Sailing in Croatia – Yacht Charter Vacation with Sail Croatia

We have been sailing in Croatia in the summer of 2019. It was our first vacation in Croatia and our first time sailing in the Adriatic Sea.

Disclaimer: Sail Croatia invited us for one week to one of their yacht charter tours, shared with a group of eight people (excluding the skipper).

Our comprehensive travel guide is a detailed review of the yacht charter tour with “Sail Croatia” and a rough guide about the coastal region of Split.

The land of 1000 islands

The coastal region of Croatia is stretched over more than 2000 kilometers and includes about 1200 islands. Bright blue water, ancient towns with scenic harbors, stone caves and pristine bays await millions of travelers and tourists every summer.

Croatian Islands Paklinski Otoci Palmizana and Hvar with Drone
Paklinski Islands near Hvar

Do you consider going on vacation in Split?
We also wrote a full blog post about the best islands near Split.

Why we loved sailing in Croatia

Exploring Croatia with a sailing boat was definitely a good choice! Sailing is simply much more fun and exciting than traveling in a car or a bus! Additionally, it is not only a beautiful mode of transportation but also a great and unique adventure in itself.

yachts in blue water and green island
Private yacht boat “Libertine” – Sail Croatia

A few years ago, Croatia was called a “hidden-gem of Europe“, but nowadays mass-tourism is common during peak season. Especially in popular cities and the best-known islands, it can feel a bit overcrowded.

To go on a yacht charter tour in Croatia gave us the possibility to escape the crowds and experience this beautiful country from its best side. We were able to create an individual route and therefore made the best out of the trip!

Where to go / our itinerary

Croatia has multiple regions to sail, you can choose between the northern regions of Istra and Kvarner, the region of Zadar, and the more southern regions of Split and Dubrovnik. It’s almost impossible to explore all the magnificent places in one go though! 😉

 The popular region of Split

Our yacht charter vacation with Sail Croatia started in the ancient town of Split. We definitely recommend spending at least one full day in Split to explore some of the numerous scenic places in the city!

The bell tower under the clock of Cyprians Palace in Split
The bell tower under the clock of Cyprians Palace in Split

Crew meeting in Split

On our first day, we met our sailing crew and discussed the route with our skipper. We stayed in the harbor of Split for the first night and started early the next morning.

ACI Marina of Split from the birds eye view
ACI Marina of Split from the birds eye view

Brâc and Zlatni Rat

Our first stop was a small and remote bay close to Milna, in Brač. The water was super clear and we enjoyed the afternoon with stand up paddling and a refreshing jump in the sea. Later this day, we sailed with a good wind to one of the most famous beaches of Croatia: Zlatni Rat.

Drone photo of the beach Zlatni Rat or the Golden Horn at Brâc in Croatia
Zlatni Rat is one of the most popular destinations near Split

Komiža

On our third day, we woke up really early for sunrise to experience Zlatni Rat without the crowds. The sea was calm and flat when we went on to Komiža on Vis Island where we would spend the next night. In the afternoon, we decided to go on a boat trip with Komiža Royal Marine Croatia to Stiniva Beach and Budikovac Island, which was an amazing excursion!

Komiza harbour from the birds eye view filled with mooring yachts
The harbor of Komiža filled with yachts
Budikovac Island during the day from the bird's eye view
Budikovac Island near Vis Island
Stiniva Beach Bay on Vis Island in Croatia captured from the bird's eye view
Stiniva Bay on Vis Island

Hvar

Well rested, we kept on moving to one of our personal highlights: the fabulous town of Hvar. We moored in Palmižana, which is a simple and small harbor on the Paklinski Otoci Island. From there you can easily take a taxi boat to Hvar, which will cost about 10€/12$ for a return trip.

ACI Marina Plamizana on Paklinski Otoci near Hvar is full with boats and yachts
ACI Marina Plamizana near Hvar filled with yacht boats
Paklinski Otoci Bay near Palmizana in Croatia from above
Paklinski Otoci Bay near Palmizana

On the day after we arrived in Palmižana, we went on a luxurious speed boat from Axiom Hvar Yachting showed us some of the numerous scenic bays around Hvar. Many of these bays are only accessible by boat!

Luxury motor boat of Hvar Axiom Yachting in turquoise water from bird's eye view
Speed boat from Hvar Axiom Yachting
the bay of dubovica beach from the bird's eye perspective
The bay of Dubovica beach on Hvar Island

In the afternoon we explored the town itself and we can tell you: Hvar is absolutely beautiful! Lovely alleyways, excellent restaurants, gorgeous houses, and ancient churches make it worth to explore the town for at least a couple of hours. The best view you will get from the majestic fort “Španjola”.

Picturesque view from the hilltop of Spanish Fortess on Hvar town
Picturesque view from the hilltop of Spanish Fortress on Hvar town
View the harbor of Hvar with the Paklinski Islands in the backgorund captured from the hilltop of Spanish Fortess
View on the harbor of Hvar with Paklinski Islands in the background

Šolta

On our fifth day, the typical southeast wind came back and we were able to set the sails again! For the next-to-last night, we anchored in a bay at Šolta – no town, no harbor, just us and other sailors – a unique experience that we can highly recommend when you go sailing in Croatia. It feels so good to be away from all the hustle and bustle!

Anchoring sailing yacht at Croatia
Our yacht from Sail Croatia
Drone photo of anchoring boats at Solta Necujam Mala Maslinica
Anchoring yachts at Solta Necujam Mala Maslinica
A ship wreck at Necujam Mala Maslinica Solta at Adriatic Sea
A ship wreck at Necujam Mala Maslinica Solta

After a quick tour with our SUPs around the bay in the early morning, we headed back to the marina of Split, where we also spent the last night.

Best time for sailing in Croatia

The peak season matches the peak summer/sailing season in Croatia in July and August. Nevertheless, the regatta season already starts in April and lasts until the end of October.

As mentioned, Croatia is not a hidden-gem anymore and the peak tourist season means a lot of tourists in nearly every bay, beach, and bar.

We suggest choosing a time window before or after the peak season. Decent sailing is possible in Croatia during this time, temperatures are high enough, but you can also find some privacy in certain bays.

Our experience:
We were sailing in Croatia at the beginning of August. During our trip, we were able to sail on 3 out of 7 days (on some days we had no wind or wind from the wrong direction). The harbors were completely full normally, but we’ve always found a place for the night.

Yacht charter tours with Sail Croatia

Relax.Party.Explore.

Depending on what you are looking for, (Sail) Croatia has it all – from big party cruises to private yacht charter tours. Whether you are looking for romance, adventure, wellness or good nightlife, Sail Croatia offers programs for every type of traveler.

Private yacht charter

We chose a relaxing 7 day trip on a yacht from Sail Croatia. We shared the trip with 5 other people (plus skipper), which was quite an experience on a tiny space for one week.

Sailing boat yacht in bay of Croatia at Adriatic Sea
Our yacht “Libertine” from the side

The advantage of a yacht tour with a small group compared to a large motor cruiser is a more intimate experience and has the benefit of cooking your own food. On top of that, we love the idea of traveling without emissions but only with the power of the wind.

Our private yacht: The “Libertine”

The private yacht was completely new, clean and comfortable. You can compare the life on a boat with a cozy campervan on water.

Even Timo fit in the cabin with his 2 meters height!

We had hot water, air-con, Wifi (it worked!), a toilet with shower, a kitchen, a common room, and a private twin cabin.

young couple at the peak of a sailing boat yacht at the Adriatic Sea
Selfie of us in the front of the yacht 🙂

Sailing in Croatia with a skipper

Sailing with a skipper is not essential in Croatia in case you have a sailing license but very advisable.

Our skipper knew the region very well, showed us hidden bays, thought us the basics of sailing and had great mooring skills (this is not to sneeze at, the harbors are super full during peak time and the parking space is very narrow in the marinas).

The skipper may ask you for a helping hand in some situations.

Steering wheel of a sailing yacht
The steering wheel of the “Libertine”

Harbors and marinas

In Croatia, you can find different types of marinas:

  • commercial marinas
  • municipal marinas
  • sports marinas

Normally all types of marinas do NOT differ from each other a lot, usually, all of them have transit piers or berths. During the summer, it is also possible to moor in small harbors, fishing clubs, and waterfronts. These are the cheaper options compared to the other harbors.

Sailing boats in ACI Marina of Split Croatia
Charter Yachts in the ACI Marina of Split

FAQ and tips

What kind of luggage should I bring?soft-sided bags!

What currency should I bring?Kuna (not Euro)

Should I bring linen or towel?No, only beach towels!

Are there any extra costs and fees?Yes, there is!

  • A tourist tax of 1.50€ per person per day
  • you have to buy your own food
  • expect to go on 1-2 boat trips or water taxis
  • plan some money for tourist attractions, restaurants, and night-outs
  • it is common to invite the skipper for off the boat meals and tip the skipper at the end of the trip!

Budget tip:
Food and drinks on the mainland (in Split) are way cheaper compared to the islands.
Preparing yourself and the crew, in the beginning, will save you money for the week.

Environmental tip:
You can bring reusable water bottles or buy only one big water canister and refill it in every harbor. Tap water is drinkable in the whole region of Split and the islands.

Excited to go sailing in Croatia now? Read our full blog post about the best islands near Split.

Summary

Sailing in Croatia is the best recommendation we have for a vacation in Croatia. To be honest, this was our first time in this country, but our experience is hardly beatable. It might be slightly more expensive than other kinds of vacation trips, but we think it’s absolutely worth it.

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