Sailing in Croatia, the top 5 places you must visit

Dubrovnik Croatia
Sunset in Croatia
Sunset in Croatia

Typical sailing vacations often bring to mind the warm waters of the Caribbean with its numerous islands in close proximity, creating the perfect opportunity to visit as many locations as time allows. But the islands of the Caribbean are extremely well-known, which also brings an abundance of tourists. Perhaps it is time to think outside the box, to travel to a unique locale a little off the beaten path: the incredible country of Croatia. In this article you will find our top 5 destinations to visit when sailing in Croatia.

Croatia, situated along the Adriatic Sea, has much to offer individuals seeking remarkable sailing vacations. A veritable Mediterranean paradise awaits intrepid travelers: incredibly beautiful waters, architectural structures awash with history, delicious seafood, and breathtaking landscapes at every turn.

Croatia is truly a sailor’s paradise.

At Tabor & Mentone we offer personalized yacht charter services and specialize in the Croatia. Contact us to learn more about planning your trip.

The Croatian Islands

Croatia, located in Eastern Europe, is blessed with an extremely long coastline, falling alongside the Adriatic. With over 1200 islands, Croatia is an ideal sailing destination for travelers who enjoy island hopping.

The shoreline of the Croatian coast consists of a mixture of types of beaches, including sandy beaches, rock-strewn beaches and those with pebbled surfaces. Making for a picturesque variety as one travels up and down the coast. There are many dramatic views, as medieval-style villages seem to rise from the sea.

Croatia Sailing Charter and Boat Rental

Individuals seeking to charter a yacht are in luck in Croatia: there are dozens of charter boat companies in the region, offering a wide variety of types of sailing vessels and adventures. From fully crewed yachts to bareboat cruises, anyone who wants to see the islands from the ocean side will find a boat to suit their needs.

This is truly the best way to experience the islands of Croatia.

Where to Stay in Croatia

Visitors will find a wide variety of accommodations available throughout Croatia. Private hotels abound, but be sure to check the room rates for the season when the vacation will occur. Hotels may have as many as seven different rates, depending upon the season.

Visitors can find private accommodations, such as private rooms or apartments through local travel agencies or online. This type of accommodation is categorized into four different ratings.

The final type of accommodation is called sobe, which means staying inside a private home. This may be something as simple as a bed in the attic to a suite of bedrooms with a private bathroom.

Creating a Croatia Itinerary

Designing an itinerary ahead of time is of utmost importance in order to maximize the enjoyment of all that Croatia has to offer. By seeing Croatia through a sailing adventure, otherwise inaccessible islands will now be at hand, allowing the trip to be designed to suit the interests of the entire group. An ideal itinerary will include visits to sights such as the Old City in Dubrovnik, charming fishing villages that are found on many of the islands, and some of the rocky coves that dot the landscape. Each island is unique, and with so many to pick from, careful research should reveal the unique opportunities available in that particular region.

When working out the travel itinerary, travelers may want to give the island of Vis serious consideration. Vis had been closed off to foreign visitors until 1989, and it has retained its island vibe, providing tourists a window into Mediterranean island living. With some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, Vis offers visitors secluded coves and bays.

Vis, Croatia
Vis, Croatia

Another island to consider adding to that Croatian itinerary is sunny Hvar, renowned for its brilliant fields of lavender, wine and olive groves. Head for the south end of the island to find remote coves and quiet spots for swimming.

Near Dubrovnik, the island of Lokrum is another locale that should not be missed. Here visitors can explore a Benedictine monastery founded in 1023. The island even boasts an inland saltwater pool similar to the Dead Sea.

Following our top 5  locations to consider adding to that itinerary.

Bol Croatia
Bol, Croatia

#1 Bol, Croatia

The town of Bol, located at the end of the island of Brac, arguable boasts the most beautiful beach on the entirety of the Adriatic: the beach of Zlatni Rat. Its unique shape, coming to a point, makes this beach an ideal location for windsurfing as well. Zlatni Rat, with a golden pebble surface underfoot, extends approximately one-half kilometer into the Adriatic Sea.

While in Bol, don’t miss the Dragon’s cave. Reaching this cave involves a strenuous hike, so be prepared. It is worth it in the end, however, as the cave features very unique carvings that include angels and a large dragon. This jaunt requires advanced planning, as there is a guided tour at this location. The area around Dragon’s cave is a destination in itself, as there are historic ruins of monasteries to explore and appreciate. The view of the beach below is breathtaking: take time to enjoy the incredible surroundings.


Dubrovnik, Old City, Croatia
Dubrovnik, Old City, Croatia

#2 Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, a popular tourist destination, features medieval fortresses, Old Town (a walled city), a Baroque cathedral, Renaissance-era buildings, historic monasteries, and much, much more. The city of Dubrovnik has recently gained even more fame as the filming location for many of the scenic vistas seen in the television series “Game of Thrones”. The mountains provide a stunning background for photographs here. The historic walled city, with its architecturally significant towers and turrets, is not to be missed.


#3 Dubrovnik Beaches

The beaches in this area are varied, both in their vibes as well as opportunities they afford for adventure. Consider Copacabana beach, where one can go parasailing, rent a jet ski or play with water chutes. Nearby there are a couple of beaches for individuals who want to do a little nude sunbathing.


Istria, Croatia
Istria, Croatia

#4 Istria, Croatia

Istria is a heart-shaped peninsula, unique in that it is actually part of three different countries: Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. Visitors will definitely feel the Italian influence, both in the food, the language and the architecture. Take time to tour a winery and attend an olive oil tasting to get a true sense of the area. This is also a great place to engage in some outdoor adventures, as it offers opportunities for rock climbing as well as parasailing.


 

Dalmatian Coast
Dalmatian Coast

#5 Dalmatian coast, Croatia

In order to fully immerse oneself in the culture of the area, consider sailing the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. 200 miles in length, the calm seas are conducive to sailing, and the hidden coves and deserted islands are an attraction too difficult to ignore. Sailing a vessel into an otherwise inaccessible cove is truly invigorating. It is sure to reveal picturesque villages replete with historic buildings, authentic local cuisine and unique natural features.

With so very much to offer, Croatia is truly a unique vacation destination that is, for now, relatively unspoiled and not overly saturated with tourists. Sailing vacations in Croatia are sure to create unique experiences that will generate memories to last a lifetime. Perhaps it is time to visit Croatia and discover the many unique experiences Croatia has to offer.

At Tabor & Mentone we offer personalized yacht charter services and specialize in the Croatia. Contact us to learn more about planning your trip.

The Top 10 Diving Destinations in Europe 2018 Edition

Diving Destinations Europe

When you picture Europe you probably think about historic buildings, world-class museums, ancient culture and archaeological sites – but what about scuba diving?

Although Europe is surrounded by stunning bodies of water, including the Mediterranean Seas and the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Most people think of Pacific and Caribbean locales first when asked to name top scuba destinations.

However, Europe should certainly be on your scuba diving radar as there are many beautiful places to explore below the surface. There are many factors that make Europe a fantastic diving destination.  The diversity of the coral, the thousands of shipwrecks scattered around and the amazing mix of underwater life.

At Tabor & Mentone we offer personalized diving yacht charter services and specialize in the Mediterranean. Contact us to learn more about planning your trip.

Diving Destinations top 10

So, where are the European scuba destinations that should absolutely be on your list for 2018?  Here are some truly impressive diving destinations throughout Europe which stand out from the rest due to the quality of their diving infrastructure, their favorable conditions and their unique and naturally beautiful underwater sites.


#1. Malta

Just south of the heel of Italy’s boot you’ll find the stunning Maltese Islands, one of the most underrated travel destinations in Europe. There are many great dives on the small island of Comino, including the dive at the Blue Lagoon. This sheltered spot is an ideal nursery for a range of aquatic animals. In the sandy areas you will spot flying gurnards and Mediterranean flounder. In the rocky areas young barracuda can be encountered.

Barracuda
Barracuda

Malta is home to the wreck of the Um el Faroud, considered to be one of the best wreck dives in the Mediterranean. This ship is mostly intact and measures more than 100 meters long. Prepared and scuttled to be a dive attraction and it lies upright on the seabed. There’s also a reef nearby, with plenty of caverns and ledges to explore.

Another remarkable wreck in Malta is the HMS Maori, which sank in Valletta Harbor in 1942. As you explore this sunken ship, you’re likely to see conger eels, John Dorys and other incredible fish.

Our favorite diving center in Malta: Bezz Diving!


#2. The Azores

These Portuguese islands, known as the “Last Hidden Treasure of Europe”, are often overlooked but certainly worth a visit. If the idea of diving with sharks gives you a thrill, the Azores should be on your diving bucket list.

Due to the location between the European and North American plates, the crossroads of currents draws in a wide range of species including blue sharks, tope sharks and manta rays. You’ll see underwater creatures that you may not see anywhere else in Europe.

There are an incredible number of amazing scuba diving spots here, as well as places to buy scuba diving gear and obtain your scuba certification.

Just a few minutes away from the sunny beach of Vila de Praia is the famous dive site of Graciosa island. The Terceirense shipwreck can be found here lying silently under the water waiting to be explored. This is wreck diving at its finest. There are so many fascinating little nooks and crannies to discover within this sunken vessel.

Our favorite diving center in Azores: Best Spot


#3. Italy

Italy is known throughout the world for top notch fashion, superb cuisine, centuries upon centuries of the world’s most significant art and history and some of the best wines in the world. It is also becoming known as a scuba diving destination. It has a long coastline, many islands and warm, clear water teeming with marine creatures.

Scuba diving Italy
Scuba diving Italy

Be sure to visit Portofino Marine Park, which is absolutely packed with walls, submerged sculptures, wrecks from WWII and swim-through caverns – making it a fascinating underwater world to explore.

At the Costacuti Reef in Tuscany you will find a wall that is encrusted with gorgonian coral which drops down to more than 40 meters. Follow it down to the bottom of the sea to find a treasure – an ancient anchor that dates back to Roman times. Peering beneath the sea while diving in Italy not only means seeing into an underwater world, it also means seeing back through history.

Our favorite diving center in Italy: Portofino Divers


#4. Iceland

Although the water may be cold, it’s certainly worth taking the plunge into diving in Iceland. Most diving operators in Iceland offer a dry suit training session,  required for those who want to learn scuba diving in Iceland.

Diving in Iceland
Diving in Iceland

At Silfra you can descend into the Big Crack, which is the split point between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. There will be an incredible moment where you can reach out and touch both of the tectonic plates at once – the only place in the world where this is possible.

The water is so clear that you will feel like you are flying above the bottom and when the sun shines through, the light refracts into a rainbow of colours.

Our favorite diving center in Iceland: Dive.IS


#5. Cyprus

The water in Cyprus is warm and inviting and the rocky coast provides a nutrient-rich environment that draws a wide array of marine life – making this destination ideal for new scuba divers.

Zenobia wreck Cyprus
Zenobia wreck Cyprus

The Zenobia is the wreck of a huge ferry in Cyprus, lying on the ocean floor on its port side. The wreck begins at approximately 15m and descends to 42m and it is huge. It will take you several dives to explore all of it. That’s just one site – there’s also the fascinating rock formations at The Canyon at Cape Greko, the Amporae Caves which are filled with ancient clay storage jars and the octopus east of Aiya Napa at The Chapel.

Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time. The dive season here runs from March to November, which makes it one of the longest dive seasons in the Mediterranean.

Our favorite diving center in Cyprus: CyDive


#6. Croatia

The wonderfully warm and clear waters of Croatia border the Adriatic Sea.  They are filled with fish, octopus, eels, sea fans and beautiful reefs. This friendly and welcoming country claims a good portion of the Adriatic coastline and with it, some amazing underwater locales. The craggy coastline has plenty of spots for fish to hide. The relatively shallow and calm water makes this destination ideal for spotting marine life.

Lobster in Croatian waters
Lobster in Croatian waters

Head to Bisevo Grotto, which is a sea cave that often offers visibility better than 25 metres. It is home to scorpionfish, octopus, lobster and more. Just off the small island of Premuda is the dive site known as The Cathedral. It is a series of complex interconnected caves where octopi and spider crabs like to hide. When the sunlight filters through the water and into these caves it creates a spectacular ethereal effect that explains the name.

Our favorite diving center in Croatia: B-24


#7. Corsica

Corsica is located southeast of France, a warm and sunny island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is home of the famous reserve of Scandola, marked as a world heritage site by UNESCO for it’s important preservation of underwater life. The visibility is extremely high here due to the low pollution levels, even as far down as 40 meters.

When you scuba dive in Corsica, you’ll have endless impressive rock structures and ancient wrecks to explore.  You’ll see species typical to the Mediterranean sea, including moray eels, grouper and many more.

You can even dive down to discover the wreck of a WWII bomber near the Revellata peninsula not far from Calvi. The best time to visit is during May and June, which is low tourist season. This meansyou will enjoy fewer crowds and a quieter atmosphere.

Our favorite diving center in Corsica: Dive Center Hippocampe


#8. Sardinia

Although we have already mentioned Italy, it’s also worth taking a trip specifically to the island of Sardinia.  Sardinia (locally known as Sardegna) is known for some of the best diving in the Mediterranean. History lovers will be fascinated by the wreck dives here and technical divers will love the many caves.

Cave diving Sardinia
Cave diving Sardinia

The best diving takes place on the east coast of the island. The west side is exposed to strong southwesterly winds. The weather is fantastic in Sardinia and you can dive here all year round. The most pleasant season however is from May to September.

One of the most dazzling underwater locations in Sardinia is the Grotta del Nereo. This is a series of tunnels and caves that reach more than 350 meters down below the sea. As you gently swim through these tunnels you’ll be surrounded by brightly coloured nudibranchs, red coral and slipper lobsters. Look out for the Pinna Nobilis Fan Mussel – the largest mussel species on the planet.

Our favorite diving center in Sardinia: Dive Aquarius


#9. The Canary Islands

The waters of the Canary Islands are popular with marine biologists and it is easy to see why. They are warm and clear turquoise, filled with coral, nudibranchs and gorgeous complex bouquets of coral. Plus, the fact that the Canary Islands are surrounded by volcanic activity means that you are likely to spot large game fish as well as reef fish.

These islands belong to Spain and are located in the Atlantic Island, to the West of Morocco. They have a mild spring-like climate all year round, so it’s always a good time to go diving here.

Visit La Restinga, a marine reserve located on the island of El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands. In this gorgeous protected spot you will find incredible diversity including turtles, tuna, dolphins and whale sharks.

Be sure to visit La Catedral, which is a site near the main island of Gran Canaria. It is considered to be one of the top dives in the region. It is a strange morass of crevices, arches, caves and lava tubes that have been formed by volcanic activity under the water. You’ll need to charter a boat and bring a local guide with you to enjoy this diving spot.

Our favorite diving center in the Canary Islands: Big Fish Tenerife


#10. Gozo

Gozo is one of the islands in Malta, but it deserves its own special mention.  Scuba diving is just so superb here. The clear visibility and warm sea temperatures mean that diving in Gozo is possible all throughout the year. There are also a lot of excellent scuba dive shops that offer equipment and lessons. Take the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy training course to help you hover effortlessly and have more control as you dive.  This ensures you a better exploration of the complex and beautiful sites here.

Blue Lagoon Malta
Blue Cove Gozo (Malta)

A superb spot for diving on Gozo is Reqqa Point. It is a shore dive that will put you on a nearly vertical wall. The dorado come here late in the season to hunt small schools of fish. It’s fascinating spectacle to watch these predators in action.

You can also take a short boat ride from Marsalforn on Gozo to dive the Double Arch Reef. It features two arches that rise from around 40 metres to 18 metres. A great place to spot barracuda and sea bream. When you aren’t diving, you can explore stunning palaces, cathedrals and fortifications in this stunning and historic destination.

Our favorite diving center in Gozo: Atlantis Gozo


Which European diving destinations will you visit in 2018?

This is the year to get your scuba certification (such as a PADI course)  and explore these naturally gorgeous spots beneath the waters of Europe.

Once you have your scuba certification and you are comfortable with diving independently, the best way to explore Europe is to charter a yacht. You’ll have the freedom to travel at your own pace and visit any diving location you choose. Taking your time to thoroughly explore the wonders that lie beneath the surface.

At Tabor & Mentone we offer personalized diving yacht charter services and specialize in the Mediterranean. Contact us to learn more about planning your trip.

Greece, the perfect sailing destination

Yachting in Greece

Experienced travelers and earnest wanderers of the world recently voted for their favorite countries to visit.  Bringing Greece to 1st place of the Best Countries in the World in Conde Nast Readers’ Travel Awards 2016 .

The Greek islands also rank second in Conde Nast Best Islands in the world 2016. Standing out for their laid back lifestyle, unique culture, stunning scenery, and quintessential charm and hospitality.

For a family yachting destination, Greece is also a wonderful choice. The Telegraph, included Greece and its islands as being one of the seven best family holiday destinations for 2018. Highlighting its beaches, villages, cuisine and culture as ideal for those seeking a vacation with great value in a prime location.

The time is right to book a Greece Yacht Charter for the summer of 2018.

The best way to explore Greece is via the sea, on an amazing journey while island hopping along the country’s immeasurable scenic islands in the Aegean or the Ionian Sea.

What makes the Aegean the ideal setting for sailing in Greece? Gradual and mild changes in temperature, the absence of tides and strong currents, steady, predictable winds, crystal-clear waters and countless bays.

Together with a myriad of stunning islands and the short distances between them, these are just a few reasons. Yacht charter guests will also enjoy picturesque harbors, wonderful cuisine and the possibility of fishing, diving and water skiing.

Greece has some of the most diverse beauty and landscapes anywhere on Earth.

Besides its ancient ruins and mountains, it has over 200 islands, each with its own unique atmosphere and vibe.  With Tabor & Mentone, you will be given a taste of every side of Greece.

Perhaps sailing from fun and exciting Mykonos, to the stunning beaches of Paros, and on to the amazing  sunsets of Santorini.

The Cyclades Islands offer a mixture of amazing sailing conditions. Great wind and exciting nightlife on the famous islands of Mykonos , Santorini, Syros, Mylos, Naxos, and Ios. You can expect to see natural coves, beautiful bays and picturesque harbors with white washed houses. Lively nights in many of the islands’ main towns. The best part of a yacht charter in the Greek Islands is having access to a boat with which you can enjoy a leisurely sail with a cocktail on deck. Ready to discover remote islands with beaches that you have all to yourself. You can decide your activities and your schedule!

The islands of Corfu, Lefkada and Zakynthos are the most famous sailing destinations of the Ionian Sea. Fabulous beaches, gorgeous sunsets and turquoise to emerald waters welcome those who are prepared to sail the Ionian waters. Enjoy a visit to the island of Ithaca, the home of Odysseus. Definitely try the delicious local cuisine and drinks in the island of Corfu. You will see coastlines dotted with Riviera-like chalets combined with fascinating historical sites.

A yacht charter to Greece wouldn’t be complete without a sailing to Crete and the Southern Aegean. There is a great variety of architecture, history, beautiful bays and beaches to discover on this famous island. Mythology lovers know that it was in a cave of Crete where the goddess Rhea hid the newborn Zeus.

While in Crete, enjoy quaint Venetian ports to legendary caves, historic monasteries, national parks and isolated beaches. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the many wineries in the area as well. Visit the Heraklion region which boasts amazing archaeological treasures. This island is one of the biggest in the Mediterranean, so planning your yachting itinerary is crucial to getting the most out of your trip!Whether you are completely new to sailing or whether you are an experienced sailor looking to introduce family or friends to yachting. There will always be a destination in Greece to truly fascinate you. Find the right boat or yacht for your sailing holidays in Greece and get on board!

Greece has always had a deeply rooted affiliation to sailing as in ancient times Greek people were bold and courageous mariners. This is evident in Homer’s Illiad and the Odyssey which both heavily allude to Greece’s dynamic oceans and sea life. The steady and gentle winds around the idyllic islands will allow you to peacefully cruise through the crystal clear waters towards a fascinating culture and history during your luxury Greek yacht charter. Having sailed the Greek waters for years, our experienced team of brokers are experts on what makes an ideal charter in Greece. We are here to help you plan your yachting vacation in the sun.

Getting to Greece

The very best yachts for charter in Greece are permanently based in Athens, which has world-class marinas with all the amenities you could need. The best way to get to Athens to start your charter is to fly in to Athens International Airport. There are direct flights from a range of European cities throughout the year, making it extremely accessible to all. Flying from America, there are direct flights from New York JFK and Philadelphia in the summer season.

From other American cities you will either change at one of these airports, or take a connecting flight from a European city, which will depend on your airline of choice. If you are travelling from Canada, there are a number of direct flights from the likes of Toronto and Montreal. Similar to flights from the USA, you will have to change at a European airport. From Athens International, you can then easily take a taxi to the port to start your yacht charter experience!