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Where to Sail in Croatia
With a breathtaking coastline, crystal-clear waters, and over a thousand islands, a sailing vacation in Croatia is a dream. It’s a place that’s perfect to explore by sea, with the feel of the French Riviera a half-century ago where it’s possible to find tranquil anchorages, even during the height of the season. It’s no wonder that an increasing number of visitors are choosing to travel to Croatia, embark on a Croatia yacht charter and enjoy a sailing experience every year, but with so many options, where do you go? We have included a short guide to sailing and routes offered.
The country’s second largest city, Split, is an ideal place to start a yacht tour, with some of the most popular and well-known islands, Hvar, Brac, and Korcula, only a short sail away. The city itself has lots to offer, dating back to the late 3rd century, birthed when Roman emperor Diocletian decided to build his retirement residence here. Today, the maze-like palace boasts some of the most well-preserved Roman architecture in the world. There’s also an international airport in the nearby town of Kaštela close to Trogir, less than a 30-minute drive away with flights to/from all major European cities, which makes it very accessible for vacations in Croatia.
Where to visit on your yacht charter in Croatia
Looking for ideas on where to sail for your Croatia yacht tour on our charter boats, we’ve put together a selection of our favorite islands on the Croatia coast and towns along the Dalmatian coast which are popular among our sailing guests.
Šešula bay in Solta is known for its scenic atmosphere, an ideal place to spend the night in a peaceful setting. From here enjoy a stroll to the nearby historic town of Maslinica with its postcard-perfect looks, idyllic beaches, colourful sunsets, and shops selling locally made items like wine, honey, and schnapps. You can delve into local wine by contacting Kaštelanac winery for pickup, discovering the history of the island’s famous Zinfandel and traditional vineyards. Or just relax on board with a view of the peaceful bay, perhaps swimming in the calm, turquoise waters. Before setting sail, be sure to visit either of the two restaurants here, Šišmiš and Šešula, which offer mooring buoys free of charge to guests who dine with them. During high season, it’s best to make reservations in advance.
Vis was closed off to the public for 40 years while used as a military base, resulting in little development with lots of unspoiled terrain. Day sailing and arriving in Vis in the late afternoon is a fantastic way of exploring Croatia. Home to spectacular nature and an interesting history, with military tours departing from both Komiza and Vis Town. It’s also renowned for its wine production, with winemaking traditions that date back to ancient times and local vineyards for sampling the results. Arrive at Vis town early in the high season for a space in the large quay or use the mooring buoys for a fee. With time to explore, rent a scooter or bicycle, traveling the winding roads, or head to Lipanović, one of the most popular wineries, just 10 minutes away on foot. It’s a definitely stop to make during on Croatia yacht charters.
Dubrovnik dates all the way back to the 7th-century when it was known as Ragusa. Today, visitors of all types come to enjoy its fabulous ambiance, particularly in the historic Old City, surrounded by medieval stone walls. It was Lord Byron who called it the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” a name that’s stuck ever since. In recent years many come to tour “Game of Thrones” filming sites and walk atop those defensive walls for stunning views of the turquoise sea and the historic centre. We could write several destination guides about Dubrovnik alone. There is no free anchoring or mooring buoys, and the small harbour is off-limits, but there are two marinas with all the essential amenities within easy reach, including ACI Marina Dubrovnik and Marina Frapa, the closest. One of the most popular sailing routes is Dubrovnik to Split, let’s get planning your trip!
Ston’s ancient defensive walls are the second longest in the world, built when Dubrovnik was still a state in an effort to protect its stone quarry that’s still in operation today. During sailing trips, a visit here is a special treat for history buffs as they’re still largely intac. Ston is also famous for its oysters, producing some of the best you’ll find in Europe – they can be enjoyed in many of the town’s eateries. The Pelješac peninsula itself is a top wine region, in fact, this is where California’s famous Zinfandel was birthed. While there are no mooring buoys, you can anchor for free just a couple of miles south, and the Ston town quay can comfortably accommodate more than 20 hulls. It’s a great stop for all skippered charters that are sailing the Dalmatian Coast.
A stunning stop on your sailing charter is Korcula. This is a beautiful small island with forests, sandy beaches, olive groves and vineyards. Walled Korcula Town looks like it came straight from a storybook, complete with gates, towers, and ramparts. Often referred to as a “mini-Dubrovnik” it’s said to the birthplace of the famous international explorer Marco Polo, and visitors can even peek inside his birth house, which now serves as a museum. You’ll notice plenty of Venetian influences throughout, like St. Mark Cathedral with its pair of winged lions. If you’re visiting in the summer, which offers excellent weather conditions, and want a space at the ACI marina nearby, be sure to make reservations. Other options include the town quay on the opposite side of town or anchoring in Luke Bay for a fee. Getting around Croatia is very accessible – by Croatia yacht charters on sea or by walking around towns inland.
Picturesque Stari Grad is Hvar’s oldest settlement, dating back to the 4th-centry BC – it’s said that the mythical Argonauts, led by Jason, were the first to visit, and today, many visitors come to enjoy its history and the endless lavender fields nearby. It’s filled with historic homes, shops, and museums, while shopping, cycling, and excursions to its UNESCO-listed fields are nearby. If you want to explore on your own, bike, scooter and car rentals are available. Many who arrive by boat on charter types like a sailing yacht or a private yacht simply pick up a bottle at a small wine shop to sip while enjoying the surroundings before dining at one of the many outstanding restaurants. The town quay is Croatia’s second largest and there are also a couple of mooring buoys here.
Brac Island is the largest of the Croatian islands, home to tranquil Lučice bay which offers many mooring buoys, although you will have to pay a fee whether or not you dine at the restaurant that owns it While you can anchor in an adjacent bay, you’ll be more exposed to the elements. It’s worth finding a spot here to stick around and chill on deck, surrounded by the crystal-clear cobalt waters and dense pines with their aromatic scent wafting through the air. You’ll find two restaurants here or you might head to Milna town on the other side of the hill. A 30-minute jaunt, it offers old-world Mediterranean charm and fabulous local eateries serving authentic Dalmatian fare, including lots of fresh seafood. This fresh food alone is a reason to visit Croatia!
If you prefer to stay in Milna on Brac Island, there are no mooring buoys, but there are three marinas here, including Marina Vlaška at the entrance to the channel and two right in the centre of town, including ACI Milna at the end of the bay and Yacht Center Marina next to the fueling dock on its south side. Anchoring is free in the southern bay before you enter the town, although you’ll be exposed to the elements there. Milna is known for its laid-back atmosphere, small stone homes and buildings made using the island’s famous white limestone, as well as its gorgeous long coastline. Near Marina Vlaška you’ll find a café with a veranda ideal for sunset-watching, and a pebble beach for swimming.
Komiža town is another ideal option on unspoiled Vis Island. It boasts a spectacular backdrop of Hum hill and is surrounded by multiple, often deserted beaches. There are a number of outstanding restaurants, including one serving famous lobster, having exported them since the 16th-century to other places around Europe. You can easily explore more of the island by taking a tour or renting a scooter, and this is also the best starting point for trips to the famous Blue Cave. Diving enthusiasts can spot with planes and sunken ships below the water’s surface. The town quay is small and busy, but there are mooring buoys if you can arrive before 4 p.m. and get by without water and electricity.
St Clement Island
St. Clement Island, also known as Veli Otok (Big Island), is the largest of the renowned Pakleni archipelago that lies just off the coast of Hvar. A remote string of island jewels, the tranquil Paklenis are known for their stunning beaches and peaceful setting. You’ll find a wonderful little harbour at St. Clement with waterfront restaurants and a marina, as well as a famous chapel dating back to the 15th-century. It’s easy to reach Hvar Town from here as well, to take advantage of the lively nightlife and world-class restaurants or explore the historic sites and medieval architecture. While there are no moorings at St. Clement, you’ll find multiple anchorages in the Pakleni Islands’ beautifully secluded coves and bays. Do these paradise islands get you excited about planning your trip?
Maslinica is a village in the heart of the central Croatian islands just south of Split’s busy port on the mainland. Located on Solta Island, its small harbour offers scenic beauty and a tranquil ambiance along with idyllic beaches and spectacular sunsets. It’s also famous for its olive groves, with its name derived from the world maslina, which translates to olive. Here you can check out the shops that sell locally made products like olive oil, honey, wine, and schnapps, or just toss a towel down on the beach to sunbathe. The taverns offer delicious eats too. While there are no moorings here, you can anchor in the adjacent bay of Sesula or tie up at the Maslinica harbour’s pier.
Skradin is known for its Venetian architecture and charming cobbled streets. It’s a popular gateway to Krka National Park, located at the park’s river entrance making it easy to visit Mediterranean’s highest waterfall, Skradinski buk, and enjoy a swim in the serene pool at the bottom. As you make your way up the river, stop at one of the local mussel farms to pick up this delicious delicacy. Skradin’s location makes it a popular place, which means you’ll need to book ahead to stay at MCI Marina when arriving during the high season. There are also some mooring buoys on the other side of the riverbed and anchoring is also allowed on the north side of the river before reaching the marina.
The only village on the small island of the same name that sits at the mouth of the Krka river, Zlarin offers an idyllic spot for relaxing and just soaking up the sun in peace with no cars allowed here. Its historically famous for harvesting and processing red coral, with both a small museum and jewellery shop dedicated to the island’s tradition. You’ll find several good cafes for enjoying the local atmosphere as well as fine restaurants for dining like the family-run Ivana. There are payable mooring buoys, or you can anchor for free, but you’ll usually found a space to more on the large town quay, which is protected from most winds, although if a north-westerly blows in, it can get quite choppy.
Kornati National Park
Lavsa Island is an uninhabited island in Kornati National Park known as the “crown of Croatian islands.” You’ll need a ticket (best purchased a day or more in advance online or via tour agencies) for your yacht to enter and enjoy the protected park and its underwater life. It includes the use of its mooring buoys as well as entrance to the adjacent Nature Park Telaščica just north. The island itself is tiny but it offers a perfect hidden cove to stop overnight along with an excellent restaurant with a menu of delectable fish dishes. If you have a diving license, contact one of the local diving centres to discover the protected area’s truly magical underwater world, you won’t want to miss it.
Set within a deep, sheltered by, the small resort town of Rogoznica has a long history as a fishing village, a place where local fishermen often sell their catch so you can pick up some of the freshest. It sits on a small island linked by bridge to the mainland and has a waterfront with restaurants, bars and shops offering picturesque views over the bay, particularly at sunset. Enjoy an adventure by walking inland to Dragon’s Eye Lake, a saltwater lake surrounded by soaring cliffs popular for cliff jumping. The town hosts the highly acclaimed Marina Frapa with mooring buoys on both sides of the bridge, while the town quay is on the island and free anchoring is possible further inland.
Our Most Popular Sail Croatia Itineraries
Here is a selection of itineraries which our Croatia travel experts have designed to assist you with planning your Croatia sailing trips.
Lets Start Planning your Trip
Speak to our experienced Croatia travel specialists about designing an itinerary to suit your groups budget and trip preferences.