Stretching along the Adriatic Coast, you’re never too far from the deep Dalmatian waters while exploring Croatia, and even more so when you’re travelling by liveaboard. So what’s there to do? (I mean besides looking at the endless and effortless views??)
After sailing through Croatia with Busabout’s Island Hopper I was introduced to a whole new side of Europe that I’d never seen before… and here’s some of the best experiences I found…
? Try some traditional Peka at Hora Winery
The perfect start to any journey in Croatia, Hora Winery is just a short drive away from Stari Grad port on the island of Hvar. As well as growing a range of organic produce, Hora Winery sources a variety of delicate wines made with grapes sourced from the island itself.
The winery hosts a delicious 3 course meal and olive oil tasting paired with included drinks; 2 whites, a red and a rose. Between your courses of traditional Dalmatian Peka you can wander through the grapevines and meet the few donkeys that live on the grounds. During the right season the neighbouring lavender field boasts a vibrant purple colour. Guests can also explore the small lavender pressing museum sat beside the restaurant.
On Busabout’s Island Hopper tour, Hora Farm is where the first night is spent. As a group optional (though everyone does it), you can enjoy the 3-course meal with included drinks. Though dubbed by our guide as a “quiet night”, this is the first night that the whole new crew gets together and gets to know each other. The wine is particularly cheap so many opt to order more along with their food – a “not so quiet night”…
⛑️ Explore the nightlife of Hvar – Kiva Bar anyone?
A great example of Croatian nightlife, Kiva Bar is a small club separated into two buildings joined only by an alleyway. The two buildings host one larger room with a dancefloor, and one smaller room dedicated mostly to the bar and the famous Kiva Shots. The Kiva shot (or the Tequila Boom) is a “military tequila shot” that involves the bartender handing the patron a military helmet, swirling up a glass of tequila, slamming the drink on the helmet a few times and then giving the drink to the patron to finish – I mean, why not?!
Kiva Bar is the first stop on your guided Busabout barcrawl – one of the best opportunities to get out and party with your new crew.
? Float alongside the boat every morning
Swim stop guysssss!! Swim stop!
One of the best experiences in the entirety of Croatia is also one of the simplest. The pure and ultimate bliss of floating under the warm Summer sun. With deep Dalmatian waters it’s the perfect way to cool off and spend your days relaxing. You can tiptoe, jump or dive into the crisp blue water and then help yourself to one of the many floaties you’ll see around Croatia.
When sailing with Busabout there’s a swim stop every morning before lunch.
? Go for a bike ride in Mljet’s National Park
Though one of Croatia’s largest islands, Mljet is one of the more undiscovered destinations dotted along the coastline. Most of the island is occupied by the National Park which is its most popular drawpoint. Visitors must pay an entry fee to enter the park, and if they want to visit the smaller island of Melita (Sveta Marija) they can also purchase a ferry ticket.
The National Park is the best place for swimming, sunbathing, kayaking and bike riding. For just €5 you can rent a bike and follow the National Park’s trail that circles the islands two salt-water lakes.
While travelling with Busabout, Mljet is the 3rd stop on the Split > Split Island Hopper.
? Have lunch with your Busabout family (and don’t forget the bell!)
One of the few things that we miss while travelling is the effortless bliss of a family meal.
While sailing Croatia with Busabout there’s an included lunch onboard every day. Most meals consist of a soup for starters, pasta or risotto for the main, and a variety of desserts. Despite the food, the most exciting part of the experience is the bell. Ohhh the bell. By the bar hangs a bell, once rung it buys everyone on board a shot – whether you were in the mood for one or not! Our bartender Dino (the legend!) made a rule that anyone caught using their phones during family meals would have to ring the bell. It’s almost sad how often it rang…
? Explore Dubrovnik with a Game of Thrones Walking Tour
Dubrovnik, otherwise known as King’s Landing, is the home to some of the most iconic scenes in Game of Thrones history. I was personally blown away with just how much it felt like stepping into the world of Targaryens and Lanisters just by looking at it.
While travelling with Busabout one of the optional unincluded activities is the Game of Thrones Walking Tour. Before the tour is due to begin the cash required is given to your leader who handles it all with the Game of Thrones guide. After an introduction, the tour trails down by the waterfront and up into Fort Lovrijenac (entry included in the price) which offers an amazing view over Dubrovnik. The guide carries a large binder filled with images from the scenes so that you can picture it up close and personal. While she details all the ins and outs of the scenes you’re also free to wander around.
From the Fort the tour continues back down and into Old Town towards the Baroque stairs – the filming location for Cersei’s famous Walk of Shame. The tour ends at a souvenir shop and gelatery where you can get discounted gifts and a shot in a replica of the Iron Throne.
? Take in the panoramic views from Dubrovnik’s Cable Car
Dubrovnik’s Cable Car is one of the best ways to take in the panoramic views of this incredible destination. Built back in 1969, on a clear day the lookout offers views of up to 60kms away, from towering over the rooftops of Old Town to the neighbouring towns. The best place to find tickets is at the bottom of the cable car itself – this is just a short walk away from old town. The journey up is quite short, but there’s multiple spots to take in the view from the top. As well there are facilities such as bathrooms, snack bars, a restaurant and outdoor experiences like buggy driving.
While visiting Dubrovnik with Busabout you’re given plenty of free time to wander the city. The Cable Car is just one of the many things you can do before meeting up with your group later on.
? ☠️ Rave in a Cave at Makarska ‘s Pirate Party
Not only the picture-perfect location to watch the sunset, Deep Makarska is a club located within a natural cave on the beach. You can party inside the cave or enjoy the fresh air out on the terrace or sunbeds that are laying right beside the waterfront. Deep Makarska is also a famous spot for residential and international DJs so it’s worth researching ahead of your visit!
If you’re visiting with Busabout your guide will walk you up to the door for your free-entry! For Busabout and just about every other sailboat docked in Makarska – this is the pirate party night! Everyone visits the local Pirate Shop during the day and gets their gear ready for a night of stripes and eye-patches. Just about everyone in Deep Makarska is dressed up with their Croatian singlets and captains hats so it’s one of the best nights of the week to get out and dress up with everyone.
As well, more often than not the boats will all be docked right beside the entrance to the club.
☀️ Take in the sunset at Marjan Hill
Now I don’t know about you, but searching for perfect sunset spots and panoramic views while exploring new places is always on my bucketlist – especially when I’ve got time to kill. Split has a view different view points, but Marjan Hill by the entrance to Park offers one of the best. With cotton candy skies and an overlook of Split Port it’s a must-do if you’ve got a night free while staying in Split. The walk up is just a short distance from the centre of town, and if you’re feeling peckish, there’s also a restaurant beside the viewpoint.
Busabout’s Split to Split Island Hopper as the name says starts and finishes in Split. Whether before your tour or after it’s a great place just to wander around with your tourmates when you;re after an easy night.
?️ Explore Plitvice Lakes
Though un-included in the Island Hopper, the Croatian Adventure is a two day tour that commences after the Island Hopper has finished. This trip included an overnight journey with one day at Krka falls and the following at Plitvice Lakes. Whether with Busabout or not, almost everyone ended their Croatian journeys with a trip to the lakes and waterfalls a few hours north of Split.