Nautical tourism in Croatia has rapidly developed since the 1990s and today it’s an international sailing hot-spot. Here are our top reasons to visit.
Sailing paradise. When the sailing gods cast around the world for the perfect natural landscape, they came up with Croatia. The coastline, studded with bays, stretches more than 1,178 kilometres, and entices charterers to shore to discover old-world villages, seaside bars and market towns. There are also some 1,000 islands to explore. Some are no bigger than large rock formations and most are only accessible by boat. Outside peak times, it’s possible to dock in remote caves, far from the crowds on the tourist islands of Hvar and Korcula.
Balmy weather. Peak tourist season, when the weather is hot and dry, is July and August. If you wish to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder yet still blissfully warm weather, the shoulder periods of May and September are ideal. You will enjoy sunny skies and near-perfect sailing weather with temperatures averaging 21 degrees Celsius. You may encounter a few showers in May so pack a waterproof jacket just in case. The May sea temperature averages 18 degrees – a little bracing for some but refreshing for most swimmers. September tends to carry warmth left over from summer with the sea about 23 degrees. If it’s too cool to hit the water, soak up the sun on deck.
Winds you can manage. Sailing in Croatia is best when the sea is calm, the weather mild and there are less boats on the water. Late spring (April to June) and early autumn (September to October) are considered “sailing season”. The bora and jugo winds are the dominant winds to be aware of. The bora is a dry, cold, north-easterly that gusts from inland to the sea and creates short, high waves with white crests. It can be exciting and challenging for sailors. The jugo is a south-west, warm and humid wind from the sea to the inland. It appears along the length of the coast in all seasons and produces long, foamless waves.
You choose - peace or party? While July and August are hot and dry and ideal for swimming, socialising and catching much of the festival season, you’ll have to reserve marina berths and restaurant spaces in advance. If it’s peace and quiet you’re seeking, travel outside the peak period, meet the friendly locals and enjoy the relaxed pace.