A spring sailing in Croatia is an ideal overture for the summer season. Coast and islands are still authentic and free of the unappealing high-season hubbub that inevitably follows just weeks later
Everything awakens in spring – and so do yachting fans in Croatia, almost ready to set sail into the blue and surrender to the touch of the breeze and the song of the waves. One of the many advantages of spring cruises is the company, as that season is preferred by more experienced boaters who know the rules of the game and for the most part respect them.
Experience the magic of spring sailing in Croatia, a paradise with stunning scenery, mild weather, and charming coastal towns.
What is spring like in Croatia?
Spring days are long enough, the weather is relatively stable, and the coast and islands are still authentic and free of the unappealing high season hubbub that inevitably follows just weeks later.
Colors, smells and sounds of March and April are still local, villages and towns are still relaxed, and mooring spots are still available everywhere you go, so it’s no wonder so many boaters choose to forgo late winter vacations and skip to spring break instead.
Unlike the manic summer weather with sudden storms, spring brings calmer, more predictable weather: either southerlies and rain or northerlies and sunshine. Spring storms are always announced and short, and can be braved in a marina.
Still, make sure your yacht is spring-ready, serviced, and equipped with heating, be it an air-conditioning unit or any other type of heating system, as nights and summers can get pretty cold.
Make sure your crew is ready, too, and knows their way around safety equipment, safety harnesses and vests. Also, make sure you have all the rules and scheduling ready before leaving the dock.
What to wear for spring sailing?
If you’ve chosen to sail the Adriatic in the spring, your list of necessary equipment must be a bit longer than in the summer and include wet suits, boots, gloves and hats, as well as more generous food and beverage provisions, as you can’t expect every restaurant in every cove to be open for the season.
Pay close attention to weather reports and weather forecasts, and be as ready as you can be for changes in weather conditions. Plan your route painstakingly, as marinas and other infrastructure might not be open yet.
Your spring cruise might be the best cruise of your life or maybe romantic honeymoon, be it just a run around the block during the Easter holidays or a long weekend at sea in early May, and you might find that you like sailing best in such peaceful, dreamy conditions.
We’ve taken a look at weather reports and, taking into consideration strong spring winds like mistral and burin, designed a lovely route taking you from Split to Dubrovnik, not forgetting the best islands between the two.
Spring break yacht charter in Croatia
In order to explore this area at its best, we provide free counseling regarding chartering and activities during your charter holidays. The team of experts that brings together Yachts Croatia is also at your service when creating your perfect charter experience in Croatia.
Best destinations for spring sailing
Many consider Maslinica to be the most beautiful place on the island of Šolta, and with the opening of the modern boutique marina Martinis Marchi, it became a mecca for both sailboats and luxury yachts. Their marina has received a number of recognitions and awards, and rightfully so, and it also boasts a long breakwater that protects the boats even from westerly winds.
This alone justifies the title of the safest marina on the island, and, even better, it’s open year-round. The first thing you’re likely to notice even from afar is the statuesque Martinis Marchi, a veritable mini castle whose true beauty comes through at night, when it’s lit by romantic lights. Make sure you visit the mansion and their restaurant, and then take a walk around this tiny, charming village.
In the village, you’ll have no problem replenishing your stock of basic groceries, as the local shops are open year-round, while the restaurants in Croatia slowly begin opening their doors at the beginning of April. After days aboard, stretch your legs and take a walk to the church of St. Nicholas on a hill, enjoying the view of the entire Maslinica and the surrounding islets.
Alternatively, continue to Šešula Bay, mere ten minutes away on foot. With prior notice, it is possible to visit the Olynthia Natura oil press or the Tvrdić family estate, where you can learn the secrets of Šolta’s traditional occupations: olive growing and beekeeping. Ask the staff of the marina in Maslinica to recommend an eventful tour of the island.
Milna, the safest port on the island of Brač, is often the first destination for boaters who, after setting sail from Split, prefer to spend the night safely moored. Hundreds of boats can take shelter in this hidden, deeply indented bay, so it is not surprising that, according to legend, the name Milna comes from the Latin words mille navi, a thousand ships. At the very entrance, there are several tiny bays bordered by pine trees, and in the very bay, there are three marinas.
The best protected among them is the ACI Marina Milna, at the very bottom of the bay. There, the only and by far the most dangerous threat to your peaceful dreams will be the thunderous bells of the nearby church – the symbol of Milna. In addition to numerous small churches, the place is dotted with two-story houses built several centuries ago while their owners, sea captains, sailed the world.
You can take a nice walk along the promenade stretching from the ACI marina towards the Vlaška marina and further towards the exit, as well as along the stone streets that are hidden from view from the sea. Boaters can find all the necessary provisions in Milna throughout the year because it is not only a tourist destination but a place that, even if it is sleepy, does have a life after the season.
In early April, the air is filled with the smells and aromas of delicious local dishes as almost all taverns and restaurants in the town open for business. Some ten kilometers away, the Senjković winery opens their doors on Labor Day (May 1st), and it’s well worth the visit – this popular winery is also a foodie paradise where every detail gets equal attention, be it food, wine, atmosphere, or smiles. This is truly a unique experience.
There are many attractive nautical destinations on the island of Hvar, but sailing through the narrow, winding fjord, at the end of which sits the smallest town on the island, Vrboska, remains one of the most beautiful experiences you can enjoy there.
You’ll know the spot by the large pine tree whose branches descend toward the water. This best sheltered bay on the island of Hvar only feels strong southerlies and easterlies and is generally so safe it’s sleepy.
The tiny Vrboska offers two possibilities for mooring: at the very entrance to the village or in the ACI marina at Vrboska. The third option is to wiggle in deeper and moor at the village waterfront. There you will feel the village come to life, as it does every spring, and the two brothers who hold the concession will be happy to help you with anything you might need.
In Vrboska, don’t miss the Fishing Museum and the imposing fortress church, and take a walk to the end of the picturesque, winding canal. The unique islet in the middle of the bay – also a protected natural creation – and numerous bridges that stretch across the channel have earned Vrboska the affectionate name ‘little Venice’.
The lovely terrace and the view of the aforementioned islet make the Škojić tavern a good choice for a dinner, as does the fact that it’s the only tavern in the village open year-round.
After exploring this picturesque place, continue along the beautiful promenade to Soline Bay on the northern side of the cove. There, you should definitely rent bicycles and take a pleasant four-kilometer ride through pine trees to another picturesque island town, Jelsa.
In the spring, in Jelsa and the nearby Stari Grad, there is a bit more hubbub, as those towns are not only larger but also more tourism-oriented. Among the many cultural sights, don’t miss a visit to the UNESCO location of Starogradsko polje, and the microcosm of Tvrdalj.
Popular among locals and visitors is the spring tradition of the ‘Za križen‘ procession on Maundy Thursday, so if you happen to be in Jelsa on that day, become part of another UNESCO heritage event.
The island of Vis, which in the last decade has become a real magnet for visitors arriving by every means possible, including boats of all types and sizes, reveals its most beautiful attributes in the spring months, when the island and the islanders are only slowly waking up from the meditative winter but are yet to jump head first into the hectic heat of the high season.
The safest mooring spot on this offshore island is Viška, unprotected from almost all wind, but with plenty of quiet corners for experienced boaters, in all weather conditions. During bigger storms or westerlies, it is by far the safest to be tied to one of the buoys in front of the gas station. With southerlies, the most peaceful area is Kut, the oldest part of the town of Vis, while Luka is recommended for westerlies.
In any case, Viška is large enough for hundreds of boats, either at anchor, buoy, or land moorings in Port and Kut. We definitely recommend a walk along one of the most picturesque Adriatic promenades, connecting Luka and Kut, and continuing farther towards the eastern entrance to Viška. There you’ll find the lovely Češka villa and the most beautiful beach on the entire island, Grandovac Beach.
The central part of the island of Vis is definitely worth visiting, and the road around the island is approximately 35 kilometers long, so it’s up to you whether you decide to pedal or drive. There are many local tours and excursions, and if you are in the mood for a slightly more active vacation, ask about the Vis Military Tour.
Vis is a foodie’s dream, with taverns like the long-standing Pojoda, a favorite of many a passing boater, or the tavern of the local owner, Senko Karuza. If you head inland in search of good food, we recommend the Magić tavern, the Fields of Grace Vineyards estate, and Roki’s agro-tourism, as well as the Senjanović vineyards. You can begin or end your Vis adventure with wine tasting because, why not?
Lucky vacationers who get to spend more than just a few days at sea in the spring – and find that the weather conditions allow it – will love sailing to Skrivena Luka on the island of Lastovo or visiting the towns of Korčula and Vela Luka on the nearby island of Korčula. Skrivena luka means hidden port. Is not only intimate but almost spacious and well protected from all winds.
There is additional mooring space in front of the restaurant Porto Rosso, available year-round while the restaurant opens around Easter. After enjoying everything this locally beloved tavern has to offer, you can take a trip inland to the village of Lastovo.
Leaving Lastovo, we recommend a trip to the town of Korčula, a place best known for various traditional events and festivals throughout the year. In the ACI marina Korčula, you will find a safe mooring in the spring, so feel free to explore this old town, lovingly called ‘little Dubrovnik’.
Foodies with deeper pockets will love the exclusive Michelin star restaurant Lešić Dimitri. Active vacationers will find the adventure of their dreams at Korcula Outdoor or in the charming Korčula archipelago between Korčula and Lumbarda.
Leaving the town of Korčula behind, turn your bow towards the most musical place in the Adriatic – Vela Luka, with its charming stone-cobbled streets. If you aren’t into music or prefer a quieter place, spend a night under the stars in the turquoise bay of Gradina, at the very entrance to the large Vela Luka Bay. If you’re lucky to arrive during calm weather, you’ll enjoy one of the most memorable spring nights of your life.
Best time to sail in Croatia
In recent years, the sailing season has stretched noticeably, and rather than starting in May and ending in September, it now begins in April (even as early as March) and ends in October. Depending on the weather forecast, the wind report, and your preferences, your spring cruise can also take you west from Split.
You can spend your spring sailing vacation in the Adriatic cruising towards Skradin, the Šibenik archipelago, the Kornati National Park, or other sports that remain open for business and safe year-round. Even if you don’t have a local skipper, don’t worry – you can get all the info you need on restaurants, small rural businesses, cafes, and bars everywhere you stop, so just come over and enjoy a pleasant spring sailing vacation.
When renting a sailboat and while sailing, you certainly do not want to leave anything to chance. If that is the case, the most important thing to choose is a trusted agent. Contact our charter expert Josipa at email@example.com.
Photos Ivo Biočina/HTZ, Imago Studio, Pointers Travel/TZ Jelsa