Sailing around Croatia with Sail Croatia was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. If Croatia is not on your bucket list yet, it 100% should be. Exploring Croatia by sailboat is one of the best ways to experience the beautiful Adriatic coastline that boasts over 1000 islands!
On our week-long trip we hit some of the best places in Croatia that should definitely be on your sightseeing list. With so many islands, it’s not possible to visit them all in a week so I’ve also included honorable mentions on my wishlist for the next trip, because I’ll definitely be back to explore more of this amazing country.
Croatia Sailing Iternary
The great thing about sailing around Croatia is that you can create a completely custom trip based on your travel interests. Here’s my list for the ultimate Croatia sailing itinerary. If you haven’t already, also make sure to check out my blog post on what it was like to live aboard our sailboat, the Libertine for a week!
Day 1 - Check in at Split Marina
We kicked off our sailing adventure in Split, departing from the ACI Marina. Because we checked in late Saturday afternoon, we got to spend our first night on the boat in Split before heading out early the next morning. I recommend doing it this way as you have time to get settled in your new environment, unpack in your cabin and get acquainted with your new sailing companions.
Before embarking on our epic sailing adventure around Croatia, we spent a few days in Split sightseeing and stocking up on supplies and food for the trip. If you’re looking for the best of Split, head to my Split City Guide. But first, let’s dive into exploring Croatia’s islands!
If you walk just 10-15 minutes north of the marina, there is a nice little cove and beach perfect for a quick dip before you head out on your sailing adventure. There is also a great little market at the marina where you can stock up on wine, basic groceries and fresh produce. For some reason they don’t have ice so if you’ll need to find ice elsewhere if you want that aboard.
Day 2 - Sailing to Brac
The next morning we left early, heading to our first island: Brac. What can I say about Brac? Only that it had the most iconic beach, Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape), which was recently voted one of the best beaches in the world.
On our journey to Brac we stopped at a swimming spot about an hour and a half from Split. It was the perfect introduction the beautiful Adriatic water. We took a break to swim, lounge on the boat, and eat lunch before sailing on toward Bol. Brac is famous for windsurfing, and the extra wind allowed us to actually sail for this leg of the trip, which was really fun. We parked the boat in the marina in Bol where we spent the night.
As soon as we were off the boat we went straight to Zlatni Rat to see the iconic beach, the windsurfers and hit the beach club to listen to live music. After that, we wandered through the charming town where we popped into several farmer’s market’s to restock on fresh tomatoes and fruit for the boat.
As the sunset on our second day of sailing around Croatia, we had dinner at a hidden gem on the top of the hill called Ranc. The restaurant does not take reservations, so you simply show up and when its your turn (wait time depends on your party size), you get a table. We had the catch of the day seafood platter and it was delicious. Perfect ending to a perfect day!
Day 3 - Victory Day in Vis
The next morning we departed early and were on our way to Vis, the cinematic town where Mama Mia was filmed. Vis is also home to the picturesque beach that is a sheltered cove called Stiniva Beach. We took a scenic day trip tour with Royal Marine Croatia and explored the Green Cave, Blue Lagoon and Stiniva Beach. If you’re in Vis you’ll also want to check out the Blue Cave, which we unfortunately missed because we got there too late in the day. We also heard that it gets very crowded so chose to explore Green Cave instead.
Our time in Vis happened to line up with Victory Day, which commemorates the Croatian War of Independence. We enjoyed festivities and celebrations all along the island and waterfront which made for a unique and fun visit to Vis.
Days 4 & 5 - Exploring Hvar
The next morning we sailed off early to Hvar, where we were planning to spend two nights at. Most boats dock in Palmizanna, which is a 10 minute water taxi ride across to the town of Hvar. I would say that Hvar was probably one of my favorite destinations on the trip. The town was so magical and lively with amazing bars, delicious restaurants and so much to see. Take your time in Hvar getting lost exploring ancient alleys full of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. At night, there’s no shortage of live music to listen to and candle lit dinners to enjoy with good company.
We spent the day exploring the beaches and coves in Palmizzana and having lunch on the beach at Totos. We took advantage of the abundant showers at this fairly large marina we were called home for two nights. The first night we ventured across the town in the water taxi, wandered around and had dinner at the Black Pepper which had numerous gluten free options.
Our second day in Hvar started bright and early with a scenic speed boat ride with Axiom Luxury Yachting. They took us on a fun morning adventure to explore some beautiful beaches and swimming spots before dropping us off in Hvar for the day. We spent the day exploring the town, fort, and some of the beach clubs.
We checked out Bonjours Les Bains Beach Club first and it felt so luxurious with its chic white daybeds dotted along the coastline. Next we went to Hula Hula Beach Club where we had lunch and you won’t believe it, I got stung by a bee in my mouth!! Ouch!
Something important to consider is that there are so many bees in Croatia, it really makes you wonder what we are doing in America to kill them all off with pesticides because I rarely see a bee back home. But there were bees and one decided to go down my straw in my drink. When I took a sip of my cocktail, up came the bee and stung me right in the roof of my mouth behind my teeth. I really panicked because I used to be very allergic to bee stings, but since getting stem cells for Lyme disease, I have become much less reactive to things so I was pleasantly surprised that I did not have a severe reaction.
Needless to say, I did not want to spend my day in Hvar at urgent care. Note to self: Don’t drink out of straws. They are bad for the environment and can hide bees.
After the bee sting, I needed a change in scenery so we took a taxi boat to another island and checked out Carpe Diem Beach Club. It was a great spot with lots of lounge chairs in the sun to take in some glorious Vitamin D and cool off in the refreshing water. With DJs and music late into the night, Carpe Diem seems like a sweet spot for nightlife in Hvar.
After a packed day of exploring, we journeyed back to the Palmizzana Marina and opted to just make a salad on the boat for dinner and unwind. I really wanted to check out Laginani beach club on Palmizzana but unfortunately we did not have a chance to make it. Next time! :)
Day 6 - Solta
The next morning we got a late start due to weather. There was a strong south wind that would have made it unsafe for us to take off any earlier so our skipper decided that we would wait until 2 p.m. to take off. It was actually a nice change because we got the chance to savor Hvar’s beaches a little longer and take one last shower at the spacious marina. We set sail around 2 p.m. once the winds calmed and planned to head to Milna, but unfortunately the marina was fully booked so we had to re-route to an island called Solta. Mental note: when sailing, it’s good to be flexible, especially considering that there were some fun surprises with that decision.
First off, it was the first time that we anchored for the night instead of sleeping in a marina. I was a little worried about sea sickness, which hadn’t been an issue thus far because I had the option to get off the boat and spend the night on land. This time, I would not have that option. Turns out, the waters were pretty calm and it was not an issue after all. It was a great way to spend our last night on an island. The whole group stayed on the boat together, enjoying dinner, drinks and each other’s company.
The other nice surprise was that there was a shipwreck in the bay! We got up early and took the stand up paddle boards over to explore the shipwreck in the morning. What a unique and unexpected sight that was!
Day 7 - A Day of Relaxation
All good things must come to an end, which is why we made sure to maximize our last day on the boat. After exploring the shipwreck in the morning, we sailed off to some swimming spots where we anchored for a few hours and got to relax. We paddled out, lounged in floaties, and enjoyed a day in the sun. Even though it was a casual day, it ended up being a lot of fun. The whole group had sort of bonded over drinks and dinner the night before and we were having a great time laughing and floating around in the water. Around 3 p.m. we set sail back to Split for our last night on the boat.
We got back to Split around 5 p.m. and docked at the marina where we could start to pack up and take showers. We did one last dinner with the group at a restaurant in Split before we said our goodbyes. We had a 7 a.m. ferry to catch to Dubrovnik the next morning for the next leg of our adventure. While our experience sailing and exploring Croatia’s islands was packed with exciting adventures, there were some stops I wish we would have seen.
I really wanted to see Milna, Cres and Korcula but we were not able to make it on this trip, which just means we need to go back to Croatia! All in all, sailing Croatia was definitely a highlight and something I highly recommend. Croatia is simply too beautiful to miss, and sailing is a unique and exciting way to venture through all the charming island’s along the Adriatic Coast. Til next time, Croatia!
Ready to embark on a sailing adventure around Croatia? Learn more at Sail Croatia, where you’ll find a variety of boats, yachts or group cruises that will take you to all the best spots.
Check Out My Other Croatia Guides
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