Sailing the seas of the Adriatic is definitely something everyone should experience! We began our Croatian holiday in Split, the beautiful seaside town on the coast of this amazing country. I knew it was going to be a great holiday when the young woman at our hostel informed us we would not be staying there but in an apartment in the town square.With Italian influences in their food, wine and gelato we explored the cobblestone streets of both the old and new city, stopping at cafés and gelato stands hidden in meter wide alleys and amazing cocktail bars looking over the coastline. We visited Diocletion's Palace, a world Heritage and listed UNESCO site in the walls of the old city and took a trip up the Bell Tower, which I didn't get to the top of due to my preposterous fear of heights.We thought it best that we take it easy before we set sail the follow day. So the remainder of the day was spent lazing by the beach. At 10:00 am the next morning we could barely control our excitement when we boarded our sea-bound home for the next seven days, our lovely sailboat, Madona. We had a crew consisting of 2 of the cutest Croatian boys (Duje and Nikola) a girl has ever laid eyes on, their father (the captain), a chef who learnt to cook in Germany and a strange man with a blonde pony tail who, well … no one was really sure what he did on the boat. We had the Australian boat with 24 of us occupying its decks with the exception of 1 English girl.We set sail to our first island stop, Makarska. We docked late afternoon and after getting all dressed up and consuming our magnificent dinner within minutes we decided we would go for a dip at "Deep Club", a nightclub/bar hidden in one of the caves on the waterfront, our midnight swim was wonderful, the crystal clear water was lit up by the neon lights of the club so you could see nearly everything, except for the urchin that took advantage of one of the boys' feet. After our swim we put our clothes on over the top of our swimwear and went straight to another club in town in our soaking wet clothes and hair and our washed up make-up and met up with some more of our group and partied into the early hours of the morning. Madona was already loose on the Adriatic when I woke up to the breakfast bell at 8.00 am. There was Duje, who is all of about 16, dressed in his white button-up shirt, black bowtie and bright orange board shorts ready to serve us breakfast. He had announced that we were having a BBQ that evening onboard Madona, as our next stop, Mljet didn't have too many restaurants and bars. We stopped for our midday swim along the Peljesac peninsula for a refreshing dive into the crisp salty water. After our arrival in Mljet we did a little bit of exploring then headed back to the boat ready for our mixed grill BBQ with salad and charred veggies. We had docked next the Kiwi boat so we had a joint BBQ and with our music blaring before we knew it the locals had complained and were forced to turn off the music and keep our voices down. Some of the girls (and one of the boys referred to as "muscles") had arranged a rendezvous at the beach at midnight for all of us skinny-dipping virgins. I gotta say, don't knock it till you try it! It was a bit nerve wracking having a boy around but I think he was a little more nervous than the 5 of us females swimming around. Our next stop on the map was, the furthest south we ventured, Dubrovnik. A magical city with an abundance of history, we caught the bus into the old city and wandered around aimlessly, taking in the beauty of the subtle architecture and surroundings. We watched the sunset over the old city walls while enjoying yet another pizza and red wine with Pina Coladas and chocolate pancakes for dessert. Before we knew it, it was morning and we had taken off again for Korcula, half way through our trip and gradually making our way back to Split. Korcula, the birthplace of Marco Polo, is a wonderfully set out town with restaurants and bars located on the water's edge, it was hustling with tourists and locals welcoming the mid-week crowd. We found a cocktail bar inside a small castle overlooking the ocean, somehow we managed to get at least half of our boat together and enjoyed a few rounds of cocktails before heading to the overcrowded club Dos Locos with tasteless music and a dancing pole in the middle of the club. We stayed for 1 or 2 before taking the party back to the boat with us. Next stop, Hvar: my favourite place! With rough seas and nasty hangovers to nurse, the 8 hour boat ride for the first time since the trip began, wasn't terribly relaxing so we were all hoping this party crazed island was going to be worth it. It was too rough to stop anywhere for our regular midday swim and instead of assuming our normal positions on the top deck, sun baking and knocking back a few cold Karlovacko's (local beer) we were all sitting down the bottom, at the back of the boat, where it was at its steadiest. We finally arrived and had a little time to chill out and eat before agreeing with everyone to meet at the talked-up "Castle bar". I took the 45-minute walk up to the top of the hill to the castle, exhausted, I received a text saying that it wasn't the anticipated bar that we had agreed on, my disappointment didn't last long as I peered out over the old fortress walls and got to watch the sunset over the entire island and a few small surrounding ones. I also took a look in the old prison and a neglected church hidden away in the bush land. Back down the mountain again to the correct Castle bar (Veneranda) where we contemplated the cover charge of 100 Kunas, finally we took charge, paid the fee and entered what was the coolest nightclub I have ever seen.Veneranda is an open club with a capacity of 1,000 people inside the walls of a 15th Century Monastery, it is equipped with a swimming pool, numerous sections of the club for the different tastes in music and friendly bar staff that only too happy to pour you yet another cocktail even if it is clear you have had too much.We partied on until 7.30 am before we had to race back to Madona for her 8.00 am departure.
Our final stop before returning to Split was in the picturesque town of Bol on the island of Brac, our midday swim today was just 2kms from the town centre at Zlatni Rat, one of the most photographed beaches of the Adriatic.The arrowhead shoreline is made up of pebbles and the water is so clear you can see the tropical fish swimming around your ankles, the beach was full of European beauties showing their near naked bodies off and basking in the harsh sunlight.After swimming back to the boat we took of again to dock in Bol.We explored the small town before setting out to eat for our last meal together in one of the seaside restaurants and enjoyed the sunset and a few final drinks.
My adventures of Croatia were one of a kind I can honestly say this is a holiday for all ages, whether you like the slow paced relaxing feel or the fast paced party holiday that most 20-somethings desire.Our midday swims in the middle of the Adriatic, the mind-blowing sunsets, numerous mouth-watering meals and delectable cocktails and a little holiday romance gives you the perfect recipe for a holiday never to be forgotten.