Croatia sailing holiday map and highlights

Croatia’s coast is long and lovely, but it’s the islands that really make things interesting for sailors.
Cruise Croatia’s coast and you’ll discover it’s beautiful from top to toe. Most boats start on the toe – the city of Dubrovnik. Cruising from Dubrovnik to Split is a really popular week-long itinerary, on a trip that passes through the tiny Elaphiti Islands and then some of the larger Central Dalmatia Islands. The city of Split sits pretty much bang in the middle of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, and just north is Marina Agana, another popular flotilla and bareboat hub. Just around the corner is Sibenik, a historic city fringed by yet more islands, and your gateway to the popular Krka Falls National Park. Fewer people go further north to Zadar and the densely-packed Zadar archipelago.

1. Dubrovnik

By far and away one of the most popular destinations for this kind of trip, sailing out of Dubrovnik makes you feel like a medieval explorer. This impressive walled city rises out of the sea, vision-like. Unfortunately, Dubrovnik is a victim of its own beauty; in summer it’s unbearably overcrowded. Sensible skippers will suggest you visit when cruise passengers have left.
Elaphiti Islands

2. Elaphiti Islands

This tiny trickle of islands barely shows up on the map – yet if you’re sailing from Dubrovnik, the Elaphiti Islands provide the first taste of life off the mainland. Renaissance villas sit around the harbours, whilst gnarled old olive groves slope off down the hillside. Kolocep and Lopud are both car-free, whilst Sipan was once a favourite holiday spot for the Dubrovnik aristocracy. Due to day trippers, they can all get crowded in high season (July and August).
Krka National Park

3. Krka National Park

Krka National Park is famous for its showy system of seven waterfalls. Reaching it on a sailing holiday involves a little adventure. You’ll sail up the Krka River from Sibenik, perhaps stopping at the floating oyster farms that line its banks for a fancy snack, before reaching the small town of Skradin. From here a national park boat takes you to the impressive falls, and you can swim right at its foot.
Mljet and Korkula

4. Mljet and Korkula

Dense forest on Korkula and national park on Mljet make these two large Central Dalmatian Islands pleasantly leafy and great for hiking from the boat, providing you go outside of peak season when they’re still very busy. The two saltwater lakes on Mljet are an unusual feature on the island. The larger lake has its own island, complete with Benedictine Monastery in its centre – cloistered from the outside world, indeed.

5. Split

Lovely medieval Split is Croatia’s second largest city, and its UNESCO-listed centre is built around a Roman palace, meaning you’ll stumble across tottering columns as you walk around. Lots of flotilla holidays operate out of Marina Agana, 20km from Split Airport. True to its name, Split divides opinion, as it can be far too busy to visit in summer – better to go straight to the marina in August.
Vis, Hvar and Brac

6. Vis, Hvar and Brac

You could quite easily pick an island like Vis, Hvar or Brac and spend a week there clocked off, chilled out and hiking to pebbly coves. But why not visit all three? Croatia sailing holidays between Split and Dubrovnik will weave in between all the Central Dalmatian Islands – ducking and weaving to avoid Hvar and Brac’s summer crowds. Visit the blue cave at Bisevo on Vis, hike on Hvar, and discover Brac’s beaches.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Croatia sailing or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Eloise Barker
Photo credits: [Page banner: Sergii Gulenok] [Intro: Sergii Gulenok] [Dubrovnik: Ivan Ivankovic] [Elaphiti Islands : dmytrok] [Krka National Park: Hotice Hsu] [Mljet and Korkula: Patrick Rouzet] [Split: Spencer Davis] [Vis, Hvar and Brac: allfreephotos]