Sail Croatia, sail this, sail that and sail the other. All very well and good, but the Pearl of the Adriatic offers a somewhat different experience than just blue waters and a calm sea breeze.
Croatia has been on the sailing map for as long as living memory can reach, a nation with a an aesthetically stunning coastline that has always drawn its means of living primarily from the sea in one way or another - Croatia, particularly Dalmatia, has always maintained an extremely deep, meaningful relationship with the Adriatic and everything it represents to the local population.
In more recent years, however, the sea has played a much wider role than just that of a rich, sustinance bearing body of water. The deep blue colour, calm waves, crystal clear transparency and cleanliness naturally led to Croatia, again, particularly Dalmatia, becoming one of Europe's ''must go'' sailing hotspots. Rightly so.
Sailing in and around Dubrovnik offers a slightly different experience than the norm, being so close to neighbouring Montenegro, with its famed port in the historic town of Kotor is just one of them.
The famous city walls (Dubrovacke gradske zidine) are one of the Pearl of the Adriatic's top attractions and are considered to be among the most well preserved still standing today in Europe. The 82ft high defensive stone walls encircle the historical city in an uninterrupted course and have acted as unbeatable protection for centuries. The walls have undergone various modifications and repairs over the years and have never been breached by a hostile army. Sailing around the City of Dubrovnik allows for a new angle of the viewing of these imposing and eternally impressive stone walls, the rugged coastline upon which they're situated and the UNESCO World Heritage site they protect. Getting up close and personal to these truly impenetrable barriers from the view of the sea is an experience worth having, and one entirely unique to Dubrovnik as far as sailing in Croatia is concerned.
Credit: Tash Pericic
Dubrovnik is full of barely accessible beaches, caves, coves and rocky outcrops. Although that can be said for many locations in Croatia, owing to the country's rugged coastline and lack of sandy beaches, Dubrovnik has something quite special. You will have undoubtedly heard of Banje Beach, the beautiful city beach situated just outside of the Old City (eastern entrance) with a view onto the island of Lokrum and the walled city itself, but what about all those secret places not so easily accessed by foot or land vehicle?
Copyright: Romulić & Stojčić
Dubrovnik is a busy place, against that there can be no argument, but one unusual fact is that when you come to Sveti Jakov (eastern Dubrovnik), the city just stops, ends, full stop. What do you find after that? Stunning, but sheer rocks leading directly down to unspoiled, untouched natural caves, coves and swimming areas that nobody can manage to reach unless they have a death wish... or a boat. If you were to sail past the old hotel Belvedere located on a rocky outcrop at the end of the Sveti Jakov neighbourhood, you'd come across a plethora of usually inaccessible swimming areas at the base of sheer cliffs cascading directly into the sea. These areas are entirely off-limits to anyone without direct access from the sea itself and have views onto the open sea and the island of Lokrum.
Quiet and very much out of the way, these areas are usually entirely empty even during the height of summer (other than the presence of the odd fishing boat) and sailing along here provides not only peace and tranquility, but a completely different view of Dubrovnik and the very much unspoiled nature that surrounds it.
Croatia's southernmost town is Cavtat, located in the picturesque region of Konavle just south of Dubrovnik and just north of the Montenegrin border. Sailing from Dubrovnik to Cavtat is a pleasurable experience that offers the chance to stop and explore the island of Lokrum, as well as several other small, uninhabited islands closer to Cavtat. Cavtat is smaller and therefore naturally much more easy going and peaceful than Dubrovnik could ever dream of being and sailing here to spend a few hours away from the busy vibe of the city is more than rewarding.
Croatia does and can quite easily rest merely on its aesthetic laurels, and while sailing anywhere along the Croatian coast has its countless benefits (which I do not believe are entirely necessary to list, they speak volumes for themselves), sailing to and around Dubrovnik offers something quite unique. See for yourself.
Keen to learn more about sailing in Croatia, visit Total Croatia Sailing or like our Facebook page for more stories, pics and action from the Adriatic
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