Guide for boat rentals in Croatia
Croatia is an ancient republic that belonged to the extinct Yugoslavia and whose coasts are bathed by the Adriatic Sea, sharing the maritime border with Italy. The Balkan country is among the 20 best tourist destinations in the world thanks to its pleasant Mediterranean climate, its excellent services, its rich historical and artistic heritage and its fabulous coasts. The Croatian tourism industry is specially concentrated on the Adriatic coast, which has spectacular beaches, towns steeped in history and calm waters where you can enjoy a sailing holiday with family or friends. Without a doubt, boat rental in Croatia is one of the great attractions of this beautiful country.
Croatia's has more than 1,185 islands scattered along its maritime territory, of which only 47 are inhabited. In them, and in the main populated areas of the coast, you can discover the most beautiful towns in Croatia. There, you can find an abundant nautical tourism with more than 16,000 moorings, 116 Blue Flag beaches and numerous natural and reserves and national parks that provide a healthy marine ecosystem free of pollution. Sailing through Croatia is a pleasure that a sea lover should not miss.
One thing to keep in mind when renting a boat in Croatia is that the country's official currency is not the euro, but the kuna. One kuna is equivalent to 0.13 euros, and you can exchange money at banks, post offices, exchange offices, hotels, camping sites and tourism agencies.
The best areas for boat rental in Croatia
The most popular places for boat rentals in Croatia, whether for a holiday with family or friends, and where the offer is widest, are: Split with the islands of Central Dalmatia (Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula , Solta), Zadar with the Kornati Islands, Sibenik, Dubrovnik (Mljet), the Istrian peninsula and Primorje-Gorski Kotar.
How to travel to Croatia
Croatia has 9 airports in its territory, 7 of which are international.
If you plan to spend a boat holiday in Croatia, the closest airports to the main boat rental areas are: Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Rijeka and Pula.
Split airport is the closest to Sibenik, less than 40 kilometers away.
If Istria is the place you have chosen for a boat rental in Croatia, the closest airport is Pula, although there is also the possibility of flying to Venice (Italy) and then traveling to Istria by ferry.
If your destination to find a boat for rent is Primorje-Gorski Kotar county, the airport of its administrative center, Rijeka, is the one that suits you best.
What type of boat should I rent?
For your family sailing holidays or your vacation sailing with friends you have different types of rental boats: catamarans, sailboats, yachts, gulets or motorboats.
The choice of one or another boat will depend on what your needs are.
Normally, sailing boats, like catamarans, sailboats and gulets, are rented for full weeks from Saturday to Saturday. Motorboats and some motor yachts can be rented for days.
Climate, winds and sailing season in Croatia
Some of the factors that you should know before renting a boat in Croatia are its weather conditions.
While the north has a continental climate and the central region a mountain climate, the Adriatic area, where you can charter a boat, has a pleasant Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and sunny, hot and dry summers.
The best season for sailing in Croatia is from the end of April to October. In late spring and early fall, temperatures are milder, winds are friendlier, and waters are calmer. However, the lively high season is during the summer time.
Some winds that you will find are the dry and cold Bora from the northeast and the Burin from the north, in addition to the sudden Nereva and the constant Mistral from the northwest.
Boat holidays in Croatia: what you shouldn’t miss
Spending a week on a charter boat in the Balkan country will allow you to get to know some of the most beautiful villages and beaches in Croatia, as well as their residents, their history and their culture.
The essential places to visit in Croatia are Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir, Zadar, Pula or Zagreb. All of them are full of historical monuments, great medieval walls, fun tourist attractions, lively terraces, bars, restaurants and a natural environment worth admiring.
In addition, renting a boat in Croatia allows you to discover the numerous islands of the Adriatic, many of which are only accessible by sea.
The best beaches in Croatia to discover by boat
Most of the 116 beaches in Croatia have all the services you could ask for: bars and restaurants with delicious Croatian cuisine, spaces for children and the possibility of practicing the most varied water sports such as snorkelling, diving or paddle-surfing.
All the coastal areas of the country have excellent beaches with crystal clear waters and unknown coves.
In Istria, stands out the naturist beach of Funtana and the cove Lone de Rovinj, with a more familiar atmosphere.
In Kvarner the different beaches of the islands are very well known, such as the beach of Rajska, on the island of Rab, or the beach of Vela, on the island of Krk.
Zadar along with the Kornati islands, has some gems like the Sakarun beach in Dugi Otok.
Likewise, the areas of Dubrovnik, Sibenik and Split are full of beaches where you can practice the most varied water sports, in a natural environment that seems like taken from a postcard. Good examples are the beaches of Zlatni Rat in Brac, or the beaches of the Pakleni Islands in the Split area.
What license do I need to rent a boat in Croatia?
To charter a boat without a skipper in Croatia you must have a sailing license issued by the authorities of your country and which is internationally recognized. Additionally, it is necessary to have a radio operator rating.
If you do not have a sailing license, your option is to rent a boat with a skipper. The salary to be paid to a skipper in Croatia is variable, being on average around 150 euros a day for sailboats and around 200 euros for yachts and catamarans.
Do I need a mooring for my boat holiday in Croatia?
If you plan to rent a boat in Croatia for one day, you will not need any mooring. However, if your intention is to spend a few days or a week on a charter boat to cruise around the Croatian coast, you will have to think about where you want to spend the nights.
Croatia has a good number of coves to anchor, many of them have mooring buoys, although you can also choose the option of renting a mooring in one of its marinas. If your option is the latter, remember to make the reservation in advance, especially in high season.
Best time to book a boat in Croatia
Usually, sailing boats such as catamarans and sailboats are booked well in advance. The best time to book a charter boat in Croatia with a view into the summer high season would be until the months of April or May. It is until these dates when you can find greater availability.
However, if you want to rent a boat at the best price, we recommend you to book from October to the end of January, where you will find the best early booking discounts.
During the summertime it is also possible, although more complicated, to find some good last-minute offers, although the availability is much lower.
Usually, it is possible to rent motor yachts and motor boats by days and these can be booked with less notice.