Best Sailing Destinations In Croatia

Best Sailing Destinations In Croatia | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

September 30, 2022

The best sailing destinations in Croatia offer the best opportunity to see beautiful landmarks. These are dream experiences that you do not want to miss.

It is one of the top destinations in the world to obtain the best views, food, and culture. So where should you go if you sail in Croatia?

With over 1,200 islands to choose from, try the Kornati Islands, Island of Kaprije, and Primosten to see postcard-worthy views along with great food. Dugi otok island, Silba Island, and Island Brač offer the most ideal sailing conditions with a stunning atmosphere that you do not ever want to leave.

Croatia is a leading sailing destination for a reason. With over 3,000 miles of coastline, you have plenty of opportunities to explore and create your own unique experience.

According to seasoned sailors that have experienced this destination, they agree that Croatia is one of the easier sailing opportunities. With mostly perfect conditions and wide open waters, you have plenty of opportunities to explore and gain valuable sailing experience.


Table of contents

Top 12 Places to Sail in Croatia

Croatia has been deemed the land of 1,000 islands, with only a handful of them actually inhabited. The rest are perfect landmarks to anchor and explore.

There are two groups, known as north and south, of the islands that can be explored. Depending on your sailing goals and how much time you have will determine what parts of Croatia you can explore.

1. Kornati Islands

The Kornati Islands alone have roughly 100 islands, small islets, and large rocks. This location can only be reached by sailing, so there will be much less traffic compared to a bigger city.

Here you will find Kornati National Park in addition to excellent opportunities to go snorkeling. There are a few family owned restaurants to check out, as well as the marina to stock up on supplies.

2. Island of Kaprije

Kaprije is a perfect opportunity to get away from large crowds or busy locations. This secluded location has nearly 150 residents that have supplies delivered to them twice daily by boat, if needed, to local shops or restaurants.

This is arguably one of the best islands to visit to get a true feel for how the Mediterranean used to be. With historic buildings, rich culture, and breathtaking scenery, you will not want to leave.

3. Primosten

Primosten is considered a hot tourist spot, but still operates like a small town. Upon sailing into a marina, you will notice older Venetian buildings and cobbled streets.

This place stays alive at night, with many people getting together at local restaurants, bars, and along the streets for live music. When sailing, this is a great opportunity to explore the culture.

4. Dugi Otok Island

Veli Rat Dugi Otok (Long Island) is situated more north than other popular stops in Croatia. It is less populated and not as busy, but offers a quieter time for nautical activities.

While anchoring, you can explore beautiful coves, caves, white sandy beaches, and a lighthouse. This is an ideal spot if you want nature and less people.

5. Silba Island

The island of Silba is considered the “Gate of Dalmatia” due to its location. It separates the both and central Adriatic, but still remains a popular location to visit.

For sailors on a honeymoon or thinking of getting married, this location features the Tower of Love. This was a story about a man who vowed to marry the woman of his dreams and had a tower built to honor their love while he went out at sea.

6. Island Brac

If you want to see the largest Dalmatian island in Croatia, look no further than Island Blac. It is typically excellent for sailing, as strong winds consistently allow sailors to have the best conditions.

It is also known for a large amount of marble, golden pebble beaches, and perfect opportunities to windsurf. If you can handle the trek, try climbing Vidova Gora in Bol which is about 2,500 feet high.

7. Sesula Bay

Sesula Bay is found in Solar Island, which is known for picturesque scenery. There are two popular restaurants worth checking out that have great reviews, which are Šišmiš and Šešula. If you dine with them, they have mooring buoys for free to use.

This location has a perfect blend of peaceful and beautiful, meaning you can enjoy the scenery without having a crazy night life. They also have historical vineyards carrying the famous Zinfandel wine.

8. Vis Town on Vis Island

Vis Town was originally used during World War II and was not open to the public until 1989. So after many years, it has finally caught up in development and turned into a popular sailing location.

While not as popular as other destinations in Croatia, it does not need to be overlooked. They still have plenty to offer, such as wine tasting at historic vineyards, military tours, and a beautiful coastline. For a quieter time in Croatia, you cannot go wrong with Vis Island.

9. Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is popular for many reasons. For one, they have the perfect ambiance of the medieval times with stone walls and historical buildings. In addition, they also filmed Game of Thrones many times through this location and others in Croatia.

There are more than plenty of things to do in Dubrovnik, such as checking out the Old Town, Lokrum Island, and Fort Lovrijenac. It remains a popular dialog destination for a reason and you may need several days to take it all in.

10. Pelješac Peninsula in Ston Town

Peljesac is a peninsula that features the famous Ston Town and its wall. The defense walls in Ston are the second longest in the world that helped defend the stone quarry.

Ston is known for wine, the wall, and some of the best oysters you can hope to find in Europe. If you love history and food, this is a must-stop sailing destination.

11. Korcula Town on Korcula Island

Korcula has plenty of legends and stories, such as the supposed birthplace of Marco Polo. There is a home of his here that you can tour.

This is another beautiful Mediterranean seaside town, with plenty of the usual offerings of rich culture and food. In the summer, you will find this location to be quite busy and sailing will have the perfect conditions.

12. Hvar Island

Hvar Island might be one of the more difficult locations to land a spot to park your boat, so consider mooring somewhere close and finding a way into the area. When you do arrive, you will not be dissatisfied with the ability to find everything you could possibly imagine.

From great food, beautiful scenery, and a buzzing nightlife, there is something for everyone. While there are moments of peace and quiet, you are likely to find many activities occur late into the early morning hours.

Tips for Sailing in Croatia

No matter what direction you are sailing from, you will have your own obstacles to go through in navigating and planning a trip to Croatia. It is often regarded as a playground for Europe’s best waters, with minimal issues to worry about while sailing.

You will need to plan out in advance depending on how far away you are needing to sail. Croatia has some of the best conditions for sailing in the world, but there are still precautions you need to take.

Which Parts to Sail

While the list above is only a few of the locations to visit in Croatia, it is a good start for your own list. Depending on how much time you are wanting to invest in exploring will make all the difference.

The northern part of Croatia has a better concentration of marinas and offers a more established feel compared to other southern parts of Croatia. While this might seem the north is a bit more “touristy”, it should not diminish any part of it all.

Best Opportunity to Sail

While most of the year is perfect to sail in, there are a few months you might want to avoid or simply visit somewhere else for the time being. In July and August, a lot of Italians spend their time sailing here so the marinas and rest will be crowded. This also affects prices for just about everything.

May and June offer warmer weather, but can warm up the sea for potentially harsher conditions in surrounding areas. September is nice, but some restaurants might be closed due to seasonal offerings. April and October have windier conditions, thus giving experienced sailors a good time on the water.

Harbors, Marinas, or Both?

Depending on the type of boat you have, you might not need all of the amenities a typical marina might offer. With slightly more than 50 marinas in Croatia, about half are used by the country by the Ministry of Finance of Croatia. These were in place long so that sailors could always find a place to park their boat when coming into Croatia.

Marinas might offer conveniences over others and cost more, but it just depends on your boat with what you need. Parking your boat at a village harbour might be the best bang for your buck with food and location. With harbors, you sometimes might not have everything you need but it will be cheaper.

Conditions on Water

Conditions in Croatia are some of the best to sail in, with some months easier than others. If you are new to sailing, this is a perfect opportunity to gain more experience without having to rush yourself.

There is not much going on with tides to worry about, but mainly the current around harbors or mouths of rivers. You will often get north-east Bura winds stronger in winter months, but still need to be watched throughout the year. The Maestral winds often bring some attitude during the summer months, but sometimes they appear dead on very calm days.

Gear and Food to Bring

The common essentials to bring on board to Croatia include warm weather clothing, GPS devices, potential navigational charts, and a heavy-duty anchoring system. If your boat does not have a dodger or something to protect you from the sun, you need to find a way to either one.

As for GPS devices, you need to be able to navigate to any particular destination in mind. The optional charts are a good backup in case your GPS device stops working.

With the strong anchoring system, you can use this to park your boat in places to explore. You could also look to park it somewhere for the night in case a marina or harbour is packed.

Bringing food to last you about a month might be a good idea if you do not plan to eat at local restaurants often. In addition, a desalination device could be worth it to transfer saltwater into potable water.

Passports and Other Documents

As with any destination you want to sail, you will need a passport or another international identification document that is acceptable. If you have children, they either have to have their own passport or be registered under yours. This could take some time to obtain a passport, so plan accordingly before booking stays at a marina months down the line.

If you have any pets, they need a valid veterinarian certificate. In some scenarios, you might need a visa to stay longer. Check with the local government to be on the safe side to see what applies to your situation.

Type of Boat Best for Croatia Sailing

You will see many different types of sailboats when navigating Croatia. These include monohulls, catamarans, motorboats, and even gulets.

Gulets are popular in this location since they are easy to cruise. These are sometimes two or three masted wooden sailboats.

A monohull might be best since it takes up less space at a marina. If you plan on using a catamaran, just know that you will be paying more in fees to park. This could add up costs quickly in peak seasons.

No matter what sailboat you currently have or are planning on choosing, just know that it is in good shape. These include checking the sails, doing routine maintenance, and inspecting for cracks along the hull.

Paying Tourist Tax

Many places in the world rely on a tourist tax to generate revenue. Croatia has one that they implemented in 2022, but it only applies to nautical tourism.

You will likely not see these upfront or be asked to pay somewhere. Instead, these might be in the form of charter fleets and even regular sailors that are charged once they park their boat or for some other purposes. By checking out more information, you will be able to clearly see how it applies to your and how much.

Is Sailing Croatia Right for You?

If you enjoy great food, wine, historical landmarks, rich culture, and perfect sailing conditions, you do not want to miss sailing in Croatia. The only drawbacks would be you having to leave and potentially too much to see, as there is something to do for everyone.

You do not have to be the best sailor in the world, thankfully, to enjoy Croatia. Instead, you just need to make sure you have plenty of time to prepare for your trip. Plan ahead and make a list of what you want to accomplish.

Best Sailing Destinations In Croatia
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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