I have often thought that the best thing about any part of Europe is the mixture of cultures, cuisines, languages and traditions. Croatian coastline is probably one of the finest examples of this. Throughout the Croatian coastline, Mediterranean and central European influences intermingle creating a unique experience wherever you go.
When we went sailing from Pula, which is easily accessible regardless of which mode of transport you use, we were presented with quite a dilemma in deciding where we want to sail and what we want to see. There are just too many options to choose from!
Pula is a very convenient starting point located near the tip of Istrian peninsula with four large marinas and plenty of historical and cultural interest. Pula is also serviced by an airport to which many low cost European airlines fly daily. Pula’s 3000 years old town with it’s great Roman amphitheater is a must see for every sailor in the Adriatic together with the nearby islands of Brijuni.
We decided to sail along the Istrian coast and leave Kvarner archipelago for our next trip. The coastline is a lot less crowded but offers great natural inlets that are ideal for overnight anchoring. Istrian landscape is nothing short of spectacular.
We started our holiday from Marina Veruda which is a large, modern and well equipped marina, within a short distance from Pula airport. Our Excess 12 Catamaran provided us with a very comfortable accommodation and as we will find out during our holiday, some very enjoyable sailing.
The Brijuni Islands are a group of two small islands (Mali Brijun and Veliki Brijun) and 12 tiny islets located three miles NW from Pula. The archipelago was president Tito’s summer residence from 1945 until 1980. Nowadays, it is a national park and an exclusive holiday resort.
In order to navigate the waters of the Brijuni National Park, you need a permission of the National Park Administration. Upon dockage at the port of Veliki Brijun, boaters have to check in at the reception desk, located in the Neptun Hotel. We strongly advise that you ask for detailed information about available moorings and navigable areas, as some parts of the archipelago are restricted to certain types and sizes of vessels.
We have spent a very enjoyable day cycling around the Veliki Brijun island where we visited a safari park which is a home to many exotic animals and archaeological sites where we saw dinosaur footprints. Since our berth was paid for 24 hours, we decided to spend the night there.
The next day we decided to head further up the coast, towards Rovinj. We have sailed by clusters of small islands and the one that caught our attention was small island of Sveti Andrija (St. Andrew). We picked up a mooring there and set off to explore. The island boasts a luxury hotel and is connected to a smaller Miskin island. Miskin is reserved for naturists. We have very much enjoyed our walk along the pine scented shore on which we found several very appealing beaches and beach bars.
The next leg of our sailing holiday took us to the coastal town of Rovinj. Rovinj is an old fishing port which has grown into a town with population of just under 15,000. It has maintained its old fishing village charm and while exploring it you will find many winding cobbled streets and tightly packed colorful houses along the way. This is a very bustling tourist destination during the summer with abundance of restaurants, bars and night clubs. You will also find an open air market full of fresh, local produce as well as large supermarkets. This is a good spot to restock your galley and indulge in some fine onshore dining.
Once we checked out from the ACI Marina in Rovinj, we headed further up the coast towards Lim fjord. This isn't exactly a fjord, but a Lim river delta which is often refereed to as fjord because of its appearance of a long and narrow channel. It is some 7NM long estuary, well worth a visit. The channel is a natural breeding ground and wintering place for many breeds of fish for which it was declared a special reserve, protected by a conservation order. On your sail up the channel, you will see many fish and oyster farms, which you should try out in one of the local restaurants.
The last leg of our sailing holiday before having to turn around and head back to yacht charter base took us further up the western coast of the peninsula and we landed in Porec. On our sail up, we passed small towns of Vrsar and Funtana, both very colorful and inviting as well as dozens of small islands dotted along the coast.
Porec is another vibrant coastal town which is teeming with life and tourists during the summer.
The old town has a typical Roman street layout; it's mostly symmetrical, with two main intersecting streets. Town's Episcopal Complex of the Basilica is Unesco World Heritage site and its oldest parts date back to the 4th century, although the basilica itself is from the 6th century. Venetian-style houses dominate the old town.
Porec boasts a modern and well equipped marina, which you may wish to choose for your overnight stay. The town itself is packed with attractions, restaurants and bars which are easier to access from the marina than for a mooring.
The following day we set off on the long sail back to Pula. We were very lucky with steady, moderate breeze on our aft quarter which gave us some truly spectacular sailing back. There were many places we would have loved to stop at and explore but maybe we can visit those on one of our future Croatian sailing holidays. This country never fails to impress us and make us want to come back for more.
WannaGoSailing.com operate a fleet of 330 yachts in Pula / Istria region of Croatia. All our yachts are available as either bareboat, skippered or fully crewed charter. Contact us for more details and please check out our special offers below!