetian cities are best approached by sea, its azure waters so much more refreshing in remote deserted bays, and its islands most revealing when you can come and go as you please, rather than be a slave to ferry timetables. To explore Croatia by boat is the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern living, but if you’re in Croatia to party that’s possible too.
Google on charter in Croatia and you will find plenty of top quality charter companies offering everything from standard sail boats, through motorboats and traditional gullets, to superyachts. Get into the fine detail and you will discover that it’s not as expensive as you might think, and it’s an opportunity open to all – from novices, with a skipper, to experienced sailors joining autumn regattas.
Ivica Benić, or Johnny as he is known to everyone, grew up in Australia but returned to Zadar, to pursue his dream. Some years and several thousand kuna later, his classic wooden gullet, MSY Dolin, has been loving restored. Built in 1946, Dolin was originally used for bringing wines from the islands and became one of Jadrolinija’s first passenger ships before returning again to cargo duties. Under Johnny’s watchful eye she was refitted from the deck up in 2008, leaving the glorious hull in tact. She’s now the perfect floating home for groups of up to 10, with 5 comfortable en-suite cabins, air conditioning and spacious well fitted common areas, plus a live in chef, skipper and guide (normally Johnny) who have separate accommodation at the other end of Dolin. For a cost of between €540 and €910 per person per week, depending on season and including half board, a group of 10 can live in relaxed comfort, with their itinerary and meals designed specially for them, and share in as much local knowledge, or enjoy as much privacy, as they like. For more information on MSY Dolin phone Johnny on + 385 (0) 23 331 340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many entrepreneurs like Johnny, exploiting Croatia’s natural assets in a style that suits modern travellers, but in harmony with its heritage. Some of his guests just want to mooch from bay to bay, some prefer to hang around the Garden’s annual summer festival and, last year, Dolin served as mission control for another exciting adventure, The Yacht Week Croatia. The Yacht Week now runs event based sailing holidays for all levels and in a number of destinations, but it all started in Croatia in 2006. Founder William Wenkel describes Croatia as “the mother of yachting…. few places, if any, can compete with Croatia, with its mix of climate, prices, culture and beautiful surroundings.” Up to 50 yachts, of all sizes and styles for every conceivable type of group and budget, follow an itinerary which includes after beach parties, live bands and DJs, regattas and much more. Price per person starts around €300 and heads steadily upwards depending on the yacht and amount of space and luxury each group requires.
And if you’re not ready to party all night but want a little bit more than idyllic bay after idyllic bay, try your own gastronomic tour or maybe a themed tour designed for you by specialist companies such as Hidden Croatia, Exclusive Sailing, or Secret Dalmatia.
Many thanks to The Yacht Week for today’s photo.
As luck would have it, just as we finished our last posting on the subject of autumn boat shows in Croatia, NCP Marina Mandalina sent us some photos and a press release about their Adriatic Boat Show which took place in September.
Thanks to them for the photos and information – edited extracts below.
The Adriatic Boat Show 2009 [ABS] organized by Nautical Center Prgin, took place from 17th to 21st of September in Mandalina Marina. ABS actively promotes Croatian boatbuilding and the megayacht sector in Croatian nautical tourism and includes all types of new and used vessels – from small boats to mega-yachts – offering every sailor something according to his needs and interests.
The Show was visited by numerous lovers of nautical business, boats and the sea. Visitors took advantage of the opportunity to see 150 boats in the sea and 30 on dry docks, as well as a rich offer of various nautical equipment, outboard and inboard engines, sport and fishing equipment as well as clothing and diving equipment. As well as Croatian boat builders, also represented were the major world’s producers of vessels with brands Fairline, Princess, Sunseeker, Elan, Grand Soleil, Beneteau, Jeanneau, X-Yachts etc.
There was an excellent atmosphere throughout all five days of the boat show helped by those in front of and behind the stands. Despite a challenging business climate there were 12 percent more exhibitors than last year. Participants expressed appreciation for the event because of the number and diversity of vessels and equipment, the appearance of the overall exhibition area and the friendly attitude of the organisors towards exhibitors, journalists and visitors alike.
The key was the presence of Croatian nautical companies and the fact that the Croatian market continues to expand. There was high number of quality vessels offered by members of an established and reputable Croatian boatbuilding industry. Through the congress programme of ABS, Croatian boat builders have sent a clear message to the Croatian government asking for the immediate reduction of extra taxation on vessels up to 7 meters in length, as well as more regulation in the mega yacht sector.
The Adriatic Boat Show also this year took place under the auspices of the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Tourism, whose representatives attended the opening ceremony, and with the support of the City and Sibenik - Knin County.
The slogan of ABS - "the sea of nautical opportunity" – covers a wide range and offers a lot, so there is no doubt that visitors and exhibitors are already looking forward towards an even larger boat show – the 3rd Adriatic Boat Show – in 2010.
EXHIBITION AREA – 160.000 m2 – Marina Mandalina & Yacht Club
EXHIBITORS – 170
VESSELS – 180
VISITORS – 22.000
ABOUT NAUTICAL CENTER PRGIN
NCP Group gathers 10 different companies specialising in the nautical industry and is considered one of the leaders in the Mediterranean marine industry. Founded in 1995 as a yacht charter company, today, NCP has the most exclusive charter fleet in the region. NCP developed Mandalina Marina, which is the first mega yacht destination in Croatia, and NCP Repair Shipyard, which is recognized as a respected partner in refit, repair and maintenance of yachts up to 75 m in length. Further, Marinetek NCP is a producer of high quality Marinetek pontoons offering also an overall service for developing marina projects. NCP’s most recent project is the Adriatic Boat Show – an international nautical show of new and used vessels that puts emphasis on promoting Croatia as a mega yacht destination. For more information, please visit www.ncp.hr and www.adriaticboatshow.com .
NCP Marina Mandalina in Šibenik have already staged their Adriatic Boat Show, their second annual autumn boat show in Croatia. First to organise a boat show at this time of year was Marina Kornati in Biograd and this event is now in its eleventh year. This year it runs from 22nd to 25th October and is well worth a visit if you are in the area. It’s not a huge affair but there’s plenty to see and entertain. And if you do go there, co-author of the Croatia Cruising Companion, John Nash, has a stand there with a small stock of books so be sure to go and say hello. You’ll find him on the Marina Facility Solutions stand.
Readers of our recent posting on Croatia Online, about Biograd’s new hotel IN may be interested to see it in the background of this photo, taken at last year’s show when it was just a building site. Looking back at the other photos of the show, we were reminded that, in construction phase, it was called Hotel Inero. This explains a little of the new name which, you will see from the posting, is causing some confusion.
For more information on the Biograd Boat Show, link to Marina Kornati - Biograd Boat Show
When we researched and wrote our Croatia Cruising Companion (CCC), we did most of our sailing outside the high season, for obvious reasons. It’s not until you see a Croatian destination in and out of the summer season, however, that you get a real flavour for it. Thus, although we have been to Sv Filip i Jakov several times, it’s one of the few places that we had not seen in full summer swing until now.
As we mentioned in the introduction to this destination, on page 39 of the CCC, it’s a “compact, well-cared for settlement with a thriving tourist industry, centred around some large hotels on the outskirts of town”. However that only tells part of the onshore story – in the summer the pine tree fringed fields that we saw behind the long main beach, some of it sandy, become thriving and busy campsites with tents, caravans and mobile homes closely packed into their pitches, about four or five deep. Though that’s a few too many happy campers for our liking, it’s a good spot with plenty of shade and enough beach for everyone.
Amidst all the cafes, bars and restaurants of fairly standard offerings, La Habana, pictured, is a popular nightspot which draws local crowds as well as those from further afield. Cuban themed, the large terrace offers pizza slices, as well as a wide range of cocktails, whilst you sway to the rhythm.
As we state in the CCC, the harbour is only suitable for small craft with depths of up to 2 metres on the inside of the breakwater, up to 4 metres on the outside. So, if you’re in search of some nightlife, and want to escape the family crowd in Biograd, perhaps berth overnight in one of the two marinas in Biograd and take a short taxi ride to Sv Filip i Jakov, along with several other partygoers.
For more information on the village (and some very pleasant folk music) go to the Sv Filip i Jakov Tourist Board site.
For onshore news on nearby Pakoštane, follow this link to Croatia Online’s latest posting.
Agana Marina is situated in the quiet and picturesque village of Marina, at the end of the western inlet of Trogirski Zaljev (Trogir Bay). The marina used to be run by the municipality and there was a long history of dispute over ownership resulting in several amusing incidents that were probably far from amusing, at the time, for those involved.
It appears that all has now been resolved and the marina was sold to a private investor last year. Some changes have already been made including a new concrete pier, and there are others in the pipeline.
Pending further progress however, it seems that the marina can only accept Croatia flagged yachts on annual berths, for the time being, though we are told that transit berths for all comers are available.
Ashore, the Croatia Cruising Companion mentions that Marina’s fortress tower is “now a hotel..recently changed hands… and needs to have a little money spent on it.” It looks like some investment has taken place but the jury’s still out on the end result – the English pages of the hotel website - are still under construction but the menu looks pretty swish and so do the interiors. Not too much else has changed onshore – a draconian parking system was introduced last year but was certainly not in evidence during our visit.
For more information on Yachting Sport Agana, to give Marina’s marina its proper name, click here.
One of our first discoveries during our recent trip around the Croatian coastline and islands, was a new marina near Trogir. In fact we have been following progress closely for a few years but were delighted to find that Baotić Yacht Club Seget is now open for business, albeit to a limited extent until all works are completed.
Licenses and planning permissions take time in Croatia as they do elsewhere but the Marina is taking transit customers (those that want to moor overnight), and bookings for annual berths that will be available from April 2010.
The Baotić organisation already runs marinas in Dugi Otok and Baška Voda and has great plans for their newest marina in Seget just outside Trogir. A few toilets and showers are already available, as are the services of one of the few lifts in Croatia that can cope with catamarans. Indoor boat showroom, after sail club, swimming pool, restaurant, shops, service area, additional showers and toilets, and beauty centre should be available in spring 2010. For more information on this and sister marinas, check out the newly launched website Cromarina (English). For more on what Seget has to offer onshore, see our latest posting on Croatia Online.
We took today’s photo of the new marina on the way to Šibenik, from Trogir, along the windy road that leads to the fast inland road to Šibenik. Not far from Šibenik, this road also reveals a gastronomic delight which we’ll be featuring shortly on Croatia Online as sailors will find it difficult to reach. As the photo shows, the new marina is roughly opposite Trogir’s shipyard on the western tip of Čiovo island that’s closest to the mainland. To reach it from the east yachts will need to go around the south side of Čiovo Island, since the bridge that joins Trogir to Čiovo is too low for sailing vessels.
Writing a Cruising Companion, in any useful detail, with any diligence and passion, is a labour of love. Croatia made it a joy.
Keeping the Croatia Cruising Companion up to date, on this site and for the next edition, requires little more than a continuance of the original spirit and diligence, ie a lot more hard work!
There’s no lack of motivation from our rankings on Amazon, who seem to rate our book, over several months, way ahead of most other books on Croatia – land or shore based – so we’re celebrating another first place tonight, mindful that we’ve plenty to do to maintain the ranking in the months and year’s to come.
Regular readers will know that Sibenik’s Marina Mandalina features regularly on this site and Croatia Online. In February 2009, the international marina developer and operator, IGY, together with NCP (the original sole owners of Marina Mandalina), announced plans to add 65 megayacht berths to the existing 350 wet berths and 50 dry berths, transforming it into the new Mandalina Marina & Yacht Club – Croatia’s first dedicated superyacht marina.
The latest news is that they’ve been joined by Turkey’s Dogus Group, who will be both an equity partner and oversee the construction of the new development which is scheduled to include a yacht club, residential developments, resort accommodation, modern shopping facilities, dining and nightlife.
Excerpts from NCP’s press release are as below:
The signature “marina village” at the Mandalina Marina & Yacht Club is currently in the planning stages and will be further developed by Doğuş, IGY and NCP over the coming months. The project’s architecture will combine a contemporary Mediterranean style with public open spaces and gardens to provide an attractive setting for a balanced resort development. Buildings will be intertwined with cascading waterways while their juxtaposition will blend to create an architectural statement of visionary design and quality. All the upland elements will be situated topographically to take advantage of the natural elevated land, and, more importantly, to provide ceremonial focal entry points to the development.”
“We are pleased to align with the Doğuş Group, as we continue the development of the new Mandalina Marina & Yacht Club,” said Andrew Farkas, founder and chairman of IGY. “This agreement creates a very strong partnership comprising the foremost Croatian maritime brand, a leading regional conglomerate with a strong maritime brand in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the world’s premier marina developer and operator. Doğuş’ financial strength, as well as their tremendous expertise in construction and success with projects of a similar nature, make them an ideal partner alongside IGY and NCP in the Mandalina Marina & Yacht Club.”
“We are equally excited about this partnership and the economic benefits that it will bring to our community,” added Goran Prgin, president of NCP Group. “We welcome the Doğuş Group to Croatia and look forward to working with them to continue to position Dalmatia as the Mediterranean’s top megayacht destination.”
“The Doğuş Group is pleased to enter the Croatian market with such an exciting project and such tremendous partners,” said Ferit Sahenk, chairman of Doğuş Group. “We are actively engaged in similar projects in Turkey and are certain that with the involvement of IGY, NCP and Doğuş, the new Mandalina Marina & Yacht Club will become a showcase destination for the region.”
The Mandalina Marina & Yacht Club is one of the most complete, full-service nautical destinations in the region and encompasses not only the marina, but the NCP Shipyard with 24-hour assistance and technical services, NCP Charter with more than 60 vessels and the NCP Sailing School. Additionally, the facility offers nearby fuelling and on-site grocery for provisioning. The marina is situated in the scenic coastal town of Sibenik on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast.
The marina will continue to operate normally while the development progresses and for more information visit the following sites:
Croatia Cruising Companion - Sibenik Regatta (if you look carefully at the photos you will spot NCP’s yacht)
Many thanks to NCP for today’s photo which shows the key partners at the signing ceremony, attended by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesić. From left to right – IGY’s Mark Lande, NCP’s Goran Prgin and Dogus’s Husnu Akhan
On Croatia Online today, we looked at child friendly hotels in Croatia, which inspired us to think about how suitable a sailing holiday in Croatia might be for families with children of varying ages.
Earlier in the year, we interviewed a few experts for an article on sailing in Croatia for Time Out. When we asked them about taking children along, the consensus seemed to be that parents would probably be too distracted worrying about the safety of kids of five and under, and teenagers might prove hard to entertain. However, on a family holiday, if the charter includes hiring a local skipper, the experts told us it was the skipper’s job to keep everyone happy - with adolescents that means making sure they were fully involved, and leaving plenty of time for swimming and other beach activities. If you don’t take a skipper then that’s down to you, the parents!
That view has been endorsed by a number of families we’ve met who’ve tried it. Better still, a family sailing trip seems to bring everyone together. Readers might be interested to read a very touching report on the website of legendary sailor and prolific author, Jimmy Cornell. Noonsite includes the story of an Australian family who lived the dream for five weeks, sailing around Croatia, and considered it the best experience they had ever had as a family.
If you’ve only got a couple of weeks then perhaps the answer is to make sure you provide a variety of destinations and activities that suits everyone, and that’s very easy to do in Croatia. If the kids show signs of getting bored, perhaps spend a day at Marina Kornati in Biograd, ACI's Marina in Vodice or Marina Borik, near Zadar, and let the children take advantage of the nearby child friendly beaches, hotels and facilities while the adults chill out over a cocktail or two.
Today on Croatia Online, we reported on the latest news on flights to Croatia and it seems there are some good last minute deals to be had, even though we’re approaching peak season.
If you’re planning a sailing holiday then probably Split or Zadar are the airports at the centre of the most popular sailing areas, and a high density of marinas hosting charter fleets. Those travelling from the UK seem likely to get the best deals from EasyJet (Split) or Ryanair (Zadar), but don’t discount the national flag carriers (eg Croatia Airlines and British Airways) in your search. American readers should note there are an increasing number of options for them, even if it means a normally short detour via Zagreb to get a regular domestic connecting flight.
However, the cost of the flight itself has to be weighed against the logistics of the charter and the possibility of an extra hotel night or two if the timings aren’t right. Some charter companies will offer a degree of flexibility on the normal Saturday afternoon start and it always pays to have a chat with your charter manager to see what’s possible.
There are, of course other ways of getting to Croatia from the UK, including driving. A few years ago, a cheap flight to Ancona in Italy and a ferry to Split were one of the few low cost options but, now that the low cost carriers have recognised Croatia’s potential, that’s not necessary. For those from the UK, the ferry is a great option for getting to see the best of Croatia as a land based tourist within Croatia, but not really a practicality for getting there. Italians, however, have a vast number of ferry options for crossing the Adriatic, though many choose to sail their own boats across, or drive to marinas in northern Croatia, where their boats are berthed, and sail down to Dalmatia.
For travellers with some spare time and a budget to die for, maybe a trip on the Orient Express to Venice and then a one way superyacht charter from Venice to Dubrovnik or Montenegro?
Croatia is so much easier to get to now, in the summer season – more flights, great new motorway, ferry connections as good as ever, but still improving - that the discerning traveller has a vast amount of choice. Car hire prices however aren’t amongst the cheapest in Europe.
Follow the link to Croatia Online, in the opening paragraph, for direct links to airlines operating in Croatia and for the main Croatian airports. Below are a few others that may help:
Jadrolinija – Croatia’s main ferry company for international routes and local connections to the islands
Croatian Motorways – for information on motorway travel in Croatia
Croatia Online - Driving To The UK - for some first hand tips on travelling to Croatia by car.
Today’s photo is of Korčula town where the ferry overnights not far from the local boats.
Whilst the Croatia Cruising Companion seems to be the book of choice for those focusing on sailing Dalmatia by sea, we’ve yet to find another resource that attempts to cover the Dalmatian Coast and islands onshore comprehensively. We welcome all contributions and competition on this as, despite our best attempts, and blanket coverage when we wrote the book, there are some remote islands that we get to revisit only periodically for news and updates for this site.
For landlubbers that may be attracted to the more deserted Croatian islands along the Dalmatian coast we’d suggest a copy of the Croatia Cruising Companion and the following links on sister site Croatia Online to give you a flavour of Croatia and some of its quirks and practicalities.
Browse, prepare, research and enjoy!
A reader recently contacted us, see posting below, to let us know that the fuel station in Milna, Brač, was open on a bank holiday, for longer hours than we suggested in the Croatia Cruising Companion. Better that way than the other way round but it does seem that many of the fuel stations have extended their hours of operation, particularly on Bank Holidays.
We’ve found some relatively new, web based information, on shore based fuel stations in Croatia and the following link, Adriasail – Fuel, will take you to a summary of opening hours, contact details and depths for most stations. If you then click on the name of the individual fuel station you will get more detailed information to cover the different seasons. Interestingly enough, the fuel station concerned shows the same opening hours as in the CCC for the month of June so it may just be that it wasn’t a “proper” bank holiday or July started early on Brač
As with all types of important information it pays to double check. In the introduction, on page 15, we suggest that you phone ahead to check opening times, depths, etc for the fuel station you intend to visit, and provide telephone numbers wherever available. We took our information directly from the owners and operators of the fuel station, in most cases and particularly when there were any discrepancies between a number of different sources, and occasionally a phone call may reveal that there is work going on in the harbour which puts the station out of action for a period.
Today’s photo is of the fuel station in Sumartin on Brač island.
A super book which we found invaluable on our recent week's charter out of Split. I thought the following notes might be useful to your readers.
On Hvar we overnighted on the anchor in the small bay, Zavala, north of Rt Oplovac on the way down to Stari Grad. [CCC page 170 and see note below]. It’s a beautiful and secluded spot and very well sheltered. Also I think its walkable to Stari Grad which gets pretty busy in the high-season.
From Palmizana on Sv Klements [CCC page 165] we hiked the less-than 400 metres over the hill to the restaurants you mentioned. We used the one next to Gastionica Zori which was OK and much cheaper!
Later we were in Milna on Brac and noted that the fuelling stations stayed open all afternoon albeit it was a public holiday.
Anthony Warren, Brentford
Thanks to Anthony for his comments and we’ll be following up the opening hours of fuel stations in a later posting since most fuel stations now seem to operate longer hours in the summer season.
Zavala, the inlet near Stari Grad (see above), is not to be confused with Uvala Zavala and the town of Zavala on the south side of Hvar island [CCC page 177]. Croatia does have a habit of using the same name for a number of places. Hence you have a Milna on Hvar as well as the better known Milna on Brač island!
Today’s photo is of Stari Grad Hvar.
Croatia, particularly Dalmatia, is at its best when explored from the sea but many of us just think of modern yacht charters as the means of discovery. Croatia is however a nation of seafarers which values, and remains in tune with, its nautical heritage. Enterprising locals, who choose to provide floating accommodation that makes the most of this heritage, deserve a wider audience.
Captain Ivica Benić is one such entrepreneur and has lovingly restored a classic gullet, Dolin, for tailor made cruises for parties of up to 10 people. Known to his English friends as Johnny, Ivica was born and raised in Australia, but eventually answered the call of his Croatian roots.
Dolin was originally built in 1946 and spent her first two years transporting wine from the Dalmatian islands before going into service for the Croatian ferry company Jadrolinija, as one of its first passenger ships. She spent the next forty plus years as a cargo ship transporting goods to the islands of Cres and Lošinj, and later sand from the island of Krk. In 1977, Ivica’s family became the proud owners using Dolin as a cargo and excursion boat until, in 2008, she underwent a complete refit for her new role as a luxury classic cruiser.
Though Dolin was refitted from the deck up, the hull is the original and has lost none of its former glory. Made from oak that was “seasoned” in mud and sea water for a couple of years, the hull was designed and crafted from the finest wood in an age when boats were built to outlive their owners. Dolin, however, makes many concessions to modern living elsewhere – air conditioning, 5 comfortable en-suite cabins and spacious, well fitted common areas.
Ivica decided to focus on comfort rather than cramming as many cabins in as possible, and for that reason also, Dolin is geared to groups rather than just trying to fill individual cabins. The desire to blend classic style with contemporary needs means Ivica also provides a well stocked kitchen, and a chef with international experience as well as the expected expertise in the preparation of local traditional Dalmatian dishes.
Dolin’s base is Zadar though, by arrangement, you can start and/or finish elsewhere. Itineraries are flexible too and a number of activities are also available by arrangement – diving, fishing, rafting, etc.
A one week basic charter costs range from €5,400 to €9,100 depending on the time of year, for up to 10 people in double cabins. You will pay an extra fixed fee of €1,000 for cleaning, mooring in town ports, tourist taxes, fuel, etc, but if your group specifically wants to berth overnight in a marina, the marina fees will be extra – see Croatia Cruising Companion - Town Ports And Harbours In Croatia for the pros and cons of marinas and town ports.
For half board add €230 per person per week and for full board add €320. You can also take advantage of an inclusive “domestic drinks” package which includes Croatian wines, beers and spirits; soft drinks, mineral water, coffee, tea and juices for an extra €170 per person per week or an equivalent but non alcoholic package at €90 per person per week. Otherwise you will pay for drinks at the bar prices unless you choose, as a group, to provide all your own drinks for a corkage fee of €600 for the week.
By my calculations, that means a group of ten, can cruise in classic style for a week, in early May or late December, for €680 per person; or with food and drink all in, €1,170, which compares pretty well with equivalent hotel costs.
For a full price list, boat layout and design, and more information, contact details are as follows:
Captain Ivica Benic
Mate Balote 84
Phone + 385 (o) 23 331 340
Fax + 385 (o) 23 337 157 (capt.) Panjol
Mob. + 385 0) 95 901 7455
We haven’t tried it yet but it’s now on the list and we’re always happy to give a resourceful entrepreneur, with something quite special to offer, a little helping hand.
This morning we read an article in the Croatian Times reporting on an astonishing feat by a team of Croatian rowers yesterday. In a classic rowing boat called a lađa, pronounced ladja, 16 rowers, one drummer (to keep the rowing beat) and two coxes apparently made the crossing of the English Channel in 3.4 hours.
This afternoon we finally found a UK site, Kent Online, that corroborated the story but differs substantially on crew numbers and has the video evidence to prove it which shows 8 rowers, a drummer and helmsman battling the waves.
These rowing boats have been used for transport on the Neretva River for centuries and you can read more about them by following this link - Ladja Marathon – and the one above. Thanks also to them for today’s photo of the annual marathon on the Neretva River.
The Neretva Delta covers around 20,000 hectares of Croatia and Bosnia and is one of the few remaining wetlands in Europe making it an important Ramsar Site and a great bird watching destination. It is also being considered for Nature Park status though that comes with additional restrictions and the idea is not universally popular with the locals.
For those interested in bird watching go to sister site Croatia Online - Bird Watching in Croatia. For those more interested in the remarkable achievement of the Croatian rowers we will endeavour to hunt down some more information and hope the UK press does it justice. In the meantime, rowers of a more mainstream style may be interested in the following posting - Croatia Online - Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race In Split.
Readers of the Croatia Cruising Companion should note that the Neretva Delta is not suitable for sailing boats. Very few of Croatia’s rivers are but the Krka River is a notable exception and well worth exploration as it passes the magnificent city of Šibenik, provides a great freshwater marina - ACI Skradin – and of course leads to the spectacular Krka National Park
Aficionados of tennis may be interested to read about Croatia’s prowess in this sport by linking to Croatia Online - Wimbledon And Tennis In Croatia