If you are looking for an island escape, Croatia is the best destination to get the well-deserved rest and relaxation you need. Fantastic food and wine, enchanting towns, pristine beaches and stunning natural landscapes… Croatia has it all. The nation of islands is also a haven for sailing. The crystal clear and calm waters, warm and sunny climate, and pure, natural beauty has attracted sailors to Croatia since ancient times and continues to delight both experienced and first-time sailors today. Sailing gives you the freedom to explore all of Croatia’s famous sites, historic towns and lesser known treasures in a unique and unparalleled way. With over 1000 islands and islets, you may be wondering which ones to sail to. Get inspired with Zizoo’s guide to the Top 5 Islands to sail to in Croatia.
Each of these alluring islands offer wondrous parks and natural landscapes, charming villages, rich gastronomic and cultural traditions as well as some of the best beaches in the entire Mediterranean. Conveniently located between the main cities of Split and Dubrovnik, these 5 islands can easily be explored by boat, making for a perfect getaway, whether you are seeking a day trip from the mainland or are planning to island hop over the course of a few days.
Brac is the largest of the central Dalmatian islands with the highest elevation. If you are searching for one of the best beaches of the world, you’ve come to the right place. Head to the southern coast where you’ll find Ziatni rat in Bol. Often referred to as the Golden Horn, Ziatni rat Beach is famed for its soft white sand and enchanting crystal clear waters. Foodies will rejoice after trying Brac’s wines and olive oils. The island’s cultivation of olives flourished under Venetian rule in the 17th century when the Venetian senate declared that the island be covered with olive trees. Today, Brac remains a major producer of olives and olive oil in Croatia.
Brac is also famous for its gorgeous white limestone (Stina) that can be found throughout the island. Stina has been favored by rulers since ancient times, having been used to build the Palace of Diocletian and several palaces throughout Croatia. You can also find traces of Brac all around the world, including the Houses of Parlament in Vienna and Budapest and the White House in Washington, D.C..
Hvar is the most popular island to visit in Croatia and is a fantastic place for those seeking to enjoy quaint towns and impressive architecture, great beaches, rich biodiversity or vibrant nightlife. Hvar also boasts 2,800 hours of sunshine per year, making it an terrific place to visit all throughout the year. Enjoy the beautiful villages and beaches during the day and take a seat at one of the many bars for an evening of celebrity spotting and people watching. Commonly referred to as the “new St. Tropez”, Hvar has become Croatia’s trendiest destination, attracting celebrities, yachters and party lovers. The whole island comes alive in the summer as festivities last well into the morning hours.
The island is also deeply tied to its agricultural past. Also called the “island of wine”, Hvar continuously celebrates one of its most loved products throughout the year. Make sure to check out the island’s wine festival that takes place the end of August. Hvar is also home to the Stari Grad Plain, Croatia’s seventh UNESCO World Heritage Site, an impressive cultural landscape that has sustained its original agricultural purpose since the ancient times. The heavenly scents of lavender and fresh herbs will surely sweep you off your feet as you explore the landscape of this wonderful island.
Having been cut off from the outside world for many years, Vis offers visitors today unspoilt landscapes and cultural traditions that are deep-rooted in the island’s history. It is the perfect island for those seeking a romantic escape, outstanding gastronomy and, of course, gorgeous beaches. Vis offers a long and somewhat complicated history, having come under the rule of many empires, including the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, French and Austrians due to the island’s strategic location on the open sea. Vis is the farthest reaching island from the Dalmatian coast and is surrounded by an archipelago of beautiful smaller islands and islets that are worth exploring. The archipelago has recently become an important research center for bottlenose dolphins, which are often spotted around these smaller islands.
Food and wine lovers will be pleased to know that Vis’ long history of fishing and winegrowing is still an important aspect of daily life today. On the island, you will find Komiza, which is considered to be the cradle of fishing in the Adriatic. Vis is also the place where it is believed the ancient Greeks planted the first grapevine in Dalmatia and Croatia. Make sure to try a glass of Vugava, Croatia’s best-known white wine before exploring Vis’ spectacular beaches, including Stiniva, which has constantly been rated among Europe’s best beaches.
Hop over from Vis to enjoy one of the Croatia’s most beloved islands, Korcula. It is was named “Korkyra Melania” (“Black Korcula”) by the ancient Greeks because of the island’s dense pine forests, which still cover a major part of the island today. Located a little further out to sea, Korcula remains more secluded than the islands of Brac and Hvar, making for a more relaxing retreat. The island also invites you to discover its many hidden beaches, coves and bays like the sandy beach of Vela Pržina in Lumbarda or the pebble beaches near Pupnat, which are best explored by boat.
Korcula Town is truly a delight. Dubbed the “little Dubrovnik”, the Old Town features many beautiful, well-preserved medieval squares, churches and palaces. The warm and hospital people of Korcula are proud of their cultural heritage who have kept many of their amazing traditions alive. Today, six different villages in Korcula continue to perform alluring sword dances that originated in the16th and 17th centuries. The incredible mock sword battles are truly a sight not to be missed.
Mljet is Croatia’s greenest island and one that is well-protected through the designation of the Mljet National Park, which covers most of the island. The peaceful island is surrounded by picturesque beaches and areas rich in marine life, making it an ideal location for nature lovers. Mljet is also known for its two lovely saltwater lakes. Take time to admire the historic Benedictine monastery on a small island in the middle of Veliko Jezero lake. Mljet is also an island of legends and history, serving as a setting for Homer’s Odyssey and the shipwreck of St. Paul the Apostle. Explore the Cave of Odysseus, a magnificent geomorphological phenomena and legendary spot where the Greek hero took shelter for several years. The island also offers several fantastic wineries and is well-known for it’s goat cheese. Mljet is the perfect place to end your sailing trip before you head back to the mainland.
This post was made possible by Zizooboats, a boat rental marketplace that helps you find the right boat in your desired location and book it as easily as a hotel room. Zizoo’s founders and crew love the sea, the wind and the incredible sense of freedom you feel on a boat. That’s why they founded Zizoo.com – for anyone who wants the opportunity to experience this feeling, too. They aim to inspire, educate and delight sea and boat enthusiasts through sharing maritime stories, nautical trends and sailing tips while helping them plan an unforgettable sailing holiday in nearly 30 different countries around the world.