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How to Sip and Sail Along Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast

Your wine-stocked yacht awaits

Sailing the crystalline waters of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is like falling into an oil painting. Stone structures with terracotta shingles line never-ending turquoise shorelines with hundreds of islands flanking the historic mainland; one might say that exploring this corner of the world by boat is the only way that makes sense. There are a multitude of ways to sail Dalmatia (whether or not you’re equipped to captain your own boat), but perhaps the most strategic game plan is one that involves tasting the country’s best wines along the way. Here, we take you through a week on Sunsail’s Food & Wine Flotilla, setting sail from and returning to Marina Agana (approximately 25 miles west of Split), hitting some of the world’s most striking secluded destinations in between.

DAY 1

Fly into Split and take a car to Marina Agana, where your chartered boat awaits (you can either sail your own ship or hire a skipper for the week to do so, depending on your level of experience). You’ll have some free time today as the boats are prepped for departure the following morning, so take some time to explore the nearby towns of Split or Trogir before getting to know your fellow flotilla members over dinner at the marina. Cozy up in your cabin and call it an early night; you’ll be setting sail first thing in the morning.

DAY 2

Ease into your sail with a joyride through the marina’s neighboring islands. Today, your destination is a coastal town on the small island of Šolta, where you’ll visit a family-owned winery over a spread of local olives, olive oils, liqueurs, cheeses, fish, and of course, a selection of wines. Kaštelanac showcases its red and rosé, both made from the Dobričić variety, a grape native to the island. After your tasting, you’ll head back to your boat for a good night’s sleep. Pro tip: it’s not a bad idea to stock up at tastings on bottles for the boat.

DAY 3

Today’s 23-mile (nautical) sail through the Adriatic will bring you to Vis Town on the island of Vis; here, you’ll taste local wines and charcuterie at one of the area’s most revered wineries, Antonio Lipanović, which calls a cavernous former military bunker home. This producer pours its white Vugava alongside a rosé (Viski Opol) and finally a red (Plavac Mali Barrique).

DAY 4

Today is a free sailing day; if you have a skipper, it’s a good idea to leave the itinerary up to him or her (you won’t be disappointed), but if you’re on your own, choose from exploring or diving around Svetac, a remote private island just west of Vis, or getting lost in the buzz of Hvar Town’s social scene. Either way, plan to make your way to Jelsa tomorrow and dock accordingly tonight.

DAY 5

Jelsa on the historic island of Hvar awaits your flotilla’s arrival. Here, you’ll unwind after a bit of sailing and sun with some of the best wines that Croatia has to offer; Vina Tomić’s stunning cellar will serve as the setting for a tasting of their most popular bottles, ranging from Plavac, Opolo Nobile, and Beleca.

DAY 6

Today, you’ll be sailing about 20 nautical miles to Bobovišće, Brač, where the stony terroir makes for quite a different style of wine than what you’ve tasted so far this week. Vinarija Senjković’s limited bottlings will be highlighted alongside housemade canapés.

DAY 7

Your last day on the water brings you back to Marina Agana, where you’ll dock for one final night. Say goodbye to your flotilla mates and make the most of the last sleep in your boat’s cabin; hopefully you’ll have stocked up on your favorite wines along the way to toast to a week well spent.

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