A Guide to Island Hopping in Croatia for Sailors
Formed of more than 1200 islands in the beautiful Mediterranean, Croatia is top of the list for many sailors seeking a boat rental vacation. The 3600 miles of coastline are dotted with picturesque medieval villages and beautiful beaches, making it the perfect choice for relaxed island-hopping.
Whether you're a newbie sailor or a salty sea dog, planning the perfect sailing vacation can be a challenge. We've done the leg work for you, so read on to discover how to go island hopping in Croatia.
Croatia Boat Rental Itinerary
If you're picking up a yacht charter in Croatia, it's likely that your boat will be based in central Dalmatia. The majority of charters are moored in Split and take a route towards Dubrovnik, which is the recommended route for first-time sailors in Croatia. Let's break down how that may look.
A Land of Fairy Tales
If you want to experience the beauty of the Adriatic Sea and the 1000+ islands of Croatia‚ a boat holiday is the best way to go. With its awesome medieval history‚ breathtaking natural beauty and an inviting night life‚ Croatia welcomes sailors of all ages.
The largest city on the Adriatic coast, Split is a remarkably well preserved Roman settlement. It's a must-see destination in its own right, comparable to a living museum. Just outside the city, Kaštela Airport has connections to major European airports, making flying into Croatia straightforward.
Before your yacht charter begins, be sure to walk around the old town to get a sense of the culture and history of the city. Visit the impressive Diocletian's Palace to discover the Roman emperor's legacy.
Once you've boarded your home for the coming days, it's time to sail! The first port of call is Hvar...
Regularly topping 'most beautiful island' lists, Hvar is around a one-hour sail from Split. To the north of the island, you'll find Stari Grad, the oldest settlement in Croatia. Wander the cobbled streets and be sure to visit St Stephen's Church with its famous bell tower.
Hvar Town is the party capital of Croatia, with a variety of late-night events, especially in summer. It's also home to stunning gothic architecture and significant historical monuments.
Hvar is lined with rugged coastlines, and further inland you'll find thick pine forests to explore.
Arriving at Vis feels like landing in a different time period. The island was closed to foreigners until 1991, giving it a sense of exclusivity and authenticity which is rare to find in Mediterranean holiday destinations.
To discover a more traditional side to Croatia, be sure to include Vis in your itinerary. With charming towns, beautiful quiet beaches, and local wines to sample, it's well worth stopping by.
Sailing time from Vis to Brač is approximately 90 minutes. Brač is best known for its white pebble beach and 2700 annual hours of sunshine. The laidback, hip vibe of the island has created a cosmopolitan hotspot, with trendy beach bars.
It's also a top windsurfing site, so be sure to load your yacht with all the necessary gear if you're an adrenaline junkie.
Nestled between Hvar and Mljet, Korcula is often cited as the true birthplace of explorer Marco Polo. Sailing the Korcula coast is a delight, with rugged crags and hidden coves to explore.
Upon mooring at the marina, you'll discover winding streets, beautiful old buildings, and charming plazas. The island is densely covered in forests and offers some excellent hiking opportunities.
Kornati National Park
An archipelago of over 140 islands in the Dalmatian Sea, Kornati National Park is a sailor's paradise. The largest island, Kornat, is well worth exploring, as are Kurba, Piskara, Levrnaka, and Vela. The islands' coastlines promise grottos and coves to discover from the water.
The landscapes in this clutch of islands are breathtaking, with olive groves lined by Croatian pines. Only accessible by boat, the islands should be included on any Croatian sailing itinerary.
This walled city is a picture-perfect example of traditional Croatian beauty. Wander the mazes of narrow streets and alleys, stumbling across charming courtyards with restaurants offering local fayre.
By night, the waterfront comes to life, with street performers, live music, and market stalls to take in as you stroll.
After a week of sailing and exploration, arrive at your final destination - Dubrovnik. Known as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic', its preserved beauty and rich history is unparalleled. The city walls and gateways of the former fortress lead to winding streets.
With beautiful baroque churches and palaces and stunning floral displays. Pick a spot at one of the terraced bars and watch the world go by.
Dubrovnik - The Most Popular Girl of the Adriatic
Dubrovnik is a dream city you can’t get enough of. Red roofs‚ marbled squares‚ cobblestoned streets‚ churches‚ palaces‚ and many museums… The Old Town‚ under the protection of the city walls‚ and the Stradun Avenue are places you’ll want to return again and again in the end of each trip. The Franciscan Monastery‚ Lovrijenac Fortress and the Rectors Palace are just a few of the historical places in Dubrovnik. The city has its place in UNESCO’s World Heritage List and is full of life with many cultural activities and arts events all through the summer. You must leave some time for the streets of Dubrovnik‚ before or after your boat holiday.
Split - The Heart of Dalmatia
Located in the eastern shores of the Adriatic‚ Split is the most important city of Dalmatia. In addition to its natural beauties‚ the city has a long history. So‚ even if you’ve only come here to rent a boat‚ we do recommend spending some time visiting this great city. Split has its place in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List with the Diocletianus Palace built in the beginning of the fourth century. You can just forget yourself in the meandering streets of Split while discovering the city – but don’t forget to plan your sailing holiday and yacht charter route! Split is a good place to rent a boat as it has an airport in only 20 minutes’ distance.
When to Sail in Croatia
Croatia has a very pleasant Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers. In the peak summer months, temperatures can settle between 25-35°C. In August, sea temperatures can reach 27°C, making for beautiful conditions for swimming, snorkeling, and any other water sports.
To experience a quieter side of Croatia, consider renting a boat in the shoulder seasons, before and after the height of summer. September and early October still benefit from sunny days and warm waters and are less likely to be crowded.
Depending on your choice of yacht charter in Croatia, your vessel may come equipped with water toys. These can vary from paddleboards and canoes to inflatables to float around near your yacht.
Confident swimmers can explore the waters around Stiniva Beach in Vis, where the secluded cove is surrounded by rocky cliffs. Those who prefer a more relaxing experience can discover the natural thermal pools in Opatija.
Adventurers who like to explore beneath the surface can snorkel around the Kornati islands to spot the thriving marine life. Thanks to the ideal wind conditions which make sailing so perfect here, kite surfing and windsurfing are also popular pursuits.
Croatia Boat Rental Holiday
As one of the best sailing destinations in Europe, you can't go wrong with a Croatia boat rental holiday. Follow this suggested itinerary to take in all the main sights, or choose your own route and go with the flow.
To start planning your Croatia sailing vacation, browse the amazing selection of yachts available. Or give us a call, we look forward to planning the perfect Adriatic adventure with you.