Best Yacht Charter Destinations in Croatia
Where to go • When to go • What you should know • How to Book
Croatia’s Adriatic Sea mainland coast is 1,777.3 kilometers (1,104.4 mi) long, while its 1,246 islands and islets encompass a further 4,058 kilometers (2,522 mi) of coastline. This along with the gorgeous ocean climate in the summer season, clear waters, and friendly people makes Croatia one of the more desirable and popular sailing areas in the world. There are hundreds of yacht charter companies to choose from, some large well-known global companies and many boutique family-run companies. For a week-long sailing vacation, you can rent and skipper yourself (or hire a local skipper) small (35 ft) to large (52 ft) monohull-type sailboats as well as small (38 ft) to large (52 ft) sailing catamarans. Larger sail and power yachts are also available for hire with a skipper and crew.
There are four main areas to sail on the Croatian coastline. Each location is easily large enough for a 2-week sailing vacation and so those seeking only a week are confined to smaller areas within each location. With all yacht charter companies, the start and finish days are on Saturdays. Thus you pick up the boat at 5pm Saturday and must return by 9am on Saturday. The first and last nights are required to be in the Marina. Thus a 1-week vacation is really only 6 days and 5 nights out exploring, while a 2-week vacation is 13 days and 12 nights out which gives a better chance to fully explore an area.
But, which area to explore? Below, we show the 4 main areas and each is unique from the other. Meaning, in this lifetime, you have to visit all the best charter destinations in Croatia. By the math above, you need at least four 2-week trips to Croatia to properly get a good introduction to this Mediterranean delight.
So which area to visit first? You decide based on the information below as to what experience you are looking for.
ISTRIAN PENINSULA, PULA, & BAY OF KVARNER
The Istrian Peninsula and Bay of Kvarner areas in northern Croatia offer diverse landscapes with beautiful beaches alongside charming scenery. Known for its ancient Roman history, this Croatian area offers picturesque towns, remote beauty, and seaside ports grouped alongside medieval churches.
- Krk—Croatia’s largest island
- Pula-main center in Istrian Peninsula; known for its amphitheater.
- Brijuni National Park islands. The 14 islands are highly protected and known for their lush flora and fauna.
- Pag is famous not only for the jaw-dropping bays, and perfectly clear sea, but also for its tasty, authentic delicacies
- Rovinj has become synonymous with summer getaways full of crystalline waters, cobblestone laneway, and a healthy dose of nature.
The Dalamatia Islands are the narrow long stretch of islands in the middle of the western side of Croatia (on the eastern side of the Adriatic sea). This area can be divided into 2 main cruising areas. North Central Dalmatia and South Central Dalmatia.
NORTH CENTRAL DALMATIA
The gorgeous islands in north-central Dalmatia offer uninhabited islands and gorgeous nature with the Kornati Islands, Krka National park, and Sibenik archipelago national parks. This less developed area is great for snorkeling with abundant marina life alongside Roman fishing villages.
- Sibenik–fortress and architectural wonders; medieval town.
- Kornati –National park archipelago of islands, isles, and reefs
- Zadar– a large coastal city that has ancient traditions and beautiful landmarks.
- Galesnjak—heart-shaped island
- Biograd—the former capital of the medieval Croatian kingdom
- Skradin–inland waterfalls (Krka waterfalls)
SOUTH CENTRAL DALMATIA
The islands in south-central Dalmatia are the most popular ports to sail in Croatia because these islands offer it all… Beaches, medieval towns, nightlife, natural wonders, and charming villages. Most of the Yacht Charter companies in this area operate out of 3 main marina villages: Trogir
- Brac –Golden Horn beach; olive groves and vineyards,
- Hvar — secluded and idyllic bays.
- Trogir — medieval old town with a port city
- Kastela — forts
- Vis — famous Blue Cave
- Split — cultural capital of the region with a beautiful old town and Diocletian Palace
Dubrovnik is probably the most famous Croatian city known for its famous protective city walls, lively arts and culture, and beautiful history. Rich in sailing history, Dubrovnik is also known for the filming location of Game of Thrones and Star Wards. Sailing in this area provides an opportunity to visit the Elafiti Islands, the Lastovoa archipelago, and ancient towns such as Korcula and Cavtat.
- Elaphiti Islands—snorkeling and beaches
- Trstenik-Croatian wine country
- Mljet National Park –greenest Dalmatian island
- Lastovo Nature Park– Beautiful bays and restaurants alongside moorings
- Korcula—dense forests and medieval squares; ancient Greek town.
- Sipan—island of olives and wine and hidden coves
- Cavtat—Renaissance buildings
- Gorgeous scenery
- Beautiful beaches
- Impressive history and culture
- Mediterranean coastal cities
- Lively nightlight and delicious food
- 1,200+ islands
The official language is Croatian but almost everyone also speaks English
When To Go
- Low season: April & October
- Shoulder season: May/June & September
- High season: July & August
There are numerous bases along the Croatian coast from Pula in the north, to Dubrovnik to the South and Sukosan, Sibenik, Trogir, and Split in central Croatia.
- Croatia requires a license for bareboat sailing. The NauticEd SLC (nauticed.org/SLC) is an accepted license that is easy to get if you know your sailing stuff!
- Here is a complete list of accepted licenses: http://www.mppi.hr/UserDocsImages/TABLICA%20ENGLISHMoU%20(2)%20black%2028-9_18.pdf
- If you want the relaxation of a skipper or don’t have a sailing license, we can easily find you a skippered yacht. Croatian skippers speak English, will let you take the helm as much as you desire, and know all the secret and best destinations (and are wonderful for advice for land-based activities).
Level of Experience - Winds - Skills
- While Croatia has mostly line of sight navigation, weak currents, light winds, no tides, there are still always weather anomalies than can happen without much warning. Sailors should be confident of their abilities and competent in all aspects of yacht chartering.
- You must absolutely be an expert at Mediterranean Mooring.
- Winds – typically can be ideal but there are some named wind conditions that can create dicy conditions due to local geographic phenomenons.
- While credit cards are often accepted in the larger towns/villages, cash (Kuna) is much preferred
- Paying for your charter – you will pay in euros
- Croatia has a hearty marine infrastructure.
- For general marina information: https://aci-marinas.com/
- Some smaller islands permit mooring on pier for a fee; while some ports have mooring buoys available for rent.
- Anchoring is possible in numerous bays, but take care to notice signs forbidding such
- Part of the fun of chartering in Croatia is eating ashore and trying local dishes
- Provision your yacht lightly because you will almost eat out every night and many lunches
- Most of the larger marinas and ports have a good-sized grocery market
- Online ordering and delivery is available through https://www.jamyachtsupply.com/
Want to Charter a Yacht in Croatia?
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We’ve been to Croatia 3 times and can speak to you personally with expert advice.
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