For tourists in the know, the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia has grown a popular option to the pricier and more congested Mediterranean Coast. And a Croatian cruise aboard a small luxury yacht is one of the most certified ways to traverse the beautiful and exciting region.
To navigate Croatia is to cruise from one UNESCO World Heritage site to another, settling along the way to swim at isolated beaches, explore uninhabited islands, and roam streets lined with charming cafés and Venetian architecture.
Deluxe cruises of the Croatian coastline will show why the region has become the most recent European tourism hot spot.
Croatia sailing voyages include city tours of UNESCO World Heritage sites, visits to small island fishing villages, and lots of time spent relaxing on the beach and bathing in crystalline waters. Most Adriatic cruises will highlight some or all of the destinations listed below:
A usual departure point for island-hopping cruises of the Dalmatian Coast, lurks a wealth of creative and historical treasures within its walls.
A UNESCO World Heritage site and operating port city, Split combines the ancient and the modern, making it one of the most captivating and evocative cities in Europe. Dropping with Roman relics, Split’s claim to distinction is Diocletian’s Palace.
Though recorded back to the year 305, this is no crumbling museum. The Palace is a breathing part of the city, with laundry flopping from balconies and music flowing out from bustling restaurants.
The Makarska Coast, also recognized as the “Makarska Riviera ” is Croatia’s most famous mainland resort. Highlighting excellent beaches and a magnificent mountain backdrop, Makarska also gives some of the region’s best wines. Roaming the town of Makarska offers the chance to visit numerous churches and cathedrals, as well as two old monasteries. Visitors looking for adventure activities can travel to nearby Cetina for white water rafting and ziplining.
Wrapped in thick forest and mountains is the Korčula Town. It is known as both the birthplace of Marco Polo and as one of the loveliest towns in the region.
The walled city has terracotta roofs that seem to burn in the sun, conflicted with the blue of the encompassing Adriatic sea. Sun worshipers will discover a series of small beaches east of town, while history buffs can remain within the town walls to visit its several churches, art shops, and the Marco Polo House.
Cloaked in dense woods and punctuated with limestone mountains, a third of Mljet’s facade consists of the Mljet National Park. It is the nature lover’s elysium.
Visitors can walk or cycle through the park or take a boat ride on one of its pair salt-water lakes. The island is also teeming with wildlife, including wild boar, hare, and deer, while underwater is grouper and the preserved monk seal.
Mljet’s coast is dotted with stunning beaches, including Saplunara, at its southeastern tip that is deemed one of the best beaches in the region.
It is the beloved holiday getaway for Croatians, and it’s not hard to see why. In addition to shimmering coves and sweet-smelling lavender fields, Hvar Island stars Hvar Town, the ideal spot to wander the Old Town, cherish Venetian architecture, and hike to the hilltop Fortica to experience the views.
After a gastronomic meal at one of the town’s restaurants, set out to traverse the pristine beaches of the nearby Pakleni Islands before going back at sundown to appreciate dancing and cocktails at an after hours beach bar.
Stari Grad rests at the end of a long bay and toils as a quieter, more comfortable alternative to Hvar Town. Established by the Greeks in 384 BC, Stari Grad is the oldest town in the region. Outside this large and charming town lay fields still split the ancient Greek method of parcelling.
Vis was off limits to tourists until 1989 because of its status as a military installation. Now, visitors can experience this largely unscathed island, with its magnificent beaches and an awesome inland mountain chain. The town of Vis features Venetian-Gothic architecture and the white-walled Our Lady of Spilica. The island is also home to the remains of Issa, an ancient Greek town and the oldest urban city in Croatia.
Bol is a small town on the island of Brač and, though a modest fishing village, has become a favorite tourist stop due to its closeness to Zlatni Rat — one of the most iconic shores in the Adriatic. Like a blade rushing into the sea, this golden sand beach shifts shape with the tide. In addition to swimming, the waters and conditions here are ideal for windsurfing.
It typically serves as the starting or end point of Dalmatian Coast cruises, but it is worth allocating an extra day or two to traverse this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Dubrovnik is distinguished both for its huge Old City Walls and as a stand-in for King’s Landing, the fictional metropolis on the Game of Thrones television series. City tours will lead visitors along the walls or to Game of Thrones-related places.
Visitors looking for a spot to enjoy a coffee or glass of local wine can go to the pedestrianized Stradun or ride the city cable car for sumptuous views of the city and surrounding sea.
Croatian Holiday Cruises
Explore the ancient towns of Trogir, Sibenik, Zadar and Split and sail through the Kornati National Park on this Croatian shore cruise from Split, with return flights from the UK.
See stunning islands, ancient cities and breathtaking natural charm on this relaxing cruise along the spectacular Dalmatian coast of Croatia.
Sail along the magnificent Dalmatian coastline to Trogir with its impressive city walls, classic waterfront, grand cathedral and abundance of ancient sites. Enjoy a guided trip to Zadar, the ancient capital of Dalmatia, and possibly end the day with a glass of the maraschino liqueur which has been exhibited here for 500 years.
Enjoy a swim stop at a scenic bay before spending time exploring the pretty town of Rab. Sail the crystal clear waters of the Kvarner Gulf and drop anchor at Silba or Olib, before reaching Sali, a charming fishing town surrounded by olive groves.
The following stop is Telascica, one of the most fascinating natural harbours in the Adriatic, from where you can take a walk to the shores of Lake Mir, a natural salt water lake. Il Mare then navigates through the stunning Kornati archipelago, stunning islands that provide a striking contrast to the deep blue waters of the Adriatic. And then you can spend the final night in historic Split.
Cruise the charming Croatian coast and experience a call at the walled town of Kotor in Montenegro on this relaxing journey under full sail on a five-masted Royal Clipper.
Explore the highlights of Croatia and Montenegro on this genuine tall ship cruise from Venice.
Cherish the magnificent Roman and Venetian remains in Zadar’s Old Town, before cruising to scenic Hvar, which is distinguished for its lavender fields dotted around the island. UNESCO-listed Kotor is a magnificent fortified town with a labyrinth of winding streets, while Dubrovnik is perceived as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” That’s because its majestic walls are a symbol of its proud history.
See Vis’ key sights including the glowing Blue Grotto and ancient city walls, and spend a day traversing the fishing port of Rovinj, faced by the striking Baroque hilltop church of St Euphemia.
Traverse the Dalmatian islands separated along the Croatian coastline on this comfortable small ship cruise, with return flights and VIP door-to-door service.
Croatia’s rugged, island-speckled coastline is ideal for exploring by boat. Sail to forest-backed bays, seafront towns, and sprawling vineyards. You can also sample fresh seafood, drink homegrown wine, and learn about local culture as you travel Croatia’s big draws. This includes the refined Hvar, ancient Dubrovnik, and beachy Split.
Travel the lesser-known jewels and cruise the Cetina River in Omis, explore Korcula’s pine forests and roam through the little fishing village of Trstenik.
Explore the highlights of the Croatian coast including ancient Zadar, the remarkable Krka Waterfalls National Park, and picturesque Dubrovnik on this magnificent cruise from Opatija on board modern Deluxe and Deluxe Superior ships.
Combine your stylish ship in Opatija and sail south along the Croatian coastline to Dubrovnik, steering in the famous ports of Zadar, Sibenik, Split and Korcula, as well as the breathtaking Krka Waterfalls.
Fancy a guided tour of Rab, known as the ‘island of love’, with its magnificent palaces, churches and squares. Proceed to medieval Zadar, surmounted by an imposing Basilica and home to The Roman Forum and St Donat church, dating back to the 9th century.
Enjoy an extraordinary swim under cascading waterfalls at the impressive Krka Waterfalls National Park, explore the magnificent UNESCO-listed Cathedral of St, James in Sibenik, and discover one of the last surviving wetland deltas in Europe in Metkovic.
See a wealth of flora and fauna, and witness the traditional way of life of the Neretva people, and hit the fascinating Narona archaeological museum. Take a stroll along the picturesque streets of Korcula before mooring overnight in Dubrovnik, which is labeled as “heaven on earth” by writer George Bernard Shaw.
During this excellent cruise, many evenings are spent ashore, letting you sample the local cuisine and nightlife, and take in exceptional sun sets.
Experience a 3-night stay in the Croatian city of Makarska with visits to lovely Omis and Mostar, before rejoining your ship for a relaxing cruise sailing in the stunning islands and towns of the Dalmatian coast. Covers return flights from London Heathrow and home transfer service.
Explore Croatia’s hidden gems on this unique itinerary beginning with a 3-night hotel stay in the beautiful city of Makarska, before traveling the Dalmatian coastline on board a small ship.
During your stay in Makarska, travel to pretty Omis for a boat trip up the Cetina River, and have a visit to Mostar, home to the Stari Most (or Old Bridge) which bends over the Neretva River. You’ll then go to Split to board your ship for a relaxing cruise along the scenic coastline.
View the sights of Trogir and traverse the small island of Zlarin, famous for its red coral. Learn about Zadar’s past and take in the natural elegance of Sali, with its old olive trees and stunning parks before sailing past Kornati National Park.
Visit Sibenik, a town with a captivating history, and traverse the awe-inspiring Krka National Park by boat. You can follow it by taking a walk around the cascading falls.
Continue to the grand Bibich Winery for wine-tasting and admire unbelievable panoramic views from the small town of Primosten, which is famous for its grape vines that grow out of stone.
Split, clustered around the impressive fortified Roman Palace of Emperor Diocletian, is the last port of call on this superb cruise.
A brand new 7-night cruise traversing the medieval wealth of the Dalmatian Coast and Montenegro, with highlights including UNESCO-listed Dubrovnik and the wonderful island of Korcula. Covers return flights from the UK.
Cruise from the well-known city of Dubrovnik along the captivarives Croatian coast to Montenegro on this relaxing holiday on board motor yacht Callisto.
View the sites of UNESCO-listed Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, and explore the majestic Diocletian’s Palace in the town of Split before navigating to the quaint island of Rab with its wonderful churches. Proceed to Sibenik, gateway to the picturesque Krka National Park, and the grassy island of Hvar, home to pine forests, vineyards, orchards and lavender fields.
Take the chance to join a wine tasting on the lovely island of Korcula before sailing the breathtaking fjord of Kotor Bay in Montenegro to the magnificent medieval city of Kotor.
Engage yourself in Croatian culture on this extravagant cruise to the medieval cities of Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik and the scenic island of Hvar.
Explore spectacular architecture and exceptional natural beauty on this superb cruise to the highlights of Croatia.
Meet your ship in Venice and head to Opatija, a picture-perfect seaside retreat town. Walk along the coastal promenade distinguished as the Lungomare or relish the renowned cuisine and exquisite wines of the region. Proceed to Sibernik with its various churches, fortresses, and squares.
With a late stop in port, traverse its side streets and find the ideal restaurant for dinner.
In Split, discover the Diocletian’s Palace, which dates back to the 4th century and walk along the spectacular promenade before sailing on to Dubrovnik, also known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” Get lost within the walls of this well-preserved medieval city, which is regarded as Croatia’s most fascinating city.
Unwind in sunny Hvar and marvel at the charming harbour and isolated beaches that this resort town has to offer. And then explore Zadar, where old meets new. Finally, travel to Venice and encounter one of the world’s most enchanting towns with its outstanding bridges and famous Grand Canal.
Board the brand new superyacht Emerald Azzurra on this relaxing cruise showcasing the treasures of the Croatian Coast, placed against a backdrop of the glistening Adriatic.
Explore the highlights of the glistening Croatian coast on this relaxing yacht cruise.
Traverse the idyllic island of Krk in the shadow of St Mary’s Cathedral, and tour the beautiful city of Zadar, where ancient ruins mix seamlessly with modern masterpieces.
Medieval Sibenik is notable for its UNESCO-listed cathedral, while the lavender-scented island of Hvar has been entitled the Saint Tropez of Croatia.
Enjoy a genuine taste of Dalmatia in lively Split, home to the remarkable Diocletian’s Palace, and walk along the narrow streets of Korcula’s evocative Old Town past medieval churches and squares.
Best Time to Sail Croatia
Croatia’s Dalmatian coast has a definite peak season and off season.
Croatia in June to August is the peak season, when the sun is blazing but crowds are bigger and costs are generally higher. Croatia in October to April is the off season, when several shops, restaurants, and hotels are closed and choices for island hopping are limited.
The best time to cruise Croatia’s coast and islands is May and September, the shoulder months when rates are sometimes lower, crowds are thinner and facilities are still open.
How to Get to Croatia
Croatia’s coast is sustained by three international airports, in Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. All three airports can be reached by straight flight from any one of over a dozen European nations. Flights coming from outside Europe will need to connect in Zagreb or another European airport before proceeding to the coast.
Where Do Croatia Cruises Depart From?
Sailing cruises of the Dalmatian coast normally depart from Split or Dubrovnik. If your cruise departs from Split, you will have to fly into the Split International Airport. On the other hand, Dubrovnik has its own international airport.
Croatia Cruise Tips
- Plan ahead as Croatia has a certain peak season and off season, which may alter the availability of deluxe cruises of the Adriatic. Luxury cruises during the peak season should be scheduled far in advance. During the off season definite cruise options may not be available.
- Determine the right trip for you. If you’re searching for adventure activities, make sure to include Mljet Island and a trip to Cetina, near Makarska in your itinerary. Art lovers will want to allocate a little extra time in Split, while those expecting to party until the sun comes need to ensure a stay on Hvar Island.
- It is suggested to arrive a day or two before your small ship cruise of Croatia to evade unforeseen delays.
- The Dalmatian Coast in the summer can be very warm and bright, so sunscreen, sunglasses and a large hat are musts.
- The local money in Croatia is the Kuna. ATMs are effortless to find and larger hotels, restaurants and shops will take credit cards, while small shops and accommodations will take only cash.
- Citizens of the European Union can reach Croatia using their ID cards, while other visitors will be required to bring a passport valid for three months past the date of departure. Visas are generally not needed for most visitors visiting for ninety days or less. However, tourists from China, India, South Africa, Russia and Turkey will be required to apply for a visa.
Cruise the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, touri historic walled cities, and explore scenic towns and yacht-filled harbours lined with traditional bars and cafes.
Journey along the Croatia coast on any range of sailing, luxury or casual gulet cruises from marvelous Venice, historic Dubrovnik, or one of the ports on the Adriatic coastline from Italy to Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania.