Why is Croatia so popular for sailing holidays?
First of all, there is the amazing clear water of the Adriatic Sea
. The shoreline is mostly rocky and consists of pebble beaches, so the sea does not usually get clouded by swirled up sand. To this adds the beautiful Venetian architecture that stems from when Dalmatia and its ports were under the rule of the Italian city state for a long time - mainly between the 16th and the 18th century. The blend between unspoilt nature and Renaissance architecture makes this part of Croatia so undeniably attractive.
Famous heart-shaped island "Galesnjak" near Zadar
The Croatian Adriatic coastline is 1,777 km long. From the most southern to the most northern point it is only 526 km as the crow flies but it is amongst the most indented shorelines in Europe. This means that counting the islands´ shorelines as well Croatia has a total of 5,835 km. It therefore accounts for three quarters of the total Adriatic coastline. There is a myriad of bays and archipelagos with numerous small islands. To be exact, there are 718 islands and islets, 289 rocks and 78 reefs along the coastline. 48 of those are permanently inhabited and host charming medieval towns. This is why Croatia is also very aptly called the 'Land of a thousand islands
Aerial view of the sailing paradise "Kornati Archipelago"
In addition to this you can find some of the most modern ports there. The yacht charter fleets are very well maintained. You can expect a high standard of service quality for very little money. You can choose from about 3,500 bareboat charter yachts from over 300 charter companies. Croatia is the largest charter cruising area in the whole world. There is always a safe harbour within reach and the climate is mild. The winds are moderate and therefore ideally suited for family sailing holidays. And if you charter a yacht in Croatia, you also get to enjoy the light and healthy local cuisine, the view of the lush green vegetation ashore, or some of the attractions like the huge waterfalls in the Krka National Park.
Some of the most important figures for yacht charter in Croatia:
- Location: North-eastern Mediterranean Sea, on the East Adriatic Coast
- Capital: Zagreb
- Length of coastline: 1,777 km
- Coastline including islands: 5,835 km
- Largest islands: Cres, Krk, Brac, Hvar, Pag, Korcula, Dugi Otok, Mljet, Rab, Vis, Losinj
- Population: ca. 4,225,316
- Climate: Mild, Mediterranean
- Country code: +385
- Main charter bases: Pula, Zadar, Sukosan, Biograd, Sibenik, Trogir, Split, Dubrovnik
Besides the above mentioned reasons, the Croatian Coast is relatively easy to reach by car or coach from Austria, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Czech, Poland, Bulgaria and Serbia. This makes the boating holiday planning more flexible, because you do not necessarily a flight.
Which are the most visited ports and marinas in Croatia?
For your boating experience, you can head to the following major harbour towns: Pula
, Sukosan, Biograd,
. You can navigate along the Dalmatian coastline or hopp around the islands. The distance between Dubrovnik in the South to the middle-dalmatian town Zadar is 155 nautical miles.
Harbour view of Split, the second biggest city in Croatia
The Marina Sukosan
7 km south of Zadar has an impressive 1,400 moorings and offers lots of services including several dry docks. In Biograd´s spacious Marina Kornati
in North Dalmatia there are 750 berths and Marina Mandalina
in Sibenik, for instance, has room for 350 yachts up to 100 metres length.
If you head for Split, there are three marinas to choose from. The ACI Marina Split just southwest of the historic centre has 364 moorings for yachts up to 80 metres. The Mariana Lav is situated in a luxury hotel complex 8 km southeast of the city centre and hosts 74 boats of up to 40 m length. Finally, the Marina Kastela, 7 km from the airport, has 400 berths for yachts up to 100 metres.
The pitureque fisher village Mali Ston on the island Pelješac
With the multitude of islands, you have every hand full to choose where to go for your sailing yacht charter in Croatia. There is Hvar
, which is great for party but also has a lovely old town and an impressive fortress to visit. Korcula
equally features an amazing old town and the nearby Mljet
has a paradisiac national park with lush greenery and crystal clear lakes. Skradin
lies at the entrance to the Krka National Park with its many massive waterfalls. Then you can cruise all the way up North towards Krk
and stop by at Brac
, Losinj, Korcula
and many more fascinating islands.
The wonderful historic port town Korcula
Another hugely popular destination is the Kornati National Park
with about 140 islands in the northern part of Dalmatia. It is the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean. Mooring is only allowed in designated bays, some of which are equipped with mooring buoys and several with restaurants. The other mooring option among the islands in the park is the ACI-operated Marina Piskera on the SW side of Otok Piskera which is open from April to October.
What is the best time to sail in Croatia?
The sailing season in the Northern Adriatic Sea goes from April/May until September. In the South, between Split and Dubrovnik, you can fine and dry conditions until end of October.
The Bora and the Sirocco
are the dominant winds in the Adriatic during the winter (October - May). In the summer months the Maestral
prevails. In general, though, summer brings only moderate winds. Also there are many elongated islands that extend parallel to the shore and are separated by channels. The cruising grounds are therefore much protected and absolutely safe for family charter holidays. The sunniest part of the country consists of the outer islands, e.g. Hvar and Korcula. Here, a whopping 2,700 hours of sunshine per year are recorded.
Brief summary of the sailing weather in Croatia with the example of Split:
- Average wind speeds: 2-4 Beaufort
- Main season: May - October
- Month with highest average temperature: August, 29.8°
- Month with lowest average temperature: January, 15.4°
- Month with highest average precipitation: December, 113 mm
- Month with lowest average precipitation: July, 28 mm
- Months with most sunshine hours: July, August 13 per day
- Months with least sunshine hours: December, January 5 per day
How much does it cost to charter a yacht in Croatia?
Actually boat rental prices in Croatia are the lowest in the Mediterranean. In low season you can find a small sailboat with 2 cabins for 4 person from 800 Euro per week. Of course, this will not be a brand-new boat. The average weekly charter price for a 3 cabin sailboat lies around 2,000 €.
For a new 40 feet catamaran you have to pay in between 4,000 - 6,000 Euro weekly. On such a spacious and comfortable vessel, you can accommodate 8 - 10 persons. If you do not have a skipper license or if you are not willing to navigate yourself, you should calculate a fee of 150 Euro per day for a captain.
Prices for yacht charters in Croatia differ by 40 % between high and low season. If you are lucky, you might spot a highly discounted last minute charter deal
two to four weeks before the travel date. Still the best option is to book at least 8 months in advance. This will ensure that you can count on a decent Early-Booking Discount
while you still have a great choice of newest and best equipped yachts to choose from.
What type of boats are for rental in Croatia?
Along the Adriatic Coats you can find the biggest selection of rental boats in the whole world. The manifold options include chartering monohull sailboats or catamarans. You can also hire a motor yacht or book a fullboard cruise on a traditional Gulet. Sailboats and powerboats up to 17 metres you can often rent without captain if you hold a skippers license. This form of boat rental is called "bareboat charter".
A luxury motor yacht in the famous port of Hvar on the Island Brac
Furthermore, there are day charters or fishing boat rentals, mostly with smaller power boats in between 5 and 10 metres length. Those boats are usually rented out per day.
If you are new into sailing and enjoy group travels, you might opt for a flotilla sailing holiday or a cabin charter trip. And last not least a crewed luxury yacht hire
can make the dream of your perfect charter vacation come true.
Which cultural and nature highlights are worth to visit in Croatia?
If you are looking to go sightseeing, you could start with the capital Zagreb
. Then, off course, there are many more impressive old towns worth your while. Visit the historic centres of Sibenik, Zadar and Trogir. Or go to Dubrovnik with its famous fortifications and take the cable car up the hill to enjoy some breath-taking views. Split
is beautiful and has far more to offer than just the Diocletian palace. And if you like ancient sites, the amphitheatre in Pula
built by Emperor Augustus is for you. Building began in the year 2 AD and it sits about 23,000 people.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park
, UNESCO world heritage site, is the largest national park in Croatia. The most spectacular national park due to its hundreds of waterfalls is the Krka
. Watching the 200 - 400 m wide wall of water rushing down over 17 steps is without a doubt one of the most enthralling experiences in the whole country.
Walk through the stunning Plitice Lake National Park
The possibilities for water sports in the Adriatic are endless. Choose from kayaking, water ski or wakeboarding, diving, snorkelling, stand up paddling, fishing and many more.
The nightlife of the old town in Hvar is legendary. Many celebrities flock there to go dancing and clubbing. Pag - esp. Zrce beach - has earned its reputation as the Croatian Ibiza. There are many excellent clubs with swimming pools, roller coaster and lots more.
Do I need a sailing license to rent a sailboat in Croatia?
In order to sail your own bareboat charter yacht in Croatia
you will require a skipper´s licence or proof that you have sufficient sailing experience. The alternative is to hire a yacht with a skipper. Additionally, a radio licence is needed, which you could do there in a crash course in case you haven´t got any.
We help you to choose from 1,000 charter yachts in Croatia
, according to your needs. On our website you will find over 50 boat rental companies. Just use the YachtFinder to get the best offers and compare boat hire rates. To select a quality boat, just browse through over 200 latest customer reviews.
Charter yachts moored in front of Primosten Island
All in all, this is why sailing in Croatia is so enormously popular. We hope that you now know a few important facts to bear in mind when going on your sailing holiday in this wonderful country. Have a great cruise!