In the very north of the beautiful Croatian coast, or to be more precise, the north of the west coast of the Istrian peninsula, there are two destinations that as a true sailing enthusiast I cannot possibly miss out on, whether it is at the beginning or at the end of my journey on the Adriatic: Umag is the perfect starting point for a sailing adventure, while Novigrad is the next logical step in the tour of the gems of the Istrian coast.
Umag – the beginning of a sailing adventure
Our journey to Umag was marked by the light coming from Cape Savudrija. Its source is the oldest lighthouse on the Adriatic, built way back in 1818. According to legend, it was built by Count Metternich from Austria, who fell in love with a Croatian beauty. As we sailed into Umag, we lowered the sails and docked the boat in the beautiful and truly impressive ACI marina Umag. It has been a proud carrier of the blue flag for the last 14 years, a fact testifying to how clean the sea and flawless the service are.
What is it about Umag that always attracts me as it does other travelers – not only to dock our boats here, but also to spend some time in this charming town? The town walls and other ancient buildings will intrigue every culture and history buff, the top quality restaurants will appeal to the palate with exquisite food, even sports fans will come into their own here – especially those interested in tennis. Umag is also a popular diving destination: you can explore the remains of the steam ship Gilda near Cape Savudrija, and close by you will also find the tugboat Adriana, sunk during World War II.
From Umag to Novigrad
There are seven large bays between the marinas in Umag and Novigrad, where I like to take a moment to enjoy the true natural beauty of the landscape, to swim in the sea, or to visit one of the picturesque villages nearby. Karigador is the ideal place to spend the night and buy fish from the just-arrived fishing boats first thing in the morning. And after taking in the beauty of the intriguing Istrian bays, you can once again set sail and continue gliding on the crystal clear sea towards Novigrad.
Novigrad, a true nautical destination
In Novigrad Bay you will find a real pearl hidden in a shell. Namely, the Novigrad Marina Nautica, has a unique shell structure and it was designed around the shape of a sailing boat! In addition to being one of the most modern nautical centers in Croatia, which offers a complete infrastructure necessary for a comfortable stay, Nautica, just like Novigrad itself, wins you over with its unique position. With a bay completely sheltered from the wind, and an old town core within your reach, it is the ideal port for travelers looking for that extra something.
If by some chance the sea has not been kind to you on your trip, you can relax at the wellness center or treat yourself to a dinner at the Navigare restaurant immediately upon your arrival. A casual stroll downtown will reveal numerous charming restaurants, bars and cultural events taking place in Novigrad. Make sure not to miss the Lapidarium, the museum for a new age, and spend the day at the center of the summer festivities. In addition, Punto Mare will offer the best of the summer in the form of swimming, cocktails, and good music throughout the day. For those who prefer active holidays, there is no shortage of sites to be admired by divers, such as the remains of Coriolanus and Numidia, the two old warships.
We decided to dock on the other side of town, in the romantic bay next to a bar called Vitriol, which has the most beautiful view of the sunset in all of Istria. Watching the colors change on the surface of the sea as it whispers its secrets to the Novigrad coast, holding a glass of good Istrian wine in your hand – it truly is an experience for all the senses.