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Zadar Sailing Trips: A Complete Guide to Boat Tours, Courses, Sail Schools, and Yacht Charter, in Zadar, Croatia

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Thinking about taking a sailing trip in Zadar?

We spent months sailing in the north of Croatia in the Zadar Archipelago and discovered everything you need to know about Zadar sailing trips.

At the beginning of 2022, we traveled to Zadar, Croatia, to buy a sailboat, learn to sail, and spend a season sailing the Adriatic Sea. After four years of traveling by van, we were excited about our sea change. But there was one problem… we didn’t know how to sail. 

So, we set about finding a sailing instructor to show us the ropes (so to speak) and teach us to sail. In doing so, we learned all about sailing Zadar and the fantastic range of Zadar sailing trips, tours, courses, and experiences available. 

For those looking for a Croatian sailing experience, Zadar offers something for everyone. Take a Zadar sailing trip or tour, learn to sail, upgrade your qualifications or charter your own private yacht. The number and variety of Zadar sailing trips are practically endless.

What’s so Great About Sailing Zadar Croatia

The beautiful city of Zadar in northern Dalmatia is one of Croatia’s oldest cities and the perfect place to start your Croatian sailing adventure.

The red rooves and old stone buildings within the walled city of Zadar. The historical port city is a poetic place to begin you Zadar sailing trip
The historical port city is a poetic place to begin your Zadar sailing trip. Photo Credit: dronepicr

The pretty, historic old town sits behind world heritage-listed stone walls that date back to the 12th century. Within the fortifications lies a maze of narrow, cobblestoned streets weaving between old sandstone buildings with red-tiled rooves, recalling its Roman origins. The port city has a long maritime history that stretches back into antiquity.

Today, it has become a popular tourist destination for Croatians, Europeans, and visitors from all over the world. The bustling town comes alive in the summertime with markets, restaurants, cafes, and bars that spill out into the picturesque streets.

Off the coast of the city, the group of islands that form the Zadar Archipelago features striking landscapes and quaint villages.

You’ll find uninhabited islands with hidden bays and crystal clear waters, and national parks teeming with life and brimming with beauty. Pods of dolphins frolic in the water interacting with sailboats, all the while seabirds wheel overhead. 

The larger islands here are scattered with picturesque settlements, tiny villages, and historic medieval buildings.

Like the rest of the Croatian Adriatic, the coast and islands off Zadar offer a sailor’s paradise. In addition to the stunning natural beauty and storied history, the islands provide optimal sailing conditions without swell, tides, or dangerous unmarked reefs. What’s more, consistent and mostly predictable weather patterns prevail here, making planning relatively straightforward and safe.

With so much to recommend this famous sailing ground, it is little wonder that there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing your own Zadar sailing adventure.

Before you set sail, be sure to wander the beautifully preserved and historic old town, walk along the quay and see the ferries and cruise ships, as well as the famous sea organ, and enjoy the vibrant dining and bar scene Zadar has to offer.

Choosing Your Zadar Sailing Trip

As with the rest of the Croatian coastline, Zadar is mad about sailing. People travel from all over Europe and around the world to sail here. As a result, there is a variety of options when it comes to sailing experiences on offer in this port city.

Whether you are looking for a sunset cruise chartered by a local skipper, to rent your own boat and set sail into the Zadar Archipelago by yourself, or anything in between, you’ll find it in Zadar.

Listed below are just some of the Zadar sailing tours, trips, and itineraries available.

Zadar Sailing Tours and Trips

One of the great things about Zadar is that you don’t need to go far to find stunning bays and charming villages. Whether you have a few hours or a week, there is a Zadar sailing trip with your name on it. Here are the best Zadar sailing tours that require little more than you showing up to enjoy the scenery and the thrill of sailing the Adriatic.

Zadar Sailing Day Trips

Zadar Full-Day Sailing Tour

A full-day sailing tour of the Zadar Archipelago will take you to some of the most scenic bays, islands, and villages in the region. Sail out from the old town of Zadar toward unpopulated and unspoiled islands, anchoring in private coves that you’ll have all to yourself. Swim and snorkel in the crystal clear water the Adriatic is known for, go ashore in sparse and beautiful national parks, or visit the picturesque tiny villages and settlements.

With a full-day tour, you have enough time to see some of the best that Zadar has to offer and spend some time under sail.

In the low-season, half-day tours cost around €75 euro per person or €400 for a private boat for around 7 people.

Zadar Half-Day Sailing Tour

If you are pressed for time, (or not that keen on being stuck at sea for a full day) a half-day sailing tour offers a compromise and an affordable way to get out on the water for a few hours.

Leaving morning or afternoon you’ll get the opportunity to spend four hours sailing the beautiful Zadar Archipelago.

In the low-season, half-day tours cost around €50 euro per person or €300 for a private boat that can accommodate 7 people.

Sunset Cruises in Zadar

Sail boats at sunset. Zadar sailing trips
Sunset is the ideal time for a Zadar sailing trip when the islands and magnificent waters of the Adriatic are at their best

With a glass of wine in hand, a private sunset sailing cruise in Zadar is an opportunity to take in this beautiful region at its most spectacular.

With prices starting at just €150 for a private group you can experience the sunset over the Adriatic sea as you sail through it. Get a new perspective on the beautiful Zadar old town and witness the islands and the Croatian sky at their most colorful and beautiful. Perfect for a romantic outing, or a fun short trip with family or friends.

A sunset tour takes just two hours and is less intensive than other sailing trips in Zadar. It offers the perfect way to dip your toes in and get a feel for the adventure that is sailing the Adriatic.

Multi-Day Zadar Sailing Tours

Want a more in-depth adventure that gets you up close and personal with some of the lesser-known islands and experiences Zadar has to offer?

A multi-day Zadar sailing tour will give you just that, the opportunity to get to know the region a little better and discover some of the hidden gems that a day tour doesn’t have time to visit. You will have time to do it all and see the Zadar Archipelago on and off the water.

Multi-day tours can be designed around your preferences to ensure your Zadar sailing experience is tailored perfectly to what you want.

Whether you would prefer to leisurely sail from village to village, sampling new restaurants and cafes each day or get off-grid and lost in Kornati National Park enjoying islands, and coves all to yourself.

Circumnavigate the entire Zadar Archipelago or aim to sail less and spend your time relaxing, swimming, and fishing.

The possibilities are endless and the choice is yours on a multi-day sailing trip in Zadar.

Sailing Courses

Zadar sailing trips can take you to the many unexplored bays, coves, and beaches of the Zadar Archipelago

If you are looking for a more hands-on experience that will see you not only tour Zadar’s beautiful islands and dramatic coastline but get on the tiller and learn to sail or upgrade your skills, there are courses to suit any skill level, budget, and timeframe.

Sailing courses are designed to give you hands-on experience in a controlled environment.

Sailing School Zadar

Sailing schools offer a structured environment to upgrade your sailing skills and qualifications. Sailing schools in Zadar offer courses with set goals and outcomes in mind and use a combination of theoretical classroom-based learning and practical training in the beautiful waters of the Adriatic. At the end of a sailing school course, many schools offer pathways to earn recognized qualifications like competent crew or skipper qualifications.

If you are looking for a more hands-on experience that puts you in the driver’s seat, the sailing school can give you the best of both worlds. The opportunity to explore the beautiful waters and islands of the Adriatic while you learn the finer points of sailing.

Whether you are a seasoned sailor looking to improve your regatta sailing skills or you’ve never stepped foot on a boat in your life and are looking for an introduction to the sport and lifestyle of sailing, there

Regatta and Sports Sailing in Zadar

If you are interested not just in sailing but in high-performance sailing, then experiencing Zadar in a regatta boat is for you. Learn the skills needed to crew a regatta boat and experience the fast-paced action of sports sailing as you fly around the islands of Zadar.

Certainly one of the more exciting ways to experience this beautiful collection of islands!

Skipper Training Zadar

For those looking to take their sailing to the next level, skipper training includes intensive training in the key skills needed to lead a yacht confidently and safely in a range of scenarios. 

A serious undertaking for those wanting to be serious sailors, you can round out the practical course with onshore theoretical components offered by AdriaLibar yacht training center which will give you that e necessary accreditation to skipper vessels in Croatia and beyond. 

Sailing x Spear Fishing Tour

For adrenaline junkies who are looking for a true seafaring adventure, a Sailing x Spear Fishing Tour combines 7 days of sailing and spearfishing and can be an active and exciting way to experience the Zadar region.

Private Sailing Instruction Zadar

If you have your own specific goals, or perhaps want to take some lessons on your own boat (like we did) private sailing instruction is widely available.

Private Boat Charter Zadar

Chartering your own boat is one of the best ways to experience the Zadar archipelago, Croatia, and the Adriatic Sea.

Explore at your own pace, create your own itinerary, and your own ideal holiday. Croatia is one of the most popular places in the world to charter a boat as it is beautiful, enjoys fantastic weather in summer, and is relatively safe.

With so many boats bobbing around the Adriatic, it is easy to find one to charter. However, given Croatia’s enormous popularity as a sailing ground in summer, to secure the boat you want it is recommended to book early!

Sam Boat offers a list of boats available for charter, with or without a skipper.

Bare Boat Charter Zadar without Skipper

Zadar is a great place to charter a rental boat with family or friends. If you are an experienced sailor with the minimum certifications you can rent a boat and skipper it yourself in Zadar. Croatia issues its own skippers ticket but also recognizes marine qualifications from many places around the world. The Croatian Ministry of Maritime Affairs has a list of the nautical qualifications recognized in Croatia.

Bareboat charter in Zadar, without skipper, crew, or provisions starts from around €70 per day for a smaller (<30 ft), older (pre-1990s) in low season through to modern yachts over 50 feet which can cost well over a thousand euro per day in high season.

Boat Charter with Skipper in Zadar

If you don’t have the experience, the qualifications, or the inclination to sail yourself, but are still interested in an independent, self-directed sailing holiday in Zadar, hiring a skipper along with a boat is simple here. Simply put in a request when enquiring about a charter boat and you will be put in touch with a professional skipper.

The cost of a skipper is generally about €200 per day, they will need a private cabin onboard and food.

What to See When Sailing Zadar Croatia

There are endless opportunities for your Zadar sailing trip

Once you set sail from Zadar, the opportunities are endless.

The Zadar Archipelago is made up of 15 major islands and hundreds of smaller ones. Each offers a multitude of bays, beaches, coves, traditional villages, and uninhabited islands to explore.

While the number of things to do and see on the seas around Zadar is limitless there are some key experiences that belong on any sailing tour in Zadar.

Kornati National Park

The protected nautical paradise of Kornati National Park includes 80+ islands and is one of Croatia’s most popular marine recreational areas featuring diving, sailing, camping & hiking.

Ugland

Ugland is not only the closest island to Zadar it is also the largest of the Zadar islands. Perhaps most importantly, it is regarded as the Olive Island of Zadar.

The island is covered with thousands of olive trees and produces some of the best olive oil in the region. The small village of Muline is the best place to uncover the ancient traditions of olive oil making on the island of Ugland.

Outside of its abundance of olive trees, Ugland has many cycling routes, monasteries, churches, and views over beautiful bays. One could easily spend an active weekend soaking in the Croatian lifestyle on this Zadar island.

Veli Iž

Veli Iz, one of the best places to stop on a Zadar sailing trip
The picturesque Veli Iž is one of the best places to stop on a Zadar sailing trip.

Island villages do not come more charming or more authentic than Veli Iž. Trapped in time, not much has changed here but that is exactly why you should visit. Stroll through the streets, take a walk along the sea wall, and dine on fresh seafood. This quiet and authentic town is definitely worth a stop on your Zadar sailing trip.

Sali

Another charming, quaint village, in the Zadar archipelago, is Sali. Sali has a bit more going on than Veli Iž (complete with a nightclub that operates during the summer season). Sali is also a great jumping-off point for Kornati National Park which you will definitely not want to miss when sailing Zadar.

Sakarun

One of the most famous beaches in the Zadar region, Sakarun is located on the island of Dugi Otok. Its popularity is perhaps due to the fact that the beach is in fact white silica sand, a sight more common in the Caribbean than on the coast of Croatia. It is a great place to spend an afternoon taking long beach walks, swimming in the crystal clear water, and basking in the Croatian sun.

Pag

To the north of Zadar, one of the price jewels of the Zadar Archipelago is the island of Pag. This narrow island is home to one of Croatia’s most prized products, Pag cheese (Paski Sir) made with sheep’s milk.

The island of Pag may also sound familiar as it is home to one of Croatia’s most notable party beaches, Zrce. Zrce comes to life during the summer with regular music festivals featuring international DJs making it the place to be for people looking to party in Croatia.

More FAQs About Zadar Sailing Trips

Do you have more questions about the many Zadar sailing trips on offer? Check out this list of frequently asked questions.

How Much Does it Cost to Take a Zadar Sailing Trip?

Well, the cost of sailing will be dependent on the type of sailing tour or trip you choose. But sailing tours and trips are extremely affordable in Zadar and in Croatia compared to other sailing destinations around the world.

Some examples of prices in the low season are listed below.

  • Prices for shorter trips like sunset cruises start around€30 per person or €150 for a private boat.
  • Half-day tours start at around €50 per person or €300 for a private boat.
  • Full-day tours start around €75 per person or €400 for a private boat.
  • Multi-day tours start from €400 per day (private boat)
  • Sailing School depends on the course but three-day beginner courses can be as little as €270 per person
  • Bare Boat Charter – the cost of renting a yacht is highly dependent on the size, age, and condition of the yacht you hire, but for perspective, you can get a relatively tidy 30 or 40 foot boat no older than a decade for around €300 a day in high season, with big discounts in low season.
  • Skipper hire generally costs about €200 per day.

The cheapest way to take any sailing tour in Zadar is generally to organize a private tour and bring your own group of friends and family along with you.

What’s the Best Time to Take a Sailing Trip in Zadar?

Sailing in Croatia during the summer months is extremely popular. We recommend booking a sailing trip in Zadar during May or September. During this time you can expect to find fewer crowds and cooler temperatures. Coming earlier or later may mean that many of the restaurants, bars, and other activities are closed. We originally visited Zadar in April and there were only a handful of places open. When we returned in May, the city was buzzing with energy and people.

Can I Take Children on a Sailing Tour in Zadar?

Absolutely. Children will absolutely love a sailing trip in Zadar. One of the benefits of sailing in the Adriatic Sea and the protection of the islands is that it is (generally) relatively calm when compared to sailing in the open ocean.

Make sure you discuss with your tour operator which tour is best suited for keeping children comfortable and safe!

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Hopefully with this guide to the Zadar sailing trips and Zadar sailing tours you can find a trip suited to your needs. If you have more questions on sailing trips in Zadar let us know in the comments below!

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