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Croatia by sailboat

Guide to the most beautiful destinations, coasts and islands of Croatia

Kornati Islands, Split Archipelago and Istria are just some of the best destinations for a sailing or catamaran vacation in Croatia

Croatia dotted with 1,200 islands and islets, endless hidden bays and numerous historic centers is undoubtedly the ideal destination for your sailing vacation. The right mix of charm and authenticity. Bathed by the Guide to the most beautiful destinations, coasts and islands of Croatia, this country possesses unspoiled nature and traditions that have been maintained over time. 

Istria, Kornati Islands, Split Archipelago, three different areas that provide you with an ideal climate, a wide variety of natural landscapes, and a sea that is always calm, making Croatia the ideal destination for your vacation, whether you are a seasoned sailor or a newcomer. 

Imagine sitting in the cockpit with your fellow sailors admiring the sunset while sipping an aperitif with music in the background, stopped in the roadstead lulled by a transparent sea, what more could you want? 

The best time of year

The sailing season in Croatia runs from May to October. At the height of summer, in July and August, it can be very crowded, but the weather is absolutely perfect and the days are still quite long. The usually light and pleasant wind will ensure smooth sailing.

Croatia on a sailing boat: moon landscapes and crystal clear seas

Croatia sailboatistria
Flotilla in Croatia


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Vacation highlights in Croatia

Where to go and what to see in Croatia on a sailing cruise

Istria, for a family vacation

Istria, for a family vacation

Istria is the northernmost region of Croatia and the closest destination to Italy. A sailing vacation in this region is perfect for families or for short periods

You can embark from an Italian port, or directly from Rovinj and reach Brijuni National Park where you will discover enchanting bays and olive groves surrounded by peace and tranquility. You will then continue your journey to Pula, a historic city with typical waterfront restaurants. You will also not miss a stop in Lošinj, where it will be easy to spot some dolphins while sailing. Another stop not to be missed is Novigrad, a place rich in cultural and historical heritage.

Kornati Islands: an unspoiled paradise

Kornati Islands: an unspoiled paradise

The Kornati Islands, also known as Kornati, has always been a unique destination for its calm waters, gentle winds, and harbors, among the most beautiful in Europe. It is the absolute destination that can decline in every aspect the verb: "go boating." The unspoiled nature of the Kornati islands will give you the chance to rediscover a new sense of time and space: nights lit only by the stars and slow sailing among the many bays, endless ridges and variety of coves. 

You can embark in the port of Zadar or Šibenik and start your adventure under full sail to the island of Prvic. On the island you will have the opportunity to taste the region's wine and eat in the typical Konoba. You will not miss a stop at Kakan Island and Dugi Otok to admire impressive cliffs and visit the island's salt lake.

Split archipelago: from top to bottom

Split archipelago: from top to bottom

SplitTrogirKastela and Primosten are the main embarkation ports for sailing south. Once embarked you can sail to the island of Brac, with the unforgettable beach of Zlatni Rat and impressive vineyards. Another stop will surely be the island of Vis with Stiniva, a world-famous beach nestled between two cliffs-a sight not to be missed. You can continue on to Lastovo, Croatia's most remote inhabited island and the perfect place for some relaxation. You will not miss a stop in Korcula, a charming island with olive groves and vineyards, surrounded by crystal-clear waters. You will continue to Hvar, the most exclusive and VIP-chosen island. Last stop will be the island of Solta, less touristy than the previous one, where you can spend your time surrounded by nature. 

You can also embark from Dubrovnik and sail north. Its historic and picturesque scenery, such as the medieval walls welded to the cliff, have made Dubrovnik the ideal set for so many films and TV series. The city is surrounded by numerous coves and blue flag beaches fringed with white pebbles. The most iconic beach is undoubtedly Copacabana Beach on the Lopad Peninsula.

Croatia's 10 islands to discover by sailboat

  1. 1


    Exclusive and highly touristy island offering a lively nightlife with numerous clubs and restaurants. Nicknamed the "Madeira of Croatia" for the hidden paradise: from the expanses of lavender and aromatic plants to the secluded beaches washed by crystal-clear waters.

  2. 2


    Famous for its white stones and the renowned Golden Horn Beach: a narrow tongue of pebbles that juts out over deep water and changes shape with the tides and winds.

  3. 3


    An island of mysterious charm, a former Yugoslav military base: a wild and rugged, limestone and mountainous island, rich in coves, caves and beaches often accessible only by boat. 

  4. 4


    Here you will find a timeless atmosphere. You will spend your days at a slow pace, immersed in traditional and naturalistic landscapes: holm-oak forests, olive groves and karst rocks until you dive into the crystal-clear sea that surrounds it.

  5. 5

    Palmizana (or island of San Clemente)

    Renowned for its beauty characterized by a lush tropical garden that encloses: 300 hectares of unspoiled nature, a forest of centuries-old pines, exotic plants and aromatic bushes with intense scents.

  6. 6


    An emerald island covered in green vegetation, it is still little affected by mass tourism and is home to one of Croatia's national parks

  7. 7


    Uninhabited island near Dubrovnik where you can visit a medieval Benedictine monastery, or relax on the quiet, sandy Šunj Beach.

  8. 8


    It lies halfway between Sibenik and Zadar and is connected to the mainland by the Tisno movable bridge. It is unmissable for its centuries-old pine forests and olive groves, for its wealth of coves and bays such as Betina Bay, and especially for the breathtaking views of the islets in the southern part. 

  9. 9

    Dugi Otok (or Long Island)

    The island is sparsely inhabited and even in summer offers peace and quiet. It is an ideal destination if you are looking for charming and special corners, or a beach all to yourself. The coast of the western part is home to Telascica Nature Park and is characterized by high cliffs and rocks over 100 meters above the sea. 

  10. 10


    "Once upon a time there was a floating heart that graced the Adriatic!" sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale, but it is reality. We are talking about the heart-shaped island that lies between the jagged rocks of the Pasman Channel and those of the Zadar Channel-the perfect backdrop for a sailing sunset!

Pratical info


Croatia is located in southern Europe, is part of the Balkan Peninsula, and faces the Adriatic Sea. From a morphological point of view, the country can be distinguished into three zones with different climatic, geographic, and cultural characteristics: the coastal strip, the mountain ranges, and the vast lowland area. The coast is overlooked by more than 1,200 islands and islets. 


The population to date is nearly 4 million, and the economy is mainly based on the tertiary sector and light industry. Tourism is gaining in importance year after year. 


The official language of Croatia is CroatianEnglish and Italian are very well spoken in the main tourist areas. 

Getting there

To get to Croatia by plane, there are several options. You can fly into Zagreb, or to one of the more convenient regional airports such as DubrovnikSplitZadar or Rijeka (Rijeka). There are several airlines that offer low-cost flights. You can also arrive by ferry from Ancona, which is the main port for embarkations to Croatia, and you can reach Zadar and Split. Another ferry line connects Bari with Dubrovnik.

Mobile network

Croatia has a mobile phone network in line with European standards. Different rates and data roaming have been abolished for visitors from the EU. Coverage is quite extensive, often getting a range even at sea. On the islands, 3G is more widespread.

Protected areas

Croatia's protected areas are divided between national parks, nature parks, and integral nature reserves. Nine percent of the territory is covered by protected areas. They include: 8 national parks, 2 reserves and 11 nature parks.

The most popular national parks that you can visit during your sailing vacation are: the Brijuni Islands Park, Kornati Islands, Krka Waterfalls, and Mljet National Park.

National parks: some reachable by boat, others ideal for shore excursions

  • Brijuni National Park

    The park consists of fourteen islands located along the southwestern coast of Istria. The beaches are shallow and rocky with easy access, and pebble and sand beaches can also be found in some bays.

  • Kornati National Park

    This national park consists of part of the Kornati archipelago between Zadar and Sibenik. It is one of the most attractive stretches of sea for yachtsmen, diving enthusiasts and all those who love untouched and wild nature. Characteristic of the archipelago are the sheer cliffs above the open sea called "crowns" (hence the name). 

  • Mljet National Park

    The park is located in the northwestern part of the island of the same name and occupies most of it, including two salt lakes, some villages, Soline Bay, the island of St. Mary and part of the coastline.

  • Krka National Park

    To visit the park you can dock at the marina in Skradin and from there continue on the mainland or on one of the licensed boats. It is one of the most beautiful parks in Croatia, formed in 1985 along the course of the Krka River and has as many as seven waterfalls

  • Plitvice National Park

    Lakes that sparkle emerald green and sapphire blue and plenty of waterfalls that can be visited via the trails that wind through the park-a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can visit it on a day trip, leaving the boat in Zadar and heading inland.

  • Paklenica National Park

    It is located in northern Dalmatia on the slopes of Velebit: between the sea and the mountains. It is home to two canyons in its interior, and is an ideal destination for a shore excursion. You can reach it from Zadar in just under an hour, or from Split. 

  • Risnjak National Park

    Located just 15 km from the sea, it can be reached by car from Rijeka. It is the wildest and most unspoiled national park in Croatia, where you can spot lynx and bears. 

  • Northern Velebit National Park

    The park stretches more than 100 km along the coast behind Senj. You can admire a fascinating karst landscape and enjoy breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea. The park is usually open from early May to mid-October, depending on snowfall.


Guides & tips

 Kornati islands by sailboat

 Kornati islands by sailboat

Split archipelago by sailboat 

Split archipelago by sailboat 

Catamaran vacations

Catamaran vacations

Balearic Islands by sailboat

Balearic Islands by sailboat

Whale watching sailing cruises  with WWF

Whale watching sailing cruises  with WWF

Greece by sailboat

Greece by sailboat

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