Given that Croatia's Dropdown content idyllic Adriatic coast offers over 200km of azure waters speckled with more than 1000 islands, it'll come as no surprise that it's one of Europe’s most popular sailing destinations.
Beautiful bays backed by sleek resorts; lush olive groves rising over ancient fishing villages; sheltered harbours, and scatterings of Roman ruins — these Adriatic attractions were among the reasons you voted Croatia one of the
Not sure where to start? Read our feature on
As for which islands to focus on, here's a run-down of what to expect from some of the country's finest during your Croatia sailing holidays. You might also want to dive into our overivew of
Boasting plenty of secluded coves you won’t have to share, stylish bars, a glamorous marina, and exceptional island-produced wine and olives, there’s a reason
Hvar’s food scene is outstanding, from the fresh seafood and exquisite cheeses, to pasta dishes that give Italy a run for its money. Into food? Find out more about
While Hvar is the perfect sailing stop-off for foodie couples, the island is also great for families, with safe bays to swim in, and affordable accommodation options alongside all the luxury villas.
If you're into history, you're in luck, too — Hvar's Stari Grad Plain and Start Grad historic centre are UNESCO World Heritage sites, while
Where to stay: explore apartments and hotels in handsome Hvar.
Supetar, the island's largest town, is an attractive former fishing village with shallow pebbly beaches. With a modest Old Town around its curved harbour, Supetar oozes understated elegance.
On the opposite side of the island, Bol boasts spectacular Zlatni rat beach, with a mild-breeze climate that makes it a top spot for windsurfing. Zlatni rat also earned a spot in our overview of the
Meanwhile, Brač's interior isn't short of beauty, either. Scrub-covered karst uplands are dotted with fertile depressions of vines, olive groves and orange trees that provide an idyillic backdrop for romantic walks.
Talking of which, if you're in the mood for love — and maybe a spot of hedonism — Hvar features in our round-up of
Where to stay: from luxury villas, to gorgeous guest houses, take a look at Brač's accommodation bounties.
One of Croatia's more secluded and sleepy islands, Šolta might be close to Split, but it remains off most tourist maps. It's a place to unwind while enjoying walks and cycling trips at your own pace.
The village of Stomorska has limited moorings for visiting boats, while the picturesque harbour of Maslinica offers a satisfying mix of unspoiled village and yachting chic, making it Šolta's best kept secret.
To explore lesser-travelled trails, you'll want to take to Šolta's unspoiled interior, where tiny, ancient villages of stone houses speckle the hilly landscape.
After docking in Rogac, follow a steep hill to Grohote, the island's largest settlement, where a maze of stone alleys, secret courtyards and medieval charm awaits.
Where to stay: though secluded, Šolta isn't short of a range of stunning places to stay.
Car-free Sveti Klement is the largest of Croatia's wooded Pakleni Islands. Fun fact — these islands are often known as Hell's Islands as a result of pakao being the Croatian word for hell. But in actual fact, the name comes from a kind of pine resin — paklina — that used to be harvested here. And it has to be said that these islands are more heaven than hell.
Located to the south of Hvar, and easily reached from Hvar Town — in fact, you can see it from town — Sveti Klement has just three sleepy settlements on its 5 sq km.
Set on a beautiful horseshoe bay, Palmižana boasts a bustling marina, restaurants and a bijou sandy beach.
Where to stay: chances are, you'll visit Sveti Klement on a day trip, so check out hotels in Hvar.
The furthest flung of the Southern Dalmatian Islands, Vis was cut off from tourists until the early 1990s due to military activity, which means it's unsullied by over-tourism, and famously unspoiled.
Vis is something of a magnet for independent travellers and foodies. The surrounding waters offer up some of the Adriatic’s finest fish and lobster. The island even has its own fast-food, pogača od srdele, an anchovy pasty and local bakery staple.
Home to the magnificent Blue Cave, you'll want to visit Vis in summer when sunlight bathes its interior in aquamarine light.
Where to stay: take your pick from elegant apartments and villas on Vis.
With soft sand bays and quiet coves on its southern coast,
With plenty to satisfy history buffs, beach-lovers and foodies, the medieval walled city of Korčula Town preserves a beauty that has few equals in the Adriatic. It has a magnificently atmospheric centre, lovely out-of-town-beaches, and a clutch of excellent restaurants and bakeries.
Cloaked in vineyards, olive groves and Aleppo pines, Korčula is also one of the greenest Adriatic islands. Thanks to its soil and climate, Korčula is famed for its dry whites. Grk, for example, only grows in Lumbarda, while Pošip, cultivated around Smokvica and Čara, is more widespread, but just as tasty.
On the subject of food, alongside serving top-notch seafood, Korčula excels in lamb and goat, which tend be be served goulash-style with Žrnovski makaruni, a succulent, hand-rolled, cigar-shaped local pasta.
Where to stay: explore Korčula's family-friendly hotels and quaint accommodation options.
One of the largest Southern Dalmatian Islands, verdant Mljet is popular as a day trip from Dubrovnik, especially with nature-lovers who are drawn to Mljet National Park.
Unspoiled and serene, Mljet really does justify a longer stay, with stunning nature walks, quiet bays, beautiful lakes, and awe-inspiring quaint places to stay offering jaw-dropping views of forests and sea. Adding to Mljet's romantic aura, legend has it Odysseus and Calypso holed up here for seven years.
Mljet is also known for its white and red wines, olives, and goat's cheese, all of which can be gorged on in the island's main settlement, Pomena.
Where to stay: these Mljet accommodation options come with magnificent views.
High summer in Croatia is busy, but the weather’s glorious. Expect averages of 26–27°C in July and August, with similar sea temperatures. All of which means you can experience excellent snorkelling and swimming in the clear, balmy Adriatic.
Croatia's sailing season runs from May to the end of September, and it's worth being mindful of these dates. Temperatures drop to 15°C in October and many businesses shut up shop for the year in autumn. So, if you're tempted by start or end of season deals, you might not get the Croatian sailing holiday you envisaged.
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For first time sailing holidays in Croatia, it’s a good idea to book a skippered yacht. You’ll learn sailing skills while also having the freedom to relax and enjoy the experience.
Expert local skippers really are invaluable on first time sailing holidays. They’re able to recommend routes and adjust them in response to weather changes. What's more, they'll also know the top swimming spots, attractions, restaurants and islands to visit. You could also consider booking someone to take care of cooking and cleaning.
More experienced sailors can opt for a “bareboat” Croatia sailing charter. While requirements for these vary between operators, you will need full certification, such as the ICC (International Certificate of Competence).
Not all yachts in Croatia are the same. They vary from cosy set-ups to floating paradigms of luxury. With most companies offering a range of different boats, see what’s available from your chosen operator, and always be realistic about expectations of space and facilities.
At the lower end, you’ll find older, smaller boats, with cramped cabins and shared bathrooms, while modern, high-end catamarans offer an entirely different experience. Often fitted with plush furnishings and en-suites, you'll also enjoy more extensive deck space.
Meanwhile, solo travellers booking a group trip with budget operator may have to share a cabin, or even a double bed. If you are travelling alone, read our
You might have seen the glamorous promos for Croatia's Yacht Week. But beware — while this mega flotilla trip for moneyed 20-somethings promises the party of a lifetime, it’s far from sustainable, and doesn’t reflect Croatian culture.
In fact, local sailors have voiced safety concerns about inexperienced Yacht Week skippers. In the past, some towns have even refused moorings to the boozy crowds.
Sea-based experiences aside, Croatia has something for everyone — from outdoor adventuring, to uncovering history. So, you'd do well to take a few days to explore some of the country either side of your Croatian sailing holiday. Here are a few ideas:
Somewhat off most visitor's radars,
Captial of Croatia since 1991, find out why Zagreb is also
Backed by rugged mountains, and jutting into the Adriatic Sea,
If that's sparked your interest in visiting, read up on
Game of Thrones fans might want to find out how to enjoy a
For outdoor action, it doesn’t get better than
This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts twelve hiking trails through pristine landscapes, plus there's a fantastic network of bike trails on its northern edge.
If all that talk of the great outdoors has got you thinking about switching from a sailing hoilday, you'll find inspiration in our customisable
Ready to take the plunge for your first Croatian sailing holiday? If you'd prefer to spend more time enjoying it than planning, take a look at our fully-customisable
Prefer to go it alone? Arm yourself with
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