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 the company. Croatia is ideal for pottering about on a boat thanks to many destinations being just a few hours' sails 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 organize. 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 Captained yacht charter can be even more rewarding as the Captain knows the best places to visit and when to go.
While a relatively new country to the Mediterranean charter industry, Croatia's infrastructure 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 coastal 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 amphitheater 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
When getting to Croatia there are three main airports that travelers will use to access this Mediterranean sailing area:
Split Airport: This is one of the larger Croatian airports with established international flight links. From the Split airport you are able to reach all the sailing areas in the split region, typically all of the areas being with 100km from the airport, these include places like Trogir and Villa Marina
Dubrovnik Airport: Situated in the south of the country again this airport has well established international flight links and you can access sailing in the Dubrovnik area or potentially sailors will fly into Split and leave via Dubrovnik with most charter companies catering for this option
Zadar Airport: This airport is situated towards the more northerly end of Croatia and again has fairly well-established International links and is useful for accessing any of the areas north of Split.
In terms of other airports worth considering there are the below:
Zagreb Airport: The other main airport is Zagreb airport which is obviously the one to pick if you are traveling to the Croatian capital Zagreb but it is over 200 kilometers from the coast and 400 kilometers from Split.
The other airports of Brac, Losinj, Pula, and Rijeka are less developed but always worth a try to see if you can get a relevant connection from where you are traveling from and finally Osijek which is in the northeast of the country so a significant journey to the coast.
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 directly 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, saltwater 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: Split is Croatia's biggest city and is also a region in its 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: Dubrovnik, once the capital of the great seafaring empire of Ragusa, and jewel of the Adriatic coast, is an ancient walled city from which you can rental 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: Zadar also has a well-developed marina network and is the main point of access to the Northern sailing areas of Croatia.
Hvar: This is one of the main Croatian islands 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 Rent
Where it comes to chartering or renting boats in Croatia below is a list of the typical types of boats that you can rent on Borrow A Boat with a description of the boat type.
When searching a geographical area on Borrow A Boat you can filter by the below boat types. There is also the option to further filter your searches by price, the number of guests, cabins or bathrooms, what year the boat or sailing yacht was launched, the boat length, and the boat manufacturer.
Sailing Yacht (Sailboat): From €120/£100/$135 a day up to whatever you can afford, monohull sailing yachts are fun to sail at all points of the wind and an affordable way to get around if your island hopping or finding your own secluded coves or sandy beaches along with longer cruises. Sizes range from those for a couple or small family to a full-sized luxury charter yacht.
Catamaran: Luxury catamarans are stable and spacious, with quick sailing performance, and have been gaining in popularity in recent years. Better for larger groups, they have lots of room for water toys, and are big enough for a little privacy. A catamaran charter is easy and comfortable for novices not used to heeling and are loved by families due to their extra space when compared to a monohull. Typically far more luxurious than a sailboat the larger catamarans have en suite toilets and showers in the staterooms as well as ample entertaining space in the saloon and on deck.
Power Catamaran: These types of boats are relatively new but have also been gaining in popularity as the two hulls keep the boat more stable when compared to a monohull. The wider beam also means more deck space and as they don't have sails or a mast, they have a lot more space on deck than a sailing catamaran rental or monohull. For a luxury catamaran charter, consider taking a crewed catamaran charter sailing vacation with an experienced Captain.
Luxury Yacht: Luxury yacht charters are available for either a sailing yacht (sailboat), catamaran or motorboat and will have a crew and host/hostess on hand to cater for whatever your needs are along with a Captain who will have a detailed knowledge of your cruising area. On a crewed yacht charter of this kind you get to create your own personal itinerary and will have far greater range than on other boats which allows for lots of variety in how you travel and what you do.
Gulet Charters: A gulet is a fully crewed luxury yacht where your group has as much or as little to do with the sailing as you want. Aboard these superyachts you will be fed and looked after by the crew while the Captain takes you to the best anchorages and marinas, giving you a local’s view of the area you are sailing in. Even among non-seafaring types, gulet holidays are a very popular way of exploring the Croatian coast.
Superyacht: A superyacht or sometimes called a mega yacht are boats that are at least 24 meters (79 feet) in length up to 180 meters (590 feet) and can either be sailing yachts (sailboats) or motorboats. These types of boats are most frequently found in the Med of the Caribbean and due to their size they will have a large chartering area and can typically pick you up from whatever location you require rather than you being required to get to a set marina to start your charter. They are fully crewed with professional staff who will cater to your every need along with a Captain who will have extensive knowledge of your chosen cruising areas.
Motorboat: This covers a wide variety of boats from a motor yacht with cabins to a private boat trip for a fishing trip but all of these are comfortable seagoing boats with a kick of speed should you want to cover a bigger distance on the day.
RIB: Very many day boats for fishing and day cruising, RIBs are a lot of fun for a day afloat. They can be very quick and are great should you be in a town on holiday and fancy seeing the coast or finding secluded sandy beaches to get away from it all.
Captained Yacht charter or Bareboat?
Where it comes to a Croatian yacht charter you have two choices - bareboat rental or Captained yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.
When using Borrow A Boat you can filter all boat searches to be with or without Captain depending on what you are looking for and below we cover some of the main points to consider for your boat rental.
Captained Charter: A Captained yacht charter gives you the advantage of being able to get afloat without having to invest in getting sailing qualifications beforehand. For a monohull sailing yacht, you will pay €120/£100/$135 plus a day extra for the Captain, as well as their food and a tip at the end.
When you get to a luxury yacht or superyacht charter with crew these prices will increase and costs also depend on where you plan to sail to along with the size and type of boat rental on your sailing holiday.
In some cases, Captains will also be the yacht or boat owners (typically day trips) which means they will know all the best-secluded beaches to show you the best that the area has to offer with their local knowledge.
For day trips you will often be able to use a Captain as well and prices will vary depending on the type of boat.
Bareboat Yacht Charter: For skilled sailors, a bareboat charter is cheaper and gives more privacy for you and your charter guests. Many sailors prefer to be helming the boat while choosing their own course and provided you have the knowledge and relevant qualifications you can Captain these boats (typically up to 54 feet/16.5 meters in length) yourself.
Do you need a license to charter in Croatia?
If you are on a gulet or Captained yacht charter you do not need a license to sail a yacht out of Dubrovnik. This is also the case when you are renting a small motorboat without a cabin for a day trip around the local islands or beaches.
You do need a license if you are on a bareboat yacht charter, here are some examples of sailing qualifications:
International Certificate of Competence: This is issued on request by your European sailing authority and you should automatically qualify with certain national sailing qualifications.
RYA Qualifications: If you have the following qualifications you will be able to take a bareboat charter out of Croatia, these include Day Skipper (sail or motor endorsement), Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster.
American Sailing Association (ASA): The ASA 104 Bareboat certificate is commonly accepted.
US Sailing: The International Proficiency Certificate is widely accepted and The Bareboat Cruising Certificate is also accepted in many cases.
Best Times To Rent
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 centers - 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 less expensive in 'shoulder' 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 along Croatia's coastline for most of your stay during the season between May and October.
Expect temperatures to be around 14 degrees centigrade /57 degrees Fahrenheit as a minimum in May - Northern Europeans will be in their tee shirts. Come July and August it can average 28 degrees centigrade/82 degrees Fahrenheit - 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.
The Bora: 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 localized - if you are more than 4km from the mountains you will hardly notice it.
The Jugo: 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.
Libecci: This wind comes soon after the Jugo has passed except 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.
Mistral: 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.
Tramontana: 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 rent superyachts and captained 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 Captain, expect to pay at €150+ 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.