Sailing in Croatia: your best guide!
Our top recommendation for exploring Croatia is by sea. It offers everything you might expect, including a unique European experience. And the best part about sailing in Croatia is that you have plenty to choose from. Unspoiled bays, impressive sceneries, several remote islands, and plenty of calm turquoise waters. Even though you might be a beginner in sailing, you should know that you can charter a boat with a professional skipper. Simply put: you’ve got all you need to start your next sailing experience in Croatia. Make sure you follow our tips listed below!
Which is the best time to sail in Croatia?
Mostly, it is best to avoid late July and August. There is plenty of activity on the sea so that it can get crowded in popular ports and marinas. So, if you want to skip some crowds and wait in line to access a harbor, you should consider other periods.
The best months to sail are May, June, and September. The weather is fantastic, and there are many sunny days to enjoy. Besides, there are fewer boats on the sea, allowing you to enjoy a quiet environment. Also, during less touristy months, you can find better deals for boats.
But no matter the time of the year you’re planning to sail to Croatia, we believe it will be the best experience of your life. Sitting down and admiring the sunset over a gorgeous archipelago will make you want to return yearly!
Also, it is worth mentioning that the lines and tides on the Croatian coast are the most welcoming in Europe. Croatia has no tidal differences, and only experience occasional strong currents if you get close to channels or river mouths. And if you’re planning your Croatian sailing trip during summer, you will experience a sunny and calm environment. But, of course, there is a small chance for thunderstorms, too. Most ports and marinas use the standard method of berthing. So, you should expect someone to come to meet you on the pontoon or the quay to offer a rope. This will ensure the safest docking and sailing experience in Croatia. And the best part about sailing in Croatia is that locals are more than welcoming. They won’t judge you if you make a mistake! Instead, they will jump in and help you master your boat!
What is the cost of a sailing trip in Croatia?
Basic sailing boats have up to 45 feet long and can accommodate up to 8 guests. These are the affordable options for sailing in Croatia. Still, there are plenty of premium sailing boats which offer more comfort. It is safe to say that you have quite a few options so that you make the best decision based on your budget, needs, and expectations.
Our tip is to always ask about a boat’s age. Usually, after five years at sea, boats get worn out, which might expose you to unwanted events. It is best to ask additional questions before renting a boat and pay close attention to the price. Older boats will come with fewer costs.
There are some extra costs to consider, too. Skipper fees, crew fees, or docking taxes need to be included in your budget. But if you plan your sailing trip to Croatia carefully, you will manage to enjoy a stress-free vacation.
Our top recommendation is to book early and consider all your needs and expectations for the trip. This includes accommodations to stay near the port, boat rentals, and any other items you might need during your stay. Always remember that during busy months, it can get crowded and nearby villas for rent on the beach get booked quickly. Also, checking for flights to Croatia’s airports is a must and will help you enjoy your stay without stress.
When sailing in Croatia, it is recommended to pack suitable clothes. So, make sure you have anything starting with a bathing suit to a raincoat, as no matter the time of year you’re traveling here, the weather can offer an unexpected surprise. Besides this, plastic, jelly, or rubber shoes will protect you against stony beaches and sea urchins. So, don’t forget to pack some.
Can you do other activities while sailing in Croatia?
Well, of course, you can! And this is the main reason why many people opt for exploring Croatia by boat. Besides sailing, you can always experience a wide array of interesting things. These might include sea kayaking, cycling on the islands, wine tasting tours, cultural tours, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
Exquisite sailing regions in Croatia
The eastern side of the Adriatic can be split into four main sailing areas. From north to south, you get the chance to explore an authentic Croatian site. Just make sure you include plenty of stops in your itinerary so that you make the best out of this experience.
Sailing around the biggest cities: Rijeka and Pula
Kvarner and Istria are the go-to sailing destinations in Croatia. Istria is the vastest Croatian peninsula, offering access to interesting sights. It is packed with centuries-old towns and bell-towers rising above sea levels. Overall, it is an important connection point for ports all over Europe. So, you should get prepared for some busy ports.
The islands of Kvarner and the Velebit region get you to a quieter area. Cres, Losinj, Rab, or Pag are smaller sites that you can explore both by sea and by land. You should know that the wind gets milder when you get close to the island of Losinj, so you might require additional skills to master your boat.
This area will let you sail around Rijeka and Pula, which is an excellent opportunity to make a stop. Also, there are plenty of villas to rent near the port, allowing them to spend the night in one of the most interesting cities in Croatia.
Discovering the wonders of North Dalmatia sailing region
The waters around Zadar will definitely mesmerize you. You will sail to Premuda, Silba, and Olib, which will be a great opportunity to explore remote islands and turquoise waters. If you’re looking for small settlements with little to no inhabitants, the Zadar area might be the perfect match for you.
But, of course, you can always opt for sailing around the Sibenik area. This is a low-lying shoreline, with several bays and harbors. Simply put: you will get fast access to all sorts of services and amenities from the mainland. We encourage you to make a stop at Sibenik’s jewel, the Kornati archipelago.
Central Dalmatia offers more than historic towns and local cuisine’s
The shoreline around Central Dalmatia is home to Split, one of the most beautiful places in the Adriatic Sea. But at the same time, it gets you fast access to a compelling sailing route that will take you through the islands of Solta, Brac, Hvar, Visa, and several smaller ones. The best time of the year to sail in this area is during summer months since it won’t get extremely warm.
You will discover four marinas on these Dalmatian islands. But there are quite a few places with waterfronts and safe bays near coves. Also, you can discover accommodation near the harbor for the most impressive Croatian experience.
Exploring South Dalmatia beyond Dubrovnik UNESCO site
When we say South Dalmatia, you automatically think about Dubrovnik. And indeed, this is a great city to explore. But the waters of Dubrovnik are the best for sailing and exploring the entire coastline. There is a bundle of islands for you to admire, including Korcula, Susa, Mljet, or the Elafiti archipelago. Keep in mind that several areas around Dubrovnik are challenging to sail even for the most experienced yachtsman. So, if you’re not convinced you can master the art of sailing, it might be a good idea to rent a boat with a crew to manage it.
Overall, the sailing route of South Dalmatia goes parallel to the mainland coast. This means that you can stop at any time to explore the land. Besides, you can easily reach some rivers bringing fresh water into the sea.
A great itinerary for sailing Croatia in one visit!
#1 Start with a stop at Trogir
So, you can sail along the coast and stop for the first time in Trogir. This town has some sturdy and impressive medieval walls constructed between the 13th and 14th centuries. Indeed, it is a small place to visit, by it has a welcoming charm and lots of historical monuments to admire.
#2 Indulge in the clearest waters at Vis
Vis is a lesser-known destination in Croatia. But it stands out due to its clear and turquoise waters. Mostly, Vis was inspired by Venetian art, so make sure you pay close attention to details. And the best part about a stop at Vis is that you will get the opportunity to enjoy both Croatian and Italian foods with seafood.
#3 Embrace the sunny Hvar
Hvar is known among locals as the sunniest city to live in. And we couldn’t agree more! Hvar has plenty of sunny hours per day, which is why you can perform several outdoor activities in a pleasant environment. It is a great sailing stop on the Croatian coastline since there is an impressive nightlife going on. Still, we do recommend you check in Hvar the lavender fields and olive trees.
#4 Gorgeous Bay on Stari Grad
On Hvar’s north coast, you can reach the quiet Stari Grad. Its name can be translated as ‘old town,’ and it comes from the fact that it was constructed in 384 BC by Greeks. You should know this is one of the oldest towns on the European continent, so a stop here is a must. We recommend visiting the Petar Hektorovic Castle, which offers an impressive collection of inscriptions in Italian and Latin.
#5 Sunbathe in Bol’s sandy beaches
In the southern area of the island Brac, you will discover the oldest town in the area. Indeed, it is a tourist destination, but it is worth a stop. It features sandy beaches that expand over 10km. Also, it is a great stop in your Croatian sailing itinerary if you love spending time outdoors. In Bol, you can play football, volleyball, swim or windsurf.
#6 Don’t forget about Croatia’s second-largest city: Split
Split is a mix of ancient and modern that will make you fall in love instantly. There are numerous museums and Roman ruins to admire here. But at the same time, you will get access to several shops, restaurants, cages, and anything else you might need to make the best out of your star. We recommend you visit the Bell Tower, Diocletian’s Palace, and the Old Town.
The bottom line
Croatia is an excellent European destination for anyone looking forward to discovering unique natural wonders. And we believe that sailing on the Croatian coast will get you fast access to the best this country has to offer. Get ready to explore turquoise water, impressive caves, local cuisine, and plenty of Croatian wine. You will be amazed by all the unique things you will discover.
We recommend you pay close attention to the recommendations listed above for the best sailing experience in Croatia. And, of course, that you consider renting a place near the shore to get a restful sleep overnight. Besides this, you can get your luggage ready for the next adventure! Croatian waters are ready to welcome you!