The skipper lowered our dinghy into the water below and we all squinted our eyes as the bright lights of Hvar’s Carpe Diem island glimmered in the distance.
Do you understand more than half the words in my intro? No? That means you’ve never been party sailing in Croatia! I tried it for a week last summer and it was definitely an experience unlike any other. Why? Just put your captain hat on and imagine the sea splashing in the background as I explain it all…
What Is Party Sailing?
Even as I approached the sailing boat which was to become my official headquarters for the week, I had no idea what to expect. I’d watched all the insane videos and read all the wide-eyed testimonies, but it was all fairly vague. “You will have the time of your life – on a boat.” “It’s an experience you will never forget.” Well, let me try to be a little more specific than that…
Before setting sail, you have to stock up on essentials like rice, pasta and crazy amounts of water. The shopping will be heavy and you’ll be all “when can I finally relax?”, but it will also ensure your continued survival so do take this part seriously and don’t just throw a bunch of perishables into your basket. There is a fridge on the boat, but it only works when you’re docked in a marina – and the last thing you want is to get food poisoning while sharing a tiny toilet with five other people.
After buying all the food, you stash it away in little containers in the boat and as soon as the work is done the party begins… and doesn’t stop till you check out! You could take it easy, but let’s be honest – you won’t. During the day you will either tan on the deck, cool off in the ocean or, well, lie in your cabin with a massive hangover and whisper the words “I will never drink again” into your pillow. By night you will party underneath the stars, pound shots on the beach and break all the promises you made to your pillow. All of them.
Who Is Party Sailing For?
The majority of the guests are around 18-30, with 25 probably being the average age. At 20, I was definitely among the youngest but this wasn’t a problem at all. In terms of nationality, the whole world parties in Croatia – on my yacht alone we had two Brazilians, two Argentinians, two Croatians, a Ukrainian and… well, me.
Party sailing mainly attracts yuppies with a penchant for adventure. Aside from being young, middle class and adventurous I should also mention that the vast majority of guests are also male. Naturally, this is bad news for the men… but my friend Lyna and I were pretty pleased with this development. Our joy was intensified by the fact that – and this may have been all those gin & tonics talking – the majority of them were really attractive.
This leads me to one more characteristic the guests shared – singledom. I met one guy who was on his stag party and other than that everyone was unattached… or at least acting the part. Although there’s a lot of heavy drinking and shameless flirting involved, I never felt like people were pushy or disrespectful though. Regardless, I’d be a little hesitant to come by myself, as most people arrive in pairs (read: pairs, not couples) – but I reckon you’d have a fantastic time even if you did!
Best Party Sailing Spots In Croatia
The starting point for most journeys is one of the marinas in Split, a short drive from the airport. While you’re there, you should definitely not miss a chance to sample its nightlife – check out my party girl guide to Split if you need any convincing!
But party sailing is all about the incredible Croatian islands. The most popular among them is definitely Hvar, a wild kingdom of debauchery and hedonistic fun times. Your yacht will likely moor in the Palmizana Marina from which you can take a taxi boat to the centre of the island. I’m currently putting together a guide to partying on Hvar island, so keep an eye out for more info!
The other island you should definitely check out is Vis. Much quainter and traditional, this is the perfect place to soak up some culture and get an even tan. But don’t think there is no partying to be had here – while you’re there, don’t forget to get absolutely outrageous at Club Aquarius. I went to a party there and all I will tell you is that it may or may not have included some heavy drinking and light skinny dipping…
The islands of Brac and Korcula are meant to be lovely as well, but I didn’t get a chance to explore them during my trip. I’m not really one to recite guidebook information on here, so the research is on you with those two. If you’ve been there, I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!
10 Commandments For Party Sailors
1. Thou shalt not overpack.
2. Thou shalt use sunscreen religiously.
3. Thou shalt always try to to get along with your boat mates.
4. Thou shalt prepare an epic playlist beforehand.
5. Thou shalt bring a waterproof camera, if possible.
6. Thou shalt leave fancy clothes and hair irons at home.
7. Thou shalt not be a diva – it’s fun, but it’s dirty fun.
8. Thou shalt hire a skipper, even if you can sail.
9. Thou shalt budget ahead of time, otherwise you’ll definitely overspend.
10. Thou shalt get outrageous – but know there will be plentiful photo evidence.
If you’re trying to figure out which provider to go with, you should check out my review of Sailing.hr. There are many providers and you should definitely do your research before booking any of them. I was not particularly impressed with the service provided by Sailing.hr, but can’t speak to the quality of other providers – all I can say is proceed with caution.
Have you ever gone or would you go party sailing in Croatia? Booking season is in full swing now and I would love to hear your thoughts. After all, I have not finalised my summer plans yet…