Whether you are short on time, traveling from very far away or just hate sitting long hours in the car, flying to Croatia is always an option to get to your sailing start point. Luckily Croatia has quite a few airports spread across the coast, this means you can fly straight to your destination instead of heading to the capital where the country’s biggest airport Dr. Franjo Tudjman is located.
As you might know, there are four interesting areas to sail while in Croatia, and each has its interesting sides as well as its main coastal airport, so get ready and prepare for take-off.
In this region, there are a number of marinas you can easily reach from the Split airport, including:
Split Airport is located just outside the town of Kastela, towards Trogir. It is only 20 km to reach Split, and only 6 km to Trogir, pretty close, right? If you are heading to one of the marinas located in Trogir the easiest way there would be to take a taxi that should cost around 150 HRK [20 EUR]. To reach the town of Split you can either take the direct bus line to the main bus station for 30 HRK [4 EUR] or a taxi that will cost you around 250 HRK [34 EUR].
Taking this route is definitely a good choice, especially if this is your first time sailing in Croatia. Not only do you start your trip from Trogir, a beautiful coastal town set within medieval walls on a tiny island, or Split, the city Roman Emperor Diocletian considered so beautiful he built his palace there, but you also get to see the islands of Brac, Hvar, Vis, and Korcula. When it comes to sailing in Croatia, this can be considered the Greatest Hits collection. This route offers you a perfect balance between the nightlife and buzz of island towns and quiet nature in its many bays. But this beauty does not come without a price tag, so be prepared if you want to harbor yourself in the town of Hvar or Komiza, docking fees can be pricey. One thing important to mention is the number of great fish restaurants in the area, so if you’re a foodie you won’t regret this choice.
Dubrovnik has always been an attractive tourist destination, but since they shot the Game Of Thrones series where it has become the destination for hundreds of visitors a day wanting to experience a walk down its medieval walls. The walls were built between the 12th and 17th century and are still very well preserved, so you actually get an impression of how the world would have looked in the times of knights.
Flying to Dubrovnik is never a bad idea if you want to start your adventure with some history. Sail out from the ACI Marina Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful marinas in Croatia or ACI Marina Slano.
ACI Marina Dubrovnik is situated just 6 km outside of the old walled city of Dubrovnik, and 22 km from the Dubrovnik airport.
To reach the ACI Marina Dubrovnik from the airport you can use public transport or take a taxi. If you take the Dubrovnik airport shuttle bus it will bring you to the main bus station for 40 HRK [5.40 EUR] and from there you take a local bus line to the ACI Marina Dubrovnik for 15 HRK [2 EUR.] The second, faster option is to take a taxi from the airport to the marina, which will cost you around 400 HRK [approx. 54 EUR.] If you are heading to the ACI Marina Slano you hop on a bus from Dubrovnik for 40 HRK [approx. 5.4 EUR.] or grab a cab for about 600HRK [approx. 81 EUR.]
Whatever your choice is, make sure you are ready to sail around some untouched nature because South Dalmatia is full of it. Not only do you get to see the historic Korcula and the longest peninsula in Croatia, Peljesac, but you will also sail around Mljet National Park and the protected islands of Lastovo, both full of breathtaking views and surrounded with crystal clear waters. This route is definitely a bit quieter than traveling along the central coast but offers a deeper dive into the cultural and natural wonders that live here. Not to mention the food. You’ll find great fish and some locally grown oysters to spice up the atmosphere.
As you might have noticed we started at the center, went south and now we are sailing our way up the coast again. North Dalmatia’s biggest city is Zadar and that is where our airport for this route is located.
The airport of Zadar is small but well connected, only 11km from the city of Zadar and close to a number of surrounding marinas, including:
To reach the city of Zadar from the airport you can take the bus to the main bus station in Zadar for 25HRK [3.40 EUR], or wave to one of the taxi drivers, casually waiting for his next ride, that will charge 150HRK [20 EUR] for those of you who like to be fast on your way.
Although North Dalmatia might not be your first choice for a sailing adventure you’ll be happy you thought twice. This area is full of small, beautiful islands and reefs and is definitely not as crowded as Central Dalmatia, which gives you the opportunity to wake up in your own private crystal blue bay or sail among the islands of Kornati Nacional park at sunrise with only a few other boats far on the horizon.
What you also find here easily is little family restaurants and hidden culinary gems for a price lower than in the more southern parts and equally as tasty and authentic. If this is not enough to persuade you there is another breathtaking sight on this route, the south side of Dugi otok or Long Island, the longest island in Croatia. Its coast, with cliffs up to 160 meters, provides a majestic feeling when you’re sailing alongside them. For the end, I’ll let you in on a little secret, if you’ve ever wondered where are the dolphins in Croatia hiding? you might have guessed right; far away from too many boats and too many humans, North Dalmatia is the place. So keep your eyes open, and you might just get a peek at one during sunset.
At the end of our tour we sail up to the very north, to Istra and Kvarner, very popular areas for many tourists, but in sailing terms not as visited as the rest, which does not mean any less attractive, and by the end of this article you will find out why. But first, let’s figure out how to get around in this area.
Popular Marinas in Istra and Kvarner are:
The main airport of Kvarner, Rijeka airport, is actually located on the island of Krk, just 17 km from the city of Rijeka, and you don’t even need to take a ferry, there is a bridge connecting the island to land. To Rijeka, you can take a shuttle bus that will get you from the airport to the main bus station for 50HRK [6.8 EUR]. Taking a taxi is another option, and there is even a price list on the official airport website, in Croatian though. A ride to Rijeka will cost you 255HRK [35EUR], and a ride to Marina Punat 300HRK [41EUR].
The second airport in this area, the one located on the peninsula of Istria, is Pula airport. To reach Pula, located just 7km away, you can get a shuttle bus from the airport for 23HRK [3EUR]. To reach Rovinj you will need to stretch your route another 38 km and pay 120HRK [16EUR]. If you decide to take a taxi you can find all the information about the rates on the website of Taxi Pula airport, and this time even in English. To reach Pula it will cost you 120HRK [15EUR] or 350HRK [50EUR] to reach Rovinj. There is also an option of taking a taxi from Pula airport to Punat Marina on Krk island for 1425HRK [190EUR].
Now that we got the technicalities out of the way I can tell you why you should sail in this magnificent area. In the Kvarner region you will find two of the biggest islands in Croatia, Krk, full of beautiful bays and Cres recognizable by its oak forest, very unusual for this area full of pine trees. Not to forget Veli and Mali Losinj as well as Rab. But it is not only Kvarner that is interesting, if you sail the other way to Istria you will find a lot of beautiful bays along the coast, suitable for anchoring, especially towards the south of the peninsula. You may also stumble upon Brijuni National Park, once the personal State Summer Residence of Yugoslavia’s President Marshal Josip Broz Tito. This bizarre gem includes a one of a kind Croatian Safari park with exotic animals. If all of this did not convince you must I mention the clear open sea and worriless sailing, the amazing gastronomy famous for its truffles or the historic and picturesque towns with beautiful Mediterranean architecture and some special landmarks like the Roman Colosseum in Pula? I think you get my point.
To get back to the main topic of our article: flying to Croatia. It’s easy. And not only that, you can even fly close to your chosen Marina and reach it by bus, taxi or even renting a car - a service every airport provides. So the only thing left for you to do is decide what to pack in your suitcase and where to sail.
Let us know once you are ready, we will help you find the perfect boat and off you’ll go onto the best summer experience you can imagine!