10 Best Yachting Spots in Croatia
With over 1.000 islands and its long mainland coastline, Croatia offers more than enough for yacht owners, charter guests and crew to explore when yachting in Croatia. And, unique to Croatia is the way that nearly every island offers a slightly different vibe. This will not only be fun to explore, but it also means that everyone will be able to find their one perfect spot. You just need to know where to look.
With so many places to see, picking just 10 spots doesn’t really do it justice but if you are planning a season yachting in Croatia, these are the spots to look out for and add to your yacht itinerary.
Mljet Island – Best for unspoiled nature
Mljet is one of the most beautiful and greenest islands of the Adriatic. It’s also home to the Mljet National Park that covers the entire north-west part of the island. Keep in mind that, since this is a National Park, the use of Jet Skis is not allowed.
The Park boasts two interconnecting salt lakes of Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero. Right in the middle of Veliko Jezero, there is a small islet named Sveta Marija, with the former Benedictine monastery, erected there in the 12th century. The monastery’s building is now café/restaurant.
If you head towards Polace you can enjoy the views of the National Park or go explore the island. There are a few places where you can tie stern to the rocks and have forest surrounded privacy.
Outside the National Park area and towards the middle of the island you will also find the Odysseus cave. This is a beautiful blue limestone grotto accessible by boat; where Odysseus allegedly met the nymph Calypso who nursed him back to health on the island.
Hvar Island – Best for the jet set and nights out
From British aristocracy to Hollywood royalty, Hvar has been luring A-listers for more than a century. Hvar is both name of the island and the town of Hvar which is sometimes compared to St. Tropez because it’s a small fishing town turned into a restaurant and nightlife hotspot.
Hvar Island is covered in ancient olive trees, fields of lavender and vineyards, all soaked in the Mediterranean climate. It is also the sunniest island in the Adriatic, which helps it have one of the best wines around.
If your guests are looking to add an A-lister dinner spot to their Croatia cruising itinerary, book the celebrated Gariful restaurant where the likes of Demi Moore, Prince Harry, Giorgio Armani have all dined.
For a private day of swimming and fun, it’s a good idea to spend the day at Crvene Stijene (Red Rocks). It’s a hidden spot accessible only by boat, vertical limestone cliff with a redish colour.
Paklinski otoci – Best for relaxing after a busy day
Just opposite the famous Hvar you will find a series of pretty little islands and bays, perfect for relaxing after a busy day in Hvar. These islands are known as Paklinski islands and the most famous of them is Sveti Klement.
If you head to Vinogradišće bay, keep an eye on the gourmet beach bar ‘Laganini’, established by award-winning chef Hrvoje Zirojevic. It’s a restaurant institution that dishes up swordfish carpaccio and roasted octopus to the likes of Bono. This is also a good spot for after beach parties and cocktails.
While yachting in Croatia, you can enjoy a day in Uvala Tarsce, a perfect swimming spot where you can tie stern to the rocks and enjoy the turquoise waters.
If you are looking for some beach fun during the day and all-night parties after dark, definitely try the ‘Carpe Diem’ Beach on the island of Marinkovac. This is where you will find the craziest all-night parties.
Korcula – Best for old Medieval feel
Korcula is an island rich in vineyards, lush pine forests and olive groves and it harbours an old town dotted with medieval squares and houses.
If you are planning a pirate-themed party during your time yachting in Croatia, this is the place to do it. The views will serve as a perfect backdrop and there are stalls that sell everything from personalised pirate t-shirts, to swords, eye patches and hats.
The heritage of Korcula is celebrated each week with the traditional Moreska Sword Dance. This is really something worth seeing as it is Korcula’s proudest tradition and one of the Adriatic’s most unusual customs. It’s an elaborate production of two armies performing a sword battle while dancing in traditional red and black attire.
From Korcula, it’s easy to pop over to the lovely Badija Island – an island inhabited only by a monastery and herds of deers that will often let you feed them.
Krka National Park – Best for magical waterfalls
Your Croatian yachting itinerary is not complete without a visit to Krka National Park, one of Croatia’s best-known attractions, which consists of hundreds of beautiful waterfalls pouring into small emerald pools. You are not allowed to take your tender in the National Park so the tour has to be arranged and guests can be accompanied by yacht crew.
The closest you will be able to come to the park will be Skradin, which is a town just at the entrance to the National Park area.
Krka is a beautiful place that always wows people but can be a bit crowded in high season so keep that in mind or go early to avoid the crowds. Swimming is allowed so the guests can take a dip in the emerald pools to beat the summer heat.
Kornati – Best for lunar landscapes
Kornati Islands are an archipelago consisting of 140 uninhabited islands and islets, 89 of which are part of the Kornati National Park. This number of islands spread over 300 km2 makes it one of the densest groups of islands in the Mediterranean; meaning there are lots of places to hide and enjoy the peace and quiet of the lunar landscape and deserted bays.
Since there are no sources of freshwater, the islands are mostly barren and riddled with cracks, caves, grottoes and rugged cliffs. The whiteness of the islands against the deep-blue Adriatic makes for an eerie and wonderful sight on your Croatia cruising itinerary.
Brijuni Islands – Best for golf, tennis and nature
Brijuni is a National park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as the private retreat of the Yugoslavian president Tito. Here he hosted many world rulers who would sometimes gift him animals. You can still see antelopes and mountain zebras roaming around. Among his visitors was also former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, who presented him with two elephants, one of which still roams the main island today.
The island is today covered with meadows, parks, and oak and laurel forests making them a great place to relax, enjoy nature and some light recreation.
Brijuni also hosts tennis courts and a golf course that provide a unique experience of playing under the centuries-old treetops of Mediterranean trees, sometimes in the company of deer, hares and peacocks.
In the summer, tennis can be played after 3 p.m. in the deep shade of century-old pines. Like with golf courses, here sometimes players can also be distracted by herds of deer that come out to graze, moving freely around the tennis courts.
Lastovo – Best for stargazing
Lastovo is Croatia’s most remote inhabited island with a population of less than a thousand so it will only be enjoyed by those looking for peace, quiet and nature. It’s an absolutely beautiful island and a good spot to spend the day swimming, relaxing and having fun with water toys.
Its remoteness allows for very little light pollution so this is an ideal place for stargazing. If you are visiting in mid-August, you might be lucky to see a yearly meteor shower called ‘Suze svetog Lovre’. This would be a great experience for your yacht itinerary in Croatia if your yacht guests and owners are looking to enjoy peaceful or romantic surroundings.
Vis – Best for rural charm and hidden treasures
Vis is a beautiful unspoiled island where Mamma Mia 2 was filmed and where you can find some of the clearest water you’ve ever seen.
The island was cut off from foreign visitors from the 1950s right up until 1989 due to military activity so that helped preserve the island from being spoiled by development. Its military past left behind a hidden 110m submarine tunnel that you are actually free to sail in with your tender. The tunnel is carved out from a Vis hill and is located in a bay north of Vis town.
Another hidden, but slightly more popular place for those yachting in Croatia, is Stiniva Beach (pictured), a unique beach that’s hidden away in a sheltered cove and you can get to it by anchoring just outside and then either swim to it or cruise in with your tender.
Stiniva Beach was awarded Europe’s Best Beach in 2019, so you can expect a lot of people in the summer months. The trick around that is to either go there early in the morning when you might just end up having the whole beach to yourself, or visit it in the sunset as most tourists will be heading back into towns, leaving you to enjoy the sunset.
If your guests would like to eat off the yacht, another secret spot would be a restaurant on top of a fort named after King George III. The British erected this fort after their 1811 victory in the Battle of Vis. Now restored and renovated, Fort George houses a restaurant and a terrace bar overlooking Vis town.
You might also want to visit the neighbouring Bisevo Island where you will find the Blue Cave, where sunlight reflects through a hole under the surface to bathe the cave in a vivid, aquamarine light.
Rovinj – Best for Italian charm and fine dining
Rovinj is a little colourful medieval town build by Venetians so it offers a good portion of that Italian charm. Most of the old town is situated within little peninsula so this is a good place to walk around old town’s cobbled narrow streets and Venetian buildings.
If a meal with a view is what your guests are after, you can book ‘La Puntulina’ restaurant right on the rocks next to the sea for a more relaxed romantic vibe, or ‘Cap Aureo’ restaurant overlooking the old town Rovinj for a more sophisticated feel.
‘The Wine Vault’ in the luxury Monte Mulini hotel is an exclusively intimate space dedicated to the celebration of great food and wine. It is located in the kitchen itself where you can enjoy the kitchen’s atmosphere and staff interactions, giving you an insight into all the details and precision of a kitchen at full throttle.
Rovinj is also a home to a Michelin star restaurant Mulini, hidden in the streets of the old town.