Eleven by Sea, Day II: Charter Boat in Croatia

A typical view from our charter boat in Croatia

Spoiled rotten on a private charter boat in Croatia.

I know. You might hate me because of that heading alone. But renting a charter boat in Croatia is not just for the rich and famous. It’s an affordable way to enjoy the life of luxury for a day—or two days, or even a week. With fewer people, I would consider a sleep-aboard multi-day tour. But our group was 11 women, and with only three beds on our yacht we would have been a bit scrunched—despite the fact that we’re all quite close and grew up like sisters at boarding school. Plus, we had a fabulous villa in Mlini to head back to at the end of each day.

Instead, the two single-day trips that we took on a charter boat in Croatia were ideal. Perfect. Full of pampering. On Day I, we were spoiled. On Day II, we were spoiled rotten.

A bouquet of roses from our beloved Dubrovnik Boat Charter crew.

It all started with the roses.

Apparently, our crew of Branko and Silvio from Dubrovnik Boat Charter really did enjoy our company on Day I. When we boarded the yacht for Day II, we were greeted with a vase of 11 roses—one for each of us. Jokes about the Bachelor TV show aside, we were flattered (and frankly, honored) by the gesture. It set the stage for another unforgettable day on the Adriatic.

Our crew, Silvio and Branko, spoiled us rotten.

Our plan was to visit Mljet, an island covered in large part by a national park. But in discussing the day ahead with Silvio, we learned that a typical trip to Mljet includes taking a van ride and another boat to access the national park and the island’s inland lake. While the scenery is surely stunning, the logistics didn’t appeal to our group of mermaid wannabes. We craved maximum time spent swimming in secluded spots, cruising on our yacht, and steering clear of other tourists. We didn’t even want to linger too long at a lunch restaurant. Rather, we longed to draw out the hours spent splashing in the water and soaking up the sun.

Silvio to the rescue! He kindly called ahead to Konoba kod Balda, a restaurant in the tiny village of Šipanska Luka, on the western side of Šipan. He pre-ordered an incredible spread of family-style food for us to share.

Is there any better life than a life at sea?

The sea in Croatia is oh-so-blue.

Gretchen getting into the snorkeling groove.

Julie and Nilda on a day full of laughter

Looking to the horizon

Savoring lunch—and a sweet serenade.

En route to our lunch stop, we spent the morning swimming, snorkeling, laughing, and playing—much like our Day I adventure. Once we worked up an appetite, we made our way to the dock in Šipanska Luka. It’s a community of approximately 250 people—but that’s enough to require an in-sea water polo practice pool. Another 250 locals live in Lopud, on the other side of Šipan—and that’s it. Talk about paradise!

The water polo pool in Šipanska Luka.

Šipanska Luka

Šipanska Luka

We lounged around for a little while, sipping wine and Ožujsko. Soon enough, platters of food poured out from the kitchen—the freshest fish imaginable, accompanied by traditional vegetable and potato dishes. Everyone agreed it was one of the best meals of the entire trip. Before we left, the owner of the restaurant brought us a supply of cold drinks for the afternoon, showcasing his typical Croatian kindness.

Fresh catch for lunch.

While we were eating, Silvio popped over to say hello to his parents, who live in the village. To our delight, he reappeared midway through the meal with his father’s guitar. Eleven hearts fluttered as he serenaded us with classic Croatian songs. This guy’s the real deal, complete with a gorgeous singing voice.

Silvio's serenade

Satisfied with food and song.

And of course there was shopping!

After gorging on food, drink, and flattery, we wandered the town’s main road, stopping into the single shop: Atelier Belladonna. Here, talented jewelry artist Jelena sells her handcrafted wares. Several of us bought beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and rings with a range of local coral beads—a way to stay connected with this place that stole our hearts, even when far away.

Atelier Belladonna in Šipanska Luka

Me, LiLin, and Nilda in Šipanska Luka

A simple, yet stunning doorway in Šipanska Luka

Into the blue.

The rest of our day was spent doing what we love best—playing in the pristine blue water and celebrating our friendships with conversation, laughter, and plenty more ice-cold Ožujsko. We visited secluded spot after secluded spot, each more beautiful than the last. Our final foray, on the way home, was to the Blue Cave at Koločep island. We skipped past it the first day on the yacht, because it looked packed with tourists. This time, arriving toward the end of the day, only one other boat was moored nearby—again, perfect planning by our crew. To access the cave, you swim about 300 meters from your boat, duck under a rocky entryway, and emerge into a cave filled with glowing blue water. The color is spectacular, a result of the way the sunlight hits the cave’s opening. It’s an absolute must for your trip on a charter boat in Croatia.


Eventually, the day had to end. I think we all realized that while we couldn’t stay on the sea in Croatia forever, it will always be a part of each of us, feeding our souls and fueling our dreams.

Want to book a private charter boat in Croatia?

Ready to plan your own day of luxury on the Adriatic Sea? Contact Dubrovnik Boat Charter (and tell them VRVE Mag sent you). They have boats that accommodate all size groups, and offer a variety of pre-planned and custom excursions. If you have enough people in your party, spoil yourselves with a private charter. The prices are very affordable (by U.S. standards), and booking two trips will save you 15% off the second day.

Disclosure: Dubrovnik Boat Charter allowed us an additional discount in exchange for this post. All opinions and recommendations within are my own. 

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