When travel is more than a pastime
Who has not heard of Croatia and its emerald islands that attract flotillas of sailing boats every season? Even if you have been hiding under a rock, chances are you caught a glimpse of Europe's latest trendy sailing destination, which is paradise for the adventurous. If you have not already experienced the traditional sailing route of Croatia, explore this series for a glimpse of what's in store. This year there is a new attraction on these well-traveled sailing routes. For those who have left their party days behind and want the full R&R experience on vacation, yoga sailing might just be the answer. We had the chance to explore the Split to Split seven-day itinerary with Yoga Sailing Holidays, which operates two sailing boats, catering breakfast and lunch as well as providing hosts and yoga instructors.
Saturday: The Journey Begins
The magic starts from the day you board one of the two sailing boats in the beautiful town of Split. We had time to explore the Roman architecture of Diocletian’s Palace, as we arrived a good day in advance. Do not miss the opportunity to do so. Split may not be as famous as Dubrovnik, aka the Game of Thrones setting, but it is well worth your while. The winding cobblestone streets hide troves of photo ops, delectable food and fantastic live music sets in the evenings. Once you are done exploring the small but bustling seaside town, embark on what is likely your very first spiritual sailing experience. It kicks off with a short sail to Milna on Brač, a picturesque island with a bay so secluded and serene you will feel your stress melt away instantly. When in Milna, you will experience sunset yoga, which is exactly as relaxing as it sounds. You'll feel lost in the realization of how relatively insignificant all the worries you left at home are. Brač also has some top-notch restaurants serving seafood and meat, as well as ample vegetarian options featuring local produce. We recommend Konoba Barba Luka. Sated and chilled-out, you can retire to the peace and quiet of your cabin on the boat you are occupying. (Tip: Check with the booking agent for the yacht that has a bathroom.)
#SundayFunday on Disappearing Land
Sunday takes you to Zlatni Rat, arguably the most famous beach in Croatia. The tiny peninsula is surrounded by azure waters and has a tendency to disappear entirely during the high tide. The sail is easy and smooth and you can ask to practice some sailing moves yourself, should you so wish. The learning opportunity is always there and you can take it as far as you want. Whether you want to help moor the boat or merely pose for photos in place of the captain, the crew will be happy to “show you the ropes” (there are many and they have different names, so that part may require taking notes). Don't fear the potential hard work and its effects on your relaxation levels, as the yoga instructor will pick a solid spot on the beach for a sunrise meditation session that will put a lot of things into perspective for you. If your stomach rumbles, now would be a good time to grab a quick bite or a cup of coffee. After a splash in the sea, you are invited to a mid-morning yoga session to relieve whatever might be left of your stress. The food on board is all freshly cooked and incorporates local ingredients. You will have the chance to chat with the hostess about your preferences, though it would be best to do this before your journey. Otherwise, enjoy your all-inclusive breakfast and lunch between swimming sessions, and stay tuned for sunset yoga to wrap up your day.
Monday Means Party (for a Change)
Hula Hula via Website
Day 3 kicks off with another meditation and yoga session on Zlatni Rat before departure. Do not miss the opportunity given to you by the early wake-up call. There is something magical about this particular spot on the end of the peninsula. It can make you feel like you're standing at the edge of the world. Day 3, aka Monday, is the day you get to explore the gorgeous party town of Hvar as well as the quieter and picturesque Palmizana Bay (if you have trouble remembering this one, a famous Italian cheese can be used a mnemonic, irrespective of your stance on dairy). Take a tour of the medieval fortress, climb the hill for breathtaking views and pop into the famous Hula Hula bar for a nightcap.
Vis. Photo by Ed W via Flickr
Don’t overdo your nightcap and miss the chance for a sunrise meditation on Palmizana Beach the next morning. This place is basically a natural reserve that you're allowed to peacefully invade for a little while, so don't forgo this rare opportunity by oversleeping. Bars and clubs are aplenty in the world, but well-preserved nature within a comfortable reach is (sadly) hard to come by. Vis is another one of Croatia’s most popular spots, complete with the luminous green caves and other natural attractions, including various beaches from sandy to gravelly. You even get to perch on top of the caves in mountain pose. Take the rest of the day to explore the natural wonders of the island and work up an appetite for dinner, where you'll sip organic wine and feast on healthy, locally sourced food. Croatian cuisine can be meat heavy, but if you look beyond the obvious, the food options are endless, portions are impressive and flavors are hearty. Local olive oil can compete with its more famous Greek and Italian equivalents, cheeses are fragrant and flavorful, and you can try the regional specialty of “under the bell”-style cooking (hint: it involves an iron dome).
Wednesday Wonder in Ecofriendly Šćedro
Courtesy of Yoga Sailing Holidays
The next day is spent in Šćedro, in a secluded, beautiful bay that is so remote and isolated that the entire infrastructure is powered by renewable energy sources. Your morning meditation and yoga will make you appreciate this simple lifestyle even more. You may even be tempted to drop everything back home and build a house right here on this remote beach.
Courtesy of Yoga Sailing Holidays
Back to Brač you go the next morning, to a different bay that could be a setting for a Bounty commercial. A full day of swimming and snorkeling — this is the place to meet and greet the inhabitants of the crystal waters — is wrapped up with (what else?) sunset yoga. This is the last night of your yoga adventure. But you will not be deprived of the very last sunrise meditation and yoga session on the sandy beach of Brač’s Uvala Blace.
Friday: Exploring Diocletian’s Palace
Courtesy of Yoga Sailing Holidays
Onward to Split, to disembark and dig into the area's Roman heritage. What is certain, for us at least, is that we will return for more from Yoga Sailing Holidays, to explore new places as we explore our inner selves, all with breaking waves as our soothing backdrop.
By Bella Sovmiz
Bella Sovmiz is a bilingual Russian-born blogger who resides on the sunny island of Cyprus. She writes for a variety of online publications and is the creator, contributor and editor of The Other F-Word blog, which brings fashion, travel, lifestyle and beauty under one roof. An avid traveler, Bella loves to share all things entertainment and culture from her many urban escapes.