There are around 400 islands scattered off the Coast of Croatia, so you can't sail or cruise for long without running into one or another, it's just a matter of choosing the right kind of island to run up against.
Amongst the 66 inhabited islands there are all sorts of potential attractions. A sprinkling are perfect for foodies and gourmets, for whom they offer up the freshest of seafoods and other local produce and organically produced wines, a couple offer the kind of party atmosphere you'd expect from Ibiza and the like, with 24 hour clubs and beach parties fuelled by the world's hottest DJs, a string of them catch the winds perfectly for great watersport-ing conditions, some are ideal for an old fashioned bucket and spade holidays with the kids and some are more Cannes chic than Brighton rock.
Sailors have the most freedom when planning an island hopping route between their ideal isles, but there are ferry and catamarans running between many of the inhabited islands as well – and generally there's less distance between islands than there is between the island hopping classic Greek isles.
One of the easiest islands to start hopping off is Krk, which is also one of the largest islands, and one with an airport: Rijeka. From Krk, Rab island is an hour and 45mins by ferry. Rab is the Dalmatian Coast's active break island. The northeastern side of the island is mostly barren, covered in interesting karst features, while the southwestern side is heavily wooded with pine and oak forests broken up with kilometres worth of biking trails.
Split is only an hour from the 16th Century Venetian style grace and glamour of Hvar, which is the place to be if you're into star gazing of the silver screen variety. Hvar's coastline dips from rocky cliffs to secluded sandy coves but the best beaches are on the Pakeleni Islands about 20 minutes from Hvar Town. From Hvar, Brač is only a 45 minute ferry trip.
Brač isn't as lush as some of the other Dalmatian islands, but the rocky coastline is just as pretty to sail or walk around. The next island to visit on this itinerary is Vis, which until 1989 was a military base. After the last sub pulled out the island was quickly colonised by the boat set looking for fresh territory to explore. As well as the boating set the foodie set have also come to love Vis: around 20% of its land is laid out with vineyards and there's very healthy olive and fish markets as well. From Vis you can take the ferry back to Split in about two and a half hours.
From Dubrovnik it's a 50 minute ferry to north to Šipan, which is the largest of the Elaphiti islands with a population of 500, living on a couple of limestone crests on top of which olives, figs, almonds, oranges and carob are grown. From Šipan travel to long, narrow Mljet, covered in ancient forests, which hide many dramatic gorges and chasms now protected by National Park boundaries.
Sobra, the main port on the island, is connected to Dubrovnik-Gruž and Ston via a car ferry and there's a 50 minute Catamaran journey to Korčula, whose Venetian architecture in ancient walled towns and sandy secluded bays and vineyards cover about a third of this island, the rest is covered in pine woods making Korčula one of the greenest Adriatic islands.
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