For those who have only one week and want to see and experience as much as possible with their own or chartered yacht in these seven days, South Dalmatia is the right place: around Dubrovnik, the center of the region, there are anchorages close to nature, modern marinas, cozy konobas on the water and lots of nature, often only half-day cruises away from each other..
Hardly any district offers such a great variety in a small area as South Dalmatia with Dubrovnik and the offshore Elaphite islands. Many well-known charter companies have their bases in and around Dubrovnik. They can be easily reached by plane from Dubrovnik airport, which is only about 20 kilometers southeast of the famous port city and only five kilometers from Cavtat near Cilipi.
But where is it actually – South Dalmatia? Administratively, Dubrovnik-Neretva County includes the southernmost part of Dalmatia around the city of Dubrovnik. Towards the north, it extends to the mouth of the Neretva River. It also includes the Peljesac peninsula and the islands of Kurcula, Mljet and Lastovo. In the extreme southeast, the county borders Montenegro.
South Dalmatia begins in the north near Ston and leads via Dubrovnik to Montenegro
However, the part of the southern Dalmatian coast that starts in the north near Ston, and leads via Dubrovnik to Montenegro is interesting for sports boating. If you take over your charter yacht in Dubrovnik (first day) and set sail for a week’s cruise, the beautiful Elaphite islands of Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan (from east to west), which invite you to two days of sailing with anchor stops in bays close to nature, visits to quaint konobas and many historical sites.
From the last, westernmost of the (inhabited) Elaphite islands, Sipan, we then head northwest into the Stonski Channel, leaving the Peljesac peninsula to port and the mainland to starboard. The cruise destination today is called Ston (Day 4).
A severe earthquake badly damaged the small medieval town in 1996. In the meantime, however, it has been completely rebuilt in the old style. In addition to the picturesque old town, the salt works and the fortress walls dating from the 14th century are well worth seeing.
At the eastern part of the island of Mljet we make an anchor and bathing stop
Leaving the Stonski Channel, we are now on our way back towards Dubrovnik. If you want, you can cross the Mljetski Channel and head for the southern eastern part of the island of Mljet for an anchor and swim stop (day 5). For this purpose you can either choose Podskolj Bay in the northeast of the island (good shelter with easterly or westerly winds), or you can sail to Saplunara Bay in the southeast (caution: no shelter with southwesterly winds). The buoys in the bay belong to the small restaurant on the beach.
If you want to be on the safe side, sail a little further along the north coast of the island of Mljet in a westerly direction to Okuklje Bay. In this popular bay you are well protected from all winds. The restaurants offer moorings on their own piers. Just a little further west is Prozura, another well protected anchorage. Here, too, restaurants offer murings at their own piers as well as mooring buoys.
The longest beat of the trip is from Mljet eastward to Cavtat
On the sixth day, there is a long sail beat from Mljet in an easterly direction. The crew passes the Elaphite Islands to the south this time, and we leave Dubrovnik “on the left” Today’s destination is the tourist town of Cavtat. The harbor is protected from Bora and Jugo, but from time to time there is a swell. Then you should pay attention to a sufficient distance to the mole.
Due to its proximity to Dubrovnik airport (approx. 5 kilometers), the harbor in Cavtat has become a popular destination for superyachts. On the promenade several restaurants invite you, here it can be a bit more turbulent.
Lying quieter in Tiha, those who want to climb the church hill – for a wonderful view
For those who find the harbor too noisy, simply anchor one bay further. This is called Tiha and is located just east of Cavtat. Here you can anchor well at five meters water depth at the entrance to the bay. The southwestern, somewhat shallower part of the bay is reserved for local boats. Tip: a climb to the highest point of the peninsula is worthwhile. It is located directly between the city harbor and Tiha. From the church hill you have a wonderful view of Cavtat and the sea.
Day seven is the return day: from Cavtat (or Tiha) it is only a stone’s throw northwest to the starting base in Dubrovnik. If you don’t sail too late, you still have enough time to visit the historic old town after clearing the ship and handing over the boat, to visit one of the good restaurants or to buy last souvenirs before heading back to the airport.