Yacht Charter Croatia
With over 6,000km of coastline there is much to explore when on a yacht charter in Croatia. There is something in this Mediterranean country to cater for every taste from the old walled city of Dubrovnik to all night clubbing in Hvar. You may also just want to chill out in a quiet anchorage with just your companions and sea life for company! Croatia is ideal for pottering about on a boat thanks to many destinations being just a few hours' sail away, and with its gentle breezes in most of the boating season you won't have to be too energetic in getting where you're going.
Hiring A Yacht In Croatia
A Croatia yacht charter is easy to organise. If you are after a bareboat charter then you need the appropriate sailing qualifications and insurance and can sail away with a minimum of fuss. Sometimes a skippered yacht charter can be even more rewarding as the skipper knows the best places to visit and when to go.
While a relatively new country to the Mediterranean charter industry, Croatia's infrastucture is mature with a good network of charter companies. Catering to charter and private owners alike, the country also has a large number of decent marinas in all the main destinations of the country.
However you choose to do a sailing holiday in Croatia, this is a country that will reward you at every turn. Want to feel like the only people on Earth in a hidden anchorage? What about dancing to a world class DJ at a nightclub? Sit in a Roman amphitheatre listening to live music or tasting food like black risotto made with squid ink or slow-cooked lamb, everything you could want is catered for.
Getting to Croatia
There are direct flights from several airports in the UK. Let's look at the three main areas:
There are direct flights from London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh to Dubrovnik.
Split and Hvar
You can fly direct from London (Luton) and Manchester to Split. If headed to Hvar you take a ferry from Split
Zadar is one of the mian access points to the north of Croatia sailing area and has a well developed airport that has lights from most international areas
The quickest way to Rovinj in the north of the country is by flying from London (Stanstead, Gatwick or Luton) to Pula. You then take a shuttle on to Rovinj.
A slightly cheaper (but not much slower) route in would be flying from the UK to Venice and then taking a shuttle on to Rovinj.
Best Areas To Charter
Where it comes to finding the best places to charter, this can depend on how much time you have. For a week's boat rental it is recommended you sail between Split and Dubrovnik via Islands like Mljet and along the Dalmatian coast, both of which have large marinas with a wide range of vessels to choose from. There you can explore the islands of southern Dalmatia as you go.
Just outside of Dubrovnik are the Elaphiti islands to the north of the city and worth a day in their own right. Only three are inhabited and two of them are car-free so you can explore and relax without noise or pollution. They are famed as being where the best seafarers in the region come from - seafaring history runs deep here.
Far to the north and close to the Italian border, Rovinj on the Istrian Peninsula (and not far from Venice in Italy) has an awesome coastline with high cliffs and rocky shores. It is said to be one of the most romantic cities in the country. The Rovinj Archipelago of small islands outside the city is something to behold too You can charter direct from Rovinj's marina or from Pula's marina to the south.
For a longer charter then consider a route out of Zadar in northern Croatia and sail further afield via the Kvarner gulf and Kornati island, perhaps even south to nearby Montenegro either along the Croatian coast or island hopping along the way.
One place you shouldn't miss is the Kornati archipelago which is a large nature reserve with stunning views and unspoiled landscape. You can sail from a number of mainland cities to these islands including Šibenik, Zadar, Tisno and Biograd and anchor for the night in a quiet bay.
The Bay of Telascica, just north of the Kornati National Park (and a National Park in its own right) is one of those places of such beauty you will never forget, with its unique geological formations, flora and fauna. You shouldn't miss the shallow, salt water lake called Mir there too. You can moor in the bay to explore its wonders or stay in Sali, to the NW on the same island.
Best Towns To Charter A Yacht In Croatia:
Below is a list of the main towns that you can charter from:
Split is Croatia's biggest city and is also a region in it's own right (also called Split and includes towns like Trogir) with a well developed Marina network. It has been inhabited since Roman times. A gem of a city with its beautiful beaches and fantastic architecture, it is worth a pause in its own right. Diocletian's Palace is one relic you can't ignore, but do spend an evening wandering and enjoying the waterfront Riva promenade while you're at it.
Dubrovnik, once capital of the great seafaring empire of Ragusa, and jewel of the Adriatic coast, is an ancient walled city from which you can hire a boat after exploring it. You may want a day or so at either end of your trip to explore and absorb both the old and newer parts, and take in the atmosphere of this high end tourist destination. From there, over a week you can find your way north to the famous port city of Split. You can sail the other way with the yacht being based in Split too.
Zadar also has a well developed marina network and is the main point of access to the Northern sailing areas of Croatia.
This is on an island on the adriatic sea and is famed for its nightlife and beaches. This also has a great marina for departure and return, perhaps spending the week letting your ears stop ringing after a blast in the city's famous nightclubs.
If you want to explore the Kornati islands then your best ports would be Biograd, Zadar, Sukosan, Murter or Sibenik for the same islands. Pula on Cape Istria is a good place to take in the Roman relics and history as you explore this part of the country.
Types Of Yachts To Hire
Where it comes to chartering you can hire a motor cruiser, a monohull sailing yacht or a catamaran. Each have their benefits.
Motor cruiser charter
Motorboat hire in Croatia has been one of the most popular ways of exploring the country's coastline and islands. While this is changing somewhat with sailing becoming increasingly popular, you can still find a motor cruiser or motor yacht for hire on Borrow A Boat.
You don't have to worry so much about light winds and can largely point the boat in the direction you want to go. Motor cruisers have lots of space to sunbathe and luxurious accommodation below with the larger vessels having tenders and toys for getting close inshore.
At the upper end of the budgeting you can charter a superyacht or gulet with crew and all amenities on a cruise around Croatia. You do not require sailing qualifications or experience but can have the holiday of a lifetime.
Catamaran rental in Croatia
Generally with two engines these sailing catamarans will get you where you want to go in some luxury even if the wind isn't about for you to sail! People choose catamarans because they are fast under sail, have lots of space for things like en-suite heads in every cabin and have shallow drafts for coming close into shore. As ever, luxury costs with catamaran hire generally being more expensive than a monohull but in return you will travel in great comfort!
Similar to a sailing catamaran but without the sails, these are spacious for their length and very luxurious. With low drafts and great manoeuvrability these are great for finding a beach within a short swim of the boat yet everyone can have a hot shower in their staterooms after!
Given that many of the stops can be just a few hours apart you don't exactly need an America's Cup racing yacht to get about. Monohull sailboat charter is more affordable than catamaran charter but are always very comfortable.
The winds are mostly benign in the holiday season so you won't find yourself heeling at 45 degrees and beating with waves over the bow on most days! As such the chartering a monohull is still a sensible and comfortable option when it comes to chartering.
Skippered yacht charter or Bareboat?
Where it comes to a Croatian yacht charter you have two choices - bareboat hire or skippered yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.
Skippered chartering is like having your own private cruise without a worry in the world. You don't need qualifications or experience to explore the mainland and islands. Skippers are also not just available for a luxury yacht charter, they are also available for most boats we have available.
The skipper will know things like when a cruise ship is expected in Dubrovnik (and thus to avoid or visit the city) as well as the best taverns and restaurants to visit on your charter. He or she can take you to the best destinations and give you a local's insight into the country.
Though this costs a little extra money, it can take the pressure off and allow you to maximise the enjoyment.
Bareboat yacht charter
If cutting loose to explore the Adriatic is more your bag and going on an adventure with no tour guide or expert to show you around then a bareboat yacht charter could be for you. You will need the right sailing qualifications and at least one of your party should have proven competence as well.
For that you will have complete privacy and the chance for your group to relax and share your experiences with just each other as company. You decide where to go (or not) and you can do as you please.
This is a cheaper way than taking on a skipper too, who will need to be be paid, tipped and fed for the holiday with you.
Do you need a licence to charter in Croatia?
If you want to bareboat charter you will need an approved boating qualification like the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) or the ASA 104 Bareboat sailing certificate. RYA qualifications (minimum day skipper level) and many European national boating qualifications are accepted too.
If you want a skippered boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up and off you go.
Best Times To Hire
July and August are the busy months and high season for a boat rental. Regardless of the time of year you will often find very quiet anchorages wherever you sail away from the main urban centres - very unlike a yacht charter in Greece where it can be far busier.
As a rule the most expensive time is in July and August but it's cheaper in school-time such as May and September. For a quieter, less crowded experience, September is the best time of year as the weather is excellent and the seas are still warm.
Expect gentle winds and warmth for most of your stay on Croatia's coastline during the season between May and October.
Expect temperatures to be around 14 degrees C as a minimum in May - Northern Europeans will be in their tee shirts. Come July and August it can average 28 degrees C - still much cooler than Turkey or Greece at that time of year. October sees similar weather to that in May.
There are several winds that appear that can enliven or soak your trip. Here are five of the main ones.
This is a cold, dry easterly wind that falls off the mountains close to the coast. You can tell it is coming thanks to clouds forming over the top of mountains that are over 400m high, but is highly localised - if you are more than 4km from the mountains you will hardly notice it.
This is a south-easterly that brings wet weather when there is a high pressure area over the Adriatic. This can sit for days at a time but thanks to the wind direction it brings warmth too.
This wind comes soon after the Jugo has passed expect it from the SW and it can be quite powerful and even dangerous at times. This is a short term wind that will disappear as quickly as it appears.
The Mistral is a north-westerly sea breeze that lifts in the morning and dies in the evening - almost perfect conditions for day sailing. It is particularly prevalent in July and August - right at peak sailing holiday season.
This is a northerly mountain wind that brings cool winds to the seas. Do be ready to either reef or luff up as the gusts can be very powerful.
How much does it cost for a Croatia charter
This really depends on your budget, at the upper end of the scale you can hire superyachts and skippered luxury yachts which means you can enjoy a level of luxury that would beat almost any cruise liner afloat. Monohulls are typically around €150/day upwards.
You will need money for insurance too - this can be in the form of a refundable damage deposit on your credit card or by buying non-refundable insurance for the holiday in advance.
If you are paying for a skipper, expect to pay at €100+ a day depending on your boat type and you will need to feed them and tip them at the end of the holiday. On top of these fees you will need food, restaurant money (again this is down to what you wish to spend), beverages, fuel for the week and mooring fees.
Explore Croatia By Renting A Yacht
With hundreds of islands and miles of untouched coastline, there is a lot to explore in Croatia - more than you could do in just two weeks. Many people who charter in Croatia with Borrow A Boat come back year after year to explore this country. With fewer crowds than other such destinations, you will find this a place where you can truly get away from it all.