Croatia has an exceptionally fortunate location. It has got the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea and scattered islands with awesome beaches and towns near the seashore. You can generate hundreds of sailing routes in Croatia, all in different places. Here are the most interesting ones.
Most of the Croatian sailing routes start from large cities with airports. Such are Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar and Pula. Laying them, keep in mind that the weather can change and you will have to change the route on the way. You can also fall in love with one of the islands, beaches, or cities on the way and not want to go further. Remember this when planning your boat trip.
Split is the second biggest city in Croatia, founded more than 1700 years ago. Modern glass and concrete houses stand next buildings from the Renaissance and the following centuries. This city is like a large museum, created for lovers of different eras and civilizations.
Top 3 Split sights
- Emperor Diocletian Palace. One of the most significant objects in Croatia, built in the III century AD. The palace is surrounded by twenty-meter walls and towers and occupies a large area — more than 3 hectares. Also, episodes of the “Game of Thrones” had been filmed here for several seasons.
- The Cathedral of Saint Domnius. This main city temple is remarkable for its bell tower. Once there was an imperial mausoleum, to which other buildings were being attached gradually. You can see the surrounding city from the top of the bell tower.
- Maryan Park. It is worth going here to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Having climbed to the top of the local mountain, you will see the whole Split. And with it, the islands of Brač, Vis and Hvar from the upcoming trip.
Sailing route from Split, 7 days:
Split — Milna / Ložišća (Brač Island) — Hvar — Korcula — Pomena (Mljet Island) — Zakłopatica (Lastovo Island) — Vis — Split
This route is for those who want to take a break from the big tourist cities and see the nearest islands. There are towns here, too — but small and not crowded with tourists like on the coast. Tiny Vis with its churches and palaces stands on the Greco-Roman ruins, Lastovo is a village with unusual chimneys. Trogir stands out them with its special atmosphere and intertwining narrow streets.
Rent a yacht in Split and head to the islands you’ve never seen before. Korcula, overgrown with ancient pine trees, raises grapes and produces excellent wine. Hvar is the sunniest island on the Adriatic, with lavender fields close to the coast. The legendary Blaca Monastery, carved into a rock, is hidden in the picturesque Brača. And on Mljet, there just forests, lakes and coves with wild beaches.
It is said you can see the whole of Croatia in one place in Dubrovnik. When you get here, you can easily believe it. Everything is here: stunning landscapes, diverse architecture from Roman to modern, beckoning beaches and restaurants with local cuisine. The city is one of the most beautiful resorts in Europe.
Top 3 Sights in Dubrovnik
- The city walls. It is a huge one-mile long fortress structure with three fortresses and several towers. The most remarkable of them is Minchet’s tower, a symbol of Dubrovnik crowned with a tiara.
- The Old Town. This magical place has houses, which are 400−500 years old! Walk along the pedestrian street Stradun (Placa). Once it was a channel that separated the mainland from the island. But later it was dug in to become one of the most attractive streets in Dubrovnik.
- Srdj mountain. It stands away from the city but has an excellent view of Dubrovnik from the top. Those who don’t like to walk a lot will appreciate the cable car, which takes everyone to the top in a few minutes.
Sailing route from Dubrovnik, 7 days:
Dubrovnik — Sipan — Ston — Korcula — Lastovo — Polace (Mljet Island) — Saplunar (Mljet Island) — Dubrovnik
The route runs along the shores with countless coves and hundreds of small islets. Almost all of them has a picturesque anchorage. You move smoothly from the bustling cities (Sipan) to the tiny islands with a minimum of tourists (Lastovo). Plus you can search for the most deserted and picturesque cove near the shores of Mljet Island.
Ston Island deserves a separate short story. Salt is produced here by the very method used by the ancient Greeks and Romans: by evaporating it in the sun. Also, the waters are so clean here that locals import oysters and mussels all over the world. Luckily, you can taste them right here on the spot.
Zadar is a small resort that attracts millions of tourists every year. Sailing enthusiasts from all over the world come here. You see a rugged coastline from the town and wish to explore the nearest coves as soon as possible. Don’t forget to shop before you leave: Zadar produces the world’s most delicious cherry liqueur, Maraskin.
Top 3 Sights of Zadar
- Sea organ on a quay of Peter Kreshemire IV. In 2005, a local architect installed a sea organ here. Pipes make different sounds depending on the weather and stretch to the quay sidewalk. The sounds remind a powerful orchestra playing. The music changes depending on the wind strength and direction — a pleasant melody is perfect for meditation in combination with a sea view.
- The old town central square. It was built back in the Middle Ages and has got a lot of historical wonders from different epochs. For example, the castle here had been built in the XV century, and the neighbouring town hall appeared in our time. The place has a cosy atmosphere, creating the desire to forget about any business, sit in a local cafe and quietly watch calm city life passing by.
- St. Anastasia’s Cathedral. It is the largest temple in this part of the Balkans, one of the seven Croatian cathedrals with the honorary title of “small basilica”. The temple impresses not only with its appearance but also with its history: last time it changed its layout in the XIII century.
Sailing route from Zadar, 7 days:
Fewer tourists visit Northern Dalmatia than the Southern one: the climate is colder here, and there is less time to laze on the beaches than in the south. The region has a minimum of tourists, unhurried cities that are not spoiled by civilization, and the pure nature of the surrounding islands.
In the trip, you will get to the city of Rab, where people lived in the IV century BC. Locals have built here plenty of interesting objects since then, so plan your time with a reserve for Rab visiting. Fishermen, yachtsmen and divers sail to Ugljan: the desolation of the eastern coast attracts them. And the island of Krk (not the same with the Krk national park) is the heart of Croatia. It is often placed on Croatian banners that attract tourists for its natural diversity.
Pula is located on the Istrian peninsula, in the very west of Croatia. It became Croatian recently after the 2nd World War. From here, Italy is a straight shot — and the places here differ from the rest of Croatia. Sometimes it seems as if you sail along the shores of the Republic of Venice that had existed 500 years ago. Cities here have a wild mixture of all the cultures and epochs that have been present in this area.
Top 3 Sights in Pula
- Ancient Roman amphitheatre. Pula was one of the largest cities of the Roman Empire. Look for it at satellite maps: the building is enormous. The arena had been turned into a cattle field after the fall of the empire. Its restoration began only in the XIX century. Now gladiatorial fights are held here every Sunday, so if you have time, don’t miss the show.
- Kastel Fortress. This fortification stands in the centre of the old town and can be seen from anywhere in Pula. From it, you can see the whole city with the surrounding scenery besides.
- The town hall. It was rebuilt several times becoming more like a Baroque palace than an administrative building. The town hall is notable for the fact that it is not being restored: people are afraid to deprive the building of charm.
Sailing route from Pula, 7 days:
Pula sailing routes run along the Istrian peninsula all the time. You’ll find the islands near the shore though: Brijuni, with its rugged coastline, are separated from the mainland by a small strait. By the way, the name of the Brioni brand comes from this place.
Umaga, the westernmost Croatian town, has the oldest lighthouse in the Adriatic. Near it, there are semi-submerged ruins from the Roman Empire, which will be appreciated by diving enthusiasts. Poreč has a watchtower, which is considered one of the most romantic places in Istria. Finally, Rovinj attracts tourists with its round peninsula, where the old town with the bell tower of St. Euphemia on the highest point is located.