The Best Way To Explore Croatia is by Island Hopping

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Croatia is a small country that is well-known for its natural beauty as well as rich history. Also known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, this country has a lot to offer to vacationists.

If you decide to book a sailing vacation in Croatia, you won’t make a mistake since it is one of the most wanted sailing destinations.

As for geographical regions, Dalmatia is Croatia’s southernmost region and it covers 4 out of 5 sailing regions (Zadar, Šibenik, Split and Dubrovnik region), whose characteristics are explained down below.

Dalmatian islands are therefore the most popular choice when it comes to planning a sailing vacation in Croatia. Istria is Croatia’s northernmost geographical region, but is also its 5th sailing region. Dalmatia islands might be the most popular, but Kvarner Gulf also hides some treasures that are worth visiting. Check out the best way to explore Croatia by island hopping.

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Best place to stay in Croatia for island hopping

With over a 1,000 islands and islets, Croatian coast is perfect for island hopping. The most important thing when it comes to planning a sailing vacation is to choose a starting point. Here are some island hopping tips that might help you.

Split is a coastal city that has great connections with the mainland and the sea, especially with the south Adriatic, and is therefore one of the most popular starting points for island hopping in Croatia. You can arrive to Split by bus, by car or by plane and while you’re there, you can explore its beauty and history.

However, there is a better option when it comes to starting your island hopping adventure. The city of Rogač, on the island of Šolta, where you can also find our charter base, can be another ideal departure point. To arrive on Šolta, you’ll have to take a catamaran or a ferry.

In this small coastal town you can easily find a berth or anchorage, which can be really helpful (keep in mind that larger cities are more crowded and it is therefore harder to find a berth). From Šolta Island, you can sail to nearby islands of Brač, Hvar and Vis and get there even faster than from Split.

We offer a free parking spot to our clients as well as free wi-fi. Before you decide to head to the sea, you can relax with a cup of coffee and enjoy the beautiful scenery of this picturesque coastal town or even spend a night in one of its traditional stone houses. What a great way to start your island hopping holiday in Croatia, isn’t it?!

Bear in mind that you can also start your sailing adventure in other coastal cities such as Pula, Zadar, Šibenik or Dubrovnik.

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Croatia island itineraries

After you’ve decided where you want to start your island hopping holiday, it’s time to choose an itinerary. SailingEurope has prepared a series of itineraries all around the Adriatic according to its five main sailing regions: Istria and Kvarner region, Zadar region, Šibenik region, Split region and Dubrovnik region. Each region has its own beauties – all you have to do is choose the one you’d like to explore.

Istria and Kvarner islands itinerary

If you wish to explore the islands in Kvarner Gulf, we recommend choosing Pula as your starting point. From Pula, you can easily hop to the islands of Cres, Lošinj, Krk and Rab. SailingEurope has prepared 2 sailing routes in this area with starting points in Pula as well as Marina Punat on the island of Krk.

Krk is Croatia’s largest island which is well connected with the mainland and, unsurprisingly, tourists often choose to spend their vacation there. From Krk, you can easily reach Cres, one of Croatia’s longest islands. Cres is famous for its rich flora and fauna and it has lots of hidden bays and beaches, one of which is St. Ivan in Lubenice, accessible only by boat.

Feel free to spend some time on this island and find out why people say that there is “no stress on Cres”. If you’re in search of a vibrant nightlife in this area, head to Marina Mali Lošinj where you can find a berth and enjoy traditional meals in one of many local restaurants or sip cocktails in bars. When sailing around Lošinj, you can swim in crystal clear sea, watch dolphins and enjoy the healing power of sea air.

If you’d like to sail in Istria and Kvarner region, make sure to check our itineraries.

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Zadar islands itinerary

Zadar can be another starting point for your island hopping adventure. From there, you can sail to the islands of Ugljan, Dugi Otok, Olib and Pašman. SailingEurope has prepared 3 sailing routes in Zadar region, that include a visit to Kornati archipelago (starting points Sukošan and Biograd na Moru). When sailing in this area, make sure you don’t miss Sakarun beach on Dugi Otok, one of Croatia’s most breathtaking beaches that will make you feel like you’re in a tropical paradise.

Enjoy the sun being surrounded by white sand and turquoise sea and spend the best day ever just relaxing and chilling. Another island that is worth mentioning in this area is Pašman. This island is ideal for the adventurers who like to spend their holidays in an active way.

It has lots of secluded hideaways and hidden bays that give you the opportunity to experience the so-called “Robinson Crusoe Style” tourism. Pašman archipelago hides yet another gem, a heart-shaped island of Galešnjak, also known as the “love island”.If you’d like to sail in Zadar region, make sure to check our itineraries.

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Šibenik islands itinerary

Šibenik is another coastal town that makes a great starting point if you want to explore the archipelago of Kornati, one of Croatia’s national parks with a moonlike rock surface. As a part of our itinerary in Šibenik region, we organized a visit to the islands of Kaprije, and Ugljan, as well as Nature park Telašćica.

However, the most interesting part of the sailing adventure in this area is Kornati, an extremely dense archipelago that is home to a labyrinth of islands and islets. They hide a great variety of species that are yet to be investigated, so why not be a part of it? Due to the density of islets, it represents a true challenge to every sailor, but is also an area that offers spectacular views to those on board. Šibenik sailing regions is definitely one of the most popular areas for island hopping in Croatia.

If you’d like to sail in Šibenik region, make sure to check our itinerary.

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Split islands itinerary

Split area is one of the most popular areas for island hopping in Croatia. SailingEurope has prepared 5 routes in this area with Rogač on Šolta Island as a starting point. From there, you can easily reach the islands of Brač, Hvar and Vis. Šolta Island is famous for its authentic products, such as honey, olive oil and wine, so while you’re there, you can try (or buy) some of them.

Roman heritage has left its traces on this island and there are still lots of Roman countryside villas that you can explore. After you’ve explored the land, you can head to the sea – Šolta has 3 marinas and 24 bays which makes it a real sailing paradise.

Then, you can sail to the island of Brač and make a stop at Zlatni Rat Beach in Bol. This island is known for a simple way of living, hard-working population and a growing tourism. However, its most valuable treasure is the white stone (Brač stone) that was even used to build the White House. After anchoring in one of numerous bays of Brač Island, you can sail to Hvar.

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Hopping to Croatia’s party island

Hvar Island has the most vibrant nightlife in this area, and it is also known as Croatia’s party island. However, Hvar is much more than just a party island – it has a rich history and culture that you’ll experience if you visit Stari Grad (ancient Faros). The best souvenir that you can bring home from this island is lavender.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the island of Vis, famous for its fisherman tradition. Once home to a military base, today it offers military tours that include a visit to Tito’s cave. Vis has a great variety of unexplored and hidden bays, one of which is Stiniva bay, surrounded by stone cliffs and accessible only by boat. Next to Vis, on Biševo Island, you can find yet another nature’s miracle – the Blue Cave.

If you’d like to sail in Split region, make sure to check our itineraries.

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Dubrovnik islands itinerary

Dubrovnik (the ancient city of Ragusa) is a great starting point if you want to explore the very south of Croatia. There are 4 routes that we can offer you in this area (lasting 5 or 7 days), and they include a visit to the Elaphiti islands (Lopud, Šipan, Koločep), as well as islands of Mljet, Korčula, Lastovo etc. The islands of this area are known for their untouched nature, clear skies, blue sea and pine forests that make a great combination for a stress-free vacation.

The most popular are surely the islands of Mljet and Korčula. The island of Mljet (the mythical Ogygia of Odysseus) is Croatia’s greenest island. The western part of the island is proclaimed a national park and is mostly uninhabited.

If you’re a nature lover, Mljet will astound you with its beautiful sunsets and clear sky that produces countless stars. The island is known for a cave where, according to a legend, Odysseus hid from bad weather – Odysseus cave. Korčula is claimed to be the island of birth of Marco Polo, Italian merchant.

It is also one of the largest and most attractive Croatian islands that offers a great number of secluded bays and coves. Lumbarda is the town you need to visit when sailing around Korčula. It isn’t crowded and it has amazing sand beaches.

If you’d like to sail in Dubrovnik region, make sure to check our itineraries.

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If you’re a sailing enthusiast, then island hopping in Croatia is the best choice for your summer holidays. Some of Croatia’s greatest writers have found inspiration for their work on Dalmatian islands, so why not be like them? Sail around Croatian islands, discover the beauties of the Adriatic and find out why everyone is amazed by this sailing destination.

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Julija Boronjek

About the Author: Julija Boronjek

Julija is a language and writing enthusiast working at SailingEurope. Loves stargazing and spending time at the seaside. Big dreamer and optimist.

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