Aerial panoramic view sandy islands off Croatia. Yachts and speedboats travel between the islands

Croatia

The ultimate line-of-sight yacht sailing for those looking to charter a luxury boat in the Mediterranean

Blissful line-of-sight yacht sailing in Croatia

Croatia offers the ultimate line-of-sight yacht sailing experience for those looking to charter a luxury boat in the Mediterranean. Hundreds of unique sun-drenched islands lie in the glass-clear waters just off the historic mainland making Croatia a dazzling country best explored by sea, whether you’re sailing yourself or hiring a crew. What’s more, the tide here is the smallest in the already almost tide-free Mediterranean, meaning it has no impact on your sailing route, leaving you more time for fun in the sun.

With modern, well-equipped marinas in each of the different sailing regions, you can trust that you can find somewhere safe to stay wherever you sail. Look out for the ACI sign, which indicates the marina is state-run, and that means reliable. With impressive historic forts, wild island nightlife, fresh seafood, fragrant pine forests and pristine white pebble beaches, yacht sailing here guarantees an unforgettable experience.

Croatia’s four sailing regions

There are four main yacht sailing regions to choose from in Croatia, each with their own charm, wind patterns and itineraries to suit all types of crew.

Enjoy slow mornings and breezy afternoons exploring central Dalmatia or head north to Pula for more dramatic sailing with longer distances to discover the nature of Kvarner Bay. Technical sailors will enjoy the more challenging navigation through the wild Kornati region, and those looking for history, culture and cuisine will love the riviera atmosphere of Dubrovnik.

When to sail in Croatia

Each region is suitable for most levels of yacht sailor between June and September when the winds are relatively steady, but ambitious crews may enjoy the challenge of the stronger winds which hit Croatia in April or October. In low season the crowds are much thinner and finding a mooring is as simple as radioing in as you bring the sail down nearby.

Average temperatures in Croatia range from 26 to 30 degrees Celsius in the summer months, creating a comfortable environment on board both day and night. Water temperature varies a lot more, starting at a cool 16 degrees at the start of the sailing season, but reaching an inviting 24 degrees by August, perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot day. Be careful to book moorings in advance if you’re travelling in late July and August, as demand for space increases.

The Istrian Peninsula and Kvarner Bay

Charter a luxury yacht to explore the Istrian Peninsula which offers a deeply Italian feel, longer sailing distances and stronger winds than central Dalmatia. Expect contemporary marinas and fine dining with warm service at the end of an exhilarating day at sea. Don’t be surprised to see super yachts moored at the main town of Pula, which, scattered with fascinating Roman ruins and well-maintained beaches, is the ideal jumping-off point for the stunning natural beauty of Kvarner Bay. Explore the nature of Cres and Krk islands, then take on a windswept Adriatic adventure to leafy Rab for an afternoon on a rare sandy beach. Finally, head back to the mainland for pretty national parks scented with pine and rosemary dotted further around the bay. This lesser-known area feels like a secret hideaway in early summer, and the perfect place to escape the stronger winds in high season.

Kornati area

Sailors looking for a technical challenge away from the crowds will love the Kornati archipelago. These densely-packed islands can be tricky to navigate as you avoid rocks and sand banks, but are worth it for the moment you drop anchor in your own secluded bay. Sunbathe, swim and relax on your luxury charter yacht in your own slice of paradise among the 152 islands here offering many hidden inlets and beaches. Why not grab your water toys and paddle board, snorkel or float about on a rubber ring as you soak up the sun surrounded by nature?

With a handful of marinas, many shops, restaurants and an atmospheric old town market, the dynamic city of Zadar is an easy starting point for boarding your luxury yacht. Sail down the coast for waterfalls, fishing villages and moon-like landscapes, and stop to dine in some of Croatia’s most exclusive restaurants. Sukosan is a strategic place to overnight, with a huge marina offering plenty of shops for resupplying, and Biograd is a party town offering exquisite restaurants and nightlife as a contrast to the peaceful nature of the islands. The pretty beaches lining the small holiday town of Pirovac are sheltered by Murter island, which is connected to the mainland by road. As the entrance to Kornati National Park, the waters here are spectacularly clear: ideal for snorkelling or scuba diving straight from your yacht. Finally, you can’t miss the traditional town of Sibenik, where roaming beneath the terracotta rooftops, sampling local wines and soaking up the culture is a must.

Central Dalmatia

With the largest harbours on the Dalmatian coast, including some rated 5 star, Split and Trogir are the most popular starting off points for new and experienced yacht sailors alike. Kastel Gomilica, which lies between the two, is another well-known yacht charter location, with beaches nearby and an efficient marina giving you easy access to the central Dalmatian coastline. From all of these fantastic starting points, you’re just a short hop by charter yacht over the water from the famous party island of Hvar, the fairytale fort and vineyard-laden island of Korcula and the more peaceful vibes of laid-back Vis. White pebble beaches and pristine turquoise waters await.

Winds range from very light (think motoring along pond-still water) to strong yet steady, ideal for sailors looking for navigation and skills experience in a safe environment. The famous Maestral wind is your friend in the heat of the summer, bringing cool air from the north, and usually picking up around midday before calming down for sunset.

Sail to seaside towns with beautiful stone-paved squares and magnificent buildings, take your luxury charter yacht along the coast to sleepy fishing villages and glitzy cities, or simply drop anchor in a picturesque bay for a lazy afternoon soaking up the sun. Start the evening tasting the fresh catch of the day washed down with a local wine, or opt for sushi and champagne at sunset with the jet set: however you like to holiday, Croatia won’t disappoint.

Dubrovnik

Famous for its impressive medieval walled city, arriving in Dubrovnik feels like stepping back in time. Board your luxury charter yacht from one of the two large, well-equipped marinas (one of which is ACI) and familiarize yourself with the area. With masses of shops, high end restaurants and vibrant, limestone-paved squares to explore, make time to refuel in style… perhaps with a candlelit dinner tucked inside a charming stone alleyway. Once you’ve set sail along the Dubrovnik Riviera a coastline of wild, pine-lined bays, bustling waterfront villages and unspoilt sheltered anchorages await you.

It’s easy to find a deserted cove here for a spot of crystal-clear snorkelling and swimming. Because all the beaches are pebble or rock, there is no sand to cloud up the water, making it so transparent you’ll feel like you are simply floating on air high above the seabed. Back on land, visit the saltwater lakes in the stunning Mljet National Park, and then climb aboard once more and sail to Lokrum or the Elafiti islands for a slower pace of life.