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travel Dubrovnik

personally curated for you by Julie Stafford


Croatia, with its allure and maritime grandeur, stands as an indisputable beacon among the world's premier sailing destinations. Encompassing an expansive domain of over a thousand islands adorned with crystal-clear, azure waters, it boasts one of Europe's sunniest coastlines, creating a haven for maritime enthusiasts. Yet, these are not just ordinary islands; they are a tapestry of wonders. Some are bestowed with the prestigious status of National Parks, while others, steeped in historical significance, find themselves under the protective mantle of UNESCO.

The coastal panorama unfolds like a treasure trove, revealing well-preserved historic cities, charming villages, and secluded bays and beaches accessible solely by sea. Along this maritime odyssey, you'll encounter vineyards and olive orchards, vibrant fresh food markets, vibrant nightlife, and an unexpected fusion of traditional and gourmet gastronomic delights. For those desiring to savor Croatia from the embrace of the water, a network of over 50 marinas, leisure ports, and harbors beckon, offering more than 100 idyllic berths to cradle your vessel at the close of each sailing day.

Julie's personally curated Sail Croatia adventures promise an escape from the chaos, ushering you into the embrace of a more leisurely pace amid some of the world's most resplendent waters. Here, five-star restaurants lie nestled in secluded bays, requiring a dinghy journey to enchanted forests where hikes among the pines unveil rewards of food and wine that surpass imagination. A different maritime community awaits, friendly and relaxed, yet with ample space for solitary pursuits amidst the invigorating sea breeze.

Envision mornings adorned with swims in warm turquoise waters, breakfasts on your vessel's bow, and days where the only daunting decisions involve choosing between reading, writing, or languorous repose; red wine or white wine; indulging in a fabulous five-star restaurant or crafting a culinary masterpiece from your fresh catch. In the sanctuary of Croatia's coastal wonders, an idyllic world beckons, inviting you to immerse yourself in the embrace of nature's beauty and maritime serenity.



Will you go solo for a transformational travel experience … to step away from your chaos and to reboot your internal rhythms so that when your heart whispers to you, you will hear it above all the other chatter.

Perhaps you are just looking for the right location, without interruption to dream build your future?

Will you go as a couple (partners, mothers and daughters, girlfriends), a corporate getaway or as a group to bond and build relationships?

I sailed Croatia, solo, early August on a 4 berth with a skipper provided to me. Thirty minutes into my sail, I knew I was in good hands. His knowledge of the local area was important to me, but when he didn’t have the answers to my questions, he communicated to the Skipper’s on Water WhatsApp Hotline. He also allowed me the opportunity to brush up on my rusty sailing skills.  We both had plenty of room to move around our boat without getting underneath each other’s feet. I swam, meditated, read, listened to music through the boat’s BOSE system, wrote, wore out my camera, swam, planned my year ahead, ate extraordinary meals, drank delicious wines … counted the brightest stars, slept like a baby and checked my emails only once a day (Yes, all boats are fitted with WIFI for those who can’t completely be free of communications home and work). My solo sail will remain one of the most magical times of my life.


What time of the year should you go?

Sailing season in Croatia is between April and October. As one of the sunniest regions in the Mediterranean, with more than 2.500 hours of sunshine per year, it’s easy to understand Croatia’s popularity for summer lovers. Winters are mild and summers are hot. Peak months are July and August. It can get hot at this time of the year. Days can be as high as 38°C. If you love the heat, you’re a water sports junkie, you don’t mind the crowds, and you can stretch your budget, then go at this time of the year. Guaranteed you’ll come home with a Mediterranean tan! June and September will be crowded, but the weather is cooler. You can be lucky and hit a late summer with days still very warm and sunny, and water temperatures still warm.  April, May and October tend to be less busy and these months too can deliver unexpected high temperatures. You’re more likely to get rain at this time of the year, but having said this, I’ve struck some serious storms (both wind and rain) in mid-July too. Most would say that these months will guarantee you peace on the water, less crowds on the streets of the islands you’ll stop off along the way and most definitely good sailing winds.


In this extraordinary city, I've discovered that destinations, like wise mentors, beckon when one is ready to absorb their lessons. Sometimes, these destinations plant seeds within, waiting patiently until the moment you're summoned to traverse their paths, urging you to pack a suitcase and secure a ticket despite the unknowns: unfamiliar faces, an unfamiliar language, and uncertainties about the safety of a solo journey.

In the pivotal year of 2006, during a time when I sought refuge from grief after the loss of my husband, Dubrovnik's resounding call became my sanctuary. It stirred memories of a seed planted 16 years prior, a seed that took root when nightly news broadcasts depicted the harrowing 'Siege of Dubrovnik.' Witnessing one of Europe's historical gems facing bombardment left an indelible mark on my soul. The resilience of Dubrovnik, isolated in its battle for survival, fought by civilians within the Old City Walls, resonated with me, despite my geographic and cultural distance from the conflict.

Unfolding in a series of unlikely coincidences, the city's voice grew louder in my ear in 2006. Since that initial visit, I have returned each summer, exploring the city from within and outside the Old City, traversing the coastal and inland roads, and sailing from the south to the north, beyond Split. Each departure prompts a contemplation of reasons to return, yet, surrendering control to Dubrovnik's compelling call has proven an enriching exercise in trust. The city's allure lies not just in the anticipated joys of a Mediterranean summer but in the unexpected serendipitous moments that unfold, drawing me back time and again.

Dubrovnik, I have learned, is a haven for the solo woman traveler, a perfect amalgamation of summer bliss and the unforeseen enchantments that unfurl within its walls. Beyond being a gateway to Croatia's inland treasures and myriad islands, each with its unique history and pristine landscapes, Dubrovnik holds a profound lesson in healing. The city and its resilient inhabitants have not only mended their wounds from a tumultuous past but have also imparted invaluable lessons on navigating the path of grief.


In Dubrovnik's embrace, I find solace, healing, and a continuous source of lessons that transcend the boundaries of time and geography.



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