Our favourite anchorages
1. Opat in the Kornati archipelago
2. cove in the northwest corner of Mljiet
Our Sailing notes
Weather and navigation
Sea: the Croatian coast is blessed by a spectacular geography and rich in islands, peninsulas, bays and channels. With very few exceptions - notably the Kvaerner in the north with strong NE winds - it's possible to find flat seas in almost all conditions. For this reason Croatia is certainly the best destination for a first experience at sea.
Wind: in season strong winds are rare, and they come mostly from the north. Bora, a strong NE, rarely blows in summer, and is very cold, flowing from central Europe. Mistral can blow in summer, fresh and brisk. Summer days are usually warm, calm and with land breezes.
Harbours and Marinas
Contrary to their neighbours the Italians, Croatians understood well that Marinas can be a business and a service, and not a resource to be laughed at. Marinas are ubiquitous in Croatia. Clean, well sheltered, offering most services, well designed and not too offensive of the environment. They are not cheap, with a berth for a 40 footer at an average 50 euros a night. Most are managed by ACI. Some of them, like Hvar, Korcula and Dubrovnik, are very popular. So get there before 2 p.m.
The importance of realizing that happiness is hard to achieve with an empty stomach cannot be overstressed. In Croatia this can be achieved cheaply (although not as cheaply as expected) but alas do not expect Michelin stars. Fish is carefully funneled from the sea to restaurants and rarely finds its way to shops. Meat tends towards the ovine. Wine producers have a long way to go. The local cuisine is exceedingly close to the central european love for pigs and cabbages. Still the locals know their way around fish, prepare an excellent fish soup, and have probably the best prawns in the World. Chose your restaurants carefully and possibly carry as much goodies you can from Italy. Highlights on the dish: Gregada di Lesina, mutton, prawns and lobsters, local beer, small taverns in hidden bays with old ladies cooking fish.
Recommended restaurants of the Blue Prawn guide :
Isola di Solta – Maslinica: Rist ‘Conte Alberti’
Isola di Kornat: Opat
Lastovo, Zlakoplatica (N coast)- Triton
Coop. Pescatori (molo coperto) – Muggia (TS)
Fora per Fora via Diaz 9 - Trieste +39 040 9197873
Enoteca Marino – Trieste
Sidro – Veli Losinj – Porto Vecchio
Bepi – Novigrad (
Pirano (Slovenia) – ‘Fontane’
Istria and northern Croatia
Start from either the magnificent Trieste or Slovenia. Enjoy the history of Rovinj and Porec, then sail south and discover Tito's taste in his private island Brijun. From there stop to discover the ruins of Pula before crossing the Kvarner and enjoy the beauty of Veli and Mali Losinj. Then spend a couple of days getting lost in the island south of Kvar like Olib and Premuda.
If it’s nature, silence and landscapes what you are looking for, this wind-swept, rock-barren and sage-scented island is your destination. It looks like a long wave of stones recently emerged from the blue waters, where no trees had the time to grow. Sail along the W side and explore its many bays, among which we report Opat (the S-most) with its excellent restaurant, Lopatica and Vrulje. It’s hard to find an unpleasant corner here. Find your own private bay, also using the many small islands and coves lying W of it. We suggest letting go in a bay in the evening, hike up the hills and scan the view to find your favourite bay for the following day. The Kornati N.P. is not cheap, at 10 euros pppday, collected by employees with fast dinghies in most anchorages. Among the islands to visit we suggest Smokvica, Lavsa, Kornat, Zjrjie and Piskera.
The Outside passage: we strongly recommend sailing along the W-most line of the islands, with the open Adriatic to the W. The islands drop their balanced look, their wobbly look and acquire a more dramatic drop, a cliffy air and a rugged look. True, shelter is hard to achieve but it’s a great place to sail, to tack close to the granite walls and to have fun.
Telascica: the second NP of the area provides quite a different atmosphere being, as it is, mostly enclosed in a wide and fully sheltered bay with several coves on the side and a lake for hiking virtuosos. Cheaper than Kornati (and the guys carry away your rubbish as well, a great added value) at 7 euros pppd, it delivers the sensation of sailing in a Swiss lake, surrounded by pine trees, gentle slopes and cosy inlets.
Krka and Skradin: the shrewd sailor who rents his vessel in Sibenik has the lucky chance to start his cruise sailing up the Krka River as far as Skradin, whence he can join one of the tour boats and visit the Krka falls. Let go in front of Skradin, set your hook very well and explore. Skradin itself is definitely worth a mention, also for the food-curious. The falls in themselves are, even for a sub-junior globetrotter, a trifle overestimated.
Hvar to Dubrovnik
Hvar: widely acclaimed and heavily visited, the medieval Venetian town of Hvar is worth its fame. The Palmezana Marina is excellent and if you hike 5 mins up the hill and you eat at Meneghello(try their Gragada) you won't regret to be 15 minutes ferry away from the town. From Hvar the perfect itinerary should take you to Scedro, a small uninhabited island on the way to Korcula, another magnificent venetiant town. From Korcula sail towards Mljet: it's hard to find a more beautiful island around. Long, deeply forested, with blue bays, a lake in the middle with a monastery on it, protected by a NP status, and blessed by a perfect coastline. After Mljet the next stop is the perfect Dubrovnik, probably the most fascinating town in the Adriatic sea. On the way back towards Hvar and Split the perfect course should steer towards Lastovo: this is the favourite island among the local skippers, and it's not hard to understand why. There is a small cove right in the N side, basically a natural harbour. It might not be exceedingly cosy, but it's certainly genuine. And then finally Vis, another favourite of the local skippers. They warmly recommend the fishing village of Komiza and the blue caves of Mezuporat on the islet of Bisevo.
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