We reached out and interviewed the owners of Horizon Sail to bring you this article showing you how this pair combined their passion for travel and the beautiful Dalmatian coast in Croatia. After hosting hundreds of travellers each summer season along the pristine coastline, they soon realised the hidden gems could easily be combined with the traveller favourites to offer a unique experience. The duo soon who set out to create a company that truly supports local families with conscientious approach to on board sustainability.
About Horizon Sail
The owners of Horizon Sail are Matej and Nicola. Matej is Croatian and Nicola is English, they both had extensive experience working in the travel industry and hospitality. Knowing the market for Croatia after working for other companies in the summer seasons they combined their love for the county and their skills to provide a fun, high quality and exciting sailing experience in the balkans.
The main thing that stands out about their offer is the inclusions from onboard barbecue, wine tasting, and entrance to Mljet National Park. Both Nicola and Matej always aim to make each trip unique and based on the wants and needs of the group onboard. The exclusions on this trip are only the evening meals, spending money, air faire, transfer and port tax fee.
If you want to know where the best route to go cycling or walking is, they will be able to tell you, the best seafood - you will be guided to the right place, best cocktails and music - done; quiet spots, best views, historical or cultural landmarks... they know the areas inside out.
During our interview it was clear how passionate both Matej and Nicola were about the environment they are based in. They demonstrate this by being one of the first Croatian companies to have a ban on plastic straws and by encouraging all guests to bring reusable water bottles that can be refilled on board. On board meals are prepared using locally sources ingredients including sustainably caught fish.
They also encourage their guests to use more eco friendly toiletries that are less harmful to marine life. Further adding to this, one thing the duo saw a lot of (when working for other sailing companies), was the guests bringing plastic toys and floats to take in the sea which would be left when they leave. Horizon have this taken care of, they provide these on board and ensure they are used to their fullest. They urge all of their guests not to bring these.
In addition to their promotion of sustainability they were really proud to be able to support local families whilst honouring what their guests would want and need. Having both experienced the range of restaurants, bars and small businesses along the trip; they both explained further how they are able to promote this support.
Depending on what their guests want or need they are able to advise each of them to go where is most suitable. Whilst they do have our own favourites, they recognise that there are a lot of options and different families who provide their own variations on classic dishes. They don't get commission from recommending our guests and we just simply recommend those we know offer great food and service.
What Is The Best Part About Running This Business?
The best part of running our own company for me is to be able to implement real change with hands on approach. Large companies usually say “all the right things” in terms of being eco aware and supporting locals, but change is very slow and things get stuck in the pipeline a lot. With running a niche company with a hands on approach, we ensure our values and our environmental commitment is followed every step of the way. Both ourselves and our customers get endless satisfaction seeing how together we improved lives of families in local communities we operate in.
The biggest driving force for us is the combination of customer satisfaction whilst improving local areas rather than exploiting them.
Do You Have Any Advice For Those Maybe Considering Taking The Leap And Setting Up Their Own Venture In A Place They Love?
My advice for individuals who want to do something similar in their favourite location? – At the risk of sounding silly, the best advice is JUST DO IT. The hardest step is actually making that first step. My advice to people is to trust themselves and trust their own judgment about the places they love and what those places need. People with passion for the places they have worked lived etc. will have the best insight into what that place needs. They will figure out the way to provide that. So, trust yourself to figure it out once you take the plunge. It’s probably going to be one of the most challenging and stressful times, but also some of the most rewarding times.
Typical Horizon Itinerary
Following our interview, we managed to snag a 5% discount code for our readers for any 2021 sailing trips.
Use the code: Travelsandwandering2021 when you are booking your tour.
Click Here to check out their website for more information and some of their own articles. Alternatively, follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
Day 1 Dubrovnik
Day 2 Sipan (Sipano Island, Elephiti)
Day 3 Mljet National Park (Mljet Island)
Day 4 Korčula Island
Day 5 Hvar Town (Hvar island)
Day 6 Jelsa (Hvar Island)
Day 7 Pučišća (Brac Island) and Arrive in Split Town
Prices for this itinerary are 940 euros and with the current pandemic, Horizon is allowing you to book now pay later and reserve your spot (don't forget to use our discount code above to save yourself money). This itinerary can also be done in reverse from Split to Dubrovnik to allow for flexibility when clients are booking their flights.
I should add in the reason I chose to reach out to Horizon was due to their amazing reputation so early on in the business, especially when being launched alongside some other larger companies. Many people think of the perfect location and working in that place, waiting for an opportunity to arise that would get them in the right place at the right time (or as soon as possible), but don't forget you can make your own opportunity. If you have an idea, something that is missing and if you can do this in a beautiful area then why not.