A number of our guests who are coming to Croatia for the first time decide to combine a week of sailing from Split with a couple of days in Dubrovnik. Not strange at all, since those two are the most popular 'to do' things in Croatia, and for a good reason. If you don't mind touristy places, Dubrovnik will throw you off your feet, it is that romantic and beautiful. And with a week of sailing before or after that, you'll have enough time to relax in peace and quiet anyway.
Start with getting the best flights. Both Split and Dubrovnik have international airports close by, and although Split is much better connected, it is worth checking extra seasonal flights and offers for Dubrovnik. Buy the cheapest or the fastest ones, because you can combine both Dubrovnik and Split arrivals and departures.
My recommendation is to do a week of sailing from Split, starting on a Saturday afternoon, and finishing Friday night or Saturday morning. Leave some time to visit Split old town. It is also touristy and busy, but just like Dubrovnik, worth it. And as opposed to Dubrovnik, which is more like a town-museum, in Split you can experience a bustling city life with a better feel of a local atmosphere.
A week of sailing in Split archipelago gets you to some of the most beautiful and most famous Croatian islands. They are conveniently located very close to each other, so all are possible to be included in one week trip. Islands like Brač, Hvar, Vis, Korčula, Lastovo, Šolta… each one of them offers so many different things to see and do. You'll most likely be sorry your sailing part of the holiday doesn't last much much longer. Once you set sail, just keep in mind that less is sometimes more, so don't rush from one place to another. Rather strive to find the feeling of peace and fulfilment that you can get just by being somewhere nice...
One of the greatest things about a sailing holiday here is that you are tailoring your own holiday, both when you are chartering the boat with or without crew. You choose when and where you want to go and how long you are staying there. There are some restrictions in high season, meaning that with popular places you need to plan in advance where you spend the night. Still, the options are countless, and there is really no need to go further or include anything more.
After one week of sailing and relaxing in Split archipelago, I would choose to take a road trip along the old scenic route connecting Split and Dubrovnik, stopping by for some sights, before coming to Dubrovnik and spending a couple of days there. For some ideas on how you can do this and what you could do along the way, please check here…
If you are landing in Dubrovnik, no problem at all. Just turn it all around starting with a few days in Dubrovnik, continue with a drive to Split and finish off by a relaxing week of sailing in Split archipelago.
One way sailing trips are also quite popular among our guests, and it is not a problem for us, nor for the boat. You practically get on the boat in Split and disembark in Dubrovnik (or vice versa) slowly covering the distance between those two cities and stopping by on different islands along the way. The skipper drops you off in Dubrovnik on a Friday morning or picks you up there on a Sunday afternoon. However, since the skipper needs around 18 hours to sail the boat one way, you would be losing almost one day of your precious boat time. You also lose some of the spontaneity, which is one of the greatest things about a sailing holiday. You see, when you are on a sailing boat, you don't want to follow some schedule or make a plan. You rather enjoy the moment, and play it by ear. As an example, you might like one specific island or a bay so much, that you'll want to stay longer, or explore the inland area of a specific island more. With one way sailing you do have enough time, but you still can't relax completely, since you have to keep going on.
The only other disadvantage of sailing versus driving between Split and Dubrovnik is in cases of bad weather or stronger wind (which happens rarely in season here, but can still affect a day or two of your holiday). Having to follow a specific direction might be uncomfortable, while at the same time, with the same weather, so much fun if you take another direction. Additionally, most of the winds here blow along the coast, and so does 'maestral', our lovely daily summer breeze that helps us survive the heat and the one which you'll sail with most of the days. For enjoyable and efficient sailing, you want to avoid the up/down coast direction, and instead catch the wind from the side, meaning the most natural direction is to go towards the islands or open sea.
Regarding the cost, you would spend a similar amount whether you drive or sail, although it mostly depends on the number of people and the means of transport you choose for the road trip. For sailing one way, you'd need to cover the expenses of the fuel and one skipper's fee (320€). And for the ride you need to rent a car or a car/van with a driver. If you'd like to save, you can always get on one of the frequent local coaches, but make sure you reserve the tickets in advance, since it gets quite busy in season. Also, this way you won't be able to stop by along the way, but at least you'll enjoy a spectacular coastal scenery.
And a little note to finish off, although it is not within the topic of this article… If your idea of a perfect holiday is relaxing, exploring unknown places and experiencing the local and traditional way of life, I would strongly suggest you skip very popular and touristy places. What I want to say is that if you are not fishing for a perfect selfie in front of a tower of Dubrovnik old town, or dancing along with celebrities in Hvar with an expensive cocktail in your hand, just relax and let the wind take you wherever. It is very hard to make a mistake when choosing a place to go to in here. And in 10 years, when you remember your Croatian holiday, it won't be the moment you took that selfie or drank that cocktail. It will probably be that awesome moment you jumped in the crystal clear water, just a second after you woke up from a lazy afternoon nap, in some anonymous cove, who knows where… Or that amazing sunset you watched from the bow, with your feet hanging over the side, toes spreading to touch the water…