Sailing areas in Croatia
Updated: Feb 22, 2022
You've finally decided: A catamaran escape to Croatia will be your first trip after quarantining for over a year. The word is out there - Croatia is the (new) mecca for nautical tourism; Your friends went there, your colleague owns a house on a remote Croatian island and your aunt can't stop showing pictures from her boat trip in Croatia...and, we know, it all looks *really* gorgeous. After days of browsing and looking at images of countless islands, you are still confused and don't know where to start and what to visit. Dubrovnik, Hvar, Split,...then there's Istria, booking your flights, getting everyone from your group on the same page...The struggle is real! But, do not fret - we are here to narrow down the choice for you.
The Croatian Adriatic coast stretch is a unique natural formation (over 1000 islands, islets & reefs), with an equally unique and confusing historical heritage. Whoever ruled here (Romans, Ottomans, Venice, Austria...you name it!) ...all left a trace and contributed to what is now known as the Republic of Croatia. Learn about each one of the coastal regions:
1.Split & Trogir: Central Dalmatia
A great choice for many first-timers for many reasons. This part of the Dalmatian coast boasts a large number of marinas with all facilities imaginable, and even if you make a last-minute decision to hop on a sailing trip, we will most likely be able to find the perfect sailing yacht for you.
The islands in the area are simply must-see, and they are all in close proximity, so you won't be spending more than two hours of navigation per day. This leaves you with plenty of time to explore, hike, swim, paddle, and end your day in a beautiful rustic restaurant setting. Hint: Hvar, Brac & Vis islands.
Fly in at least a day or two earlier, and give yourself some time to enjoy the historical and vibrant cities of Split and Trogir. Soak up the local culture before you head off to the islands!
2.Dubrovnik & Elafiti: Southern Dalmatia
Make sure to inquire well in advance - Dubrovnik is a well-known hotspot and people from all over the world flock here to stroll the massive medieval walls. While being so popular, it is not the nautical epicenter, and the number of high-tear sailing yachts is rather limited.
If you do opt for a sailing trip in the area, you will witness some of the best-preserved natural areas, including the National park Mljet, Nature park Lastovo, and the Elafiti islands with some of the most praised beaches. If the Dubrovnik crowd was a bit too much for you, you can rest assured that you'll reset as soon as you leave the port. If you made it down here, don't miss visiting neighboring Montenegro - it will not disappoint you!
Route tip: If you are time-limited and won't do much exploring before or after your sailing trip, or you are simply on a quest to truly experience the central & southern Dalmatian islands, we suggest a one-way trip from Split to Dubrovnik or the other way around...Yes, you can have it all!
3.Sibenik & Kornati: Northern Dalmatia
Helpless sailors and wine-lovers, rejoice! You've done all that Dubrovnik & Hvar sightseeing and are now craving something slightly different? We are not surprised by your decision to come back and see more of Croatia. Luckily, you can charter a sailing yacht in Zadar or Sibenik and explore the archipelago and Kornati: The stunning collection of scattered islands that are uninhabited for the most part. Imagine what a week on the yacht here would do to your mind and spirit! This area has plenty of sheltered coves where you will most likely be the only boat anchored. This absolutely doesn't mean that the area lacks restaurants and konobas with carefully curated menus and the freshest produce imaginable. Gorgeousness guaranteed!
4.Kvarner Islands: Northern Adriatic
The secret is about to be exposed! The northern, off-the-radar islands have nothing less to offer and are not yet discovered by tourists from across the pond. Europe's love affair with Kvarner on the other hand dates back to the 19th century when the Austro-Hungarian elite used to vacation here in their luxurious villas. The specific microclimate made towns like Opatija and the island of Losinj wellness oasis with healing properties for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. Sailing here will keep you away from the crowds and if you don't mind relaxing during longer navigation hours, this is your next favorite place.
5.Istria & Brijuni
Thinking about 2 entire weeks of leisurely sailing? We say go for it! Start from the top and master the A to Z of the Adriatic coast. Embark in Pula (did you know that this town is home to one of the very few well-preserved Roman amphitheaters of the world?), continue to Brijuni which are like no other place in Croatia. This National Park was set up like an English-style country park by the Austrian magnate Kupelwieser and has later served as a base for the Yugoslav president Tito and his Non-Aligned movement, where he hosted the most prominent politicians and tycoons at the time. Sail around the peninsula of Istria or continue to Kvarner, and perhaps to Dalmatia as well?
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