For those who like their holidays soaked in equal parts wine and sun, the phrase “world heritage wine voyage” should be top of the 2014 getaway wish list. Adriatic Wine Odyssey is a luxury yacht charter company that, for the first time, is offering the opportunity not only to enjoy Croatia’s spectacular coastline – a region that includes the Unesco World Heritage cities of Dubrovnik, Split and Trogir – but also to explore the vineyards and wines of the lush Dalmatia region.
A seven-day voyage includes the opportunity to “sail the vines”, from the mainland to islands such as Hvar, Korcula (pictured), Vis or Solta. The Croatian Adriatic is regarded as an important player in the history of wine; varieties of both the Primitivo vines of Italy and the Zinfandel variety of California have been traced to mainland Kastela, while Hvar is home to the oldest continuously cultivated vineyards on the World Heritage list.
But that is more than enough wine-geek facts. The real joy of this holiday is the fact that you can combine all that sipping and slurping with swimming and sunning. In fact, it is the ideal holiday if one of you favours the god Dionysus and the other is more of an Apollo devotee. Yachts are chartered for parties of six or fewer, with a crew that comprises both an experienced skipper and a sailor-sommelier-host who organises onboard meals and tastings, as well as winery visits, restaurant outings and vineyard tours that are often well and truly off the beaten track. The boats are either luxury catamarans or monohull yachts.
The cost of all this sun-sozzled delight is from €2,500 per person for an all-inclusive seven-day voyage (excluding flights to Split or Dubrovnik), but four-day “tasters” are also available from €1,750 each. Wine voyages set sail in May, June and September, avoiding intense heat and crowds, but ideal for exploring Croatia’s many unspoilt coves and beaches.