With a multitude of islands waiting to be explored, untouched sandy bays that haven’t changed in decades and beautifully clear aquamarine waters, Croatia is one of the best places in the world to discover by boat. Less than a three-hour flight from the UK, Croatia is an affordable and safe holiday destination. Additionally, it offers a diverse range of sailing options accessible to all. If you’re new to the world of sailing, consider a yacht charter in Croatia; you can uncover everything the country has to offer with the support of a qualified skipper and top quality boat. Here’s everything you need to know about sailing in Croatia.
The best time to go
Yacht charter season in Croatia runs May through October, but June and September are the best months to go. At those times of year, the weather is blissfully sunny and the sea is wonderfully warm. Rentals are 10% to 20% cheaper than in the height of summer, and the coastline is significantly less crowded.
The sea temperatures are at their finest in July and August. However, these months also coincide with charter prices being at their highest and the region being very crowded. Avoid peak summer if you can and stick to the shoulder months.
For one week
If you only have seven days, consider cruising from Split to Dubrovnik or the other way around. This route lets you admire some of the country’s most incredible islands, as well as two of the most spectacular cities. The distances between ports are relatively short, so you’ll only have to spend a few hours sailing each day. Then you can spend the rest of your time enjoying your destination.
For two weeks
If you can extend your adventure by another week, begin your trip in Zadar and sail down past Split and Dubrovnik, all the way to Kotor in Montenegro. Along this path, you’ll see truly breathtaking scenery. Moreover, you can wander around countless Mediterranean fishing villages that time seems to have forgotten.
Popular for its remote inlets, sprawling vineyards and white-washed villages, Hvar is a definite must-visit while sailing in Croatia. Here you can indulge in freshly-caught fish and seafood in the quaint Hvar Town restaurants. Spend your days soaking up the sun at Dubovica beach and then explore the heady nightlife scene.
Croatia’s third-largest island offers the best of both worlds. Small, tranquil towns such as Milna provide the ideal environment in which to unwind and relax. Meanwhile, places like Bol are home to lively beaches, such as Zlatni Rat Beach, known for its water sports and beach bars.
A harmonious blend of age-old and modern-day, Split is constantly buzzing with the energetic goings on of daily Dalmatian life. Here you can step inside Diocletian’s Palace, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Watch the world go by from the harbourside promenade and escape the crowds in Veli Varos (the “Peasant Quarter”). All with the dramatic coastal mountains providing the perfect backdrop.
One of the most charming walled cities in the world, Dubrovnik is home to countless pedestrianized streets for you to saunter over. Ride the cable car to the top of the mountain for remarkable views. Admire the alluring Baroque architecture or lose yourself in the many museums and galleries; they display some of Europe’s finest artwork and artifacts.
Don’t visit Dubrovnik on cruise day
Some ships carry 3,000+ passengers. They quickly fill Dubrovnik’s cobbled streets, turning the usually peaceful, bewitching town into a loud, bustling place. Do your research beforehand and plan to visit on a day when there are no (or at least very few) cruise ships in port; this way you can fully enjoy the town’s real atmosphere and skip the long queues.
There are over 50 marinas in Croatia that provide guests with mod-cons like toilets, showers, electricity and water. Some even come with swimming pools, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. But the problem with docking in a marina is that you never know who your neighbours are going to be. If you want to revel in the peace and quiet of the Adriatic with nothing but the gentle rocking of the ocean providing the soundtrack to your snooze, ask your skipper about the best bays for anchorage.
What to pack
Regardless of the time of year you go, when sailing in Croatia pack for all weather conditions. Suntan cream, sunglasses and a protective hat, as well as long-sleeved tops, long trousers and a warm jumper are essential. If you travel in summer, it’s unlikely you’ll need any waterproof stuff, but it’s still worth packing if you’ve got the space. Check the small print of your charter to see if snorkelling gear is included. If not, bring it with you, along with jelly shoes to protect your feet from rocky seabeds.