Sailing into the sunset - from Trogir to Hvar and Vis
August 11, 2016
by Dorothee Baumfalk
I’ve always loved boats and boat trips, but I had never spent an entire vacation on a sailboat before I went on this trip. Probably because none of my friends or family members is as boat-crazy as I am. But when I found a tour operator that organizes sailing trips in groups for young people, I was all about it. I decided to spend my first sailing holidays in Croatia. After I registered for the trip, I got access to the crew forum, where I could “meet” my fellow sailors. This was the place where we organized who would bring essential things like towels, bio-degradable dishwashing detergent or multiple sockets. At the same time, it was the place where we got to know each other a little bit. Everyone introduced themselves and the anticipation grew.
As the trip drew closer, I became a little nervous and anxious – being on a small boat with eight people I’ve never met before suddenly seemed to be quite the challenge. Would we get along? Would they like me? Would I get seasick?
All my worries were blown away when I arrived at the airport in Split. At the baggage claim, I met a girl who was about to go on the same sailing trip. Due to the conversations in the forum, I knew we wouldn’t be on the same boat, but I was happy to have company anyways. I had arrived a day before we were scheduled to set sail and had been worried about what to do all alone. This problem was now solved. Together, we took a cab to Trogir.
Our boat: “Plocica”, named after a Croatian bay
This little town is definitely a must-see. With its narrow, winding alleys, idyllic squares and old buildings, it makes you feel like you’re in a fairy tale. Its dreamy charm is so soothing if you’ve been stressed out before. If you ever wanted to turn back time in order to find out what it was like in the Middle Ages, just go to Trogir. In spite of being a popular tourist spot, it still possesses its medieval charm. This is not your typical tourist town by the sea where you have casinos, souvenir shops and fast food stores all over the place. We walked on rustic cobblestone, saw old men with leathery skin and sailor’s clothing playing the guitar and singing songs about ladies they met in different ports. We marveled at the awesome architecture and felt like we were in an open-air museum. No wonder this place has been UNESCO World Heritage since 1997. Not only huge sights such as St. Lawrence Cathedral or Fort Kamerlengo caught our eye, every building was a little highlight of its own.
After spending the first half of the day sightseeing, we wanted to enjoy a little beach and sun during the afternoon. On a tourist map, we had seen that Parasailing was possible in the area and we were dying to do that! Unfortunately, the place where you could do it – a beach called Medena – seemed too far away to walk, but the staff at the hostel helped us out and showed us an awesome way to get there: by water taxi! Not only would we get to the beach pretty fast and comfortable, it would also be fun. We boarded the next taxi and enjoyed the beautiful view during the ride to Medena. Medena has a totally different vibe than Trogir. While Trogir seems relaxed and “retro”, Medena is vibrant and busy. If you were missing tourist shops in Trogir, you will definitely find them here. But don’t think of it as an ugly tourist spot! Yes, there are many people and souvenir shops and hotels, but there is also a beautiful landscape with conifers flanking the banks of the crystal-clear water. Take a little hike into the woods and you will find peace and quiet there. After we arrived, we signed up for the Parasailing right away, then went for a little walk while we had to wait until it was our turn. Parasailing is around 300 Kuna for one person and around 500 Kuna if you do it with a friend, like we did. You get your safety jackets and everything while still on land, then you go on a boat from where you start „flying“. It is amazing to see the beautiful landscape from above. If you have no head for heights, don’t worry – I am crazily scared of heights, but I still enjoyed this adventure. Of course it gave me some chills when we started to rise, but definitely in a good way. We were giddy and happy when we went back to Trogir in the evening.
The next day was reserved for grocery shopping and meeting the rest of the crew members. After all duties were done, we were finally able to set sail.
The goal for the week ahead of us was pretty clear: We wanted to sail and relax a lot, sightseeing was secondary. So we decided that we would not head for one attraction after the other, but rather enjoy nature and lonely bays where there was nobody else besides us. There were two islands where we actually anchored and got on land.
After several days at sea, my legs felt pretty weak when we had solid ground under our feet for the first time after setting sail. During these days, our crew had barely seen other people, except crew members of the other boats. So it was cool to be in a more busy place like this again. We had coffee at Hvar square, where a lot of tourists were enjoying the sun. This is the place where you automatically go to after getting off your boat, so there were quite a few people there.
We did a little bit of window shopping, had an ice cream and took a look at Stephan’s Cathedral before we went for a walk to explore the island a little bit. After walking for a while and climbing a lot of stairs – which was pretty exhausting in the heat – we got to the Spanjola fortress. Up here, we were rewarded with a breathtaking view. Unfortunately, the fortress wasn’t open, so we couldn’t get in. But it was worth it anyways. After we had descended, we walked along the harbor and marveled at luxury yachts. Still, we were happy to get back to our humble little sailboat afterwards.
Unfortunately, we weren’t really able to explore Vis a lot because we just spent one night there. What we definitely enjoyed was its beautiful nature. All seven boats of our fleet stayed in a cove for the night, from where we took the dinghy to land and partied in an old fortress on a hill. Great view, great music, great people. It was just fantastic and so special.
The next day was already our last day. Tanned, relaxed and happy, we arrived back in Trogir and enjoyed a last dinner together…. typical Croatian cuisine of course!
Stay at Rooms Carija or Hostel Trogir if you are going on a sailing trip. Both options are within walking distance to the marina and really nice with friendly helpful staff. If you would like to enjoy Croatian food, I would recommend the restaurant “Capo”. Not only the food is awesome, but also the atmosphere.