Croatia has absolutely everything you need for yachting and sailing. There are more than 1200 islands, 50 of them uninhabited, picturesque bays, well-developed yachting infrastructure, an interesting coast, delicious Mediterranean cuisine, climate and constant wind. The yachting season starts here in April and ends in mid-October.
First of all, Croatia is famous for its large number of yachts. Bavaria 40, 42, 45 and 46, and variety of other boats, both for regattas and for cruises: Sun Odyssey, Salona, Oceanis, Hanse, Beneteau First, Elan. The country consists of two parts: the continental, located mainly in the basin of the Sava River, and the Adriatic, an elongated narrow strip along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Along the entire coast there are islands. Between them you can make small crossings of 10-20 miles with a stable thermal wind. In Greece, for example, the distance between the islands is 35-40 miles, which are quite long crossings for a relaxed family vacation or a beginner skippers with little experience. Also, in Greece, in 80% cases you stay on anchor, which is also not easy for an inexperienced captain.
In Croatia, there are 56 marinas, with 30,000 available mooring spaces. 22 of them are from the ACI marinas chain. Comfortable toilets and showers on the shore, connecting the yacht to electricity, refueling with water, a huge number of shops, cafes and restaurants. Croatian marinas are constantly working to improve their services. In most of them, you can book your place in advance. In addition, sailing clubs organize numerous regattas throughout the season. Anchorages in the bays can be either for a fee (about 15-30 euros) or for free. You can come to many bays, eat with your crew in a restaurant and you will be provided with mooring, water and electricity for free. There is always at least one cool cafe in every marina. We always eat breakfast on the shore, and there is an opportunity to drink coffee or beer not far from your boat.
The Croatian cuisine can be described as Mediterranean with Italian flavor. The hallmark of Croatian cuisine is, of course, fresh fish and delicious seafood, produced in abundance by the generous marine nature. The highlight of any feast is the local wonderful wine, aromatic, with many flavors. The gastronomic idyll of Croatian cuisine is completed with fresh olive oil and spicy herbs, which chefs add in abundance to almost all dishes, which makes the food aromatic, appetizing and tasty in a special way. If you go to the northern part of Croatia in the Krka National Park, they make the best «peka» here — meat under the lid, at Toni’s restaurant. The notorious Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, entering Krka in his Alfa, leaves it on the canal and comes to taste the famous peka.
I can’t say what my most favorite route is, the whole coast is interesting. You always make a travel plan depending on the wind and forecast, and you will always find a place to go, where to moor and take a walk, and get good service. You can go in different directions — South or Central Dalmatia. Due to the relief of the islands, there is always wind there. There are gorgeous protected places on Hvar. Zadar, Split, Trogir are very beautiful cities with a rich historical spirit of antiquity. Biograd na Moru is a city where major yachting exhibitions take place. On the beautiful wide promenade, you can rent a segway and ride around the city. Marina Palmizana is one of the most popular places among yachtsmen with a gorgeous beach on the other side of the island. On any island you will be welcomed and fed. One of the memorable islands is Komiza, where mostly Serbs live. Some of them have Putin’s tattoos and are very happy to see Russians. Vodice is a city of youth and the first nudist beaches in Europe. A real party place with a lot of bars, discos and casinos.
Real fishermen will appreciate the warm waters of the Adriatic, especially those who prefer to go to sea on a yacht, away from the shore. Most fishermen prefer to fish for bluefin tuna. In addition, here you can fish for sea pike, swordfish, shark, barracuda, as well as many other underwater inhabitants. And if you don’t want to fish yourself, there are fishing artels everywhere, where you can buy it for a penny. When you go to the Krka nature reserve, there are many oyster farms along the way. Stock up on champagne, lemon and oyster tongs in advance.
Any marina has shops with a wide range of groceries and large supermarkets. The only minus in Croatia is the prices. With the popularity of yachting, unfortunately, they only grow from year to year. In each marina, you can buy yacht clothing of world brands: Henry Lloyd, Musto, Helly Hanse. These are mainly chain stores where they sell goods at the same price. Sometimes there are good sales with 50% discounts.
In spring and autumn, good winds blow in Croatia and there are numerous sailing regattas. It is very important that there are local people in the judging committee, which guarantees that there will be wind and good distances. In summer you can also find good winds, which is quite rare for Turkey and Greece at this time. Also here in summer, the weather is comfortable and not as hot as in neighboring countries. In Croatia, there is a unique Velebitski Canal for those who like extreme: there is constant wind of up to 30 knots. If you have entered there, you have to pass it till the end, there is nowhere to anchor — everywhere there are high rocks. If there are 5-7 knots blowing throughout Croatia, then in Velebitski Canal there could easily be 25-30 knots.
The most convenient way to get to Croatia is to Zadar or Split. In summer, there are direct flights from Moscow. In spring and autumn, it is convenient to fly through Zagreb and rent a car if you are going to South Dalmatia. Or fly to Tivat and rent a car there.
The text was prepared by Julia Kochina together with Yuri Savitsky, a professional skipper, a fan of the Croatian region.