One of her personal favourite destinations, Debbie Marcow has been organising charters for clients in Croatia for over ten years. A beautiful destination to explore by yacht, not only does the Croatian coastline and its many islands offer historic towns, secluded anchorages with crystal-clear waters, and hidden beaches only accessible by boat, the country’s fine-dining scene has accelerated in recent years.
“There’s been an explosion of Michelin-star restaurants in Croatia over the last three years, especially between Dubrovnik, Hvar and Split,” explains Debbie. “You often need to book these restaurants six months in advance because they’re usually small and intimate and highly sought after. But even before the Michelin-star restaurants arrived, all the clients I’ve sent to Croatia over the years have had amazing experiences.”
“There’s been an explosion of Michelin-star restaurants in Croatia over the last three years, especially between Dubrovnik, Hvar and Split”
Debbie’s most successful itinerary in Croatia is a one-way itinerary from Dubrovnik to Split. Visiting many of the islands dotted along the coast, clients are able see Croatia’s greatest accolades in seven days while only spend a maximum of three-to-four hours cruising between destinations each day.
Starting in Dubrovnik, the itinerary offers guests the chance to explore the mixture of Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture in the Old Town. While the yacht is anchored in a quiet bay close by, guests should also experience Michelin-star restaurant 360 for dinner.
The next stop is Pelješac – a narrow peninsula with a scenic landscape of rugged mountains, idyllic coves, and tranquil beaches. It is also renowned as Croatia’s wine region, with plentiful opportunities to visit vineyards and wineries for wine tastings. Grgić Vina stands out due to its dramatic location on a headland above the village of Trstenik. Debbie also recommends dining at Gastro Mare in Kobas for a fresh seafood lunch.
Arriving at the historical island of Korčula, the yacht can anchor off so that guests can visit Korčula town by tender. The birthplace of Marco Polo, the town is full of Ventian-gothic architecture while the island’s interior is scattered with dense forests, olive groves and traditional villages. Debbie recommends that guests enjoy dinner at Lešić Dimitri – a Michelin-starred restaurant in the old town on the water’s edge.
The small island of Lastovo and its surrounding archipelago is preserved as a Croatian Nature Park and is a haven for nature lovers. There are only a handful of restaurants on Lastovo but the fresh, local cuisine is hard to beat. Debbie suggests guests try Augusta Insula, a restaurant serving traditional cuisine overlooking the sea in Zaklopatica.
As Croatia’s most famous destination, Hvar is a must for any charter itinerary in Croatia. Known for its vibrant restaurants, beach bars and clubs, Hvar also has a peaceful side with secluded beaches and quaint villages. Debbie recommends guests walk up to the fortress in Hvar town to enjoy the spectacular view, and head to the Hula Hula beach bar for some sundowners and a party. Gariful restaurant – another spot to watch the sunset – serves a delicious fish lunch or dinner.
Šibenik sits at the mouth of the Krka River and is one of the oldest towns in Croatia. According to Debbie, the beautiful old town is worth exploring, with the Cathedral of St. James a particular highlight. Several high-end seafood restaurants can be found hidden amongst the town’s winding streets, including the Michelin-starred Pelegrini. Housed in an ancient palace, Pelegrini has been voted Croatia’s best restaurant several years in a row. While in the area, Debbie also recommends a visit to Krka National Park, known for its series of lakes and waterfalls.
The islands of Brač and Šolta can be visited in the same day. Brač is renowned for its pure white limestone, used to construct both the Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the White House in Washington, DC. Water sports and snorkelling are best off Zlatni Rat beach in the southern part of the island – the beach extends out into the sea, forming a sandy spit. The hilly island of Šolta is famed for its honey, with the herbs and shrubs that carpet the island creating the perfect habitat for beekeeping.
The final stop on the itinerary is Split, the second largest city in Croatia, where guests can explore Diocletian’s palace and wander through the cosmopolitan streets. Come sunset, the town is buzzing and there are plenty of dining options – Debbie suggests Štorija in the centre of town, or Dvor on the water’s edge. A short trip from Split is the Cetina River and Cetina River Spring where guests can experience an adventure-packed day rafting, swimming and hiking.