This is something I did get asked about while I was guiding through Europe and when people had some extra time to kill. . .
“What’s the difference between Turkey and Croatia Sail?”
Now I have done both I can finally give a full comparison! Yay!! (Yay for two reasons, 1. I can give a more qualified opinion and, 2. I have done a sail in my two favourite countries!) That last point is another reason why this is hard for me to compare. . . Turkey and Croatia often fight it out for my top two favourite countries I have ever been too!
So let’s get into the comparing . . .
A C C O M M O D A T I O N
The boats that Busabout offer in Turkey is Gulet type boats. There is only the one level of accommodation. Depending on which boat you will either have twin beds, although, some boats have double beds in all the rooms. This means you may have to share with a stranger, but they definitely try and partner you with a member of the same sex! The rooms are also ensuite rooms. The showers on all of them aren’t your conventional shower and are sometimes just a pullout shower head from the sink. Easy to use and the bathrooms are cleaned daily by the crew!
To be honest, sharing a bed isn’t much of a problem! As long as there isn’t a lot of rain during your sail, most people sleep out on the deck. There are sun beds spread out on pretty much the whole deck and they are really, really comfortable! Just make sure you are considerate of everyone else and don’t lay on the beds when you are wet and make sure you lay a towel down when you put sunblock on! It stains the beds and no one likes sleeping on stained beds! Also, it makes it easier for the crew when they have to clean up at the end of the week!
With Busabout there are 3 accommodation styles in Croatia.
First, standard boats. Twin share, which will always be bunk beds. There are shared bathrooms, no rooms are ensuites! The bathrooms on the boat may have just a shower handle in a cubicle with the toilet. At first, when I saw this it was a little weird but really, it’s all apart of the backpacking/sail experience!
Standard ensuite boats. They are the same kind of rooms as the standard boats just with ensuites in all rooms! Some of these rooms MAY have air con, however, it is NOT promised.
Cruiser ensuite boats. We like to call these the big whites, because, well, they are the big white boats and more luxurious! Majority of the time twin bedding, of course, ensuites, and air conditioning!
On all boats, wifi is not promised, however, there is a high chance you may have it available. There are deck chairs and hang out areas, but how these are designed differs on each boat!
F O O D
I’m not going to lie, when I first booked my Turkey Sail for £390, I was thinking to myself “Yeah this is a great price for breakfast and lunch included. What a win!” And at that moment I also realised I did not know a product that I talk to people about well enough. I looked into it again and was so happy with my decision as I realised that ALL MEALS ARE INCLUDED! Every breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout that week, aboard the boat, is included!
I’m not going to lie, I nearly fainted! And I bet you’re all thinking “For that price the meals surely can’t be amazing?” And my response to you would be to “Shut your god damn mouth!” Every meal was always different and there was always a banquet of choices!
Breakfast was the most basic meal, however, never a shortage of food! Every lunch and dinner that was brought out, made me consider if it was my favourite meal of the trip! Our chef on board the boat was honestly amazing! I’m also lactose intolerant and even when there were dishes with lactose in them and I had to avoid them, I still left the table feeling full because there was so much damn food! There would always be something like a meat dish, vegetable dish/salad, pasta/rice dish, bread, and something extra to help fill those tummies! I promise you, you won’t be hungry by the end of a meal!
Croatia Sail does also have a chef on board. Every breakfast and lunch is included! Breakfast will depend on your chef, however, usually there will be toast with an array of spreads, sometimes eggs, coffee, juice, maybe some ham, tomatoes, etc.
Lunch is a different story, my god! It is always a three-course meal! A soup with bread will come out first in a big bowl for your table to share (tables are about 4-5 people at them), the second course will be some meat of sorts with veggies or chips, or sometimes it will be a pasta! Then there will be a dessert to finish you off! Usually, dessert is ice cream, but this also changes depending on the boat!
Dinners are not included on the sail, however, each night your guide will take you out to a restaurant. All meals are usually locally produced and reasonably priced for the serving sizes also! There are two options for dinners on board, which are, the Captains BBQ and the Captains Dinner! Both of them are pretty large feasts and just get added to your tab for you to pay at the end of the week (all your drinks purchased from the bar will be added to this tab throughout the week also!) Both are around the €10 mark, but both definitely worth the costs!
A T M O S P H E R E
I always say no matter where you travel too or how you travel, your adventure is what you make of it. Both of these trips are no different!
Of course, though there are different vibes to each trip! With Turkey, of the 8 nights aboard the boat, two of those are spent off the boat at bars. Meaning, it gives it a really chilled vibe, and definitely not focused on partying. Although, this won’t stop those people who do want to party. When I did the sail, two innocent nights spent on the boat were turned into dance parties! There’s a bar on the boat that is always stocked. They have lights (like disco lights), and a sound system so the boat is always prepared for partying!
Some other nights were spent sitting around the table casually drinking (however, sometimes drinking games, nothing intense), or playing card/board/dice games! Some others on the boat had external hard drives with movies so decided to set up on the deck beds a movie night with their laptops for anyone wanting to join!
During the day, while not out exploring some of the islands, time on the boat was spent swimming in the crystal clear waters of Turkey, tanning on deck chairs, again playing games or reading books. One thing I really did like was there was no wifi on the boats. So unless you had an international sim card that worked in Turkey (I did not), you could really disconnect from the world, which I thought was so enjoyable! Got a break from all the fakeness that social media can be sometimes!
And again, Croatia is what you make of it! You’ll dock early/sometimes late afternoon and have a few hours to explore! For people looking for a more cultural experience from the Sails I recommend doing the Busabout Croatia Sail one way, Split to Dubrovnik or vice versa. For people wanting to party their little hearts out, go for the Island Hopper (Split to Split). However, you can really do either one both options, just chat with your guide!
Partying is usually what a lot of people do go to Croatia for! And with the sails, they will definitely help with this. After dinner at the recommended restaurant by the guide, you’ll head off to the best local places to party! Usually, the highlights of the week are the Rave in the Cave in Makarska, going to Revlin in Dubrovnik (partying in the Old Town City Walls) or the pirate party in Omis! The only night that you don’t really go out is in Mljet, due to there not being anywhere to go really! Although, it can be a bit of a dark horse and the night on the boat can turn drunken really quickly. However, as I said, it’s what you make of it. If you don’t want to drink or go to these clubs, ask your guide if they know of a more chilled bar you can go to!
D A Y S T O P S
With the Turkey Sail, you will actually never dock overnight except the last night in Fethiye. So what this means is you’re going to be on that boat a lot! Although, when you do get to stop, you get to see some awesome, chilled out coastal towns of Turkey (notice how I say towns). You will drop anchor late afternoon in some of the most beautiful bays, before the next day moving to other places! I’m going to focus on the places that you actually dock at and have the opportunity to get off the boat! A few of the main stops are:
- Butterfly Valley, you get the dingy over to the island after your first night aboard and go on a mini hike. There are meant to be lots of butterflies, however, when I went, the mating season was over! If you really want to see butterflies here, go on the Sail around August-Early September time!
- What is known as Turkey’s Blue Lagoon, Oludeniz Bay! Here you get the opportunity to go paragliding from the highest peak of the bay! Do it! I promise you will not regret it!
- Kaş is such a beautiful seaside town. Lots of markets to buy Turkish delights, Turkish towels, silver, homemade soaps and lots of other little nick-nacks. Picturesque cobblestone streets too! (It is the photo on the left-hand side of the cover photo!)
- Kekova is a shortstop the get homemade Turkish ice cream, Turkish tea and to talk a walk to the top of the fortress (entrance costs is about 10TL). The views from up here are jaw-dropping.
- Smugglers Cove is a night stop. It’s the pirate themed night and a party bar. Prices for drinks are pretty much the same as the boat. There is a drop toilet here, caught us by surprise, take hand sanitiser with you.
As I mentioned earlier, depending which option you do with Busabout (One-way Sail, or the Island Hopper) will depend on how much free time you get on each island. Typical (weather permitting) you will have more time if you do the one-way sail and will get an additional stop. However, if not you will port usually late afternoon and have a few hours before dinner time. The places you go:
- Hvar. The most luxurious of them all. This is where celebs come to chill on their big fancy yachts and where they head out to party at Carpe Diem. However, there is a cool fortress you can hike up to the top too, lots of lavender, and some incredible places to swim and sunbake. Plus this night you go to a bar called Kiva Bar, where you get these interesting shots called “Tequila Boom Booms”
- Mljet. In reality, there is not a lot here. However, the beauty of the island makes up for it! Two lakes, one big, one small, and one connects to the sea via an inlet, which makes for a great swimming area. Hire a bike (not included in the sail) and ride around the lakes out to the inlet (highly recommended!) This is usually a really chill night because there isn’t a lot to do here. Really a great rest night after Hvar!
- Dubrovnik. The pearl of the Adriatic! Dubrovnik Old Town is incredible! Minus the heards of people, you really do feel like you are stepping back in time! Things I’d recommend to do is, walk the old town walls, and go up the cable car around sunset (if you have time) for some scenic views! This night you go to the Bucket Bar (you’ll see what I mean) then to Revlin, which allows you to party in the walls of the old town!
- Korcula, the supposedly, maybe, maybe not, highly unlikely, but still claim it, the hometown of Marco Polo. Another chilled island, some cool markets, swimming spots, ice cream and coffee! This night can be chilled or not so chilled. There is a cool bar called Billy’s that can either be a big one or quiet one, depends on how well you recover from the previous night really!
- Makarska! An island for picking out your pirate costume (if you haven’t already had your pirate night), and water sports! There are heaps of the blow-up obstacle courses here! You can walk out towards the lighthouse and there are some more pirate areas to sunbake too! This is the Rave in the Cave night! Awesome bar in an old military bunker that faces out to the sea! It is hot and sweaty but a lot of fun!
- Omis. The pirate town! This is where you can sweat out all the alcohol from the past week! There is an hour hike to the top of a fortress with views that will outdo those of the past week! Also, this is pirate party night!
- Split. You may have started here, but I actually do quite like Split! Diocletian’s Palace is awesome. The ability to roam freely through an old palace that has been turned into many shops, restaurants, bars and hostels, is just really cool! There is so much to do in Split too (I’m going to do a whole post on Split one day so I’ll leave this for now!)
Overall, I literally cannot choose between the two! I love them both! I love Turkey, because it’s my favourite country, it’s incredibly chill, the best way to disappear from social media for a week and meet new people. It was personally my favourite way to unwind from a chaotic first season as a Busabout guide! Croatia, being my second favourite country though is a heavy contender. I do love the fast pace of Croatia and still love a good night out! So much so, I really, really want to work as a Croatia guide this year!
Really my final comment is, do a Croatia Sail through the middle of your trip and finish it off with the Turkey Sail, why not do both!?