I’m just off my one-week catamaran sailing trip with Yacht Getaways and excited to share the experience with you guys!
Picture this: you and your friends, lounging off the back of a boat in Croatia, sipping Prosecco and snacking on fresh fruit while the boat skipper navigates you from one island to the next.
Some afternoons the most significant decision we had to make was whether we wanted to swim off the back of the boat in a private cove the skipper found or just lounge around reading or listening to podcasts.
I joined Yacht Getaways for their Split to Dubrovnik route, but they also offer routes in Italy, Montenegro, Turkey, and Greece. I’m already considering organizing a trip next summer on their Turkish route.
So, let’s get into it—I’m going to tell you all about it and what you can expect if you book the same trip for yourself.
From Split to Dubrovnik with Yacht Getaways
First of all– how does it work? Keep in mind I’m giving you information about the specific route that I did, and they’re all a little different, but this should let you know what to expect in general.
The boats can hold 8-10 guests, depending on what size you book. That’s 8-10 guests before your crew, made up of a hostess and a skipper. The skipper is the captain who sails the boat and overall makes sure you’re safe. The hostess prepares meals, drinks, and snacks and overall is just there to spoil you, as our hostess liked to say. The hostess can even help you make arrangements for the nightly dinner you do off of the boat, help find taxis, etc. Our hostess was a great source of local knowledge and recommendations.
So, as I just mentioned, there’s one meal per day off of the boat—dinner. You sleep on the boat each night and wake up for breakfast and some optional (but highly recommended) swimming before the skipper navigates you to the next island that you’ll be visiting that day.
Along the way, the skipper will find coves for swimming—we lucked out several times and had the coves completely to ourselves. On other days, we would make stops to swim in caves before stopping for lunch.
Speaking of lunch—I’ll get more into it later, but the food on board was mostly great. Of course, this will be dependent on the cooking skills of your hostess, but ours really made a big effort.
Also, for my fellow foodie-obsessed travelers—you might think a week on a boat isn’t a great way to explore the local food scene, but you’d be wrong! Changing from one island to the next each day allowed us to taste not only national dishes but hyper-local dishes as well.
For example, on the island of Ston, they are known for their mussels and oysters. I was able to sample both raw and cooked oysters that night!
Now, let’s get into the particulars of my trip. If you want to check out the route I did, here’s the link. We largely stuck to this route, but the skipper, Hugo, did make some suggestions based on weather and attractions he knew were open that time of year, which we happily accepted.
I won’t give you a complete breakdown of day by day because your route could change slightly, but I will share with you some of the highlights so you know what to expect, as well as some of my best suggestions about things to see/do when you’re off the boat.
Day 1, leaving from Trogir: The 3:30 meeting time gives you time for a hotel breakfast and then leave your luggage at the front desk while you explore the old town.
You could opt to stay in Split, but we stayed in Trogir as both the marina and airport are both closer to Trogir than Split, with the marina actually being located in Trogir.
However, if you have a day or two extra to extend your trip, you could stay a night in Split before the trip starts and then book an extra night in Dubrovnik on the way out.
For lunch, find a restaurant on the water and try local dishes or, my best suggestion, do as I did and try to ignore the fact that you’re about to be in a bathing suit every day for the next week and make your way to Bubalus Burger Bar for a handcrafted gourmet burger and fries.
Go for the sweet potato fries with truffle and Grana Padano while you’re at it. You might as well throw in one of their craft beers—this is the official start of your vacation!
I know it’s not exactly Croatian food, but you’ll have plenty of time to try local Croatian dishes on the trip; besides, they do integrate a lot of local Croatian foods into their burgers.
If you prefer to stick closer to the meeting point, you could grab lunch at Bocel, located directly next to the meeting point. Tourist prices and portions but the view is nice.
The meeting point is actually a cafe that serves sandwiches and burgers if you want to save the splurge meals until you’ve started sailing.
After lunch, grab your luggage and meet the crew to be introduced to your boatmates where you’ll all take part in safety briefing and boat tour before you set sail!
The first day was not a lot of sail time before we ended up on the island of Solta. This was a great/easy start to the trip. Be sure to ask your hostess about having dinner at Šišmiš – a great local restaurant with impressive views. We shared a whole roasted fish, and it was some of the best fish we had the entire week—and we had a lot of fish!
After a lot of food and more than a little wine shared around the table getting to know our fellow passengers, we took the dinghy back to the boat for our first night sleeping on board.
Day 2: The next morning, waking up to the smell of coffee and the sounds of your boatmates that are earlier risers than you, walking upstairs to find a plate of hot pancakes waiting on you—not a bad way to start our first full day on board!
We shared breakfast, swam, and then cruised to Stari Grad, the oldest town in Croatia.
Stari Grad has an impressive history dating back to 384 BC when it was established by Greek settlers under its original name, Pharos. With a heritage spanning more than 2,400 years, the town still displays traces of its ancient Greek origins.
We had time to explore the town and take photos before having a pre-dinner drink at one of my favorite finds of the trip – Lampedusa. It’s hard to miss as it has a prime location, but the hours didn’t match up to what Google Maps advertised. We found them opening just in time for a couple of drinks before we had to meet the crew to make our way to dinner. I highly suggest the fig negroni.
That night’s dinner was a fish peka on winery Hora Hvar. If you’re not familiar with a peka, you’ll likely have it more than once during your trip. A peka is a customary cooking technique where meat and vegetables are slow-cooked in a covered metal or clay baking dish. I’ve never had it made in a clay dish before; the metal seems to be the most popular.
The dish is placed in a fireplace or nestled in hot coals, where the slow cooking method helps to create intense flavors. Before I had only seen lamb pekas, but tonight they prepared a peka made up of whole roasted fish!
Hora Hvar was maybe my personal favorite night of the trip because of its stunning setting and family-run restaurant and winery featuring wines you can’t find outside of Croatia, made of grapes exclusive to this area.
This is another reason why booking a trip with Yacht Getaways is a good idea—I would have never found this place without Rhea, our hostess, suggesting it!
Pro-tip: Come for dinner at Hora Hvar at sunset for the golden hour; it was truly stunning.
Also in Hvar be sure to check out O Bar for drinks specials. A lot of the bars and restaurants have tourist prices, but we found some great drink specials at O Bar before dinner.
And after dinner, we had a nightcap at Backlane, which I highly recommend.
Speaking of dinner in Havar, we ate at Giaxa, and while the food was good but not the best of the trip, the service was top-notch. We especially like the Croatian sushi appetizer.
The next day (my actual birthday!) we sailed to Lumbarda, but not before stopping to explore this cave:
I had been awake for less than 10 minutes before I was diving off the side of the boat and swimming into a cave! Definitely a birthday first for me, but it’s one I won’t forget.
When you dock in Lumbarda, be sure to start the visit with a wine tasting at Casa Boschi, a small family-run winery with gorgeous views of the bay of Korcula. Be sure to sample one of their charcuterie boards—a classic or seafood version. Or, do we like what we did and order both! The anchovy-stuffed peppers on the seafood board were the best bite of the night!
After our wine tasting, we grabbed a quick taxi ride to the larger city of Korcula to try for sunset drinks at Massimo’s on a friend’s recommendation but there was a line out the door. Maybe ask your hostess to reserve you a table the day before.
As much as we were loving Croatian food, we were craving something different, so my birthday dinner was wine, pasta, and pizza at San Marcos. The pizza was delicious, the pasta was average. The wine, well, Croatian wine rarely disappoints.
The next day we cruised along, switching from using the motor to using the sails for the first time to a national park on Mljet Island.
We rented e-bikes to explore the lake, and while it was a good way to spend the afternoon, we found it overpriced at 55 euros per person (30 for the bike rental and another 25 for the park entrance). Another couple on the boat loved it and found it to be a good value, so it depends on how much you love e-bikes.
I suppose to be fair, it’s such a small town, I don’t know what we would have done otherwise, other than lounge around the boat or stroll the town.
For tonight’s dinner, it was one of the groups favorite dinners of the trip—octopus and or lamb peka at Antika.
The lamb peka is the most common and the one I’m more familiar with, but as we had a pescatarian in the group, our hostess Rhea also arranged to have an octopus peka prepared as well. I still love the lamb peka the most, but the octopus version was delicious as well!
On our next and final day, we set sail for Dubrovnik, one of the most gorgeous cities in Croatia and, of course, made even more famous by Game of Thrones.
We made use of the sails again this day and took our time, stopping for our second cave swim of the trip. This time we swam under a rocky entrance into the blue cave, where it looked as if the water was almost glowing from inside the cave.
I had been in Dubrovnik during my first time in Croatia, but my friend hadn’t been, so rather than stay in the small town we docked in, we decided to grab an Uber into town to explore Dubrovnik.
The historic center is small but gorgeous. We spent a couple of hours walking around taking photos before finding some pre-dinner drinks.
These are the places I can recommend you to check out while in Dubrovnik: We stopped in for a glass of wine at D’vino Wine Bar and loved the hole in the wall. vibe. We only had a glass, but they also had wine flights you could try and small plates of food. The charcuterie plate looked great, but we were saving our appetites.
Directly across from D’vino was a craft beer spot named Glam Bar that looked cool, but we didn’t make it in. Next time I’ll be sure to check it out.
Dinner was at Dalmatino, which was really good but not the best meal of the trip. The service was great though. Be sure to make a reservation in advance if you want to sit outside. We turned up last minute and were seated indoors.
We joined our new friends from the boat for one last nightcap at Buzz Bar (really great classic Negroni’s) before making our way back to the boat.
The next morning we had to be our early (by 9 am) so the cleaners could turn the boat over for the next passengers arriving later that same day. We packed and said our goodbyes, and while there was no final breakfast, Rhea was nice enough to send us off with a small something to hold us over.
We had a couple of hours to kill until we needed to be at the airport, so we hung out inside the marina at Yacht Club Zephrus. The vibe was the best we found of any of the restaurants around the yacht club, and there’s a pool and showers nearby you can use. The food was nothing memorable, but it’s a good place to kill time and get some work done, and if you’re traveling with kids, they’ll likely love the pool.
All in all, it was a pretty perfect trip, and we loved it so much that we are already talking about checking out one of Yacht Getaways’ other routes next summer, likely the Turkish or Greek trips.
A couple of FAQ’s, or the things I wanted to know before I got on board:
How small are the rooms? Very small, I’m not going to lie. But, the rooms are really only just for sleeping and showering. And our bed was surprisingly comfortable! Do try to pack light (carry-on only if you can) because there’s not a ton of storage space.
We didn’t spend much time in the room. There’s limited electricity during the day and it’s much cooler up top. Cooler, and much more gorgeous! You’re cruising between Croatian islands- you don’t want to be in your room missing the scenery.
What do you eat while on board? As I mentioned, this largely depends on your hostess and their cooking level and what can be found locally, but we mostly loved the food we had onboard.
I found the food to be largely healthy, and there was always plenty to go around.
Breakfasts ranged from omelets to cereal to croissant sandwiches with fresh croissants our hostess picked up in a village we stopped in.
Lunches included chicken pasta dishes
cheesy baked eggplant dishes
huge salads, and my favorite dish—tuna croquettes with an anchovy potato salad.
You certainly won’t go hungry on your trip!
Like I mentioned before, all the dinners are off the boat. Your hostess can make suggestions or reservations for you or you can explore the town and find a place that looks good to you.
Our hostess also had great timing with snacks—we’d usually have a huge fruit plate waiting for us when we finished swimming or a medley of crunchy, salty snacks would hit the table just before dinner.
Wines are served with all lunches and the fridge is always stocked with local beers that you can grab whenever. A cold beer was appreciated after a swim!
Is there wifi and air conditioning on the boat? Speaking of limited electricity—wifi and aircon were two of my main concerns. The answer is yes, you do have both—usually.
Wifi we had almost always (again, this would likely depend on your route), even when we had no electricity to the rest of the boat, and we had aircon every evening to cool down our rooms but not always overnight. The wifi was so good, in fact, that one passenger was streaming Wimbledon in HD!
When we would dock, the crew would hook us up to electricity if it was available or use the generators to cool our rooms down, and then we would use a fan overnight.
What about seasickness? I was never seasick, and I never heard anyone on our boat complain about it, but we had largely smooth sailing. Again, this could change with your route or weather conditions, but for us, it was a non-issue. I would be sure to pack seasickness tablets, just in case.
Fortunately, we had no major issues during our time on board, but here are some of the smaller issues I had on and off the boat that you’ll likely encounter.
Keeping things charged (phones, smartwatches, etc.). During the day, the cabins and most of the boat do not have electricity. And at night, when the cabin does have electricity, there’s only one shared outlet.
There is one small area on the boat that has non-stop electricity, but it works off of a cigarette lighter adapter like you’d find in a car. Be sure to bring an external battery and charge your devices at night when you can.
Rocky beaches: bring water shoes! Many of Croatia’s beaches are rocky rather than sandy, so you want to make sure to pack your water shoes.
Using credit cards vs. cash: a lot of the restaurants, even nicer ones, are cash-only. Most towns have ATMs, but bring plenty of euros, especially when you’re visiting the smaller towns.
You’ll also want to have plenty of euros on hand for tipping your crew at the end of your trip. (FYI- I was told the normal tip for this kind of service is 10-15% of the total amount you paid to book the boat. We went on the high end because our crew certainly earned it, they were non-stop working!)
Pro-tip and my number one suggestion: the only way this experience could have been better was if we had gone private. There is an option for you and your family/friends to rent out the entire boat and if we book a trip for next summer we will do this.
We were fortunate to have a good group on board but had it been just friends and family it would have been even better. So, round up your favorite group of people and reach out to Yacht Getaways about booking your own trip!
Do you have any questions about spending a week on a catamaran? Ask in the comments, and I’ll be sure to answer!
Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.