Croatia's Yacht Week is currently underway, so if you're wondering why your city's streets seem a little less festive, you have the answer. Although The Yacht Week has started to spread across to other countries, Croatia still maintains its dominance, boasting the longest season at 12 weeks.
From June 7 to August 30 this year (yes you can still get onboard for 2014), hundreds of Yachties will take to the ocean around Croatia's southern end to experience this unique form of sightseeing and partying. To put the week in perspective, it's essentially a fancier Contiki Tour on water, as every day and night you're taken to a new destination that brings exciting attractions and bundles of fun.
During the day, you can kick back on your yacht or learn the technique of sailing, while being surrounded by picturesque nature and 49 other sea vessels carrying like-minded travellers. When the sun drops below the ocean, the parties begin, carrying on until the early hours of morning.
There's a lot worth remembering on The Yacht Week. Here are some of our highlights:
Split is the start and end point of The Yacht Week. As the second largest city in Croatia, it's easy to find a range of affordable flights to Split. If you're in town a few days early or want to hang out after your week at sea, there are plenty of quality attractions to keep you occupied.
As monuments go, the Diocletian's Palace is Split's number one, featuring 4th-Century Roman architecture and vibrant decorations. For a detailed look at Croatia's past, visit The Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, which houses a vast collection of artefacts from important periods in Croatian history.
Split also has numerous nightlife venues that offer much more than just an appetiser to The Yacht Week. Once you're ready to board your vessel, head down to the marinas, where a week-long adventure of sightseeing, sailing, frivolous activities and socialising awaits.
There are two sides to Vis Island: a relaxed north-eastern town called Vis and an endless party at Komiza on the west. Having only been used as a tourist destination since around 1994, Vis still maintains its historical appeal, boasting various military objects, palaces, century-old churches and the early-19th-Century Fort George, where your evening festivities are held. Vis is also home to a variety of restaurants and bars, many of which have stunning views over the port where the yachts dock.
When you head over to Komiza, don't be fooled by the sleepy nature of this small fishing village with its beachfront restaurants, unique stores selling artisan goods and quintessentially Croatian cafes. At night, Komiza is the stage for one of The Yacht Week's biggest parties, held at an open-air club located right on the beach.
The town of Hvar on Hvar Island is one of the most recognisable destinations during The Yacht Week. It's widely known for its amalgamation of ancient architecture with modern nightlife. While a lot of stops possess a stronger party appeal thanks to the The Yacht Week organisers, Hvar doesn't need any help in showing you a good time.
Behind the bars on the beachfront, you can find an assortment of memorable sights including the 16th-Century Fortica Spanjola, which is a great place to learn about Hvar's history and to capture panoramic views of the town and coast.
The festivities at Hvar begin on the yachts, before spilling out onto the beachfront where you and hundreds of your fellow Yachties can take advantage of live music, festival goodies and classic Mediterranean scenery. Duck into some of the bars to experience Hvar nightlife, which starts early and finishes after sunrise.
Croatia's serene coastline
Over the course of the week that you're at sea, your yacht is routinely dropping anchor at Croatia's picture-perfect bays. Scedro is one of the more secluded spots, located a short distance from Hvar. Once the boats are anchored, you're able to float around on the calm water in inflatable tubes while socialising over a few casual drinks.
Another bay you'll become well aquainted with is Plamizana, which is close enough for you to reach Hvar if you want a better look at the town's sights, but far enough away for a feeling of natural serenity. Unlike the organised on-shore parties, nights spent in Croatia's bays are far more spontaneous, allowing you to choose how big you want your social gathering to be.