Imagine a sailing holiday in Croatia exploring the beautiful islands of the Adriatic and the stunning Dalmatian Coast. Crystal clear seas in every shade of blue, idyllic coves, spectacular national parks, ancient towns and fabulous food. Believe me, it doesn’t get much better.
With more than a thousand islands to explore, Croatia makes for an epic sailing adventure. We explored the Dalmatian islands between Zadar and Trogir with Yacht Getaways and had an unforgettable sailing experience.
Read on to discover what a Croatia sailing holiday with Yacht Getaways is all about and whether you might have just discovered your perfect holiday.
We were guests of Yacht Getaways for our week on the Croatia Northern Explorer route. However, all views and opinions are entirely my own and based on my own personal experience.
Sailing in Croatia with Yacht Getaways
We flew into Split and made our way to nearby Trogir, a small medieval town in Croatia, ready for the start of our sailing holiday. We’d received joining instructions in advance and were to meet our fellow passengers and Yacht Getaways skipper and professional host at Trogir before transferring to D-Marin Dalmacija Marina near Zadar.
We boarded our gorgeous catamaran, aptly named ‘Simply the Best’. After a safety briefing followed by canapes and wine, it wasn’t long before we were sailing out of the marina into the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea. Our sailing adventure had begun…
Yacht Getaway charters are luxury skippered sailing holidays which means all the hard work is done for you.
Our RYA Yachtmaster Skipper, Sophie, from Dorset has been sailing since she was 3-years old and kept a tight ship and a smooth sail.
Lauren, our professional host and talented cook, is from Hastings, just a few miles down the road from us. Lauren was responsible for feeding us all and generally making sure we were happy, which she did incredibly well. She also recommended and booked restaurants for us when we were in port as well as advising on the best things to see and do in each location.
Croatia sailing – how we spent our days
So, how did we spend our days on board our charter? Well, put it this way, I seriously haven’t felt so relaxed in years. A sailing holiday is slow travel at its best and the perfect balance of activity and relaxation. You can read my review and see the places we visited in my Croatia Sailing Trip itinerary post.
We’d start the day with a quiet coffee just gazing out to sea or if we were in a marina, watching the world around us come to life. There was no set wake up time and we’d gradually all emerge from our cabins eager for breakfast. All that sea air definitely promotes a good appetite but Lauren’s excellent cooking also had a lot to do with it.
Breakfast was usually between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and then we’d set sail for our next port of call which could be just a few hours away or as much as six hours on one occasion. After a few hours we’d drop anchor in a pretty bay or sometimes in deeper water.
Sophie would call out ‘pools open’ and we’d plunge into the sea for a refreshing swim or just bob around in the warm waters with a float. Fish would swim around us and one time a large turtle surfaced not far away from us. Pool time was one of my favourite activities on our sailing holiday and a wonderful way to cool off.
There are two paddle boards on the boat and we all had a go, and all just about mastered the art of paddle boarding. There may have been a few wobbles and splashes along the way. Snorkels are also provided.
As we journeyed towards our next port of call we’d sunbathe on the nets or find a shady area to read and sometimes sit up under the Bimini with Sophie at the helm as she steered her way through the gorgeous Croatian archipelago.
There are plenty of cushioned areas to relax and take in the views of the passing islands and stunning Croatian coastline. I lost count of the number of times I tried to start my book but was too distracted by the incredible scenery all around me.
We’d generally stop before lunch for more ‘pool’ time and then Lauren would serve up lunch. We’d chat over a glass of wine about the next stop on the itinerary making plans for sightseeing and discussing where to eat that evening before raising the anchor and heading off. In quiet bays there might only be one or two restaurants so Lauren would book a table in advance.
When we arrived at the marinas we’d be guided to our mooring by the harbour staff and then it was all hands on deck. We’d ensure the fenders were pulled up to the right height and help with securing the ropes to the moorings and generally make sure everything was shipshape.
Exploring the Croatian Islands
Then we’d explore. Some places like Skradin and Trogir were busier with loads to see and do. We’d head off on our own for the evening to discover the sights and find somewhere for dinner, making our way back to the boat in our own time.
There’s a lot to do at Skradin so we stayed longer and spent the next morning visiting the stunning waterfalls at Krka National park. Rogoznica also had lots going on and we hiked to the top of the hill for views of the town and Frapa Marina, stopped by the impressive Dragon Eye Lake and strolled around the bay.
Other places we visited were much smaller and less touristy. On our first night we dropped anchor in a small bay with a few other boats. There was one restaurant on the beach and we headed over in the tender, had dinner together and spent the evening getting to know each other which was the perfect way to start the week.
The island of Kaprije was home to just one tiny town and we loved seeing this quieter more authentic side of Croatia.
We were sailing the Yacht Getaway’s Croatia Northern Explorer route. I’ll tell you more about all our ports of call and what we saw in my next post so stay tuned to hear more.
Sailing or Motoring
Whether we’d motor or sail would depend on a few factors; the distance we needed to travel that day, whether the wind was in our favour, if there actually was any wind and, if we were heading to a busy mooring, avoiding any possible queues. We sailed a few times without the motor and it’s the most peaceful experience ever. Slow travel is without doubt the best.
Learning the ropes
There are opportunities to learn about sailing and even take the helm and steer the boat. I learned how to throw out the ropes when we were coming into port, how to fix the line to the cleat and how to secure the fenders with half hitches. You can take part in the sailing of the yacht as much or as little as you like.
This wasn’t our first time at sea. We’ve been on sailing days with friends on their yacht out of Eastbourne. Believe me, sailing in the English Channel is hugely different to sailing in Croatia!
The Food on our Sailing Holiday
Our Croatian sailing holiday was on a half-board basis which covered breakfast and lunch and included wine and beer. Dietary requirements are all catered for.
There’s a tiny galley on board from which Lauren miraculously produced a fabulous cooked breakfast each morning along with fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereal and toast. My favourite was her delicious Shakshuka but the avocado and poached egg on sourdough toast, omelette, pancakes and full English all went down very well too. Fresh coffee or tea is freely available.
Lunches were delicious Mediterranean meals accompanied by fresh breads and salads. We enjoyed some good Croatian food along with gnocchi, chicken skewers, and risotto with chorizo and parmesan crisps. I loved the cevapi, Croatian sausages with Ajvar, a delicious pepper sauce.
There’s a snack drawer with sweet treats, crisps and tasty nibbles but we were so well fed I didn’t feel the need to dip in.
Wine and beer is included and we all enjoyed a glass or two with lunch and sometimes in the evening too but the fridge was well-stocked and you could help yourself any time. You can also bring a limited amount of your own alcohol and food on board if you wish.
Home for the week on our sailing trip was a Lagoon 450F catamaran, aptly named ‘Simply the Best’. Catamarans are more stable and smooth-sailing than a conventional sailing boat and this suited us perfectly.
At just under 14-metres long our catamaran had four double cabins, all with en suite showers and toilets, plus there were two single cabins for the crew. It was comfortable and spacious with plenty of room for all of us to spread out.
I didn’t want to be out in the sun too much but always managed to find a shady spot away from the rays.
The boat has a generator, air conditioning and heating, which we didn’t need, an audio system with outside speakers and a fully-equipped galley. There’s also a small dinghy so we could get to shore when we were moored in a bay.
Our cabin was bigger than I expected with a double bed and plenty of storage space for our gear. After a few days we noticed two big drawers under the bed but we didn’t need them as we’d already packed everything away in all the cupboards. I used packing cubes which helped keep things neat and tidy.
There were three small windows and hatches which opened up onto the deck in both the bedroom and bathroom, all with blinds for privacy.
Plug sockets are two-pin European style and there are USB ports for charging devices. There’s no WiFi on board – who’d want to be online when you’re surrounded by the stunning Croatian scenery.
The en suite shower wasn’t huge but had a powerful shower with hot water. There was adequate storage space in the shower room for toiletries, a basin, good-sized mirror and a flushing toilet. Toilet paper can’t be flushed and a bin is provided. If you’ve been on holiday to Greece you’ll know.
You could also shower in the marina facilities which we did once or twice and always found them to be incredibly clean and modern. Also, a good option if you want to use a hairdryer as the voltage on the catamaran is only suitable for a travel hairdryer.
Shipmates and New Friends
There were six passengers on board our catamaran, including me and Mr Jones. An American couple were on honeymoon and another couple from London, who were German and Serbian, on their babymoon.
Both Sophie and Lauren and ourselves are English so it was a good mix of nationalities. We all got on well and had some great conversations about our cultural differences and generally put the world to rights.
What to pack for a sailing trip
There are a few things you need to know when packing for a sailing holiday – too much to add here so you might like to look at my guide on what to pack for a sailing holiday. It’ll tell you everything you need to know.
When to go sailing in Croatia
Our sailing vacation was 02-08 July, just before it got too hot and before the tourist season got into full swing. May, June and early July is an ideal time for sailing around Croatia as is September. The weather is good and perfect for sea swimming and paddle boarding or just relaxing on the boat. Average temperatures were 28-31 degrees during our trip.
Is Croatia good for sailing?
Which destination to choose for your sailing holidays is always going to be a tricky decision but we found Croatia to be the perfect sailing destination. Yacht Getaways offer several sailing holidays in Croatia and also in the Mediterranean to Greece, Turkey and Italy as well as Montenegro.
We love Croatia and have been to the hotspots like Dubrovnik, Hvar and Korcula on a Croatia holiday some years back.
We wanted to explore a different part of the country so we opted for Yacht Getaways ‘Croatia Northern Explorer’ route which is a bit more off the beaten track. This meant that the places we visited weren’t so busy and we didn’t have to queue to get into any of the marinas.
We were 100% happy with our decision and found north Croatia to be an excellent destination for a sailing trip.
What’s included in your Croatia Explorer Sailing Trip
Your Explorer trip includes six or seven nights on board (we had seven) helmed by your RYA Yachtmaster Skipper. Choose from half or full board meal packages with wine, prepared by your professional host with canapes on arrival. Freshly laundered towels and bed linen for the week are provided along with 2 paddleboards and snorkelling gear.
And what’s not
Visas, travel insurance, flights, local payment fee, extra activities and excursions are not included in the cost of your holiday. To find out more about the destinations available and the costs, which vary depending on dates of travel, check the Yacht Getaways website.
The nearest airport to Trogir is Split which has numerous budget airline options. We flew direct into Split from London Gatwick with Easyjet. We stayed two nights in Trogir prior to departure day to give us options in case of flight disruptions but travel to Split was trouble-free.
We absolutely loved every minute of our sailing holiday with Yacht Getaways. We wouldn’t change a single thing about it and we’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Our crew were great, meals were superb and the catamaran was spacious with modern facilitlies.
The itinerary was a perfect balance of activity and relaxation and the islands we visited were varied with an interesting mix of things to see and do including busy harbours, historic towns, national parks, idyllic bays and spectacular sightseeing.
Do you have any questions about our sailing holiday in Croatia? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll update this post with my answers. If you ‘d like to see video footage check out my Instagram highlight and reels featuring this trip.
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