- Sailing Routes in Croatia
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Day 1: ACI marina Dubrovnik, Komolac, 0 NM
Amazing scenery around ACI marina Dubrovnik, encircled by high mountains in narrow and long bay of Rijeka Dubrovačka, is initial place for this route in southern part of Adriatic. It will take you to nearby Montenegro, quite small country but abundant with natural beauty, rich historical heritage as well as contemporary facilities for modern sailors and splendid nightlife.
But before departure there is also a lot of treasure to discover in staggering Dubrovnik old town and its lovely surroundings. Hence, take advantage of this opportunity and make an evening stroll through its narrow-cobbled streets and experience what it was like to live within massive and completely preserved fortified city walls several centuries ago. Opulent tradition sprouts from every single stone and recounts the incredible story about Dubrovnik Republic and its skilful citizens.
Day 2: ACI marina Dubrovnik – Cavtat, 12 NM
Let the small charming town of Cavtat be your first overnight stop on the way to Montenegro. It is only 12 nautical miles from ACI marina, hence during the navigation you have plenty of time to adapt to boat life but also to enjoy stunning view of Dubrovnik old town fortifications from the sea side. Don’t miss to drop the anchor and take a swim in some of the several beautiful spots on your way, at Lokrum island or somewhere in Župa Dubrovačka bay (Župski zaljev).
After buzzy atmosphere in Dubrovnik, Cavtat provides much quieter environment to spend a night. Berths for the yachts are usually occupied by many super yachts, but if you come early enough you can maybe get a place on the waterfront in Luka Cavtat Bay. Otherwise, anchoring in the same bay is another convenient solution, as well as in the northern Tiha bay, just around beautiful Cavtat peninsula. Besides antique Roman remains and other interesting sights to visit, there are also many cafes and diners to pleasantly finish the first day of the cruise.
In Cavtat there is also a maritime Border Crossing Office and Harbour Master Office where you need to carry out formalities before leaving Croatian waters. Have in mind that you must do it the next morning, right before setting sail towards Montenegro, because after that moment you are not allowed to stop or anchor (for example for swimming) in Croatian Territorial sea except in case of emergency or propulsion failurey.
Day 3: Cavtat – Budva, Montenegro, 35 NM
After completing bureaucratic procedure for leaving Croatia in Cavtat, direct the bow of your boat to south-east and prepare for quite a distance: 35-miles of sailing on the open sea. Just follow steep and high coastline which doesn’t invite for anchoring, even if it was allowed, and after passing by Cape Oštra you will enter Montenegrin waters. For the same reasons here is prohibited to stop along the way as well, before check-in at Border Crossing Office and completion of all the paper work – which you can carry out only in Marina Zelenika in Herceg Novi.
Your next stop is Dukley Marina Budva, right next to Budva historic town, where the only berthing possibilities in the area exist. Hence, it would be smart to book a berth in advance. But for sure you won’t be disappointed because Dukley is a excellent marina with great location and all the necessary facilities and services for boaters. When finally safely moored, small but quite attractive medieval town complex, completely built of stone, is waiting to amaze you.
Budva was founded by ancient Greeks, afterwards occupied by Romans which left many remains that can still be seen. In the old part, besides churches and fortresses, you will find numerous nice shops, galleries and boutiques, as well as fine bars, taverns and restaurants. Furthermore, Budva Riviera is the most popular holiday destination in Montenegro thanks to 35 beautiful sandy beaches and countless hotels and resorts, hence it offers unforgettable nightlife for tireless clubbers.
Day 4: Budva – Porto Montenegro, Tivat, 24 NM
From vivid Budva there are 24 nautical miles to your next destination, Porto Montenegro, situated in the second part of vast Boka Kotorska bay, Bay of Tivat. But before sailing into this magical, fjord-like bay surrounded by stupendous and mighty mountains, on the southern side of Luštica peninsula find one among the several lovely coves and beaches and make a pause for swimming. Near Vučja bay there is even a beautiful Blue cave, worth a visit, as well as Mirišta beach.
When you pass by Mamula islet recognizable by interesting circular fortress from 19th century, you will enter famous Boka Kotorska bay. This astonishing and oddly serene area, deeply indented into Montenegro mainland, consists of four parts named by belonging towns. Sailing its calm waters represents really unique and thrilling experience, while passing by picturesque settlements with tiny harbours, aged stone-built mansions and monasteries reminds of the extraordinary rich past.
More than enjoyable experience will doubtlessly continue after you safely tie down your boat in Porto Montenegro, one of the best and most luxurious marinas not only in the country, but in the Adriatic or even Mediterranean as well. It was built at the site of an old naval military base and yard, which can be discovered in a dedicated Naval Heritage Collection Museum, whose greatest attraction is a real P821 submarine. Other attractions in Porto Montenegro include deluxe Regent hotel, speciality and fashion shops, superb bars and restaurants, as well as attractive Yacht Club Pool & Beach.
Day 5: Porto Montenegro – Kotor, 8 NM
Only 8 nautical miles distant is your next destination, the “capital” town of the bay, attractive Kotor, to which you have to pass through the 2300 meters long Verige Strait, only 340 meters wide at its narrowest point. The whole Boka Kotorska bay is named after it although it’s located at the very bottom of the bay, below the steep slopes of the potent surrounding mountains reaching up to almost 1900 meters in height.
After passing Verige Strait you will enter second part of the bay, even more beautiful and mystical, with less settlements but much more fulfilled with natural phenomena and abundant heritage from turbulent history. You will first encounter two lovely neighbouring islets with belonging churches, St. George and Lady of Škrpjel, built in the first half of the 17th century and which you can visit. Before berthing at port of Kotor you can stop in one of several picturesque towns like Perast, known for its glorious captains and numerous stone palaces and chapels, or Risan, Prčanj and Dobrota.
Labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets, baroque and renaissance houses, palaces and churches make up unique medieval Kotor centre protected since 1979. as UNCESCO world heritage. In fact, the whole bay is under a somewhat milder protection regime. For the amazing views take a 30-minutes climb to the 16th century San Giovanni fortress overlooking the town and bay, or even rent a car and drive up the mountains to nearby Njeguši village for a slice of domestic smoked-ham or even to the magnificent Lovćen National Park to enjoy intact nature.
Day 6: Kotor – Herceg Novi, 12 NM
Some of the above-mentioned activities you can also carry out next morning, before leaving Kotor, given that to Herceg Novi harbour is only 12 nautical miles of navigation left. There are many other things to discover in Kotor and surroundings, just ask local cheerful residents and they will gladly guide you into all the secrets of the bay and its settlements.
On the way to Herceg Novi, but before entering Verige Strait, head out less than two miles towards Risan, known for the remnants of classical culture and dominated by a Roman villa with beautiful mosaic floors. Near Risan astonishing waterfall at Sopot spring appears occasionally as well. If you don’t have luck with waterfall, you will for sure be more than happy if you visit exquisite Ćatovića Mlini restaurant in Morinj, located in an old mill with spectacular scenery.
In Herceg Novi moorings are at the large waterfront in harbour, just beneath the cliff with marvellous old town surrounded by walls. It displays a fine blend of romantic, Byzantine and oriental architectural styles, due to varied occupations during the history. There are several historical towers such as Forte Mare, Sahat and Kanli kula, as well as many shops, bars or restaurants. Herceg Novi attracts a lot of artists, painters, musicians or writers so it hosts several international festivals.
Day 7: Herceg Novi – ACI marina Dubrovnik, 35 NM
Don’t forget to carry out border crossing formalities in Herceg Novi and try to leave it not too late, since to your home port there are around 35 nautical miles of sailing. In fact, after 23 miles Cavtat should be intermediate stop where you must complete the entering procedure back to Croatia.
Another 12 miles is left to ACI marina, but as your berth is waiting for you there, you don’t need to hurry. Hence, you have the whole afternoon to further explore wonderful Dubrovnik archipelago, to find a secret cove for your last day on the boat, and to relax and enjoy.