Sail Croatia's Dalmatian Coast

If I did not say where I was writing about and ask you where in Eastern Europe you can sun bath all day and party in the night it would take you a few guesses before you mention Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Known for its natural coastline and beautiful sun shine, the Dalmatian Coast covers the entire Croatian coastline which includes towns like Split, Makarska and Dubrovnik and islands like Hvar, Korcula and Mljet.  The Dalmatian coast has become a European short break destination everyone wants to experience. With its excellent Mediterranean climate, rugged mountains and deep blue sea, it’s perfect for an outdoor holiday – whether sunbathing on pebble beaches, peddling along rural cycling trails, or touring archaeological sites.  But if you really want to taste Croatia’s magic, there’s no better way to explore the blissful islands of the Adriatic than by sailing boat.

sailing croatia

Sailing gives you the freedom to plan your own itinerary (change it if you want), cruising down the 1,800km of sun-kissed mainland coat, weaving between more than 1,000 scattered islands, islets and reefs, to tune in to nature and harmonise with the elements.  Come sunset, moor up in a centuries-old harbour town and dine out, or drop anchor in a secluded bay and eat aboard below a star-lit sky.

It you haven’t sailed before, don’t worry.  The east Adriatic is relatively sheltered from the gusty winds that whirl across other parts of the Mediterranean.  Here the islands run parallel to the mainland coast and are close together, so land is always in sight, and you’ll rarely be on the open sea for more than an hour or two between ports.  Many holiday companies offer sailing trips along this hidden gem of the Croatian coast.  With a mixture of taking it quiet or partying, tropical greenery with historic European architecture.

To book a sailing holiday, it’s best to go through a charter company.  They’ll find a boat to suit your needs depending on dates, port of departure and number of people.  The sailing trips normally last for a few days; most charter boats for one week (Saturday to Saturday) or more and starts from either Split in the north or Dubrovnik in the south, and offer three options: bareboat, skippered or flotilla.

Bareboat means you rent just the boat and sail independently, but someone aboard must have a sailing licence. If you have no or little sailing experience, you’ll need a skipper – charter companies supply qualified local skippers who understand the region’s weather conditions, know the secret pebble coves and waterside eateries, and speak good English.  They’ll also teach you the ropes, if you wish.

The third option, flotilla sailing, entails a fleet of yachts, led by an expert sailor, with crews of mixed ability.  This option is ideal for young couples or single travellers.

Towns and Islands

Split: One of the main attraction of this town is the dicletian Palace, built around the 3rd century by the Romans, and is now a Unesco World Heritage site.  It measures abour 180m by 250m, small you may say but it is an hive of activities, with shops, bars, homes and galleries all within the Palace walls.

Next along the Dalmatian Coast is Hvar an island with an harbour with typified the Mediterranean, with quaint charming marble and red-roofed buildings, palms trees lining the foreshore. The view over Hvar Town and of the Pakleni islands is breath taking.  Within the town are trendy and authentic bars and restaurants.

Korcula is another island going south and the reputed birthplace of Marco Polo. Korcula town is more laidback and quieter than Hvar, Split and Dubrovnik.

A summer attraction is the Moresaka sword dance, in which costumed locals swirl and parade their way through town. It’s a colourful sight; telling the story of kings duelling for the affection of a princess.

Just off the shore of Dubrovnik is the island of, with a habitation of less than two thousand Mljet could easily qualify as the prettiest of the islands on the Dalmatian Coast, and it’s also one of the most tranquil.  There are a lot to see here although the island offer mainly water activities and you can hire a bike to explore its natural beauty.

Inland from Mljet is the town of Dubrovnik where the sail might end.  It is one of the must see if you come to this area. The town surrounded by a wall that meanders its way around the town which invites you to come and take a look. Inside is a collection of towns and alleys, churches and cobbled squares, that reminds you of some medieval towns.

A walk along the city walls offers amazing views, from the vistas over the red-bricked roofs and church spires, to the shimmering Adriatic it all unforgettable.