CROATIA BY SEA…put it on your bucket list! Croatia has been on my travel list for a long time, but especially after I watched Game of Thrones, an HBO hit show that filmed several seasons in Croatia.  We decided to visit this beautiful country and tour by sea via a small, luxury yacht…it’s truly the best way to not only experience the picturesque coastal towns and smaller islands but also the secluded areas that most ocean liners can’t explore.

This is part one of a two part post. In this article I’m sharing the first part of our vacation – where we went, what we did and the beautiful scenery on the islands and coastal towns we visited. Part two will focus on our land tour from Split to Dubrovnik where we spent 4 magical days. Croatia is absolutely breathtaking, it’s super clean and safe!

My Croatia packing list (outfits/swimsuits) is included at the bottom of this post.

We were so fortunate that our new German friend, Jërg, brought his drone and captured amazing photos and videos from our swim stops!

A very big thank you to Melanie Lake at Sherry Lane Travel in Dallas, who helped book the most perfect trip for us…down to every single detail!

Touring Croatia By Sea

Day 1: Arrival in Split 

We landed in Split (DFW to Frankfort to Split) on Lufthansa Airlines and stayed at the Hotel Villa Harmony. This gorgeous hotel is in the center of Split, situated in an excellent location next to the famous sandy beach Bacvice, which stretches across 600m of shore. Hotel Villa Harmony is close to the city center and we so enjoyed our first night in this luxurious hotel. We walked along the beach and had our first Croatian seafood dinner!

Day 2: Split to Šibenik

After breakfast and a cappuccino, we walked to Old Town Split where we explored the sights within the city walls. It was bustling with tourists and we enjoyed our own leisurely pace, while being mesmerized with it’s beauty and historical landmarks.

Next we boarded our gorgeous yacht and set out to tour Croatia by Sea. There were approximately 38 guests on our boat, 19 cabins and a fabulous crew who took excellent care of us! Everyday we were served breakfast and lunch while dinner was served 4 nights. The other evenings we had pre-planned dinner reservations at the various port towns.

We departed the Split Harbor, enjoying the stunning views of the city and arrived in Šibenik, a town situated in the very central part of Croatia’s Adriatic coast.  We joined a guided walking tour of the glorious old town, the cultural monuments and possibly the most famous one here, the UNESCO listed Cathedral of St. James. Our time wandering around and discovering the historic core and waterfronts was really fabulous. For all of you NBA fans, Šibenik is the home of Dallas Maverik Luca Dončić.

Day 3: Šibinek to Krka National Park to Zadar

After an overnight in Šibenik we woke up the next day and hopped on a tour bus which took us through some of the most breathtaking views of coastal Croatia. Our first stop was the Krka National Park where we walked the trails and saw the infamous Krka Waterfalls. There are 17 waterfalls, with cascades up to 100m wide. After spending a few hours in Krka, we made our way to Babich Winery for wine tasting and a light tapas lunch.

Peace out Šibenik! Next we were back on our boat and cruising towards Zadar. We spent time enjoying the scenic views, relaxing, sunbathing, playing backgammon with other guests and of course drinking amazing cocktails.

Our seafood dinner at Restaurant Kornat in Zadar was delicious and the sunset was one of the prettiest I have ever seen.

Zadar has a rich cultural heritage: the Roman Forum, the church of St. Donatus and imposing and mighty city walls with the presentative Port and Land Gates as well as numerous palaces and villas of former noble families. The famous contemporary attraction is the Sea Organ, one of a kind in the world.

Day 4: Zadar Beach Day

After an overnight in Zadar we woke up the next morning to hear there was a strong storm hitting Croatia which meant we couldn’t visit the island of Lošinj but instead were staying an additional night in Zadar. Our lovely cruise hostess suggested we visit a local beach so several us headed to Plaža Ždrijac where we swam in the ocean and had delightful cocktails at the bar with many of our new friends.

Day 5: Zadar to Telašćica Nature Park

We woke up to sunny skies and departed Zadar for the Kornati National Park. Our boat made a swim stop at a beautiful, secluded location and we all enjoyed the cool water, snorkeling, paddle boarding and the amazing views surrounding us.

We then headed to the Telašćica Nature Park, which due to its intense beauty, richness and importance, together with 6 islets include the bay of  itself, Telašćica was proclaimed a nature park in 1988. We had time to explore the white cliffs, the lake and find the one bar on the small island. We overnighted in Telašćica.

Day 6: Telašćica to Primošten

This morning we made another swim stop and then cruised to the town of Primošten, my very favorite stop on of our itinerary. Primošten is a small picturesque town situated on an islet between Šibenik and Trogir. Primošten is surrounded by seven other islets and is an exceptionally breathtaking place to explore. We loved the exquisite shops, cafes and beautiful beaches.

On board the boat, we enjoyed a delicious olive oil and wine tasting followed by the captain’s dinner.

Day 7: Primošten to Hvar (Stari Grad)

We left Primošten, had a morning swim stop (enjoying the most crystal clear water) and cruised towards the island of Hvar, the sunniest Adriatic island and the jet-set destination. We had time to leisurely explore the oldest town in Croatia. The first settlers were the Greeks from the island Paros in the Aegean Sea, who established the colony in the year 384 B.C and name the town Pharos. We walked the smooth cobblestone streets of Stari Grad, enjoyed an aperitif and found a lovely restaurant for dinner called Blue Doors where we at the best bruschetta we’ve ever tasted.

Day 8: Hvar to Ziatni Rat to Split

Our morning cruise took us to Ziatni Rat on Bol Island, the most famous beach in the Dalmatia knowns as the Golden Horn…famous for its gravel promontory shifts from side to side as the wind and waves constantly change their shape.

Next we departed for Split, enjoying unbelievable views of the surrounding seas and the amazing Split Riviera. Upon arrival we joined a guided city tour. Split is a dynamic port city with a medieval Old Town grown around the 1700 Diocletian’s Palace. Split bustles with modern life amid it’s ancient Roman setting. Cafes, restaurants and galleries cram the cobblestone alleyways, the waterfront and the Marjan peninsula, making Croatia’s second largest city of the the Mediterraneans’s most compelling.

That evening we had the most incredible and freshest ‘seafood pot’ dinner at Fantazija Kitchen and Wine, a super cool restaurant right in the heart of Split.

Day 9: Split to Dubrovnik

Today was bittersweet as we said goodbye to our new friends. We have a heart full of long lasting memories with people we met from all over the world…Croatia, Britain, Australia, Sweden, Germany and Canada!

Stay tuned for Part 2…our drive from Split to Dubrovnik (making two mesmerizing stops) and 4 days in historical Dubrovnik.

Thank you for reading!

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Croatia By Sea