Escape Travel Consultant Courtney Lippiatt recently spent two sun-drenched weeks sailing along the dazzling coastline of Croatia. Taking in many beaches and islands along the way, she also got the chance to go rafting, meet fascinating locals and encounter historic fort cities. Setting sail with On the Go Tours, she was left spellbound by the beauty and friendliness she discovered along the way. We had a chat to Courtney to hear her stories, sneak a pic at her fabulous pics, and get some top tips for sailing around this Mediterranean gem.
“This was my first time travelling to Croatia and it was simply amazing,” says Courtney.
“Croatia is beautiful – azure blue waters framed by white rocky cliffs and gorgeous greenery. It’s completely contrasting, but so great. The people are super nice and the scenery is completely out of this world.”
Croatia is not only home to incredible beaches that range from sandy secluded coves to rocky shores on city doorsteps, but also ancient architecture and impressive cultural treasures. On her sailing tour, Courtney weaved her way along the Adriatic coastline from Split to Dubrovnik and back again. After embarking in Split, home to the Roman ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, day two saw the tour group arrive on the island of Mljet.
“We went white water rafting near Mljet down a beautiful fresh water river. It started off easy, but as we progressed down the river it slowly got harder. It was so much fun and we ended up in a fresh water area where you can jump of the rocks and spend time sunbaking. We saw turtles, heaps of fish and even the odd swimming snake. The lakes of Mljet are a crazy blue colour. It’s truly unbelievable!”
The next stop was in stunning Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. Courtney loved it so much she says this is her number one tip to travellers – so don’t miss it. The ancient city walls stand high above the baroque buildings and marble streets of the Old City below, with the sea lapping at the fort wall on the other side. Courtney describes it as “feeling like you are in an episode of Game of Thrones”. The grandeur of this walled city is enchanting, but the local people are too, which Courtney discovered the following day in Trstenik, a village perched on peninsula jutting out into the ocean.
“We stopped at this little winery town, Trstenik, with a population of about 90 people. While we were sitting at a small wine cafe there, a man approached us because he noticed our accents as being Canadian and Australian. Once he started speaking we didn’t want him to stop. He was the Mayor of Dubrovnik from 1991 to 1993. During this time Serbia dropped thousands of shells on Dubrovnik, and at one time even proclaimed to have killed this man, the Mayor of Dubrovnik and the very guy we were speaking to. He later moved to New York, then back to Trstenik, where he now lives 70 metres from the house he was born in. It was such a chance meeting but it turned into the best story of my trip!”
Over the following days, Courtney sailed to Korcula, an old town with a mini fortress, the Pakleni Islands, which are covered in beautiful pine trees, and on to Hvar. Here she discovered the local nightlife in what she calls “party central of Croatia”. She says you can “party ‘til midnight on the mainland and then take the ferry over to another island for an after-party if you want”. After plenty of fun, the journey home included a refreshing stop in Brac, one Croatia’s largest islands, before finishing in Split.
“Throughout the tour we stayed on board a classic A-class boat – a really great boat with great facilities on board and the crew were amazing! We got to stop off at heaps of little out of the way bays and swimming spots to sunbake and just float along. We even swam to shore on a few occasions and sunbaked on the beach (and had the odd game of cricket). The water in the Adriatic Sea is just WOW! It’s absolutely jaw-droppingly blue and clear. In most places you could see the ocean floor.”
Thinking Croatia sounds like a fabulous destination for a sunny beach getaway? You aren’t the only one! Courtney suggests going “at the end of May or the start of September, just on either side of the typical tourist season”. She says that’s a great time to go “as the mass crowds haven’t taken over yet, and it is still warm enough to enjoy”.
To find out more and book your own Croatian holiday, contact Courtney Lippiatt on 02 5908 1500 or email email@example.com. Courtney is a consultant at Escape Travel’s store in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.