Thanks to Nigel Crouch for investing in the Croatia Cruising Companion and for taking the time to give his comments and experiences on his recent trip. Nigel is by no means alone in his comment about rising prices for nautical tourism in Croatia - the exchange rate is largely outside Croatia's control, but the significant year on year increases in daily berth rates at marinas and ports could end up meaning that a sailing holiday in "The Mediterranean That Once Was" (Croatia tourist board strap line) is no longer as affordable as it once was. More important than the prices themselves is that visitors believe the Minister for Tourism has a firm direction to follow and is excercising some sort of leadership on the more excessive price increases, the facilities that go with the tariff, and the overall quality of the cruising area, including conserving the pristine sea conditions that are sometimes under siege from the sheer volume of visitors. Here's Nigel's report with editorial notes in brackets and italics.
We really liked Brbinj (Dugi Otok page 68) and Antonio’s restaurant there was excellent with great grilled fish and a sublime view. I did it again on way back with Jenny and once more it was first-class.
Opat (Kornat page 76 - since we visited we understand that both restaurants are now under the same ownership) was lovely as was the lobster we consumed there in the Opat Restaurant (albeit at a lovely price!).
We spent a couple of nights in Skradin (mainland near Šibenik, page 107) and ate well in Toni’s and Canneletto’s. The Krka Falls trip was as good as ever.
Good fun fighting for a place at Primošten (mainland, page 111; recent update on prices and facilities - Croatia Cruising Companion - Primosten Update) and the harbour guy was particularly helpful. Good environment to watch one of the Croatia Euro games.
Vinišce (mainland page 130) was a very tranquil anchorage and we got some tremendous home-made red wine there (despite being in plastic beer bottles!).
Very nice guy, Nick, at outer marina in Milna (Brač page 152), who has replaced Jan and his wife, who were great characters.
We thought Vis Town (Vis page 180) was great and we ate well in the Wine Bar near the quay. On the subsequent passage to Stari Grad (Hvar page 169) we were pursued by not one but two thunderstorms, which tried to catch us in a pincer movement and almost succeeded. Stari Grad very nice and we had good meals at Pharia and Antika. Jenny had an interesting experience getting locked in the public loos there.
Trogir Marina (mainland page 132) remains the best spot by far to see people doing everything in their power to write off their boats – and everyone else’s.
Maslinica on Šolta (page 149) was a super spot and, again, a very helpful Harbour Master. Ate well in Konoba Saskinja.
We really like Rogoznica (mainland page 127) and Marina Frappa is absolutely first-class and no more expensive than the other marinas. They are just opening a very nice pool there.
We thought Tribunj (mainland page 99 and see recent update
Croatia Cruising Companion - Tribunj Update) was a nice place but the marina there was the most expensive we visited.
Could not get on to a mooring buoy at Soline on Pašman (page 50) despite early arrival – it was packed! – but turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we then went to Luka Žut (Žut page 84) and highly recommend Konoba Sandra, which had wondrous fish.
Luka Telašćica (Dugi Otok page 62) was fantastic and had superb overnight there eating on board in an idyllic spot up near the head of the channel.
Zadar (mainland page 32) was a very interesting place and Jenny had her only pukka cocktail of the trip there – an outstanding Marguerita lovingly made with infinite care by the barmaid. Had a superb meal at your recommended fish place there. Vjeko runs an excellent operation in the marina there with his Kiriacoulis team.
Despite the bizarre weather, it was a wonderful trip and we think that the overall quality of food everywhere had improved significantly. Our one worry was that with the adverse Sterling/Kuna Exchange Rate and high inflation in Marina Costs and Harbour Dues they have got to be careful not kill the golden goose in these difficult ‘credit crunch’ times.
The bottom line, though, is that Croatia is a fantastic sailing area and the people are great – thanks, again, for all your help in making it an unforgettable trip.
And again thanks to Nigel for taking the trouble to send in his comments. It's incredibly helpful to us to hear other first hand accounts of how the various destinations stand up to the test and the consistency of various restaurants that may just have been good on the day(s) we visited. We hope that such reports also provide readers of the Croatia Cruising Companion with added depth and will make sure the book stays as up to date and helpful as possible.
Today's photo is of Opat on Kornat Island.