Long before the iron curtain came down, Croatia, the land of a thousand islands dotted along its coastline, was subject to Venetian rule, the evidence of which is to be seen almost everywhere. One superb example is the town and island of Hvar, now regarded as the St Tropez of the eastern Mediterranean. The towns of Trogir (a UNESCO world heritage site) and Dubrovnik (now restored after the Balkan war of the early 90s) are gems. The sailing in the northern Adriatic is a little more hard-core than in the Ionian – longer passages, fresher winds – whilst sharing the beauty of island-hopping under your own (wind) power.