Yachting is both our work and our passion, so in March we set out to seek answers to the questions that have sprung to the minds of all yachtsmen. What’s sailing like in the spring of 2021 in Croatia? What’s involved in getting there, and what are the conditions for returning?We've researched everything ourselves and we are happy to share all the information!
How did we get to Croatia and what border controls are currently in place?
We had decided not to delay a moment longer and wanted to set sail as soon as possible, so we booked a boat on Wednesday and on Friday 26th of March, we were on our way Croatia. The trip was without complications and by evening we were relishing the sight of Pirovac’s yachts. Once again, we set sail!
- Despite the lockdown, we drove across the Czech Republic without being checked. We were prepared with our travel documents for Croatia and the rental agreement for the boat. Everything went smoothly on the way back too :).
- We crossed into Austria with no complications; there was only a brief check asking about our destination.
- At the border between Austria and Slovenia, there were again no delays, just a quick enquiry about our destination.
- The first delay came at the Croatian border, but this only lasted 20 minutes. The customs officer inspected the contract for the boat rental, the EnterCroatia form (we filled in just the one collectively) and approved documents confirming PCR tests and certificates for having had COVID (which are recognised if you have contracted and recovered from the disease in the last 6 months).
TIP Don't forget to fill in the “EnterCroatia” online registration form. This will save you time at the border. Fill in only the reason for and duration of the trip, your personal data and your contact details. .
Handling check-in and taking command of the ship
We were to set sail with the new Elan 45.1 Impression, “Galina”, from Aquatoria Yachting and we most definitely recommend it. Most of the team agreed that this is one of the best boats we have ever sailed on – particularly in terms of comfort, but also regarding the steering system.
It moves through the water effortlessly, is easy to operate and has excellent maneuverability. The reliable rigging system is elaborate in its detail and we were also pleased with the new sails. The half-batten mainsail is also one of its great advantages.
It is also definitely worth mentioning a number of other features that make for a superb sailing trip. The large, comfortable shower, the huge water tank, and a clean, intuitive switch panel which displays all the necessary information are all welcome features of this boat. You’ll also enjoy the bunk cabin, which is fully sufficient for two hulking men.
Dealing with the charter company was also a hassle-free experience: check-in was well organised, and we were able to take command of the boat with all the information we needed, and that in a relaxed atmosphere too. That’s one of the reasons why we recommend sailing in the spring – as it is not yet high season, the transferring technician will have plenty of time for you. We also made use of the contact number during the cruise and everything went well. Check-out was also managed excellently.
Where did we go?
The weather worked out for us: the first few days brought light winds with gusts of around 25 kn. So we tried out our Elan in full sail and then the first night dropped anchor at Žirje, there enjoying a romantic evening.
Soon the sky cleared and the sun began to set. For the next few days, we enjoyed a broad reach of around 6 to 12 kn, so we went to explore the legendary blue cave on Biševo.
At this time it was still free of tourists.
On the island of Vis we found a cozy local tavern (the Konoba Robinson in Komiža), where we had Ćevapi with lepinjom (a fluffy “pita” bread, with kajmak (a delicious cheese) and the obligatory ajvar).
We were lucky enough to anchor at one of the most spectacular places for gazing at the night sky - the Lastovo Nature Park.
We also explored the picturesque Korčula at night, where we had dinner, again uninterrupted by tourists.
The next day we crossed to the island of Šolta, where we bought an excellent local Merlot while exploring the island. If you get thirsty on Šolta, ask the locals, they’ll be happy to recommend a local winemaker.
In the morning, we were driven out of Šolta by a bora wind, which had come earlier than forecast, so our sails took advantage of a stiff wind of 30 knots, and this made for the best yachting conditions towards the end of the week.
On Kaprije, in the presence of strong winds, we undertook a slightly more adventurous mooring challenge at the pier. Thus soaked and enfeebled, we sat down at the port bar to celebrate with a beer and “medica” (a honey brandy), accompanied by local fishermen and sailors.
On each day, we were accompanied by dolphins showing off in front of the bow, and thanks to the crystal clear water, we really were able to admire them fully. Troups of tuna leaped around us, and one crew we met even witnessed a finback whale near Hvar.
Complete sailing route:
Pirovac - Žirje - Vrgada - Pirovac (to restock supplies) - Rogoznica - Vis - Biševo - Lastovo - Korčula - Hvar - Šolta - Kaprije - Pirovac
Are restaurants and shops open in Croatia?
Shops in marinas and in cities are open and fully stocked, so there are no problems buying supplies on site. No special entry rules apply, though mask-wearing is mandatory. However, the rules in Croatia are gradually being updated, so it is a good idea to check them regularly (e.g. closing times may be brought forward or there may be restrictions on buying alcohol after 22:00).
Restaurants were open, and we were able to sit, eat and have a beer or wine - we had dinner in Pirovac, Rogoznica and Vis. Since April 1, there has been a tightening of restrictions and restaurants now need to close at 8 pm; in some places there are only collection points for food ordered. It was also clear that the rules were interpreted variously in different places.
We very much enjoyed our time yachting and will definitely return as soon as possible. So come and say hello to the sea!
And why sail around Croatia right now?
The sailing season is starting and the first sailors are just arriving. So this year, you’ll be able to experience Croatia as it was in days bygone, without those crowds at sea and at the harbours!
- fewer people, empty seas and bays
- enthusiastic charters and restaurateurs
- willing locals
- minimal risk of infection
- beautifully clear waters