You can travel on a yacht for many weeks off the coast of Croatia and still miss a couple of lovely villages, coves or beaches. But all the better: interesting places will always be on your way, no matter which route you choose. We laid the sailing routes through the most impressive of them.
What is Dalmatia?
Dalmatia is a historical region of Croatia in the northwest of the Balkans. It is a real paradise for sailors: more than 920 islands are scattered along the Dalmatian coast. Some of them contain the remains of ancient Greek and Roman settlements, others have tiny distinctive Croatian villages, yet anothers have wild forests and lakes.
Dalmatia is usually divided into three parts: Northern, Central and Southern. The centres of the North are Zadar and Šibenik, the Central is Split, the Southern is Dubrovnik. The biggest advantage of these regions is the warm climate. You can sail here from mid-May to the end of September. The sailing season also lasts much longer than in the north of the country, so you can easily rent a boat in Croatia.
One-way yacht route Split-Dubrovnik, 7 days
Day 1. Split — Trogir — Milna / Lučice (Brač island) — 14 nautical miles (NM)
Day 2. Brač - Palmižana / Borce / Hvar — 14 NM.
Day 3. Hvar — Korčula — 33 NM.
Day 4. Korčula — Pomena (Mljet) — 14 NM.
Day 5. Mljet — Ston — 26 NM.
Day 6. Ston — Šipan — 10 NM.
Day 7. Šipan — Dubrovnik — 14 NM.
Day 1. Split — Milna (Brač Island) — 14 NM.
Day 2. Brač - Vis — 21 NM.
Day 3. Vis — Komiža (Vis Island) — 10 NM.
Day 4. Vis — Vela Luka (Korčula) — 14 NM.
Day 5. Korčula — Lastovo — 22 NM.
Day 6. Lastovo — Mljet — 26 NM.
Day 7. Mljet — Dubrovnik — 32 NM.
Day 1. Split — Stomorska (Šolta Island) — 8.5 NM.
Day 2. Šolta — Hvar — 14 NM.
Day 3. Hvar — Korčula — 25 NM.
Day 4. Korčula — Pomena (Mljet Island) — 15 NM.
Day 5. Pomena — Okukle (Mljet Island) — 17 NM.
Day 6. Mljet — Šipanska Luka (Šipan Island) — 9 NM.
Day 7. Šipan — Dubrovnik — 15 NM.
The largest island in Dalmatia and an ideal observation point. From the local peak of Vidova Gora (780 m) you can see all the surroundings, including recently visited Split and Trogir. Brač is known for its limestone, from which the ancient Romans built houses. The island looks perfect from the seaside: steep white walls smoothly disappear in the bright turquoise sea depth.
Another side of the island has vivid sandy beaches. One of them, Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape), is one of the most famous beaches in Croatia. It looks like a long white cape extending far into the sea. Zlatni Rat looks especially fantastic from a height, from where you can see how the bright white shores gradually dissolve in the blue deep of the sea. Local windsurfers and kiters have chosen the place because of frequent winds here. Keep in mind: it can be quite crowded during the season in Croatia.
There are several small towns on Brač. One of them is Milna, a fishing village with specific stone houses protected from the wind from all sides. Here you can find a spacious bay with several marinas and mooring buoys.
Vis was closed to tourists from World War II times until the collapse of the USSR due to the Yugoslav military base on the island. You can still find remnants of military installations here, but since then the island has been changed. You will find here both traditional Croatian towns with orange roofs, as well as unique natural sites. The most famous of them is Modra špilja grotto on the islet of Biševo, which can be reached only by water. The sun rays reflect here from the walls, painting the entire grotto in bright blue colours.
There are two main ports on Vis Island: Vis and Komiža. You can moor near the embankment or nearby, on buoys. Else, there are several anchorage sites on the island, not recommended for use in bad weather.
Dubrovnik is considered to be one of the most must-see places in Croatia. You can admire the city anywhere: from the courtyard of the historical part restaurant, the lost cobblestone street, the bright orange roof of one of the houses or the hill above the city. From here you can see the whole path that you have travelled on a yacht to the final point.
“Game of Thrones” series was repeatedly shot here — we even organized a unique tour to the places of the filming.
Marina ACI Marina Dubrovnik is located six kilometres from the city. There are 425 berths for yachts up to 75 m long. From here a bus runs to the city every 15 minutes. Marina in Dubrovnik is very popular among those who want to find a yacht or catamaran rental in Croatia: here you can find any company for yacht travel your heart desires.
Marco Polo was born in Korčula town on this island. His house is still standing here showing the traveller’s routes to the exotic countries. After a visit, go up to the fortress on a hill to enjoy the view of the town below. Its streets unusually remind the shape of a fishbone. If you are bored with medieval towns, take a boat and go to the southern tip of the island: there are enough bays and wild beaches to take a break from the hustle and bustle.
There is a marina on Korčula, but it has few places for mooring, and there is a high probability it will be filled with boats in the season. It’s easier to anchor in a bay north to the island or on the nearest Lastovo or Lumbard archipelago.
Lastovo is the most remote inhabited island in Croatia. It is one of the 46 islands and cliffs of the Lastovo archipelago. These places have long been closed from tourists, and few people sail here with excursion groups. The better for you: all these gifts of nature, including deserted beaches and bays, are entirely at your disposal.
You’ll find mooring places in the marina Vela Lago, Pasadur town. You can also moor at restaurants in Skrivena Luka and Zaklopatica bays. There are many anchorages here. The most pleasant ones are in the bays of Jurjeva Luka and Skrivena Luka.
Mljet has two specific salt lakes hidden in its green forests. Moreover, one of the lakes has its island — an island on an island! There are also many fortresses on the island, the most remarkable of which is situated near Vodice town. There is also a Roman palace — the second after the palace of Diocletian. There are not as many tourists here as Split has — which means you have more chances for spectacular photographs without people crowds. Travellers will find anchorages in Polače town on the island.
It is convenient to take sailing yacht in Split and to travel in any direction. The city handily stands in the centre of the country, and you can go on a boat in any direction. The most famous place in Split is the palace of Diocletian, an extensive territory built by the Roman emperor in the 3rd century A. D.
ACI Marina Split in the south-west of the city is one of the most convenient places to start a yacht trip in Croatia. From here, sailing routes diverge both to the north and the south. The fact that one of the main airports in Croatia is located in Split only adds benefits to the marina.
Ston Island is the former salt industry centre in Croatia. It has some of the oldest salt ponds on the planet. In the crystal clear waters around the island, locals have been growing mussels and oysters since the time of the Roman Empire. Now they import these clams all over the world, but you definitely should try them here, where they are the freshest.
You can anchor in Prapratno Bay with incredible sandy beaches, or moor in the towns of Kobas and Broce, protected from the wind in case of bad weather.
Trogir is a museum city. It is smaller than Split and not so crowded. Find a yacht rental in Split, sail here and wander along the old streets for hours. The old town, surrounded by a fortress wall, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Walk a couple of minutes from the marina and find yourself in a well-preserved city with a history of more than two thousand years. Buildings of different styles and epochs hang over you, traders attract your attention to restaurants and souvenir shops, the setting sun shines on the red roofs — and your head is pleasantly spinning from this southern charm.
Traditional bays, pebble beaches, wineries and stone villages coexist on the island with the festive Hvar town and the ancient Stari Grad. Part of the latter is protected by UNESCO: the local fields have been cultivated in the same style since ancient Greece. The island grows grapes, olives and lavender.
Boats stay in the marina Palmižana on a small island near Hvar. Another option is to find a suitable bay on the Pakleni Islands, located nearby. Hvar has its marina, but it’s complicated to find a place here in season, even if you book in advance.
Šipan Island is secluded from the mainland by the Kolocep Channel 1.5 km wide. It is surrounded by islets, where you can anchor and relax after a long sailing day. Šipan is quite densely populated, and there are enough historical monuments. The most famous are the Skocibuha castle and the Paklena tower, which had been protecting the town from pirates.
On Šipan, you can moor in the port of the same name, but there are few places here since the town is small. Anchoring is allowed here in good weather, and there are some moorings in Luka Šipanska and Sudurad. There are no marinas on the island.
Šolta Island is calm and quiet as if it was created to relax from exhausting sailing transitions. It is convenient to anchor close to the island and swim around in a tranquil bay watching for a sea sunset.
There are places to moor at Šolta despite its small size. Maslinica, Rogac and Stomorsk have stone moorings, and the bay of Stomorsk is protected from all winds by a separate breakwater. More to say, the island has many bays. You can conveniently spend the night on an anchor in any of them.