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Home Magazine Itinerary of one week in Croatia - Dalmatia

Itinerary of one week in Croatia - Dalmatia

   By François LILLET 

Sales Director of Filovent. Originally from Arcachon and passionate about the sea, I joined Filovent in 2015 and I sail regularly on monohulls, doing on average 3 cruises per year.

I will tell you about the experience of my cruise in Croatia, more precisely in the Dalmatian islands of the North. We explored this region in May with a group of 7 friends on a Dufour 460. To sail in these islands, the ideal is to depart from Split, Trogir or Agana, as these 3 bases are very near each other, and enable you to have the same itinerary. If you come by plane, the airport is that of Split, and you can reach the base by taxi in around 15 minutes, for about thirty euros.

The navigation times are short, mainly on sight, and the region is in general moderately windy, with a small thermal breeze from the West when the weather is hot.

Map of the itinerary of our cruise in May in Croatia - Dalmatia
Map of the itinerary of our cruise in May in Croatia - Dalmatia

  • Day 1 : Split / Trogir / Agana → Blue Lagoon Bay on the island of Drvenik Veli (6 to 15 miles, 1 to 3 hours' of sailing depending on the departure port)
Once everything was on board and the inventory was complete (take into account two hours for a well-done inventory, which can avoid causing headaches afterwards), we departed upwind to the island of Drvenik Veli, located 6 miles from Trogir / Agana (a little over one hour) and 15 miles from Split (around 3 hours), with the idea of dropping anchor in the anchorage named "Blue Lagoon". The sun sets on the horizon over the Adriatic, and at that time, the North-East breeze slackened, and the anchorage was peaceful, protected by the island.

Anchorage of the Blue Lagoon in Drvenik Veli
Anchorage of the Blue Lagoon in Drvenik Veli

  • Day 2 : Blue Lagoon Bay on the island Drvenik Veli Vis (25 miles, 5 hours)

It was only the next morning that the name of the anchorage made complete sense! We woke up in fact in the middle of very clear turquoise water, with a typically Dalmatian scenery and several islands around us. Watch out, we were told the anchorage was rather busy in the afternoon. After a morning breakfast and swim, we left for Vis, unfortunately with little wind before the rise of the thermal breeze in the afternoon. It was the longest crossing of the cruise, around 5 hours. Then we arrived at the island of Vis, in its main port, itself also called Vis, where we moored directly along the seafront. In the afternoon, there was time for a tour of the island in a scooter for some, and walking and reading for others, before leaving in a taxi to have dinner at Fort-George at the top of the hill which overhangs the port (no reservations). A dinner which prolonged in a festive evening for us! An incredible history with an exceptional view.

The bay of Vis with Fort-George at the bottom of the picture
The bay of Vis with Fort-George at the bottom of the picture

  • Day 3 :  Vis → anchorage of Budikovac→ Palmizana (7 miles, 1h30; then 13 miles, 2h30)

After this superb evening, we departed from Vis (the port) at 10 o’clock in the morning for the anchorage of Budikovac in the South-West of Vis (the island!). We anchored around 4 metres deep, with a sandy bottom and clear water, it was hard to resist the desire to take a dip. A very pretty anchorage, perfect for relaxing and preparing lunch, before putting back the sails and making the most of a good thermal wind, bringing us downwind to Palmizana, the largest of the "Infernal Islands" (Paklinski otoci in Croatian), very jagged and full of coves, which are opposite the town of Hvar (the main town of the island of Hvar).

Anchorage of Budikovac in the South-West of Vis
Anchorage of Budikovac in the South-West of Vis

Palmizana has a marina in the middle of the forest, very well-equipped, but rather expensive (a hundred Euro per night even in the low season, for a vessel of 12 metres). So we anchored in a cove nearby (there is no shortage of choice depending on the direction of the wind; it’s believed that a God, passionate about sailing, sculpted this island). The evening was spent peacefully on-board playing board games (I recommend Werewolf!).

Island of Palmiza, with the Marina and other small beaches
The wild island of Palmizana, the biggest of the Infernal Islands, with its small marina and its many coves

  • Day 4 :  Palmizana → Hvar (3 miles, half an hour)
We wanted to spend the day and the evening in Hvar, a few kilometres opposite Palmizana. A little like the Croatian Saint-Tropez, dominated by a large fortress build by the Venetians in the 16th century. So we crossed the channel between the two islands, and anchored around 300 metres from the port, from where it’s easy to reach land with the dinghy. If you want to be moored in town, this is possible, but ensure to arrive early because there are very few spaces. After an afternoon relaxing on-board, we set foot on land following the long promenade which runs alongside the island to the West, to enjoy a drink in one of the small bars situated at the water's edge. Then, very decided to admire the view from the fort, we retraced our footsteps and climbed the hill for the visit and to admire the exceptional view that it offers. So the day reached its end, and each of us was captivated by the contemplation of the sun setting far behind our previous stopovers Palmizana and Vis, while the lights of Hvar and of its yachts sit up gradually. Frankly magnificent!

Sunset over Hvar and its fort, with Palmizana and Vis in the distance
Sunset over Hvar and its fort, with Palmizana and Vis in the distance

  • Day 5 :  Hvar → Bol, on the island of Brač (18 miles, 3h30)

After this day almost without sailing, a lovely breeze got up at the end of the morning, and we were happy when we re-hoisted the sails to tack upwind between Hvar and Palmizana, before bearing away between the North coast of the island of Hvar and the South coast of the imposing island of Brač, the 3rd largest island in Croatia (pronounce it "Bratch"!). Rather mountainous, it’s known for its white stones of which the walls of the White House are made, and even Diocletian's Palace in the town centre of Split, one of the best-kept Antique buildings in the world, despite it being 1700 years old. We lunched late in the bay of Zukova on the North coast of the island of Hvar (rocky bottom), opposite Brač. While some people swam, our crew member, a fan of fishing, succeeded at last in capturing his first fish of the cruise, thus saving his honour! Then the wind really started to cool down, so we crossed the canal between the two islands in order to shelter in the very picturesque port of Bol, on Brač (sixty Euro per night).

Very pretty village of Bol with its picturesque port, on the South coast of Brač
Very pretty village of Bol with its picturesque port, in the South coast of Brač

  • Day 6 :  Bol, on the island of Brač → Beach of Zlatni Rat → Bay of Šešula, on the island of Šolta (22 miles, 4 hours)

The next morning, the sun was very hot, and the crew split into two groups: those who went to walk along the coast amongst the pines to reach Zlatni Rat beach, 2 kilometres to the West, and those who stayed on-board the boat to return by sea and drop anchor there! As for me, I really liked this path under the pines, which reminded me a little of Péreire on the Basin of Arcachon. The iconic beach of Zlatni Rat, or "Golden Horn", is a real geological curiosity, which is worth the detour, despite being very busy. A beach with white pebbles in the shape of a point 400 metres long, the shape of which varies throughout the year depending on the currents. Us pedestrians went back to the boat by swimming, taking care to keep our things out of the water (they wouldn't untie the dinghy just to keep us from getting them wet!), then after 2 hours of relax, we started the engine to go towards the west of the island of Solta, where at the end of day we took a buoy in the deep bay of Šešula, well-sheltered. A lady approached us in the dinghy and offered us the buoy if we dined in her restaurant (otherwise, a €50 charge).

Beach of Zlatni Rat, near Bol
Beach of Zlatni Rat, near Bol

  • Day 7 :  Bay of Šešula, on the island of Šolta → Split / Trogir / Agana (16 miles, 3 hours)

We woke up in this very lovely bay of Šešula ("Chechula"!), the last anchorage of this fantastic holiday (I can’t, unfortunately, find any photos of this place which are royalty-free, and I didn't take them myself). It was necessary to refill the boat with fuel before returning it at 5:00 pm. So to avoid the traditional queue at the pomp from the departure base, we went along the North coast of Šolta to go and get diesel at the small port of Rogač, before a final tack to the departure port (Trogir in our case). Once the inventory was done, we decided to take a taxi boat to spend the evening in the mediaeval city of Trogir (accessible in 15 minutes by taxi from Split or Agana). Rather touristy, but charming with its paved streets and its fortifications, built on a small island. The holidays were clearly coming to an end... Back on the boat, we spent the end of the evening debating about the next destination, before leaving the marina the next morning at 9:00 am.

Small mediaeval town of Trogir built on the water.
Small mediaeval town of Trogir built on the water.

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