Croatia island hopping
Croatian coastline is one of the most astonishing pieces of landscape in the world. It is the place where the mountains meet the sea.
Beneath them lie scattered ancient cities linked in the invisible bond with the Adriatic Sea. When you sit for a cup of coffee in one of those magnificent historic monuments, you’ll see dozens of islands emerging from the sea, bathing in the Mediterranean sun.
Almost every major town on the Croatian coast has its own archipelago. Just this fact is enough to evoke the imagination and adventurous spirit of all who are in love with the sea and sailing.
Especially ones who need to explore as many places as possible. The island hoppers.
Croatia Island hopping is a real adventure from start to finish.
Where to start Croatia island hopping?
Almost every island in Croatia is not so far from the other. In the northern part of the Croatian Adriatic, there is a group of big islands.
It is known as Kvarner, with Krk, Cres, Lošinj, and Rab as major tourist and sailing centres. All of them are very close to each other, with just a few hours of calm and relaxed sailing.
The island of Krk is most suitable for navigators with its famous Punat marina, from where you can sail to any of the Kvarner islands.
That’s why walking tours are great options for sightseeing. There are a lot of free walking tours in bigger and more popular tourist destinations. For most of them, you can sign up online. That way you’ll see all the sights and at the same time – stretch your legs.
Also, there is an international airport on the island, so one can drop there from any part of the world. Well, the airports are certainly great things about Croatia Island hopping.
There are International airports in Pula, Rijeka (Krk), Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik.
Navigators who come from distant corners of the world can just rent a boat in advance, sit on a plane, and after a few minutes in the airport hall, find themselves on the deck of their sailboat.
Lošinj is an island in the northern Adriatic Sea, in the Kvarner Gulf. The island has a mild climate and evergreen vegetation. However, as with other Mediterranean locations, Losinj is susceptible to the various Winds: Bura and Jugo.
On Lošinj you can adopt a dolphin. That is a program that provides support to the Adriatic Dolphin Project. They research and protect dolphins in the Adriatic and raise public awareness on the local and national levels.
How to continue the adventure?
Kvarner is a group of islands far away from the other islands.
Not so much. Perfect for island hoppers. The most southern part of Kvarner is the island of Ilovik, beneath Lošinj.
This small island can be reached within a few hours if you start from Silba, the most northern part of the Zadar archipelago.
This vast tapestry of islands, counting 300 of them, is the centre of sailing in the middle part of the Croatian coast. Within hours you can sail from one island to another.
From Silba to Olib, from Olib to Premuda, Dugi Otok (Long Island), Pašman and Kornati islands.
There are a lot of marinas on the coast, with three marinas in the old city of Zadar and the biggest marina in Croatia, Marina Dalmacija in Sukošan, 10 kilometres south of Zadar.
Three big islands in this archipelago are Dugi Otok, Ugljan, and Pašman, all of them reachable by sailboat within an hour to two, no matter where you start. And if you want a peaceful cove, try the western shores of these islands.
Dugi Otok is an island with a rugged coastline. This island can definitely say that it is an attractive destination for all sailors. You can spot places where you can moor your boat and if you need it, here you can take electricity and water in every village on the island.
One of the sights of the island is definitely the lighthouse Veli rat, the highest lighthouse on the Adriatic Sea, and the cave Strašna peć.
The biggest jewels on the island are certainly the beaches like Sakuran, a beautiful sandy beach that hides in a cove on the west side of the island.
The island of Pašman is situated south of Zadar. The Mediterranean climate has allowed the growth of many types of medicinal and aromatic herbs. Underwater in this area is very rich, and there are a lot of kinds of shellfish and fish.
This part of the Adriatic Sea is considered among the cleanest, so enjoy Pašman beaches. Some of the best beaches: Soline, Polača, Matlovac, Lučina, or Banj.
Kornati – nature at its best
The Kornati Islands is a group of more than a hundred uninhabited islands scattered around the great areas. This archipelago is located in central Dalmatia, west of Šibenik and south of Zadar.
The Kornati is a group of more than a hundred uninhabited islands scattered around the great areas that are declared a national park. This is a place of exceptional natural beauty, preserved nature, and a rich marine ecosystem.
If you are sailing for the first time in this area, you will definitely notice hundreds of meters long of so-called drywall built by ancestors who lived on the island. The length of these walls is 70 km.
Kornati Islands are an ideal place for everyone who is interested in “Robinson tourism”, and represent a true paradise for sailors, divers, and all those who know how to enjoy the seclusion of intact and magnificent nature.
Šibenik archipelago is popular for its small picturesque islands – Vrgada, Zlarin, Žirje, Krapanj, Prvić, Kaprije, and the bigger island of Murter.
To get to the island of Murter, you need to cross over a small moving bridge in Tisno. This bridge opens at half an hour twice a day, at 9 am and 5 pm.
Murter is full of fig trees, and fruits that are on the public surface and can be freely picked and consumed, also it is full of amazing beaches and coves, and we suggest you visit the beaches in the cove at Slanica and Čikgrađa. If you have a dog, we suggest the beach at the camp in Jezera, where pets are allowed.
The island of Vrgada has served as an important point of observation throughout history. Today you can still visit the ruins of medieval forts and explore the paths of history.
There are numerous medicinal and protected plants in Vrgada.
The island has a main harbour where you can moor your yacht or boat, and several smaller bays and sandy coves.
The Split archipelago
Of course, the island hopping doesn’t stop there.
Split, the old home of Roman emperor Diocletian, has six marinas. Trogir, one of the oldest cities in Croatia, established by ancient Greek settlers, has three. All of them are equipped to explore the magnificent islands of Čiovo, Šolta, and of course, Hvar and Brač, centres of island nightlife in Croatia.
These islands can be reached by sailboat within a few hours, so you can start your journey in the afternoon and drop the anchor in the bay of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar.
There is an International airport between Split and Trogir. So you can go both ways and rent a sailboat.
The island of Hvar lies between the islands of Brač, Vis and Korčula. Hvar is located at the centre of the Adriatic sailing routes, which has made it an important base for commanding trade up and down the Adriatic, across to Italy and throughout the wider Mediterranean.
Hvar is called the “island of lavender” and the “island with the sunniest days”. On Hvar are the two most famous winemaking zones in Croatia. Vineyards in the south are famous for red wines produced from the Plavac Mali grape. Part of the island between Stari Grad and Jelsa is famous for its white wines.
The island of Brač is the largest island in Dalmatia. Brač is known for its precious white stone that was used in building Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
Brač is known for its excellent cheese, wine and olive oil.
The most famous beach in Brač is Zlatni rat (Golden Cape or Golden Horn) located near Bol. This sandy beach changes its look depending on the weather conditions and sea currents.
When you continue your journey with the wind in your sails and go more south you’ll see beautiful pieces of nature and history.
History can be seen in Korčula, Mljet and Dubrovnik.
Almost the whole island of Mljet is declared a national park.
After that, you can sail into the port of Dubrovnik. This town is the pearl of Croatian Adriatic and the ultimate goal of Croatia Island hopping.
The island of Korčula lies just off the Dalmatian coast. Korčula has prohibited slavery in the 13th century.
On every corner, on Korčula you can find a Klape group. Klapa is a form of a cappella style of singing.
If you visit Korčula in September you can visit the Korkyra Baroque Festival, an annual international event that showcases a selection of the world’s leading ensembles and soloists specialized in Baroque music.
The island of Mljet lies south of the Pelješac peninsula. The northwestern part of Mljet is declared a national park.
It is an unspoiled island covered by a dense Mediterranean forest. The sea around here is rich in fish and marine life.
The island is well known for its two salted lakes – Veliko and Malo Jezero that are located at the north end of the island.
On the small St Mary’s Island in the middle of Veliko Jezero lake, there is an old Benedictine monastery.
Dubrovnik or King’s Landing?
The old medieval republic with its fortification walls is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979.
Its popularity is now bigger than ever because it is chosen for the filming of one of the most popular series, Game of Thrones. So, it won’t be strange if you find yourself in the Game of Thrones King’s Landing when walking the old city of Dubrovnik.
Croatia is an amazing country that can offer the best adventure and perfect landscapes to island hoppers. Wherever you decide to start your adventure, you will not make mistakes.
You can start sailing in Kvarner, then visit the Kornati and Split archipelago and finish your adventure in Dubrovnik.
This is just one option and there are numerous possibilities. Take advantage of them and enjoy your vacation, Contact Us!