Istrian peninsula, the largest in Croatia, situated between the Kvarner Gulf and the Gulf of Trieste, offers a variety of options for those looking to explore the area by boat. Charter a yacht in Istria and Kvarner and gain access to stunning beaches, lush mountain forests, and charming stone villages and towns. Whether you're interested in boat rental in Istria or looking to rent a boat specifically in the Kvarner area, the options are abundant.
Istria and Kvarner sailing region will amaze you with authentic cuisine and friendly people. Stroll through the narrow streets, dine in quality restaurants and taverns, and take a dip in the crystal-clear sea or relax on clean beaches. With good connectivity via road, rail, sea, and air, the Istria sailing region is easily accessible for anyone looking to discover its remarkable landscapes.
When looking at the map of the Istria sailing region, the number of islands may seem limited. However, upon setting sail with a yacht charter or boat rental in Istria, you'll discover an abundance of small islands and hidden coves. These provide the perfect spot for swimming, preparing lunch, or even as a safe overnight anchorage. Rent a motorboat in Istria and explore these secret gems of the region!
Why are Istria and Kvarner Popular Among Sailors?
Istria, known for its rich sailing history, has been home to the first regatta organized in 1949 and has since then become a tradition. The yacht charter in Istria offers a unique experience as the coastline is indented with many remote bays and coves. This offers relaxed sailing on the clear open sea without any worries. Sailors can always come back to the mainland and moor in big and well-equipped marinas, as well as numerous anchoring areas, while enjoying the view of the picturesque coast, particularly the view of its top attraction, the magnificent 1st century Pula Arena. Istria sailing region is a must-visit for all boating enthusiasts!
Kvarner, which is connected to Istria by both sea and land, offers sailors a diverse yacht charter experience with four big islands (Cres, Krk, Lošinj, Rab) and over 50 smaller ones. The sea area between the bigger islands is called Kvarnerić (small Kvarner), which is why nautical routes are focused on this area. Sailors can find quaint old towns, amazing beaches, and favourable weather to enjoy wherever they are. The islands are naturally beautiful and rich in vegetation, and sailing on your boat rental is a great way to explore the region. Sailors can also find large and modern marinas on the mainland. Sailing is pleasant, but always be on the lookout for the frequency of winds, especially strong bura.
Yacht Charter in Istria and Kvarner Sailing Region
If you're thinking about a yacht charter in Istria, Pula is the best starting place for your adventures. Pula's position at the southwestern part of this heart-shaped peninsula allows you to flexibly plan out your route, regardless of whether you have opted for a bareboat or skippered Pula yacht charter. Sail aboard your rental boat and explore Istria’s top attractions, with jewels such as National Park Brijuni, Rovinj, Vrsar, Poreč, Novigrad and Umag.
Boat rental is available also on the islands of Krk and Mali Lošinj and either destination will be great for a visit to the islands of Cres or Rab and the surrounding islets. Best time to sail in Istria & Kvarner is from April to October. Regattas in Istria are held almost throughout the whole year, from late February till the beginning of December.
Best Places to Visit in Istria and Kvarner Region
Istria and Kvarner are famous not only for the historic cities with top attractions and beautiful islands, but also for friendly locals, exquisite cuisine and year-round tourism that makes it such a unique destination.
Rovinj is known as the most romantic city in Istria with an old city centre that boasts Venetian heritage. There is a great photo point that frames a landmark cathedral in a picture. You can always take a trip to the nearby Red Island on your boat rental.
Pula is the capital of Istria and its marvellous Roman amphitheatre – Pula Arena from the 1st century is still in use for concerts and festivals. Pula is a city of rich history with many monuments, festivals, parks, beaches and delicious gastronomic offerings.
Brijuni National Park spans over 14 islands near Pula. National Park Brijuni is also a very important geological, historical, and nautical area that offers excursions, sports, and accommodation.
Krk is Croatia’s biggest island with several Blue Flag beaches. Krk offers an active holiday, numerous historically important towns with diverse monuments and delicious traditional meals, such as lamb and specially designed pasta.
Rab is the up-and-coming nautical destination with 30 sandy beaches and a hundred kilometres of hiking and biking trails. The island has simple and tasty cuisine. Fun fact about the island: King Edward VIII came to the Kandarola bay and started nudism on the Adriatic.
Lošinj offers health tourism as a tradition more than a hundred years old. There are numerous museums on the island with Museum of Apoxyomenos (ancient Greek athlete statue) being one of them, visit an aquapark in Čikat or an underwater archaeological park.
On Cres Island, you find all types of beaches (rocky, pebbled, sandy) and hidden coves, some of them are Blue Flagged. Sightsee the city walls, Renaissance churches and palaces and try food with locally produced high quality olive oil.
Unije is a small tranquil island with rich history and a tradition of growing olives offers pleasant areas for yachting and anchoring in picturesque bays.
Important Info for Sailing in Istra and Kvarner Region
Best time to sail
April - October
Most popular marinas
ACI Marina Rovinj, ACI Marina Pula, ACI Marina Pomer, Marina Punat, ACI Marina Cres, Marina Lošinj, ACI Marina Rab
Airport Pula (PUY), Rijeka Airport (RJK)
Number of charter yachts
Fiumanka Regatta, 1,000 Islands Regatta
Pula Arena, Motovun, Rovinj, Brijuni National Park, Euphrasius Basilica
Gastronomy Highlights of Istria and Kvarner
Istria specializes in a variety of food and beverages: boiled food, fish and seafood, pasta, truffles, asparagus, prosciutto, cheese, wine vinegar and wine, olive oil and aromatic spices. Istria’s truffles are a delicacy you will either love or hate but be sure not to miss them on your yacht charter vacation in Istria! Kvarner cherishes similar traditions but includes more meat.
Chartering a yacht in both Kvarner and Istria sailing regions will give you an insight in Mediterranean cuisine mixed with Croatian rich history and cultural heritage.
We recommend you try some of Istria & Kvarner cuisine classics:
Fuži pasta with truffles is a wonderful mashup of classic fuži pasta with world-famous Istrian truffles and one of the most well-known Istrian delicacies. Some chefs enjoy adding prosciutto bits to the dish. When served, the dish is topped with additional freshly shaved truffles and grated cheese.
Brudet is a seafood stew popular in the Croatian regions of Dalmatia, Kvarner and Istria. It is normally prepared of several types of fish stewed with spices, vegetables and red or white wine, or even vinegar to keep the flesh of the fish whole.
Boškarin meat is the native Istrian cattle breed raised for culinary use. Its meat is considered a top gourmet delicacy because of its unique flavour and scent. It may be prepared into salami, eaten as a steak, or used in stews that are frequently served with regional pasta such fuži and pljukanci.
Istrian maneštra is a Croatian version of the well-known minestrone soup from Italy. Dried beef, beans, and spring corn are used to make this rich, thick soup that resembles a stew.