Photo by Boris Kačan

Time Machine Is Actually A Boat!

With its crystal-clear waters, beautiful beaches, enchanting coastal towns and historical sights, Croatia offers sailing friends some of the best nautical routes in the Adriatic. But did you know that you can actually combine a sailing voyage with a visit to six of eight Croatia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Hop on board, cast off – and indulge in some culture!

#1 Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč

Begin your cultural sea cruise at the ACI Marina in the Istrian town of Rovinj. From there, it is only a short trip to the medieval patrician town of Poreč. Once you are at anchor in the Poreč marina, you can reach the Euphrasian Basilica at the northern end of the historic town centre on foot in just a few minutes. The cathedral, which was named after Bishop Euphrasius, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The episcopal complex from the 6th century with its sacristy, baptistery, bell tower and archbishop’s palace is an excellent example of early Byzantine architecture in the Mediterranean.

#2 Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik

Let’s get back on board and continue south: Our next stop is Šibenik in central Dalmatia, a little south of Zadar. With its impressive coastline and dozens of islands, the Šibenik archipelago is a true paradise for passionate sailors. You can leave your boat at Vodice ACI Marina and cover the remaining 10 kilometres to the beautiful historic town of Šibenik by rental car, taxi or even by bike. Located in the city centre, at the south side of the old central square, you will find the purpose of your day trip – the Cathedral of St. James. This unique monument of sacral architecture unites the arts of Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany. With its unique decorations, such as the chiselled portraits of Šibenik citizens on its stone facade, the Cathedral is considered the most important architectural achievement of the 15th and 16th century throughout Croatia. It entered the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.

#3 Historic City of Trogir

Back on board? Then proceed further south along the Adriatic coast. Once past the island of Drvenik Veli, the historic city of Trogir, your next destination, lies only a couple of kilometres ahead of you. We recommend you moor your boat at the ACI Marina Trogir. Once you have set foot ashore, you are right in the middle of the museum that is Trogir. Being an excellent example of urban continuity, the historic town core appeared on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 and features Romanesque churches as well as impressive Renaissance and Baroque buildings. Listing everything worth seeing in Trogir would be impossible, but one of the most significant buildings is probably the Cathedral of St. Lawrence with its impressive Portal of Radovan from the 13th century, a structure which is considered the most significant example of Roman and Gothic art in Croatia.

#4 Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian

Next up is Split, only a couple of kilometres to the west. The region around Croatia’s second-largest city is a true highlight of the Adriatic. As you approach Split and you are looking for a nice place to anchor, you should try ACI Marina Split. It is located on the Sustipan peninsula and right at the beginning of Split Lungomare, the longest promenade in the Adriatic. The marina is open all year and is protected from rough seas and winds by long breakwaters. If you moor here, it is only a short walk to your UNESCO destination, the Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian. The so-called Palace, which was built between the late 3rd and the early 4th century AD as an old-age retreat for Roman emperor Diocletian, is actually a combination of a luxury villa and a military camp. Split, as we know it today, expanded from said palace. Over the years, the ancient fortress grew into the lively Old Town it is today with its numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. Historical structures have been merged into the townscape – the emperors’ mausoleum, for example, has been converted into a cathedral.

#5 Stari Grad Plain on Hvar

Once again, it is only a short journey until we reach our next stop – Stari Grad Plain on the island of Hvar, located off the Dalmatian coast between the islands of Brač, Vis and Korčula. We recommend that you anchor at the ACI Marina Vrboska which provides good shelter from winds. The town of Stari Grad and the eponymous plain, our UNESCO destination on Hvar, is located less than 10 kilometres away on the other side of the island and can be reached by public transport. Stari Grad Plain was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008. It was set up by Greek colonists in the 4th century BC and remains in use until the present day. It is thus among the longest-cultivated agricultural areas in the world. Also, over a hundred important archaeological findings were discovered in the area, including numerous “villae rusticae” (residences of landowners in Roman times) as well as agricultural buildings from the Greek period.

#6 Old Town of Dubrovnik

After this we raise the anchor one last time and set sail for Dubrovnik, where our sea voyage comes to an end. The beauty and rich cultural heritage of the “Pearl of the Adriatic” is also reflected in the local ACI Marina. ACI Dubrovnik, located at the mouth of the Dubrovačka inlet, has been declared the best marina in the Adriatic and is said to be one of the safest marinas to berth, keep and maintain your vessel in. A further advantage: ACI Dubrovnik is not only one of the most beautiful marinas in the Adriatic, it also lies only 10 kilometres away from the historic Old Town, which entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979. As Dubrovnik occupies a rather small city area, it is best to sightsee on foot. Although there are plenty of churches, fortresses and other cultural important landmarks to explore, perhaps the most popular attraction are the impressive ancient stone walls that surround the city. Today, these walls are a world-renowned iconic symbol of the city and also provide the setting for King’s Landing in the well-known TV show „Game of Thrones“.