Well, to hire a Croatia private yacht charter seemed the perfect option, since I wanted to stay away from the crowds as much as possible and travel at the same time. Visiting and exploring the alluring Croatian islands was already a part of my original plans, so why not doing that from a sailing boat.
Taking a private yacht trip, actually means to live on your very own "moving island". And without knowing , the combination of island hoping and living aboard was what I really wanted from the very start.
As the first COVID-19 outburst was nearly over, I contacted a charter agency that my sister recommended and hired a sailing yacht Oceanis 38.1 with local Croatian skipper which was a great choice for the two of us as it later turned out.
Here you can find some tips on how to rent a yacht in Croatia.
The border crossing and reaching Croatia was quite easy since Croatia issued a online document (Enter Croatia) for an easier and safer border crossing. In fact, Active Sailing agency prepared all the necessary documents and papers for us to easier reach our yacht moored in a lovely town Biograd, only 15 minute drive from Zadar. Marina was huge and literally surrounding the complete town. With countless sailboat and catamaran charters, we were bit concerned to get there on time. But everything went smoothly and we reached our Biograd yacht charter in early afternoon hours.
The marina staff and skipper Mario was already waiting for at the charter office and helped us at the check in and embarkation. They also offered us the assistance at groceries and delivered them aboard. Which was so welcoming since we flew to Zadar airport and didn't have a car.
As I mentioned a 38-foot sailboat rental was perfect sized for the 2 of us and our skipper. Each had their own cabin with separate bathroom, that I found extra cozy. The fridge was huge and there was also a freezer installed, cabins were spacious and bright absorbing lots of natural light. The charter agency was amazing: everything went out with a swing and on a highly professional level.
Croatia had a very strict lockdown in past months, which resulted in a low-level coronavirus outburst. Nevertheless, the charter staff kept a high standard, considering the frequency of the people chartering their yachts on weekly basis. The boat was thoroughly disinfected and very clean with fresh bed linen, while our boarding took every precaution (wearing masks in closed space, keeping social distance, disinfecting and washing hands).
Before we were ready to sail away, I got a feeling that Croatia yacht holidays experience is quite close to a 5-star hotel (but far better), and everything you need, is already aboard. A sailboat also assures full privacy and the luxury of constant movement and discovering new places every day. The only thing different is that you prepare your own meals, which in Corona time is perhaps even better, then eating outside in crowded restaurants...but we tried that too.
Since the Croatian islands are famous of seafood delicious cuisine it would be a sin not to try it. As our skipper Mario explained that due to the Coronavirus there are almost 50% less tourists coming to Croatia in 2020 then the last summer and it shouldn't be a problem to find a free seat.
Since I already had some sailing experiences from daily sailing trips on my father's motor boat, I was not a complete newbie. Even though we were both quite familiar with the sailing procedures, Mario (skipper) had a quick briefing about the safety aboard, which was none the less, really comforting. And suddenly I felt a strange kind of excitement, since our adventure was about to start.
A private sailing trip is probably the most flexible and hassle-free vacation you can take. Sailboat is really a synonym for a complete freedom, despite the fact, that you should constantly monitor the weather conditions. That is why I recommend to hire a crewed yacht charter Croatia.
You can go wherever you want, whenever you want and simply decide about your itineraries on daily basis. There is absolutely no rush, especially if you want to blend in and really feel the beauty of the seaman's life and the heartbeat of the country you are visiting.
We took the recommendations from our skipper and followed the Zadar sailing route. And it was a welcoming tip. We explored and admired the landscapes of 3 impressive national parks (Kornati, Krka waterfalls and Telascica cliffs), discovered the charming island Kaprije and had an amazing culinary experience there in a typical family-run restaurant (Konoba). The island specialty is grilled bream and octopus under the bell.
Regarding to COVID-19 situations, we only visited the places on secluded islands. The perfect blend of the green and the blue with fragrant scents of Mediterranean landscapes and the hospitality of indigents, was beyond my expectations.
And the most surprising thing was, that wherever we decided to go, everything was vacant. The maritime traffic was very low, we got a free berth in almost every marina, we anchored in completely isolated coves with no one around, surrounded with the crystal-clear Adriatic. We were simply enjoying life and relaxing in a gentle swing of our yacht.
We also got lucky with the period of our trip, since we chose end of June - the best time to sail Croatia. The weather was simply glorious, so we stayed at anchor most of the time, prepared our meals in a fully stuffed yacht's galley, only stopped for groceries and fresh vegetables on Dugi Otok in a nice fishing village Sali where we also bought fresh fish at the local market.
Swimming in a warm sea in a romantic cove, I almost forgot how stressful and unpredictable the worldwide situation was not even 3 months ago. And suddenly I realized, that my vacation is coming to an end...
Sadly, every good thing always (too fast) comes to an and end. After 7-days of living a life of a vagrant, we docked in our home marina in Biograd and took a farewell from our new friends. As it turned out, nobody got infected during the trip (and apparently no positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed among Croatia yacht charters), but we are one priceless experience richer.
There are 3 things I need to say at the end.
1. Thanks to my sister for recommending me a sailing trip in Croatia and Active Sailing agency for an amazing sailing experience
2. Regardless the fact, that travelling during the Corona time is not entirely carefree, this was best vacation ever
3. The next year I will definitely take a sailing trip form Pula, Istria, since it is even closer to my home in Munich and easy reachable by car. Despite the possibility that the Corona restrictions will come into force again, I will make it somehow.
Katharina P. Munich, Germany