5 Reasons Why You Need to Add Sailing the Croatian Islands w/ MedSailors to Your Travel Bucket List
By now, most people know that I am completely entranced by Croatia. Whether you're a friend from university, a new follower to my travel instagram or someone I meet on the streets of London, I WILL ALWAYS recommend the small Balkan country as the ultimate European summer destination. From the ultra charming stone villages, to the glistening Adriatic Sea, to the scrumptious fresh seafood, and the laid-back and life loving locals–there is something for every type of traveler to fall in love with!
As an ultimate water girlie, I knew I wanted to experience Croatia in a completely new and unique way for my 6th visit. The answer: an epic seven day sailing vacation exploring the best of what the southern Croatian islands have to offer with MedSailors. You probably have heard of organized travel tours where a group explores a country or region by bus or train, but did you know small group travel via sailboats exists?
MedSailors is a tour company that offers epic sailing holidays geared towards 20-30 somethings. Whilst living on a sailboat for 7 days you get to enjoy the perfect mix of exploring, partying, and relaxing while cruising the stunning Mediterranean. MedSailors offers diverse routes in the most sought after locations in Europe: Croatia🇭🇷, Greece🇬🇷, and Türkiye🇹🇷.
After a week long adventure sailing the Croatia Discovery route (Trogir, Brač, Vis, Hvar, Makarska, Supetar) with MedSailors I can confidently say that sail boat travel is one of my favorite new styles! I used to think that traveling by boat, whether it be small and intimate sailboats or massive cruise ships, would be constrictive. I worried that ship based group travel would hinder what I value so much on my adventures: freedom and flexibility. Low and behold, I'm happy to report that I couldn't have been more wrong🙌🏾
Here are the 5 Reasons Why You Need to Add Sailing the Croatian Islands with MedSailors to Your Travel Bucket List...
1 - BREATHTAKING SWIMMING SPOTS ONLY ACCESSIBLE BY BOAT
I have two words for you: ADRIATIC SEA. Croatia packs a serious summer destination punch because of the shimmering turquoise waters of the Adriatic. While most people know of the Mediterranean sea, few know about the Adriatic–the body of water that lies between Italy🇮🇹and Croatia🇭🇷stretching down south to the border of Albania🇦🇱
While Croatia boasts roughly 1,100 miles of picturesque coastline, some of the countries bluest waters and pristine swimming spots are located in bays only reachable by boat. These seemingly untouched areas are both immaculately clean and ultra serene. With far fewer people than beaches on the mainland, you can have entire stretches of the Adriatic all to yourself (without paying the high💸🤑💸price of chartering a luxury yacht). Whether swimming, paddle boarding, or simply floating in a watermelon inner tube is your thing the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic will surely leave a never ending smile on your face. You're truly living your best main character life out in the secluded bays!
On the Croatia Discovery route my favorite pinch me swimming moments were
Laganini Bay, Hvar
Bay off of Vrboska, Hvar
Channel between Brač and Makarska mainland
Loverncina Bay, Brač
2 - BEAUTIFUL STONE TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Croatia's calling card is its charming old stone towns or Stari Grads in Croatian. Paved with polished marble, built with ivory colored stones, and adorned with green shutters, every Old Town in Croatia makes you feel like you're transported back in time. Each day on the Croatia Discovery Route we were able to explore and experience a new Old Town. Despite the fact that they might all look similar on the surface, each has its unique character and specific historical importance.
Supetar on Brač is particularly charming. Besides the fact that I'd never visited Brač in my previous 5 journeys to Croatia, the stone village revealed intriguing history. Brač island is renowned for its high-quality white limestone, which has been used in the construction of many famous buildings around the world, including the White House in Washington, D.C. Additionally, a quarry near Supetar is where the stones to build Diocletian's Palace in Split were sourced.
3 - NO PESKY PACKING AND REPACKING SUITCASES
Does anyone else's suitcase seem to grow as a trip goes on DESPITE the fact that no new items are being purchased?!! Repacking my clothes and the magically growing suitcase has to be my least favorite part about traveling. No matter how many times you've done it, packing while on vacation is never fun. Especially when there's early morning wake up calls to catch transportation after a night hitting the town dancing and drinking😅I've lost too many bathing suits and socks from rushed packing moments in hostels and hotels.
Traveling via sailboat was truly life changing because I only had to repack my suitcase ONCE in 7 days! Every item had its own little space in our cozy below deck cabin and I can't imagine how much time we gained back over the course of the week not having to repack our bags each morning. It was so freeing to dock in a new location every afternoon and simply jump onto shore with a small tote bag filled with the essentials: wallet, phone, towel, water, and sunscreen. Traveling via sailboat significantly decreased my usual packing stress and enabled me to live my best care free life. Ready to explore each new destination with zest and fresh curiosity✨
4 - SAMPLING DELICIOUS LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD AND WINE
Croatia's gastronomic claim to fame is threefold: wine, seafood, and olives🍷🐠🫒The traditional Dalmatian cuisine is the perfect compliment to summer as the flavors are light, crisp, and refreshing. Unfortunately, tourists visiting larger coastal cities in Croatia might fall victim to eating at less authentic eateries. Restaurants that cater to the masses, offering more "Italian" style dishes like pizza and pasta because they know some travelers don't want to expand their palette horizons and stick with familiar dishes.
In my opinion, no visit to Croatia is complete without sampling local traditional cuisine. Food is one of the easiest ways to authentically engage with another's culture and gain insight into a place's history and the history of its people. While on the Croatia Discovery Route we had the opportunity to visit Hora Farm on the island of Hvar. The dinner and wine tasting (€45 per person) was one of a handful optional activities organized by MedSailors.
At the family owned farm and winery we learned more about their eco-conscious production methods (everything powered by solar power) and the differences between olive oils and white wines. In total we sampled 3 olive oils, 3 wines (2 white + 1 red) and enjoyed a charcuterie style appetizers and giant fish peka–a slowly baked mix of whole fish and vegetables. As a mindful traveler, I'm always happy to support locally owned eateries because they are keeping their important cultural practices alive on their own terms.
5 - PERFECT BALANCE OF RELAXATION AND ADVENTURE
One of the main reasons why I've been hesitant to join a group trip over the past few years is because there is a prevailing myth that group travel is A) fast paced and B) offers little personal down time to relax or explore at your own pace. To be fair, I've seen this myth in action living in London. Groups wiz through The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament trying to see everything in one day😅
By the end of the week sailing the Croatian islands with MedSailors, I could confidently say that I NEVER FELT RUSHED or that our itinerary was to go-go-go for my travel preferences. The days passed by surprisingly slow in that dreamy end-of-summer romantic type of way. There was always ample time for me to do what I love most in Croatia: swim, explore the villages, and drink lots and lots of yummy wine. The perfect balance of relaxation and adventure looked a little like:
Waking up to enjoy breakfast🥐
Sailing to the next swimming spot⛵️Usually 2-3 hours. I used the time to nap, read, chat with the other guests, solve crossword puzzles, etc.
Swim time👙Usually 2-4 hours. I used this time to swim, paddle board, snorkel, tan, and nap
Lunchtime on board🥗The skipper cooks buffet style lunch daily
FREE TIME or OPTIONAL ACTIVITY📸Once docked there was always an HUGE amount of free time to explore the new town. You could either enjoy both the afternoon and evening free at your leisure or you could join an optional activity for the afternoon and have the evening free!
MedSailors organizes a balance of optional activities to compliment the standard itinerary. For the extreme thrill seekers you could zip line in the Makarska mountains for €40 per person. For 2 hours you travered 6 lines while enjoying epic canyon views. For the moderate thrill seekers you could parasail over the Adriatic waters off of Makarska for €40 per person. You ascend 400m in the air, enjoying coastline views for 15 minutes. Lastly, for the history buff you could tour the island of Vis in a Defender Land Rover for €30 per person.
I traveled on the Croatia Discover Route in August 2023. Please see MedSailors.com for the most up to date information on itineraries, routes, and prices.