Croatia is a very popular sailing destination due to the crystal clear sea, pleasant summer climate and unique islands. In addition to the historic towns, many fishing villages and idyllic bays welcome sailors here. In this article, you can find out when it is best to go sailing in Croatia. Furthermore, we will help you plan a 1-week itinerary starting from the major regions. If you follow our advice, unforgettable experiences will be in store for you.
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- Weather of Croatia
- Sailing in Croatia: The best ports around Croatia
- The biggest islands in Croatia
- Sail in Croatia! Sailing holidays in Croatia
- Croatia yachting in Istria archipelago
- Sailing trips in Croatia – Kvarner bay archipelago
- Croatia sailing tours in Dalmatia archipelago
The lowlands and north-eastern parts of Croatia have a continental climate. However, the coast of the Adriatic Sea is characterised by a Mediterranean climate. This means dry summers, many hours of sunshine and mild but rainy winter months.
In the Adriatic, the sailing season usually lasts 7 months. It starts in April and ends in October. Thanks to the pleasant weather, March and November are also ideal for sailing. Do you like swimming? The average temperature of the sea is 20-24 °C from May to the end of September. One of the dominant winds of the Adriatic is the strong, cold Bora. In winter, it blows from the mountains, and it is often accompanied by storms. Although, it can make sailing difficult in summer as well in Central Dalmatia on the shores of Biokovo Mountain.
In contrast to Bora, the southern Jugo (Sirocco) blowing from the African coast is a pleasant wind. However, you should be careful when mooring as it often changes direction. It mainly blows in spring and autumn, but sometimes it is present in summer as well. The north-western Mistral is a typical summer wind. It blows from noon until sunset, but it is not very strong.Find more information about the weather in Croatia.
Sailors know the three main regions of Croatia. Below, you can read about the best marinas offering high-quality services.
Ports in Istria
Istria is a triangular peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. It lies in Slovenia and Croatia.
ACI Marina Rovinj (Rovinj)
ACI Marina Rovinj is one of the largest marinas in Croatia. It lies on the south-eastern side of Rovinj. The marina has 416 berths for boats up to 50 m. It offers many quality services and has a fuel station. As for restaurants, we recommend Bitinada and the Katarina café. Information about sailing in Rovinj, or rent a boat in Rovinj
ACI Marina Umag (Umag)
This large marina can accommodate 475 boats up to 40 m in length. The depth of the seabed is 5 m. There is drinking water, electricity, WiFi, and a Laundromat In addition, there are health services and a fuel station. You can try some local seafood delicacies in the nearby restaurants.
ACI Marina Pula (Pula)
The marina has 194 berths for boats up to 40 m. The depth of the seabed is 12 m. ACI Marina Pula offers quality services. Also, there is a bar, a restaurant and a fuel station on site. Information about sailing in Pula, or yachtcharter in Pula
Ports in Kvarner Bay
Kvarner Bay is part of the Adriatic Sea. It is located between the Istrian Peninsula, the mainland and smaller and bigger islands.
Marina Punat (Krk)
Built-in 1964, Marina Punat is one of the most popular and best-known marinas in Croatia. It has been awarded the Blue Flag several times. Moreover, it received the prestigious award of the local Jutarnji newspaper, the Golden Anchor. The marina has 800 sea berths for boats up to 45 m, and 400 land berths for boats up to 10 m. Marina Punat is famous for its modern infrastructure. It offers high-quality maintenance and repair services for sailors. In addition, it also has a small luxury hotel, restaurants, and tennis courts. Information about sailing in Punat, or charter in Punat
ACI Marina Cres (Cres)
This large and beautiful marina is only a few minutes from the centre of Cres. It is open all year round and can accommodate 461 boats. These can be mega yachts up to 50 m. The marina has won several awards over the years, including the Blue Flag Certification. It has all the services a sailor might need. In addition, you can refuel.
ACI Marina Rab (Rab)
There are 142 berths in this excellent marina for boats up to 20 m. The depth of the seabed is 5 m. In addition to basic services, there is boat maintenance and fuel station on site. The marina is mostly protected, but the strong southern and south-eastern winds can cause unpleasant waves. For this reason, the marina is closed in winter and is only open from 1 April to 31 October.
Ports in Dalmatia
Dalmatia is the largest tourist region in Croatia. Diverse and untouched nature and unique cultural attractions welcome tourists in all three parts – North, Central, and South Dalmatia.
Port of Dubrovnik
This port is located North-West 3 km from the old town of Dubrovnik near Gruz. There are restaurants, cafés, gift shops, exchange offices, and banks nearby. You can even rent a car here.
Furthermore, there are no restrictions on the size and length of yachts. The maximum depth of diving is 11 m. The water depth for anchoring is 42 m. Information about sailing in Dubrovnik, or rent a boat in Dubrovnik
Port of Split
The ACI Marina Split offers 348 berths for yachts of a maximum of 90 m. The breakwater provides outstanding protection from the raging sea and the southern winds. The water depth is 8 m. There are restaurants, bars, laundries, and fuelling station. Information about sailing in Split, or yacht charter in Split.
D-Marin Mandalina (Šibenik)
One of the biggest advantages of this beautiful marina is its convenient location. It is only a few km away from the historic centre of Šibenik. Moreover, it is protected against winds and waves. D-Marin Mandalina is awarded with five Golden Anchors and a Blue Flag Certification. It has 429 seas and 50 land berths. Of these, 79 are designed specifically for superyachts. If you get hungry, there is a bar, a restaurant, and a grocery store on site. Information about sailing in Sibenik, or yachtcharter Sibenik
D-Marin Dalmacija (Sukošan)
Croatia’s largest marina has 1200 sea berths and 300 land berths for ships. The marina can accommodate ships up to 40 m in length, and superyachts in transit up to 80 m. D-Marin Dalmacija is one of the best-equipped marinas in the Adriatic. There is a café, a bar, restaurants, a beach club, a maintenance and repair shop, and a grocery store on site. Also, there is a fuel station available. Information about sailing in Sukosan, or yachtcharter Sukosan
Olive Island Marina (Sutomišćica)
Olive Island Marina is located on the north coast of the island of Ugljan, in the peaceful village of Sutomišćica. In 2014 the marina was awarded the best little marina in Croatia. It has 225 sea berths and 25 land berths for boats and yachts up to 24 m. At the breakwater, it can accommodate boats up to 50 m in length. There is a bar, a restaurant, a maintenance and repair shop, a pool and a private beach on site. Moreover, the marina is pet-friendly, so visitors can bring their dogs.
Istrian Peninsula (Istria)
Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The highest peak is Mount Učka, offering gorgeous views of the peninsula, Kvarner Bay and its islands. The karst ranges are a paradise for climbers. Many hiking trails lead to the 1401 m high Peak Vojak. The mountain is part of Učka National Park that has rich flora and fauna. Limski Kanal or Lim Channel is a very unique natural formation in Istria. It is a 10 km long sea inlet that stretches deep into the peninsula. The hills that elevate at both sides reach a height of 200 m.
You can find Romould’s cave at a height of 120 above sea level. It was named after a hermit who used to live there. You can go to the cave by bike, on foot or on a guided tour. Another interesting natural attraction on the west coast of Istria is the Baredine dripstone cave. It is only 7 km from Poreč, next to the village of Nova Vas. In addition to the beautiful stalactite formations, there are two beautiful underground lakes.
If you are visiting, sail to the Brijuni archipelago on the south-west coast of Istria. It consists of 14 islands. There is also a safari park, which is home to lush vegetation and many exotic animals. The archipelago got National Park status in 1983. Information about Istria sailing routes, or yacht charter in Istria
Cres (Kvarner Bay)
Cres is the largest island in Croatia. One of its most interesting villages is Lubenice that lies on a cliff 382 m above sea level. Lubenice offers a wonderful view of the sea and Sv. Ivan Bay, embraced by a pebble beach. If you are looking for some fun, the village of the same name is home to the Summer Music Festival.
One of the main advantages of the islands of the bay is that there are fewer charter boats here than in Dalmatia. Thanks to this, you can find several moorings even in the high season. Also, the shorter distances between islands and the routes that can be chosen according to the wind also provide favourable conditions. If you want to shorten your trip, there are two options: at the Osor drawbridge between the islands of Lošinj and Cres, or between the northern and southern part of Lošinj at the Lošinj drawbridge.
Krk (Kvarner Bay)
It is the second-largest island in Croatia, with a coastline of almost 200 km. If you prefer land sports, Krk is perfect for bicycle trips. One of the most beautiful resorts is Baška in a quiet bay where you can even try ziplining. Sliding along the ziplines of different lengths and difficulties is great fun for adults and children alike. This activity is exciting and safe at the same time. The highest point is at 460 m, so you will have a wonderful view of the area.
In summer, there are many exhibitions, festivals and concerts on the island. Malinska, in the north-western part of the island, has a vibrant nightlife. You can also take a glass-bottom boat and discover the marine life of the sea. Vrbnik is on the east coast of Krk. It is one of the most beautiful places on the island. It lies on top of a 48 m high cliff, so the view is breathtaking. Information about Kvarner Bay sailing routes, or yacht charter in Kvarner Bay
There are about 926 smaller and larger islands, rocks and reefs in the waters of Dalmatia. Brač is the third largest among the Adriatic islands, and also the highest. In clear weather, you can see Dalmatia from the top of Vidova Gora. Situated in the most protected bay on the island, Milna is popular among sailors.
The marked trails of Brač are perfect for hiking. You can find Zmajeva špilja or Dragon Cave next to Bol, near Murvica. Accompanied by a guide, you will discover the remains of the chapel and the residence of hermits who lived here.
The 12 km2 large Sutivan Nature Park is located in the northern part of Brač, 3 km west of Sutivan. Visiting this gorgeous place is recommended for all ages. You should also check out the International Brač Summer Carnival. It is a 7-day festival taking place in a different village every day. If you want to experience the vibrant nightlife, you can choose from great clubs like Havana, Paparazzo or Thriller. Information about Dalmatia sailing routes, or yacht charter in Dalmatia
7 days Novigrad sailing itinerary
We head south from the popular holiday destination, Novigrad. We sail to some picturesque towns and villages in Istria.
Day 1. Novigrad – Poreč (Marina Poreč)
11, 93 km (7, 41 mi)
You can take pleasant walks on the narrow, cobbled streets of the charming Old Town of Poreč. Discover the beautiful Roman and Venetian palaces and buildings. The main attraction of this resort town is the Byzantine Euphrasian Basilica which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. If you are craving a delicious meal, there are excellent restaurants and pizzerias in Poreč. We especially recommend Pizzeria Nono where they serve great pasta dishes and salads. Read more about what to do in Porec or Porec sailing. Check our boats: yachtcharter in Porec.
Day 2. Poreč – Rovinj (ACI Marina Rovinj)
18, 30 km (11, 37 mi)
Built on a cliff, Rovinj is the most beautiful and most romantic city in Istria. Italian influences are very strong here. The red Clock Tower welcomes tourists in the marina. It features the symbol of Venice, a winged lion on the façade. The most famous attraction in Rovinj is the Church of St. Euphemia. You can admire Rovinj from the bell tower and from the hill where it stands. Read more about what to do in Rovinj or Rovinj sailing. Check our boats: boat rental in Rovinj.
Day 3. Rovinj – Pula (ACI Marina Pula)
32, 93 km (20, 46 mi)
Pula is the capital of Istria. You can visit significant architectural monuments in Pula such as the limestone Roman amphitheatre. Interestingly, this is the 6th largest arena in the world, like the Roman Colosseum. Today, it is home to concerts, operas, festivals, and gladiator shows. There are also many night clubs and bars in Pula.
Day 4. Pula – Pomer (ACI Marina Pomer)
30, 69 km (19, 07 mi)
If you prefer a quiet, relaxing holiday, visit the idyllic village of Pomer. There are many churches to visit, but we especially recommend discovering the Parish Church of the Visitation of Mary and the Chapel of St Flora. The Pomerska noć is a traditional local festival held in August, offering fun events and unforgettable culinary experiences. Konoba Istriana serves local specialities. Read more about what to do in Pula or Pula sailing. Check our boats: rent a boat in Pula
Day 5. Pomer – Medulin
2, 67 km (1, 66 mi)
The main attraction of this small seaside village is Villa Vižula – also known as Villa Crispus – which used to belong to Emperor Constantine. The remains of the building are located in the heart of Medulin, on the Vižula Peninsula. You can see the ruins of the emperor’s rooms, but the traces of lead pipes and wood stoves are also recognisable. The Church of St. Agnes is the tallest building in Medulin thanks to the 36 m high white bell towers. Read more about what to do in Medulin or Medulin sailing. Check our boats: boat rental in Medulin
Day 6. Medulin – Savudrija
99, 81 km (62, 02 mi)
The symbol of the fishing village is the highest – 36 m – and oldest lighthouse on the Adriatic Sea. It was built-in 1818, but it still operates to this day. The village boasts lush, Mediterranean vegetation with oak and pine forests. If you are craving a delicious meal, in addition to local specialities, you can try international dishes as well.
Day 7. Savudrija – Umag (ACI Marina Umag) – Novigrad
23, 46 km (14, 58 mi)
The Old Town of Umag lies on a small, narrow peninsula. The main attractions of the Main Square are the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the 18th century, the old town wall and the bastions. Umag is home to some interesting events like the International Festival of Antique Sepmaia viva and the UmaGOblues festival. The region produces one of the best-quality olive oils in Croatia, and it is famous for its wine production as well.
If we have some time after returning our boat, we should take a look around Novigrad. It is one of the most beautiful historic towns in Istria, an ideal destination for a quiet, family holiday. Gallerion is the Navy Museum of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy where you can discover ship models, weapons and swords. Furthermore, Novigrad is a well-known gourmet-centre with the best fish taverns in Istria. Marina is a great choice if you are craving a delicious meal.
Day 1. Pula – Medulin 32.41 km (20.14 mi), Day 2. Medulin – Unije 33.34 km (20.72 mi), Day 3. Unije- Vele Srakane 11.65 km (7.24 mi), Day 4. Vele Srakane – Martinscica 27.22 km (16.91 mi), Day 5. Martinscica – Cres 27.05 km (16.81 mi), Day 6. Cres – Rabac 24, 28 km (15, 09 mi), Day 7. Rabac – Trget – Pula 90.16 km (56.02 mi)
More about sailing in Istria
Mali Lošinj sailing trip
Our starting point is Mali Lošinj, the largest and at the same time central town on the island of Lošinj. Thanks to its favourable characteristics, it is one of the most attractive holiday destinations in Croatia.
Day 1. Mali Lošinj (Marina Mali Lošinj) – Sansego (Susak)
13, 76 km (8, 55 mi)
Primarily, Susak is an ideal destination for sailors thanks to the untouched natural surroundings and crystal clear sea. It is also known as Sand Island because in contrast to the other Croatian islands, it was formed of sand carried here by sea currents. As a result, local wines have a very different aroma than those grown in rocky soil. Local cuisine is also quite unique, offering delicious dishes.
Day 2. Sansego – Unije (Unije)
16, 21 km (10, 07 mi)
Located at the entrance of Kvarner Bay, Unija is a small island overgrown with lush vegetation, evergreen holly-oaks and olive trees. It is perfect if you want some peace and quiet. The main attraction is the Vnetak Lighthouse on the south-western side of the island. The local restaurants offer delicious seafood dishes. Pension Unijana is near the marina, and you should also visit Bara Bar.
Day 3. Unije – Martinšćica (Cres)
22, 73 km (14, 12 mi)
This small village of picturesque Croatia is on the west coast of the island of Crest, deep in a bay. If you are visiting, discover the church dedicated to St. Martin, the namesake and patron of Martinšćica. The church gained its present form in the 19th century after a reconstruction.
Day 4. Martinšćica – Cres (ACI Marina Cres)
29, 67 km (18, 44 mi)
The capital of the island of Cres is characterised by narrow streets, a labyrinth-like Old Town and pastel buildings. Cres also boasts a beautiful promenade. You can discover the Church of St. Isidore from the 12th century, and the Church of Our Lady of the Snow from the 15th century. It lies near the main square, built-in Gothic style.
Day 5. Cres – Krk (Port Krk)
62, 85 km (39, 05 mi)
The symbol of the town is the Romanesque cathedral from the 11th-12th centuries. It stands on the site of a 5th-6th-century church and Roman bath. You can find the Fancopan castle and a 12th-century tower on Kamplin Square. In summer, there are exhibitions, festivals, and concerts that keep visitors entertained. We recommend trying a local speciality, cevapcici, which is made using three types of meat, the grill mix or grilled squid.
Day 6. Krk – Lopar (Rab)
24, 02 km (14, 93 mi)
Lopar is at the northern end of Rab. It is the second-largest town on the island. You can take a pleasant walk in Kapić Park near the marina. There are three tennis courts, a mini-golf course and a football field in the town. You can rent a bicycle, a motorbike or a quad if you like.
Are you craving culinary experiences? Feral and Lanterna are great choices. If you need a delicious drink, we recommend the PokoLoko cocktail bar.
Day 7. Lopar – Ilovik (Ilovik) – Mali Lošinj (Marina Mali Lošinj)
66, 64 km (41, 41 mi)
Ilovik lies in the north-eastern bay of the island of the same name. Discover the Church of St. Peter and Paul near the marina, which was built-in the 19th century. If you get hungry, we recommend Amico, Konova, Oliva Ilovik or Restaurant Esempio.
Thanks to the clean, sea air, Mali Lošinj has been a spa resort since the turn of the century. You can play tennis, mini golf and bowling. In addition, there are several night clubs if you feel like partying. You can visit the Čikat Forest Park that was planted in the 19th century. It is at the south-western end of the town. Some beautiful trails lead through the park. You will see Aleppo pines, pistachios, red junipers, olive trees, cedars, European cypresses and almond pines here.
Day 1. Opatija – Rijeka 10.25 km (6.37 mi), Day 2. Rijeka – Crikvenica 29.77 km (18.50 mi), Day 3. Crikvenica – Senj 26.64 km (16.55 mi), Day 4. Senj – Baska 12.09 km (7.51 mi), Day 5. Baska – Lopar (Rab) 19.66 km (12.22 mi), Day 6. Lopar – Punat 23.41 km (14.55 mi), Day 7. Punat – Cres Island – Opatija 50.96 km (31.67 mi)
More about sailing in Kvarner Bay
7 days Stari Grad sailing itinerary
The Central Dalmatian Stari Grad is not only the oldest town on the island of Hvar, but in Croatia as well. Sailing from here, we will visit some wonderful islands. We drop anchor at Milna located on the island of Brač. It is a very popular destination among sailors. The three marinas of Milna can accommodate more than 300 boats.
Day 1. Stari Grad (Mooring Bouys) – Bol
15, 59 km (9, 69 mi)
The largest establishment on the southern beach of Bol a Brač Island is located at the foot of Vidova Gora mountain. Out of all the sights here, it is important to mention its monuments from ancient Roman times, decorative Baroque manors, and the Dominican Monastery from the 15th century. In the summer, they organize cultural programs such as the Bol Summer Festival and the Night of Fishermen. Information about sailing in Bol, or rent a boat in Bol.
Day 2. Bol – Sumartin
18, 33 km (11, 39 mi)
Sumartin is located in a bay on the eastern end of the quiet, peaceful island of Brač. It is worth visiting the Franciscan monastery of St. Martin, after which the town got its name. There are crystal clear bays such as Žukovik Bay, Studena Bay or Rasotica Bay. On the latter, you can explore a deserted village on the hillside. Information about sailing in Sumartin, or rent a boat in Sumartin. Read more about what to do in Sumartin.
Day 3. Sumartin – Povlja
13, 54 km (8, 42 mi)
We recommend discovering this tiny village for families who like a peaceful holiday. The most famous attraction of Povlja is the remains of the early Christian basilica next to the Church of St. John.
Day 4. Povlja – Pučišća
11, 06 km (6, 87 mi)
Pučišća has great quarries – this is where the famous white limestone of Brač Island originates An important sight here is the St Jerome Church, built between 1566 and 1750. Interestingly, many of the houses have a stone roof, and you can also explore beautifully carved lampposts here.
Day 5. Pučišća – Supetar
17, 50 10, 87
Supetar, the most visited capital city of Brač, lies on the North of the Brač island. Its name derives from the Saint Peter Basilica situated on a hill. As a matter of fact, he is the town’s patron saint. During your stay in Supetar, the 18th-century old Our Lady of the Annunciation Church and the 6th-century old Roman mosaics are a must. Read more about what to do in Supetar, sailing in Supetar, boat hire in Supetar.
Day 6. Supetar – Sutivan
6, 30 km (3, 91 mi)
The coastal resort is located opposite Split, in the northwestern corner of Brač Island. If you are looking for outdoor activity, you can choose from several cycling and hiking routes in Sutivan National Park. One of the must-see sights in town is the Renaissance Church of the Holy Salvation from the 16th century. We can admire Marijanović House at the eastern end of the port; it was built-in the 17th century.
Day 7. Sutivan – Milna (Brač-island, Marina Vlaska) – Stari Grad (Mooring Bouys)
33, 96 km (21, 10 mi)
At the port, you can find several decorative manors and elegant buildings, which are mostly from the Venetian times. The Church of Our Lady of Annunciation, which was built-in 1783, is the highest building in the town, so it is easy to spot it from afar. Its inside is decorated by 7 Baroque altars and monumental pillars, while on the outside, there are two enormous palm trees that make it even more unique.
After we return our ship, it is worth exploring Stari Grad if we still have some time. From Glavica hill, there is a wonderful view of the town and the nearby Brač Island. If you are interested in beautiful buildings, the most famous sights of the establishment are Hektorović Castle, Church of Saint Rocco and the Dominican Monastery. As for restaurants, we particularly recommend the Konoba Batana and the Antika. Read more about what to do in Stari Grad
Day 1. Dubrovnik – Lopud 13.65 km (8.48 mi), Day 2. Lopud – Vieste (Italy) 170.26 km (105.79 mi), Day 3. Vieste – Manfredonia 42.31 km (26.29 mi), Day 4. Manfredonia – Barletta 47.31 km (29.40 mi), Day 5. Barletta – Molfetta 28.78 km (17.88 mi), Day 6. Molfetta – Bari 24.96 km (15.51 mi), Day 7. Bari – Bar (Montenegro) 213.70 km (132.79 mi), Day 8. Bar – Budva 29.02 km (18.03 mi), Day 9. Budva – Herceg Novi 35, 62 km (22, 13 mi), Day 10. Herceg Novi – Kotor 25.58 km (15.90 mi), Day 11. Kotor – Cavtat 65.19 km (40.51 mi), Day 12. Cavtat – Sobra 54.16 km (33.65 mi), Day 13. Sobra – Ston 27.46 km (17.06 mi), Day 14. Ston – Koločep – Dubrovnik 39.50 km (24.54 mi).
If you want to go sailing, visiting Croatia is a great experience thanks to the diverse coastlines and idyllic bays. Whether you drop anchor at historic towns or charming fishing villages, unforgettable experiences and culinary specialities welcome you. More Mediterranean sailboat cruisesHELP ME TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT BOAT