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Split Sailing Guide - The Sailing Hub of Croatia

The Croatian city of Split sits on the Adriatic sea in the foothills of the Kozjak and Mosor mountains. Split is the second largest city in Croatia and the biggest city of the Dalmatia region. It has approximately 180,000 people living in its urban area. Its  architecture, rich cultural heritage and beautiful landscape make it the perfect holiday destination.

Established as a Greek colony in the 2nd or 3rd century BC,  its geographical location has been of strategic value throughout history. The city's most famous cultural heritage site today is the Diocletian Palace. Built in the 4th century by the Romans, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. 

Why you should go on a Split sailing adventure?

Split is one of Croatia’s most important tourist and transportation hubs connecting the nearby islands of Hvar, Brač, Korčula and Vis among others. So, it is no surprise that Split has the largest offer of charter vessels in Croatia. The warm climate makes it the perfect starting point for sailing to the neighbouring Croatian islands or the Adriatic coast. You could even go explore the city of Dubrovnik, located some 200 km southeast.

Make the most of the sailing conditions in Split

The Adriatic sea is a part of the Mediterranean sea, located between the Italian peninsula and the Balkan peninsula. It has much milder weather conditions than the Mediterranean sea. 

The sea is clear and clean with somewhat lower salinity than the rest of the Mediterranean making it ideal for both swimming and sailing. There are eight winds that blow on the Adriatic sea. The most common winds are Bura, a northern and colder wind. Jugo, a warmer, southern wind. Maestral, the most common summer wind, perfect for sailing as it reaches speeds of 15 to 20 knots. Another wind worth noting is Neverin. It usually lasts for about half an hour but can be quite powerful. 

The waves on the Adriatic sea are usually very small, varying from 0.5 m to 1.5 m depending on the wind. Sea currents in the area are generally very weak, and tides have small amplitudes of about 40 cm. They can get bigger if Jugo is blowing. The best time to go sailing in Croatia is between April and October, with the peak season in July and August. 

Boats in a marina in Split

When is the best time to sail in Split

Summers in Split are hot and dry, with temperatures rising above 30 °C . Sailing in May or September is best if you prefer milder temperatures. Temperatures will be around 20°C. Another key factor to consider when booking your sailing holiday from Split is how crowded it is. The summer months of June, July and August are the peak of the tourism season in Croatia. Hundreds of thousands of tourists arrive from all around Europe and the rest of the World.      

Discover the famous areas around Split

The city of Split spreads over a peninsula and its surroundings, hugging the coastline. The iconic Diocletian Palace forms the starting point from which the city started to expand, adding new neighbourhoods as it grew. 

The oldest part of the city where the Palace is located is known as Grad. Starting in the Middle ages, new neighbourhoods, known as Varoši, emerged. This part of the city is most recognisable by its tall, narrow stone houses. You will find them intertwined by narrow streets.

Another popular part of Split is the Marjan hill. It is a popular hiking destination with a gorgeous view of the city and the seaside. 

If you wish to take a break from physical activities, the Riva is an ideal spot.  This pedestrian hotspot, beaming with cafés and restaurants, is an ideal place for having your morning or afternoon coffee.  In the evening the Riva fills with people enjoying some exquisite Croatian wine and local dishes. The boardwalk owes its look today to the French who ruled these parts two centuries ago. 

Yet, the most famous and visited place in Split, especially in the summer time is the Bačvice beach. It is located close to the city harbour. This sandy beach can accommodate over ten thousand people and is the most popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Split sailing marinas from which to start your experience

The biggest and most famous marina in Split is the Adriatic Croatia International Club or ACI marina Split. It has 318 berths and 30 dry berths. Its proximity to the city centre, extensive amenities, excellent protection from winds and depth of 10m make it the ideal spot for docking in Split. 

Marina Kaštela sits on the south east side of Kaštela Bay and was completed recently. The marina provides good natural cover as the Kozjak Mountain shields Kaštela Bay from the north. The bay's southern side is guarded by the Marjan Peninsula and the Čiovo Peninsula. Like the ACI Marina in Split, it is 10 meters deep, but has 420 berths, 400 dry berths and all amenities.

Located a couple of kilometres from Split is the city of Trogir, another UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can find several marinas. 

ACI Marina Trogir offers a spectacular view, 174 berths and 35 dry berths. The island of Čiovo where ACI Marina Trogir is located connects to the old town centre via a bridge with a clearance of 2.80 metres. 

Not to be confused with ACI Marina Trogir, Marina Trogir is another option. It has around 250 berths and 30 berths for mega yachts up to 120 meters in length. When sailing through marinas in Trogir you should be careful. The marinas can get congested, and with shallow waters it is recommended you use official navigational charts.

Other marinas in the Split area worth noting are ACI Marina Milna, the biggest marina on the island of Brač with 183 berths, 15 dry berths and a depth of 8 meters. ACI Marina Palmižana on the island of Hvar with 180 berths. ACI Marina Korčula with 159 berths and 16 dry berths, located right next to Korčula’s historic centre. 

Boats leaving port in Split

Our favourite places to anchor when sailing around Split

If you prefer more of an adventure or believe that marinas are too expensive, there are thousands of harbours, ports and buoys scattered along the Croatian seaside you could stop at. The Split area offers some of the most beautiful places to anchor in the whole of the Adriatic. Better still is that most of them are free of charge:

Porat bay lies on the northern part of the Biševo island, located less than 5 nautical miles from the island of Vis. - free of charge

Krknjaši, also called Blue Lagoon, is a breathtaking bay located less than 13 nautical miles from the port of Split. - free of charge

Stončica bay is a quaint beach located on the northern part of the Island of Vis. It is perfect for families with children due to shallow waters and a sandy bottom. Best place to anchor is in the middle of the bay, where the depth is around 7m. - free of charge

Stiniva bay sits on the northern part of the island of Vis. It offers a unique beach engulfed by some spectacular cliffs. In 2016, Stiniva was crowned the Best Beach in Europe, and as a result increased its popularity and now attracts many visitors. - free of charge

Palmižana is located on Pakleni islands, a chain of islands located about 2.5 nautical miles from Hvar. Palmižana is home to the nautical marina, ACI Marina Palmižana, on the northeast side of the island, St Clement. - Fixed buoy fee: from 4€ to 8€ per meter for vessels up to 15m

The town of Hvar is one of  the most popular holiday destinations in the summer, with a booming nightlife. Its boardwalk and surrounding nightclubs attract a large number of young people looking for a good time. Hvar town is located 23 nautical miles from the port of Split (south). - fixed buoy fee: 2€ per metre of vessel's length; mooring fee: 5€ per metre of vessel's length

While on the island of Hvar, you could also visit Pribinja bay. It is on the northern side of the island, less than 3 km from the town of Hvar. The bay has a reputation as one of the most desirable places for yachtsmen, boaters and especially sailors. The bay offers very good shelter, protecting its occupants from the harsh winds. - free of charge

What to expect from charter prices in Split

Charter pricing depends on many factors. The price varies according to the type of the boat, build year of the boat, location, charter period and time of the booking. Prices are subject to seasonality, with the highest prices in July and August and lowest in the early pre-season and late post-season. If you decide to charter a boat in May, a 12 meter sailboat suitable for up to 6 people will cost around €1,000 to €1,500 depending on demand. Catamarans are somewhat more expensive, and would cost around €2.500 for the same period. Motor yachts are even more expensive and cost around €3.000 for one week.  As you approach the peak of the season, the prices can go up significantly. They more than double what you would pay in May or September. You should also bear in mind that most charter agencies require a refundable safety deposit. The deposit can often amount to 50% to 80% of the charter cost. Other fees such as transit log (cleaning, bed linen, kitchen gas), mooring fees and fuel cost are usually obligatory and not included in the charter price. Additionally, if you want to hire a local skipper to have the most relaxed sailing experience, the price is around €150 per day.

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