Croatia is one of the best sailing destinations in the world
Croatia, with its 1000 islands and islets, has attracted many tourists, especially sailors who love island hopping. It wouldn't be wrong to say that Croatia is one of the best sailing destinations in the world.
The Mediterranean climate, moderate winds, shimmering blue seas and 5,835 km of Adriatic coastline continue to attract sailors. Moreover, since Croatia’s islands are situated close to each other, sailors do not have to travel long before reaching their destinations, hence ideal for both newbies and experienced sailors alike.
Besides, Croatia is also famous for its historical cities, picture-perfect natural beauty, national parks and above all, its fresh food.
No wonder more and more visitors prefer to discover Croatia by sailing yacht charter rather than by land.
However, with the 1000 or so islands and more than 5000 miles of coastline, where do you start?
Stiniva Cove - Vis
Stiniva Cove on the island of Vis is a must-see during your Croatian sailing holidays. The cove was more of a hidden gem among sailors until it was named the Best Beach in Europe in 2016. Since then, it has been a favourite haunt of sailors.
The highlight of Stiniva Cove is its narrow entrance to a pristine picture-perfect pebbly Stiniva beach surrounded by towering high cliffs.
The cove has no mooring buoys, so you’d have to drop anchor outside the entrance. And then either enter in a tender (dinghy) or just swim to the shore.
The water depth is between 10 to 15 meters. Even though the anchorage is deep, you’ll get a good holding.
Just a short boat ride away are the smaller sister islands of Vis (Ravnik and Budikovac), hiding places accessible only to sailors. One such attraction is the Green Cave which glitters green during the day.
Telašćica - Dugi Otok
Located to the southeast of island Dugi Otok is Telašćica, one of the safest bays in the Adriatic sea. The bay is 10 km long and 160-180 meters wide.
Telašćica is also one of the ten national parks in the country. However, the bay itself is magnificent. It’s worth sailing its length just to take in its beauty. The sea in this part of the island is primarily calm, even without waves.
Telašćica is home to many protected bays, of which Tripuljak bay is our favourite. The depth is 10 to 14 meters and is sheltered from the west and north winds. However, it is not protected from the Bora; hence you can expect some swells.
There are plenty of moorings available in the bay. However, they are available only when you purchase an entry ticket.
Tripuljak bay is 0.5 NM from the famous salt lake Mir on Dugi Otok island. Another attraction closest to the bay on the southern side is the high cliffs which offer a stunning view of the island and the bay itself.
Vinogradisce Bay - Sv. Klement
Vinogradišće is a deep bay on St. Clement (Sv. Klement), the largest island in the Pakleni archipelago. It is a beautiful sandy bay surrounded by a pine forest and other trees and plants native to the Dalmatian region.
Crystal clear turquoise waters, white sand, small beaches, sandy bottom, and good shelter make the bay one of the most sought-after anchorages in the Adriatic sea. Being long and narrow, the bay is protected from all winds except south-westerlies.
Vinogradisce bay has a mooring field with 45 buoys and a water depth between 2 and 12 m. If the mooring buoys are full, you can drop anchor. The sandy sea bed provides a good anchor holding.
There are also several top restaurants and lounge bars on the beach, making it one of Croatia’s favourite celebrity haunts. Visit Toto’s and try their “Catch of the Day” lunch to experience fine dining at its finest. Other restaurants you may want to try are the Laganini lounge bar and Restaurant Zori.
Opposite Vinogradisce bay is the more popular Palmižana bay with an ACI marina of the same name. Hvar is just a 10-minute water taxi ride away from Palmižana bay.
Skrivena Luka - Lastovo Nature Park
Skrivena Luka is one of the largest bays on the stunning island of Lastovo. Commonly called Hidden Bay, Skrivena Luka is one of the famous bays in the Lastovo primarily due to its proximity to the Lastove Nature Park.
If not for the Struga lighthouse and Stražica lighthouse, the bay would be pretty challenging to find, even for a seasoned sailor. Though the bay is 900 m long, the entrance is just 150 m, essentially hiding it from prying eyes.
Sailors would have to pay close attention when entering the bay, especially if winds from the northwest, since they may create big waves. The deeper you go into the bay, the more protection you have from the winds.
Skrivena Luka has a 30 m pontoon deck for mooring. There are also a few buoys, but those are mainly for the patrons of the nearby Konoba Portorosa.
You can also drop anchor since it has a depth of 5 to 10 meters with muddy, overgrown seagrass seabed.
Apart from its picturesque location, the Cape of Struga Lighthouse is also the main draw for sailors sailing in this region. Built in 1839, the lighthouse rises above a cliffside 90m above sea level. It also offers rooms for those who wish to spend the night.
Lučice Bay - Brač
Lučice bay is by far the prettiest bay in all of Brač, an island well known for its many bays and coves. It is also just a few nautical miles away from the Splitska Vrata.
The best part about the bay is its three arms, where you can find a decent shelter, depending on the wind. The westernmost arm is sheltered from all winds, while the other two are open to southwest winds causing big swells.
Though there are many mooring buoys on the bay, they are owned by the restaurants on the shore. So, you’ll have to pay a fee if you are not dining in the restaurant that owns it.
While there are a couple of bays adjacent, they do not provide shelter like Lučice bay, and you’ll be open to the elements.
Lučice bay is home to two restaurants serving authentic Dalmatian fare. If not, you can always take a 30-minute stroll to Milna town and enjoy its old-world Mediterranean charm.
Polače Bay - Mljet
Polače Bay is located at the northwest end of the Mljet island. It is a protected bay and is within the limits of the Mljet National Park; hence, anchoring and mooring are charged.
Polače Bay is also considered the largest and safest bay on the island since it is sheltered by four islets Moračnik, Tajnik, Kobrava and Ovrata. However, it is open to the winds from the east and northeast.
The best position to moor your yacht is the north side of the bay since the winds tend to tunnel in from the east and northeast.
The sheltered position attracts many sailors to moor their yachts here. Furthermore, the bay is also one of the official entrances to the Mljet National Park.
Polače Bay is also home to many restaurants, namely Konoba Antika and Konoba Calypso. Right by the Konoba Antika is the 4th Century Roman Palace ruins. There’s also a small Mediterranean fishing village close by with just over 100 inhabitants. The village also has a couple of restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores.
The main highlight of the bay is the national park and the two deep bays filled with seawater. Hiking and biking are also allowed, while sailing, boating and fishing are not permitted.
Saplun Bay - Saplun Island
Saplun Bay is located on the uninhabited island of Saplun, one of 13 islands on the east side of island Lastovo. The wide bay is also home to a long sandy beach surrounded by pine trees.
Take caution and do not approach the bay between island Saplun and Arzenjak mali; the water depth here is just .5m. Instead, come in from the east. The island is sheltered from the winds by the island of Saplun on the south and Arzenjak Mali and Arzenjak Veli islands on the north and west, respectively.
The main draw of the bay is its isolation and privacy. The absence of restaurants on the bay has preserved its natural beauty and is really a piece of paradise. The unspoilt beauty is characterised by shoals, ridges and shimmering open sea.
Though inhabited, the island is covered by trees and dense woods, giving you ample shade from the sun. The sea in this region is also ideal for snorkelling.