1 Boat, 7 days, 4 Islands.
My summer trip to Italy/Croatia was definitely an experience to remember.
I was invited by my former college roommate Missy (@Caio_Missy) to join her, her italian boyfriend Alessandro, and 4 of his friends on a boat trip from Italy to Croatia for 7 days.
She told me they needed 8 people to complete the trip. So I invited one of my close friends and travel buddies, Giusy, and we were set.
One group of 8 plus our captain and skipper totaled 10 people on a 14 meter yacht.
(It was actually more like a sailboat. Maybe it's just because we don't commonly use meters as a unit of measurement here in the US - but my idea of 14 meters was a lot bigger than the boat we had. It all added to the experience though and the reason I now I have a story to share!)
We departed from Marina Sveva - Near Vasto. - About a 4 and a half hour drive from Bologna.
During the car ride their, I got to brush up on my Italian. Two years of intensive Italian in college apparently wasn't enough for me. Luckily Giusy and Missy (who became fluent when she studied abroad in bologna) were there to translate for me.
Night 1: Vis
Night 1 was magical. We all slept on the bow of the boat as nighttime descended, looking up at the stars and enjoying the cool ocean breeze. Apparently my jet lag made my night more magical because I was able to sleep through the 12 hour journey across the Adriatic Sea. The others were not so lucky. I know for sure that one of the Ricky's spent the night throwing up over the side. Yikes...
(On the boat, there were two couple cabins each with their own bathroom and two cabins with bunk beds and one shared bathroom on the opposite side of the boat. However, because space was so tight, it was often more comfortable to sleep on the deck.)
Our first stop was the Port of Vis. This was where we presented our passport and did the whole customs thing.
As you can see above - I look well rested. Also, just an FYI. When you're on a mobile boat ( Sail boat more like) you don't readily have access to everyday beauty tools. I spent the entire trip without using a blow dryer or straightening iron. Really embraced the au naturale.
Quaint and beautiful Vis. We hiked up to this view of the marina.
Sunglasses: Sonix Top: My mom's Shorts: American Eagle
Vis was one of the smaller islands. It was quieter and less crowded than the other islands. We were able to walk around, get drinks and grab dinner without a long wait. Missy and the others were even able to scuba dive!
**Pro Tip: Don't leave your bag with money and passport wide open. Even for a cute pic.**
Night 2: Palmizana
KNOWN FOR: Being a tourist resort
Palmizana was more resort like. There were outdoor bars with open lounge areas, cabanas and restaurants. Most of which you needed a reservation for. Giusy and I got lunch at a restaurant along the shore.
Bathing Suite: Nanette Lepore.
The island itself felt only about a mile wide. Palmizana was also a main yacht week stop. Which is something to keep in mind. Using the bathroom on the boat is not the most comfortable. And we were told to only use the bathroom when the boat was moving.... so... yeah
Any time we anchored at a marina, finding the island bathroom was the first thing on our agenda.
The woman's bathrooms were all open and there was usually a line to shower and what not. Since it was yacht week, many of the girls planted themselves in the bathrooms to get ready for nights out. So it could get a little cozy.
Night 3 and 4: The Favorite - Hvar
KNOWN FOR: Castle/Fortress, Lavender Fields, Night Life
We spent our time in Hvar exploring, drinking and shopping.
On top of the castle/fortress in hvar.
Another thing to keep in mind that we didn't previously consider was anchoring the boat for the night. Each marina was like a parking lot. We were only allowed to anchor our boat for the night in a marina that had a spot open. Sometimes this would cost extra.
For example, one of the main islands on our list to see was Hvar. It is known to be one of the biggest islands with the best nightlife, restaurants, and places to explore. We almost didn't get to see it because we arrived during yacht week where a lot of boats had already anchored earlier in the morning. Luckily our captain was able to call ahead and reserve us a spot. It cost an extra 25 Euros.
Tip: Create an itinerary for yourself before hand.
Decide which islands you want to go to and on which day. Make sure your captain (if you charter a boat) sticks to it. Sometimes schedules can be thrown off if there is bad weather or water conditions are unsafe for the boat to travel. But definitely work out which islands you want to see so your captain can charter the best course (since some islands are nearer or farther away from each other.)
Call ahead or have your captain call ahead to make sure there is room at the marina.
Stay ashore one night. I know its kind of cheating but if I could do it again, I would've found a hotel for one of the nights. Not only to experience a night on the island, but also living on a boat for a week can be a lot. Especially in tight quarters with limited air flow. Comfort is a huge thing for me. Unfortunately all the hotels on the island booked up early in the day as other yacht week goers experienced the same need for comfort and solid ground.
Romper: Yumi Kim Bag: Tory Burch Jewlery: Kendra Scott Sunglasses: Rayban
Overall, we had a great time exploring the island and it was definitely my favorite stop on our trip.
Night 5: Cres/ Stalingrad
Beach day. Walk around the island. Lively town with music and shops. Had dinner at a restaurant. We didn't do much here, but the bathroom was great.
Night 6: Back to Palmizana
Our last night we traveled back to Palmizana. We ended up having to leave a day early because there was supposed to be a storm coming. This seemed to be okay with everyone. I still had a couple extra days so Missy and I had planned on going to Verona, Italy for a day trip.
We're almost to the end of the post so I think I can start to mention some of the more extreme things that occurred on this trip.
1. The weather. I don't know what was going on with the weather on our last day, but thank goodness it was towards the end of our trip. The boat was rocking so hard, water was coming in through our sky lights which are on the deck of the boat. Giusy and I were rolling around in our cabin.
I literally thought I wouldn't make it.
But in the end, everything turned out okay. We got tossed around but nothing too serious. We figured the trick was to just try and stay as stationary as possible. I was laying down in our cabin when things got crazy, but the moment I got up - the sickness came on. Anti- sea sickness gum is a life saver and I can't stress enough how much this helped us all.
I'm a city girl after all. So this was a drawback.
But that's life on a boat I guess!
Now I can describe myself as an adventurer!!
2. The Heat. I know this is the same as the weather but for me it was a separate issue. Our trip was mid August. Maybe because the cities were all stone, but it felt like it was 150 degrees every day. Make sure you drink LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER. I definitely don't think I did because my hands AND feet, ankles included, were swollen the entire time.
And places with AC are few and far between.
So definitely consider not going during the peak hotness of summer~ (unless you're like my mom who wears layers of sweaters in 90 degree weather)
But enough of that - let's move on to...
We paid for the charter boat in Euros. The cost was 800 Euros a person for the 7 nights. It was all inclusive so we got three meals a day. (Although, Giusy and I ate out for dinner.) We ended up getting refunded part of our payment since we had to return to Italy a day early due to an incoming storm which would make the waters unsafe for travel.
Primary currency is Kunas. I was told some places would except euros but I didn't come across any. The US dollar is a lot stronger than the Kuna, but it still ends up evening out.
For example, a bowl of pasta in Vis was 65-75 Kunas - equivalent to 10-12 US dollars. Nothing too extreme. Definitely what we can pay at your everyday Italian restaurant in NYC.
Cocktails worked out to be 9-12 dollars as well. In some of the more tourist heavy islands like Hvar, an elegant cocktail could be upwards of 100 kunas or 15 big ones. Again, prices that are present at NYC cocktail bars so partly the reason I was so ready to shell out the dough.
The only thing that was annoying was going out at night to the Croatian clubs. You end up having to walk around with a couple hundred kunas if you want to get more than one drink. I only had enough for one drink so Missy and I decided to flirt around to find someone to buy us another one.
NO - We were not successful. Yes, the other boys on our trip ruined our prospects. Oh well
Traveling with Friends or Large Groups
One of the first things I ask my friends when they tell me they're going on a trip is "what are you most looking forward to seeing." We all have those friends that just want to go with the flow or come along for the ride and aren't really invested in planning or logistics.
That's okay. You just need to make sure that you definitively determine things you ABSOLUTELY want to see and do. So that you don't leave a place that you spent money and time traveling to get to without experiencing everything you hoped to.
Traveling in groups has its pros and cons. One of the main pros is that you're able to split much of the cost. It's a little more affordable.
Also, there's definitely more security - strength in numbers and all that.
But the more people there are, the more opinions. Specifically, different opinions. Everyone will have different priorities and things that are important to them. You just need to establish what's important to you and stick to it. Even if that means breaking off from the group for a bit to explore on your own.
Be able to compromise. But also be able to speak your mind. Voice what's important to you in a kind but direct way. Be prepared. Do your homework. Chances are you'll have a better experience and everyone will be less stressed knowing everyone was able to accomplish what they wanted to accomplish one way or another.
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions, feel free to DM me on my insta @flauntyourfancy