What Sailing in Croatia is Like - Insider Tips
Sailing in Croatia is one of the most unique and exhilarating ways to explore this incredible Balkan country. Croatia is full of natural and historical beauty. Sailing is a great way to see a lot of Croatia without having to pack and repack your bags – as you stay on one boat the whole time. Travelers can explore scenic islands, historic coastal cities and even National Parks.
Planning and choosing a sailing trip is a big deal, get expert information. Here is everything you need to know to be understand what sailing in Croatia is like, what kinds of sailing trip options are available, what are the most popular sailing routes and why, and what to know about weather and the seasons of the year in Croatia, and more. Armed with this information, travelers can make confident choices and prepare well for a terrific sailing holiday in Croatia.
Island Hopping – Sailing Amidst 1200 Islands in the Adriatic Sea
Croatia is made up of over 1,200 islands – close together with abundant ports – offering endless options to explore. It’s true – most of these islands are only about two hours apart via sailboat! Because of the abundance of ports in most of the Adriatic region where Croatia is, nautical tourism offers the chance to create endless variations of customized itineraries specific to travelers’ interests. Each island has its own unique feature, for example variety of wine, traditional dishes, or historical monuments and forts. No matter your interest, Croatia has an island ready for you to explore.
UNESCO World Heritage Cities – Sail to Hvar, Split, & Dubrovnik
The popular island and town of Hvar will show you everything Croatian tourism has to offer. Or, visit lesser-known ports like Jelsa or Stari Grad to get away from the hustle and bustle and see Croatian life up close. Don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Old City of Dubrovnik, where “Game of Thrones” was filmed – you can sail to i
Sail to Breathtaking, Uncrowded Croatia National Parks
While sailing, Croatia’s crystal blue seas allow for swimming almost anywhere. There is no feeling like jumping off a boat anchored near your own “private” remote beach! You can also sail to a National Park on Croatia’s coast and islands! Drop anchor, and head inland to hike through Lastovo Nature Park, explore the unique and bare wild islands of Kornati National Park, or hike in Krka National Park to see stunning waterfalls.
Sail into History in Croatia
Croatia is full of evidence of our rich history back to the 15th and 16th century, much of which can be seen within the cities themselves. You can find forts, historical monuments, and castles to explore without traveling far. Uniquely, Masilica Bay on Solta Island is the site of a castle that has been rebuilt as a hotel.
Sailing Safety in Croatia - Insider Tips
In general, Croatia is a very safe country on both land and sea – with ideal weather, locations, and low crime rates. As with any outdoor activity, however, preparation is the most important aspect of staying safe when sailing. While there are no major currents or tides in Croatia that would impact the sailing experience or create danger, it is important to be aware of the latest weather forecast and adjust accordingly for strong winds. Another benefit to the country being made up of many islands is that should poor weather crop up suddenly, you are never too far from a port. Good quality maps are essential to ensuring safe and accurate navigation. Of course, if you are doing a skippered sailing trip – all of those sailing conditions are handled by your expert skipper, and you get to relax on your amazing sailing trip.
Chartering Sailboats in Croatia - Insider Tips
Bareboat Charter in Croatia
A bareboat charter is a rental that does not include a skipper or crew – you are responsible for sailing. European Union laws state that at least one person on the vessel must have a valid nautical license. Authorities will accept the following: International Certificate of Competency (ICC), Bareboat Cruising or Basic Cruising license issued by the US Sailing Association, or Bareboat Chartering license from the American Sailing Association.
Crewed Sailing Charters in Croatia
Crewed sailing charters will have a skipper, and may also have one or more crew. Chartering a skippered boat is your best option if you do not have a sailing license, or if want to make sure every safety precaution is looked after, and/or you prefer to focus on having a great vacation instead of worrying about sailing in foreign waters. Best of all, chartering a boat with a skipper requires no sailing experience or skills; all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the sailing, sights, and activities!
What Kind of Sailboats are Typical Charters in Croatia?
Standard sailing yachts (monohull) are usually chartered with a skipper only, who is in charge of actual sailing. There are also some catamarans that can be chartered with only one crew member. This means that there is no second crew member who is in charge of meal preparation, cleaning the boat, washing dishes, housekeeping – these duties fall to the clients on board. It is customary to invite the skipper for a meal in these standard boat options.
Sailboat Charters and Hidden Additional Fees in Croatia
Be aware of hidden and extra fees on sailboat charters in Croatia. The vast majority of charter companies in Croatia offer a one-week charter sailing trip with no or very limited flexibility and have additional separate costs not included in the charter rate. Those extra costs include: the skipper, final cleaning and transit log, tourist tax, fuel, mooring fees, and sometimes even WiFi. On a charter, food and beverages are not typically included, so remember those are also additional costs. The initial boat charter rate might look appealing and low, but it is important to be aware of all the obligatory extras.
Six Different Sailboat Charter Options in Croatia
- Boats with two crew members
- In this arrangement, the 2nd crew member is in charge of provisioning (clients pay the cost of groceries and is not included), preparing breakfast and light lunch, and boat housekeeping.
- Traditional wooden boats for private charters
- Always with a professional crew
- Capacity ranges greatly from vessel to vessel
- Always with a professional crew
Luxury Motor Sailors
- High staff-to-guest ratio
- Slower than motor yachts but have more space
Small Mini Cruisers
- Ideal for island hopping on a seven-day defined itinerary.
Shared Sailing – Book a Cabin instead of an Entire Boat!
- During the off-season, AndAdventure offers the option to book only one cabin instead of the entire boat.
When is Best Time to Sail in Croatia? Insider Tips about Croatia's Four Sailing Seasons
There are four seasons of sailing in Croatia: Late Spring, Summer, Early Fall, and Winter. There are important differences between each season, and knowing what you want to experience is key for deciding when to go on a sailing trip in Croatia. For more complete information, see our detailed Weather in Croatia page.
1. Late Spring (May & June) in Croatia:
Spring in Croatia is typically really nice weather, yet also can be quite variable. While rain and wind are more likely during these months, the country is much less crowded and not too hot. That can be a real plus for many travelers. Temperatures during these months stay around 60-70°F, or 16-25°C, sometimes higher in late June.
2. Summer (July & August) in Croatia:
The July and August summer months are the peak season for sailing tourists. Stable hot summer weather means less chance of rain, although short sudden summer storms are always a possibility. Peak season also makes sailing more challenging because of limited spaces in some marinas/ports. Getting to a port early enough to ensure a safe mooring spot might mean skipping some time for swimming or visiting another island that might be on your route to the next marina. Temperatures during these months stay in the 90s Fahrenheit, or around 35°C.
3. Early Fall (September & October) in Croatia:
The early fall months of September and October are less crowded than peak summer and are often gorgeous weather. Because it’s fall though, weather can vary with wind and rain and cooler temps. You can expect temperatures during these months to stay around 60-70°F, or 16-25°C.
4. Winter Season (April & November) in Croatia:
The winter shoulder season, April and November, is the best time of year for more experienced sailors who want to experience the possibility of bigger winds and waves. Winter is also an appropriate option if swimming is not your top priority while being on the sea. The country’s tourism scene is quieter, which might mean some restaurants on islands are closed. Depending on where you are sailing to, travelers may need to be more independent and cook on board. Winter, of course, brings cooler temperatures of 50-60°F, or 12-14°C.
Croatia’s Top Sailing Destinations: Split, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Brac, Vis, & National Parks
Of course, its important to remember that the final itinerary depends on:
- Weather conditions
- Your preferences
- Distances and duration of navigation between places that you eventually would like to visit.
Split to Dubrovnik – Croatia’s Most Popular Sailing Route
By far the most popular sailing route in the Dalmatian region, Split to Dubrovnik offers the best of Croatia to sailors. Explore the islands of Hvar, Brač, Mljet, Korčula, and the UNESCO cities Split and Dubrovnik. Let yourself be captivated by the wonders of Mljet National Park. The minimum sailing duration to make this trip worth doing is 5 days, ideally longer to allow yourself time to fully explore each stop.
See the most popular sailing trip for Split to Dubrovnik.
Croatia’s Top Sailing Islands: Hvar, Brac, Vis and Blue Cave on Bisevo
On this sailing trip, you will see why Croatia’s Brač, Hvar, and Vis Islands are the three most popular islands on the Adriatic. Your three-day journey starts from Split and heads towards the Brač, home of white stones and green olives. Then Hvar, with its lavender and wine fields, and Vis, home of the unique Stiniva bay. On this route, you can also visit the impressive Blue Cave on the island of Biševo.
Learn more about the Islands and Caves sailing trips in Croatia.
Croatia’s National Parks – Yes You Can Sail to Them!
Experience the magnificent private five-day sailing tour through central Dalmatia and the stunning archipelago between Split and Šibenik. This route is entirely about wild nature, sea wonders, and untouched islands. The National Parks Krka and Kornati are the perfect addition to this journey. Check out the most popular sailing trip to two stunning National Parks of Croatia.
Best Short Trips for a Taste of Sailing in Croatia: Split, Hvar, and Pakleni Island Jewels
Choose a two day short sailing trip in Croatia if you don’t have much time to explore or have hesitations about sailing. This overnighter trip gives you the experience of sailing without too much of a commitment. The most popular two-day sailing trip begins in Split. In addition to the lavender island of Hvar, one of the most popular destinations on the Croatian coast, also sail to the island of Brac and the stunning Pakleni islands archipelago, just off Hvar. With a two-day overnight sailing trip, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the islands and cities of Croatia – culture, heritage, history, and incredible gastronomy.
Explore this two-day introduction to sailing in Croatia Split, Hvar, and Pakleni Islands.
& Adventure is a Condé Naste Top Travel Specialist in Croatia
Trust your Croatia vacation experience to the insider experts at & Adventure. Locals, expert sailors, adventurers, and travel specialists, the & Adventure team has intimate knowledge of their beloved country. You can count on the very best insider tips as you dream, plan and experience your holiday in Croatia! Contact us to find out about sailing and other holiday options in Croatia.