7-40 nm per stroke - sporty family vacation - partly wind-dependent - variety and relaxation for the whole crew
So you have finally arrived in Punat and are ready to start the vacation of a lifetime - congratulations! Since you have booked a two-week sailing trip, you have plenty of time for unique destinations, no need to rush on the first day. The other boats usually leave on the first day, so it's also better to stay behind and avoid the crowds. As in the story of the race between the rabbit and the turtle: let the rabbits run!
Take the time to go to the supermarket and buy groceries (don't worry, there are stores on the islands too, although with less selection). Remember that all the yachts start their trip on the same day, so try to be patient as the charter team is very busy taking care of the crews of all the yachts. Find a place for lunch. The restaurant at the marina, 9 Bofora, is just fine. When you are ready to head into town, be sure to try the Bocoon, a coffee or ice cream - you have a great week of sailing ahead of you!
Once you're allowed to board (usually around 4 p.m.), you can finally settle down and stock up the fridge. Have a cozy evening at the marina or in the town you can walk to, rest up from a long day of travel and sleep well because there are many great memories ahead!
19 nautical miles
Today has a lot to offer! After breakfast we sail out and visit the nearby island of Plavnik. Since the other yachts are usually chartered for a week and have already started their journey on Saturday, it shouldn't be too crowded here, perfect for a first swim and lunch! There are two options for the next destination. The first is an island not too far from Punat called Goli Otok, literally: Naked Island! It got its name because of its appearance - since there is usually a lot of northeast wind blowing here in winter, the island was covered with bare rock until a few decades ago.
Today, part of this uninhabited island is covered with tall, shady trees, with lots of rabbits running around, and all thanks to - political prisoners! During the former state of Yugoslavia, this island was used as a camp for political prisoners, who had to work in very harsh conditions, without the possibility to escape. Besides working, some of them managed to plant trees on the bare island, so all the vegetation here is the result of their work. There is a small bar on the island, but we recommend eating on board.
Be sure to take a look at the night sky - with no light pollution, you'll have a unique view of the stars here! If an island that used to be a prison camp isn't your thing, you can also just stop on the north side of the island of Rab, just before Goli Otok, and anchor in one of the many northern bays. It's best to anchor with an extra line tied to the shore. This does not change the fact that there is a fantastic night sky here as well.
42-47 nm sea route
Good morning! It's time to hit the road - we're heading further south and continuing our visit to the northern and central part of the Croatian coast. After a morning swim and a small breakfast, we're off! In this part south of Rab there is usually some wind coming from the Velebit mountains to the east. If that's the case, it's sails up!
We'll make a swim stop on a small island, halfway to our destination for the night. Our swim stop is called "Dolphin Island" because the chance of seeing these beautiful animals is very high in this area. After lunch and a little rest, we will continue south to Ist Island. If you are a crew looking for a good nightlife and a party vacation, you should rather go east to the island of Pag, a famous party destination with numerous festivals. You can stay on a buoy in the town of Novalja and take a bus from there.
For more relaxed guests, the island of Ist is a good choice. This is an island in the Zadar archipelago and looks like a butterfly! There are two bays that narrow in the middle, where there is a village with about 200 inhabitants. Usually boats anchor on the southeast side of the island. This is free as long as there is enough room for the morning ferry between sailboats! As far as the author can remember, there were no cars on this island, just like on the nearby island of Silba. Although the island is small, it is worth seeing. Be sure to take an evening walk and explore the island. If you want to eat out, we recommend the restaurants "Katy" and "Maestro".
30-42 nm sea route
After Ist we come to an island with even fewer letters: Iž! Although this island has about 550 inhabitants, it is interesting that the school on Iž has only about 15 students. We anchor on the west side of the island and spend the day swimming right next to a small island called Glurović. If you wish, you will have the opportunity to buy mussels from the local mussel farmers. In the afternoon we will sail to the nearby island of Rava. We recommend grabbing a buoy in front of the village and having dinner at the "Trattoria Mala Rava".
If you want to try a delicious local dish, we recommend the "Peka". This is a mixture of potatoes, cabbage, carrots and other vegetables cooked with meat (usually lamb or veil, but squid is also delicious!). The meat and vegetables are placed together in a pot or bowl and then cooked in the embers of a fireplace for more than 3 hours! Since the preparation is very time consuming, you should call the restaurant and order it in advance. Many restaurants have peka on offer, and most restaurants on this list prepare it well. We recommend trying it in Vila velebita on Silba Island as well!
16 nautical miles
Since we still have enough time, we continue south and slowly approach the Kornati National Park. Although our next island is officially part of Kornati, it is the last stop before entering the area where you need a day pass for the national park. On the north side of Žut there are some really nice places where you can anchor during the day. If you want to continue directly to the place where you will spend the night, you have two options: If you prefer an expensive restaurant with lobster and champagne and don't care about the price of your dinner, we recommend Konoba Fešta (yes, the food is good, but overpriced).
On the other hand, if you choose a cozy little place with good food and a unique view, you should definitely visit Konoba Žmara. The small restaurant is located right by the sea, next to a miniature beach where you can rest in the shade of two trees. The restaurant offers some buoys for its guests. To get a place, you should make a reservation (this tip applies to all restaurants when you visit Croatia in high season in July and August, especially for restaurants that also offer buoys for their nautical guests). Usually a call in the morning is enough, but it is better to do it a day before. All contacts can be found online. Have fun!
11 nautical miles
This Thursday is reserved for one of the 8 national parks in Croatia! The Kornati islands are a protected area that includes 89 larger and smaller islands. They stand out from the other 718 Croatian islands mainly because of their geology - much of the terrain looks like a distant planet in a Star Trek episode! Covered by bare rocks and little fauna, the islands were formed from the sediments of the sea. There are no permanent settlements here, all residents (usually operators of restaurants and a few houses) leave the islands in winter. A day ticket for the park costs about 600 kuna for a boat (about 80 euros).
However, you can avoid this cost if you stay overnight in one of the restaurants, as guests can stay for free. However, this comes at a price: a) the restaurants here are more expensive than on other islands and b) if the rangers of the national park approach you during the day (for example, if you stop in another bay before going to the restaurant), you will still have to pay for the ticket. We recommend the following taverns and restaurants: Konoba Opat, Konoba Ravni Žakan, Konoba Piccolo. Also, there is usually no phone reception, remember and make a reservation a day in advance!
12 nautical miles
It's time to leave the National Park and head to our southernmost point, the island of Žirje! When we sail to this island, the author of this text usually thinks of only one possible destination on the island - Stupica Vela bay. Here you can easily spend a whole day, especially if you are an early riser when you make your reservation! There are about 30 buoys scattered over a fairly large area. The ones near a small jetty, beach and family restaurant are simply submerged in pure turquoise water. The restaurant has a very simple policy when it comes to the dishes offered - less is more!
The choices here are pork ribs, fresh fish and calamari, followed by a few side dishes. The result is pretty logical - everything is delicious. Apart from that, the restaurant has maintained its low prices, so dinner here is more than affordable. Although the village is too far away, you can take a walk to the top of a small hill to the west and visit the old Žirje fortress. The island was an important strategic point in the past, which is why the Byzantine Emperor Justinian decided to build this fortress in the 6th century. Apart from that, the view is great - you can overlook the whole island!
8 nautical miles
Time to start the return journey and head north! After a morning swim in the bay of Stupica Vela, we sail out and move towards the island of Kakan, which lies a bit further north. Just in front of it are two small islands, Borovnjak Veli and Borovnjak mali. There used to be only a few buoys here in front of a barbecue bar called Babalu. Since last year there are more of them, so you will have to pay about 20 euros for one of them if you want to spend the day in the best places. If not, you can continue and anchor for free (make sure you are at least 300 meters from the nearest buoy).
After a refreshing swim and lunch, we will sail to the neighboring island of Kaprije. On the west side of the island there is a town where you can buy groceries. However, the best place is a bay on the northeast side of the island, where you can moor at the quay while having dinner at the restaurant. We highly recommend it! Don't be scared if you meet the donkey lady Mija, she is very friendly! She was abandoned on a nearby island and found in desperate situation by the owner of the restaurant, who adopted her!
36 nautical miles
Early breakfast today, as we are leaving a little earlier as we have a slightly longer journey ahead of us! After saying goodbye to Mija, we continue our journey north and head to Zadar. After many days of beaches, bays and islands, it's time to visit a city on the coast! But before we get there, there is a cool place to swim, it is called Galešnjak, a small island in the Zadar channel. The island is very special because of its shape - it looks like a heart.
After lunch and a swim here, we will continue to Zadar, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia! Zadar has 75,000 inhabitants and has a lot to offer. Since we are only staying here for one night, be sure to take a walk and see it all! Here are a few suggestions: If you are interested in history, visit St. Mary's Church, if you like art, visit the Museum of Illusions, if you like traditional food, visit the local market the next morning. Don't miss two cool things on the seafront - the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation (visit it at sunset), it's really majestic! If you are looking for a good restaurant, we recommend 4 Kantuna!
27 nautical miles
Okay, now back to beaches and remote anchorages, enough civilization! After visiting the local market in Zadar or making one last stop at the store (buy lots of fresh fruits, you will love them, especially watermelons!), we can continue our journey via one of the two long islands off Zadar, Ugljan and Pašman. Since we are heading north on our way back to Punat, we will opt for the first island! We will stop on the NW side of the island and choose a buoy in Uvala Muline, where we will stop for lunch and daily swim.
If you don't want to pay for the buoy, you can also choose the next bay further south, right around Donje selo, where you can anchor for free. After a short nap we head to our destination for the night, the very famous bay of Sakarun! Although the bay is quite famous and can be a bit crowded at times, it is very large and the color of the water is really worth seeing. Although there are a few bars and cool places to have an ice cream on the beach, we recommend having dinner on board.
22 nautical miles
New day, new island! There are still some great places not to be missed. Two of them you will visit today! First, you will go to the island of Škarda. There are only 16 houses here! The island has been uninhabited since the 1990s, but you may see a few people here in the summer. Škarda offers a beautiful bay on the north side, where we will anchor to have lunch and take a long swim in the crystal clear water!
In the afternoon it's time to visit a new island! We will visit a nearby island called Olib. Although about 2000 people lived on this island a century ago, many of them have moved away (an entire community moved to New York together) and return here only in the summer. There are several options here, so you can decide for yourself what to do at night. You can either anchor in one of the secluded coves on the east side or head for the village on the west side of the island, where you can moor at the peer, plug in the power cable and fill up the boat's water tanks. If you want to eat out for the night, we recommend Konoba Boćvica!
7 nautical miles
Today we only go to the neighboring island, so no long drives! Instead, you can use the day to do some sailing! As for the day's destination, we will visit a place on the NW side of the island, just south of a small island called Šip - there is a large, stunning sandy bay perfect for anchoring - hundreds of meters of sandy bottom at a perfect depth of about 5 meters and a beautiful turquoise color of the sea!
In the afternoon we continue towards the island of Silba. Depending on the wind during the night, there is a possibility to stop and anchor either on the north or south side of the island. Take the opportunity to explore this picturesque village. Take a look at the Tower of Love - it was built by Captain Petar Marinić in the 19th century so that his fiancée would have a great view of the sea while waiting for his arrival!
If you want to try local food in a restaurant, we recommend Vila Velebita, which is known for its peka, but also for many other delicious dishes. The restaurant is run by a cool owner named Dražen, who speaks many different languages and always makes sure that you as a guest get enough attention, while the food is prepared by his mother! Since this is the best rated restaurant on the island, be sure to book a table before coming here.
15 nautical miles
Today we leave early because there are two cool places you must see during the day! The first is Silba, a bay on the north side, one of the best in the area. We continue our journey by returning north and stopping at the uninhabited island of Oruda, which offers a beautiful bay on its south side. It is ideal for anchoring, swimming and relaxing after lunch on board.
In the afternoon we continue north and stop in one of the bays of Punta Križa, which offers a good shelter for the night and a good position for tomorrow's return trip. This green area is very nice to look at, be sure to stretch your legs and take a walk. We were not very satisfied with the restaurants nearby, so we recommend eating on board.
25 nautical miles
The last day! Since we have to return to the marina by 5pm, we start early in the morning and go directly to the gas station on Krk. This way we can avoid the afternoon traffic - after refueling, you can just head for one last bay and enjoy the last hours of your vacation without wondering if you will make it in time, because there are always a lot of boats waiting at the gas station. We recommend Golden Bay near Punat - a perfect bay for a perfect end to your sailing vacation! After that, we return to Punat, take care of check-out and we are ready to go home! You can still sleep on the boat on Friday and leave the boat on Saturday morning.
We hope you enjoyed our sailing trip proposal 3 from Punat: Two weeks from Punat (approx. 280 nm)!