Updated: Aug 15, 2019
Europe beckoned us. Captain K and I had not been to Europe, together since 2010. so we decided to use our reciprocal benefits through the Moorings to see Croatia like the Greeks who first settled it, from a boat. Cruising the smaller islands of Croatia from a small yacht or sailboat, has all the history and culture of a European vacation with all the autonomy and connection to nature of bareboating. The delight comes in seeing these islands up close and at a slower pace.
Our first stop… Starigrad on the Island of Hvar. Nestled into the end of a long bay, this is the oldest city on the island and one of the oldest in Europe. It was founded by the Greeks in 300 BC. and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site that also includes the farming areas on the Starigrad plain.
We moored on the old side of the town quay. Along the waterfront, locals, boat captains and visitors alike stop for an evening cocktail to ease into nightfall. Here I found the perfect place to try my first Aperol Spritz. Through the cobble stoned streets of old town, dinner was at the chef owned and operated Konoba Batana. The grilled octopus salad and whole grilled fish was succulent, fresh and characteristic of a traditional Mediterranean meal.
Sipping our morning cappuccino in the square directly in front of the Palace Biankini, a road along the sparkling bay beckoned us for a walk. The path along the water was hidden in the shade of beautiful pine trees and smelled of lavender. While we only spent one night in this peaceful place, we made plans for our return, to explore the vineyards and olive groves on the Stari Grad Plain by bike, and spend some time sunbathing on the large flat rock beach.
Sailing around Hvar Island, we stopped for panoramic pictures in Hvar Town Harbour. We picked up a mooring ball at St. Klement Island, in the Pakleni Islands, just to the west of Hvar Town. There is a beautiful harbour with 50 mooring balls and access to restaurants and gardens. The daytime vibe was definitely vibrant, with day boats playing music, sailors, dancing, and clothing optional, but as the sun set, serenity came with the darkness.
A quick walk through the gardens brings you to the large marina in Palmizana bay. We grabbed a water taxi and headed across the channel to explore Hvar Town. Here, the waterfront is bustling with Mediterranean “party vibe”. Mega yachts and cruise ships line one side of the harbor with smaller yachts and water taxis mixed in. On the opposite side of the bay are mooring balls & pier space for smaller vessels. At the top of the hill over Hvar Town is Fortica Spanjola (Spanish Fort). Dating back to the 16th century, it has protected the city of Hvar Town from pirates and invaders for centuries. The spectacular views make the walk worth every step. At the nice shaded cafe on top, we enjoyed a glass of wine with views.
As we walked back to the waterfront, we admired the beautiful architecture of Hvar Town, including the Benedictine Convent which houses a lace museum, St. Stephens church with its rectangular bell tower, and the Arsenal Building that has the worlds oldest continual theater in it. Stopping for a cocktail on the waterfront we spent a delightful hour watching the people walk by. As the sun set, our water taxi took us back to St. Klement Island and a delicious dinner of grilled prawns and local fish at Restaurant Zori, overlooking the now peaceful bay.