Croatia is an anchorage wonderland: a fairytale showcase of lush isles, islets and Bahamian-like lagoons that stir the senses. Most are a mere champagne cork's pop away from mainland haunts like Split or Dubrovnik, meaning yacht charter itineraries here can whet hearty cultural and historical appetites whilst effortlessly combining serene solitude. And for charter connoisseurs whose sense of adventure extends beyond the classic West Mediterranean routes, Croatia's anchorages will certainly ignite the imagination.
Korčula rises to Croatia's yachting reputation for melding verdant, painterly landscapes with topaz, gin-clear waters. Add in a touch of historical significance (Marco Polo was reportedly born here) and a sprinkling of vineyards known for producing the best Croatian whites, this sliver of a lavender-fragranced isle delights on all fronts.
Anchorage-wise, Korčula’s steep southern coast cuts the most impressive figure with its diminutive golden caves and sandy-pebble hybrids. Pupnatska Luka Beach is the island at its most wildly beautiful: where billowing pines blanket the beach like an emerald-tinted cloud. But yacht charterers needn't be tied down to a particular location: relish the pleasure of being able to cruise towards any cove as you wish. And ultimately, whichever direction you choose in Korčula, you'll be richly rewarded with one of those soul-soothing vista Croatia's islands are cherished for.
When underwater frolicking starts to lose its lustre, head into the olive-clad hills to sample fine whites at the Toreta Winery in Smokvica
Even better, many of these coves will likely be your own private lair to luxuriate on or the spot to quench a watersports thirst.
When underwater frolicking starts to lose its lustre, head into the olive-clad hills to sample fine whites at the Toreta Winery in Smokvica, and work them off discovering the ancient-walled peninsula and its sunkissed palazzo afterwards.
Your eyes will be wide with wonder at Krknjaši, a lagoon that's your own glittering emerald canvas at anchor. A beguiling dreamscape a mere 10 nautical miles from the Romanesque delight of Trogir and only 13 from Split, its bay is cradled by two deserted islets (Veli Krknjaš and Mali Krknjaš) with mellow, translucent waters that demand closer inspection. Whether it's for a sedate swim, snorkel, or to glide on a SeaBob like a dolphin, Krknjaši will certainly deliver.
A beguiling dreamscape a mere 10 nautical miles from the Romanesque delight of Trogir and only 13 from Split
Intimate coves (some shallow) abound here, though they become heavily frequented in the summertime. But after daytrippers return to the mainland the isle's allure doubles, as the lagoon reverts into a balmy slumber. Transforming into a private paradise for yachts at twilight until dawn, Krknjaši is well-worth an overnight stay. Rise early for an alfresco breakfast as the sun and sea is illuminated in a soft, peachy light.
A sojourn to Lovišće Inlet only requires yacht charter guests to wander and unwind. Perfectly protected from most winds (apart from the occasional northeast Bura) on the island-cum-marine park of Šćedro, it has a population of just 30, with construction a governmental no-no. The hubbub of Hvar is just 12 nautical miles away, but it will feel like closer to lightyears.
While away afternoons kayaking on the limpid lagoon, traipsing through the botanical fantasy of lemons, rosemary and sage or delving into its rippling blue waters. Replenish at one of its sleepily gorgeous taverns (with mooring buoys) for a bellyful of fresh lobster and a glug of rakija. In the evening jump back on board for a nightcap, listening to the waves gently lap beneath you.
A dazzling medley of Maldivian-like lagoon, cloudless sky and fragrant maquis, Budikovac's unfettered beauty will linger long in your memory as an anchorage. Frenetic isn't its vibe: gloriously unachievable given its population of just one, a certain Mr. Andro. Indeed, Budikovac's story is almost as charming as the anchorage itself. Ex-captain and now restaurant owner Mr. Andro happily tends to his donkeys, chickens, and vegetable patch on the bucolically remote isle all year long.
Frenetic isn't its vibe: gloriously unachievable given its population of just one, a certain Mr. Andro
Seldom visited, intersperse sundeck bronzing with uncovering subaquatic secrets in Budikovac's mirror-clear waters, where marine life prospers in sundrenched seclusion. And of course, no trip's complete without paying a visit to the only resident's tiny eatery too.
A heavily forested finger with waters sky-blue as agapanthus, Mljet is like a living watercolor, justly regarded as one of the best anchorages in Croatia. Made up of two-thirds aromatic pines, one-third National Park, guests revel in the island's immense calm far removed from the hullabaloo of the mainland. It's marvelously undeveloped too, we should add.
Serenaded by the song of circulating turtledoves and chattering crickets, with the odd mongoose roaming its cascading, cypress tree-lined trails, bike rides in Mljet are rip-roaring. All paths lead to a curious Russian doll setup: where two internal saltwater lakes curled protectively by burly oaks are in turn surround a tiny isle (St. Mary's Island) home to a Benedectine monastery. It beckons yacht charter guests for a dip. And for those longing for an arc of sugar-soft-sand (scarce in Croatia), rejoice: cruise towards Mljet's easternmost point for isolated Saplunara, with two found on its half-mile-long cove.
Soaring Odysseus Cave is best explored at noon, when sunlight beams a kaleidoscope onto the seabed, illuminating the grotto
Beyond the National Park, leap off the soaring Odysseus Cave for a thrilling rush, and pootle around inside after. It's best explored at noon, when sunlight beams a kaleidoscope onto the seabed illuminating the grotto. After a day's exploring nature's finest, end it with an Epicurean feast whipped up by your own personal chef onboard.