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The Rise and Rise of Croatia for Sailing Holidays
by: Christopher Longmore
In the 1980s, Croatia - then part of Yugoslavia - built up a sizeable yacht
charter industry. It was never then on the scale to rival long time favourite
Greece, but it was large enough to get itself noticed as an attractive coming
destination. Then came the various Balkan wars - one of them involving Croatia
itself - and the disintegration of old Yugoslavia. Croatia is now the
ex-Yugoslav republic with almost all the coast line!
Since the wars ended the growth of the croatian yacht charter (see http://www.gyc-croatia.com)
industry has been little short of astonishing. In an industry notoriously short
of credible statistics, we suspect that Croatia must now be a serious rival to
Greece. There are a number of explanations for this remarkable success:
The country is naturally blessed with sailing waters as good and varied as
anywhere in the world.
After the war, the Croatian government went out of its way to encourage and
indeed subsidise the re-building and building of the necessary infrastructure -
most obviously the marinas.
Northern Croatia is a 4 hour drive from most of Austria, and southern parts of
Germany. Even Dalmatia, where perhaps the best sailing is to be found - is only
6 hours away. This was always a big advantage, but in the wake of 9/11, when
Germans in particular were reluctant to climb on an airplane, it catapulted the
Sailing holidays in Croatia (see http://www.allafloat.com) now include almost
everything that customers could conceivably want. There are thousands of
bareboat yachts to charter (see http://www.global-yacht.com) in bases from Pula
and Cres in Istria, to the massive yachting centres of Zadar, Sukosan, Sibenik,
Murter Island, Split, & Dubrovnik. Each one of those can be chartered with a
skipper for those without the necessary experience. There are sailing flotillas
from Split, and an RYA Authorised Sailing School on Murter Island. The
opportunities to spend one week afloat and another ashore are endless.
One of the problems for the British used to be that getting there was expensive
and there were not enough seats on such planes flew there. Things started to
improve in 2004, with regular charter flights to Split at least. For 2005, there
are flights to Opatija in the north, Zadar to get to central Dalmatia, Split,
and also Dubrovnik. Getting to Istria is easy. Just fly EasyJet to Venice, or
Ryanair to Trieste. The first has hydrofoil links to the excellent sailing of
Pula; the second is a transfer bus away from Portoroz (actually in Slovenia),
and Pula. Croatia is now the sailing destination for the British - the
destination that has it all!
About The Author
Christopher LONGMORE - Owner of Top Notch, a GibSea402 based in Turkey and of
the Global Yacht sailing holiday group (http://www.global-yacht-holidays.com).