Croatia Island Hopping
Unlike some other island regions in the world, island hopping in Croatia is not about visiting different islands by being transferred by helicopters or fast hovercraft lines. Although hydroplane lines to some islands were introduced in Croatia last year, island hopping is all about something completely different. Island hopping in Croatia represents relaxed and easy-going cruising among a total of 1185 islands, islets and rocks in the Croatian Adriatic.
Of course, not all of the islands are inhabited and ‘blessed’ by modern infrastructure, but intact nature and one of the clearest seas in the world is what attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Island hopping is usually experienced aboard different kinds of vessels, according to one’s mood and the preferred way of spending holidays. Groups of 30–40 people usually choose accommodation aboard Croatian traditional wooden boats which were used to carry all sorts of cargo in the early days, but are renovated in order to provide comfortable accommodation and serve local food while sailing among the islands.
Island Hopping Packages
Sunbathing, swimming and local cuisine is not all that is offered. Very often such groups are provided with mountain bicycles or sea kayaks so those who love active holidays always get some action. Smaller groups with up to 12 persons can hop the islands aboard traditional wooden yachts, also known as gulets. The offer does not differ much from the previous one, but passengers have somewhat more privacy aboard the gulets. In most cases, the routes of those two options are predefined in advance, and island hopping is usually sold as a package deal.
On the other hand, there are thousands of sailing yachts offered through yacht charter agencies all over the Croatian coast and islands. Such experience has become very popular recently, primarily because of the fact that sailing a yacht is a special sensation. Those who have never sailed but would want to give it a try are more than welcome to join one of the numerous sailing schools on the Croatian coast, or to charter a yacht with a local skipper aboard. Chartering a sailing yacht means that one is not limited by schedule or any kind of timetable but their own.
The freedom of choice and making your own holidays the way you like them the best is what cannot be offered within any package deal. Rather good nautical infrastructure along the coast and islands makes it easier to cruise the Croatian Adriatic and many people come back several times because it is not possible to see everything at once.
Croatia Island Hopping Routes
Remember, there are over a thousand islands here, and they can roughly be divided into these regions: Istria with the northern Adriatic islands, also known as Kvarner, Zadar region or the northern Dalmatia, the Šibenik archipelago and its hinterland, Split region or the central Dalmatia, remote billow islands and the Dubrovnik region along with southern Dalmatia. The diversity of the landscape, crystal clear sea along with mild and pleasant climate made the Croatian Adriatic one of the most desired yachting destinations in the world. Besides sailing, the atmosphere of the true Mediterranean is felt all over the place in terms of natural heritage, culture and architecture, cuisine and wines, along with an easy-going traditional lifestyle ‘decorated’ with modern tourist attractions.
Speaking about the nature, there are seven national parks and nature reserves accessible by yachts in this part of the Adriatic. Starting from the north, there is Brijuni (or Brioni) National Park located just across Pula, the city where the oldest and best preserved Roman amphitheatre Arena attracts those who love history. Brijuni National Park consists of several islets where not only natural heritage is preserved but also the remains of an ancient Roman villa rustica and many more. This site was recognized as the perfect summer refuge by members of the high class during several former regimes.
Furthermore, Paklenica National Park is a region where the steep slopes of Velebit Mountain fall into the sea. Although not the favorite yachtsmen's destination, the park represents a genuine paradise to hikers and free climbers. One of the most famous sailing destinations is Kornati National Park along with Telašćica, stretched over some 90 islands, islets and rocks in the region between Zadar and Šibenik. It is said that God shed tears when he saw the beauty of his Creation. His tears then turned into Kornati islands…
The hinterland of Šibenik, the pearl of the medieval Mediterranean architecture, hides the stunning canyon of Krka river where Krka National Park amazes thousands of visitors with its spectacular cascades and waterfalls. An ancient monastery is located at Visovac island on the lake that carries the same name.
The island of Lastovo, along with its archipelago, is declared a natural preserve due to the diversity of the terrestrial and marine flora and fauna.
Mljet National Park is located on the island of the same name. It is said that this is the island where the legendary Ulysses stayed with the nymph Calypso for seven years.
To not forget some coastline gems, let us mention Split as the city founded by Diocletian, a Roman emperor who decided to spend his retirement heree. Visit and discover why he chose this place to be his residence…
Dubrovnik, with its old city core, was a powerful trading force over the centuries, enjoying its independence and freedom, which have remained a part of Dubrovnik’s pride up to now.
Dance music festivals
Island hopping in Croatia gets a completely different dimension when the young generations come into the picture. The Zrće beach resort, located at the island of Pag, together with Split and Hvar, has become the hottest melting pot for party animals from all over the world. Dance music festivals such as the Fresh Island Festival and Ultra Festival attract tens of thousands of young people during the hottest summer months, guaranteeing the ultimate dance, r&b, house, hip-hop and electronic experience. According to recent numbers, Zrće became a member of the top ten best dance music destinations in the world, along with Ibiza and Malta!
On the other hand, sailing enthusiasts are offered more than excellent summer sailing and holidays. Spring, autumn and winter time is when fine winds make numerous regattas thrilling and exciting. This year there are 374 regattas announced on the Croatian Sailing Association’s schedule. This number increases when we add numerous teambuilding and private corporate races which take place around the Croatian islands, making them a desirable destination all year round. For the end of this text I would like to quote two recent slogans of the Croatian Tourist Board: Mediterranean as it once was, and Croatia, full of life. I am sure that anyone who decides to experience island hopping in Croatia gets a lot of both.