10 Reasons To Go Sailing In Croatia

 

  • attractive prices on yacht charter and sailboat vacation packages
  • good flight connections to major Croatian sailing destinations
  • Croatia is one of the safest countries in Europe for sailing holidays
  • one of the sunniest countries in the Mediterranean
  • numerous amazing places to sail from north to south
  • serene, warm seas, fair winds with no weather extremes
  • 6 months of perfect weather and sailing conditions
  • Adriatic is one of the cleanest seas in the world
  • 1.300 scattered islands and 3000 miles of unspoiled coastline
  • small distances between islands means more safety and itinerary options
The essence of sailing is to enjoy and have fun.

Best Sailing Destinations In Croatia?

When you plan a sailing trip in Croatia first consider some basic factors that could affect on your   

When do I take a trip, what are my expectations, the budget and what destination to chose

If you are a first-time visitor to Croatia, then take your tour in summer season between June and September. The weather is perfect and everything is in full swing.

The Budget and holiday expectations

Your holiday should also depend on you expectations, the budget and and your level of sailing experience. You got 2 types of bareboat yachts on Adriatic that are popular for rental - Sailboat or Catamaran. Basically, sailboat is more genuine and affordable, while catamaran provides extra comfort and space aboard. And rememer to book your trip form sailing holiday companies.

Bareboat or Skippered Charter

Bareboat yacht rental is the most affordable option. The only condition is, that your party already has a skipper with corresponding boat license. The second, also favourable option is to rTake a skippered Croatia boat holidayent a yacht with local skipper.

If you don't own a valid boat license and a VHF station certificate, then this is the most hassle-free vacation with completely flexible itinerary and in fact the best way to explore numerous isolated islands. When you hire skippered/crewed yacht charter, local skipper already comes as inventory on your boat. Not only he knows best sailing areas, bays and top restaurants. He is also a pure treasury of useful internal tips and a good company on your tour.

Choosing The Perfect Destination

With 3000 miles of rugged coastline from Istria in the north to Dubrovnik region in the far south, is a handful of places to explore. Over 1300 islands and 8 national wildlife parks surrounded by the warm Adriatic sea is a good enough reason for your vacation in Croatia. You can choose between 4 major destinations to explore - Pula, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik, where you can simply rent a yacht in one of the nearby marinas. A 7-day sailing trip is perfect to discover one of them.

Sailing in Pula 

Pula archipelago and western part of Istrian peninsula are highly concentrated with charming Venetian towns (Vrsar, Rovinj, Poreč) where you can almost everywhere feel the Italian influence. Western part of Istria is extremely rich in cultural and historical heritage, amazing architecture based on traditionally built narrow streets and epic stone-waled buildings.

Not to mention the top-notch cuisine, which is, together with the finest wine selection in Croatia a good reason to for your sailing retreat. A complete contrast to the buzzing streets of Pula, Rab or Pag, is the pristine Kvarner bay with its unspoiled islands and emerald coves. A true Meka for the sailors, searching calm and peaceful surroundings. Here, you will get an excellent opportunity to relax in beautiful sunsets enjoying in a glass of local Malvazija wine. Hire a sailboat or catamaran at yacht charter in Pula, Veruda or Pomer bareboat or with crew.

Sailing in Zadar 

More to the south is Zadar - Sibnik region with the breathtaking Kornati islands and their rugged lunar landscape. Central Dalmatia with numerous wildlife parks, deserted bays, buzzing towns and a unique philosophy of local people, is probably the most rewarding sailing destination that is revealing the authentic land's heartbeat. This is the perfect destination for family sailing holidays

This archipelago is the densest island area in the Mediterranean and a cradle of over 500 mostly uninhabited islands. Here you will find quiet in secluded coves and picturesque island villages. Moderate Meastral wind provides the idyllic sailing conditions between well protected islands. 

Be sure to make some stops in vibrant towns like Zadar, Vodice or Primošten and have a cocktail in a beach bar. If you sail up river passing Šibenik town, you will reach one of the Croatian wonders - 7 majestic waterfalls of Krka national park. You can berth in charming Skradin, the centre of province gastronomy and Dalmatian cuisine. Grilled bream, sea mussels, octopus or a veal under the bell is a must-try. Hire your boat at charters in Zadar, Sukošan, Biograd or Murter.

Sailing in Split

Split archipelago is definitively a heart of Dalmatia. Famous islands Hvar, Brač, Vis and Šolta are quite likely the most frequently mentioned destinations in every tourist guide. This region has plenty modern marinas where you can hire your boat. Split is a perfect destination for newbies.

The island Hvar is world-known as one of the sunniest places in Europe and the same-named town as being the busiest and the most hedonistic of all the island villages in Croatia. It is only 3 hour sail from your starting marina in Split or Trogir. Here, you can get the best of both worlds - secret coves and secluded anchorages, buzzing village harbours and vibrant towns. This region is a very popular Mediterranean honeymoon destination and a great vacation idea for couples.

The "green island" Šolta is often off the tourist maps this is why its deserted bays, stony villages and culinary highlights are still waiting to be discovered. Small towns of Brač are known for their laid-back charm, unique architecture and the unique philosophy of the islanders. Sailing to the mystical and until recently forbidden island Vis, to discover its spectacular cavity and rich military heritage, should be on every sailors bucket list. Numbers say, that in the last 30 years Vis prospers mainly on the account of Maritime tourism. Don't forget to try local culinary highlights and wines that prosper in the sun-soaked vineyards. 

Sailing in Dubrovnik

Sub-tropical climate of Dubrovnik province and the surrounding islands, attracts masses of tourists recently. This is why it is recommended to visit this stunning Dalmatian pearl in off season. Old town's citadel is beset with impressive fortified walls from the 15. Century. Narrow paved streets and houses, all made of shiny white marble, reflect this town's unique charm. You will find more peace and quiet anchoring in secluded bays of Elafiti islands, just 2 hour sailing north from buzzing Dubrovnik.

Densely forested island Mljet should be on your must-visit list together with the charming Lastovo island, surrounded by a unique flora and fauna. Both islands are wildlife reserves. Explore Mljet's saltwater lakes and coves, rugged landscape of Lastovo and snorkel in the crystal clear water far away from the civilisation. Here you will find some of the best local family-run restaurants. Freshly caught John Dorry or Scorpio fish is always on the menu.

The capital of these islands is vibrant Korčula town also known as the birthplace of the merchant Marco Polo. Influenced by Venetian Renaissance, here you will find more history and cultural heritage, then anywhere else in this archipelago. Korčula island is filled with pine forests, vineyards, villages and olive groves, providing a stunning backdrop while you take advantage of the clear water. Be sure to taste some of the best wines in Croatia that originate form the vineyards of Pelješac.

Please read about the best sailing destinations in Croatia. if you don't want to miss out.

Sailing is perfect idea for couples or a honeymoon trip
Charter a yacht in Pula to explore northern Adriatic
Kornati Islands - the perfect natural creation of Dalmatia
Sailing from split and anchoring in cove Krknjaši
Komiža town on island  Vis
Dubrovnik - the pearl of Southern Dalmatia
The island Mljet is full of well natural protected coves
Grilled fish and local wine is a must-try
The rugged Lastovo island

When is the best time for a Sailing trip?

Generally, if your dates are flexible, take a sailing trip in June or September. Prices are lower there is less crowds on the city streets and traffic, rolling from mainland is less dense. Charter rental prices are lowest in shoulder season (April, May, October). The chance of variable weather is slightly higher in Fall, when the weather systems are moving faster over Europe. Spring time in Croatia is glorious with warm air temperatures, but the sea is still warming up and it might reach 20 degrees (68F) in the middle May. Most of sailing pleasures with constant winds expect in September and May. 

High summer in Croatia might be busy, but the weather is simply glorious, with fair winds and air temperatures often over 30 (86F). If you don't want to take any chances then book your sailing vacation in July or August. Yacht charter prices in peak season months July and August are highest,  but you can always get a fair deal at Active Sailing agency.

In the peak season, most of the popular marinas are overcrowded with Italians crossing over Adriatic. Especially during their national holiday in August. It is hard to get a free berth in the evening. So it is better to play it safe with an early bird and catch your mooring early in the afternoon. Finding a free seat in a quality restaurant might also be a problem.

There is also the weather that can affect your decision. The sun is shining 315 days a year at the Croatian coast and you can consider yourself unlucky if you have a rainy day within a 2-week vacation, so plan your trip between June and September.

Where can I rent a yacht?

Considering the charter prices and the prices in general, Croatia is still good value compared with Greece, Italy and Turkey. The yacht rental prices are at their peak from mid. July till mid. August and most marinas add ten percent to mooring fees. In June and September you can deduct 20-30% off the yacht price that is fixed for the peak season. In April, May or October the price for a private yacht holidays Croatia can be even 50% lower. 

A Sailboat or a catamaran?

It is also important what type of a yacht you rent. You need to be realistic about your expectation. There are numerous yachts for rental down the coast that offer several levels of comfort. From economy small-cabin sailboats to high-end luxury catamarans. You can hire a reliable boat at Croatia yacht rental charter agency.

It very much depends on how far your budget can reach. Best option for a beginner or a first-time sailor is to hire a reliable Croatia yacht charter with skipper, while the high rollers can take a fully crewed yacht charter Croatia. There are many inclusions that you already prepayed in skippered packages (sailboat, skipper, end cleaning, Wi-Fi, dinghy, taxes...).

On crewed yachts you usually get the full package including the hostess, chef and berth fees. All charted vessels are equipped with with toilets, showers, electricity, gas, usually ample kitchen space, comfortable cabins and plenty of room on deck to socialise. Skipper's service is from 120-150€/day and should be payed on spot at the embarkation.

4 destinations and 50 Marinas along the Adriatic coast

There is multitude of options. You can rent a sailboat charter or catamaran charter Croatia.4000+ vessels are available in 50 marinas down the Adriatic coast. From Istria in the north to Dubrovnik in the far south. You can book your sailing trip from four Adriatic regions that you can explore:

Pula region in the north

Zadar region and northern Dalmatia

Split archipelago with islands Hvar, Vis and Brač

Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia with islands Mljet, Korčula and Lastovo

All the large marinas are close by to the international airports in Pula, Dubrovnik Split, Zadar or the Kvarner isand Krk. Usually only 15-minute taxi drive away.

Anyhow, a private sailing tour can be a rewarding experience from every destination. It is difficult to see everything within a week, but you can still explore most of the area's highlights.

The trip will leave you wanting to come back for more and it is better to leave some exploration for your next holiday. Or you can take a 2-week tour and discover even more.

Sailboat charter Croatia
 Catamaran charter Croatia
Bareboat charter Croatia
Yacht rental Croatia

6 Usefull tips for your sailing trip

  • Book your holidays early. There are numerous early bird discounts, the yachts are still available and you get to pay by instalments. Balance is 50% at the booking and 50% one month before your departure. Rent sailboat in Croatia at Active Sailing agency.
  • Choose a reliable yacht charter agency and get the exact price quote with the inclusions. Don't let the unexpected extra costs surprise you. 
  • Pack rationally Don't over pack and try to take a soft duffel bag instead of a hard suitcase. Double cabins in a sailboat or catamaran are bright and spacious, but they can get uncomfortable with 2 large suitcases. Some tips what to pack for sailing trip
  • Don't forget your Passport, ID and enough cash Although you already prepay most of the inclusions, there are still some extras that you need to consider (fuel, onboard provisions, tourist tax, marina fees, national parks, transfers and eating out). Exchange enough local currency KUNA at the official bank before your embark!
  • Check the weather before departure and pack accordingly to the forecast. Especially if you plan to take your tour in early Spring or Autumn.
  • Check in and check out Please stick to your check in hours, unless you ordered an early check in. Your yacht needs to be prepared and cleaned before your embarkation. It has no sense to fry on the hot sun in front the charter office. If you arrive early, rather go for a swim. There are beaches close by every marina. Check out is usually after 8 AM the next Saturday. It is recommended return to marina on Friday before evening for the underwater inspection.

Written by Susan Dempsey, Dublin IR

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