Croatia: this remarkable country boasts over 1000 islands and more than 1500 kilometers of the mainland coast. The islands’ proximity makes your sailing trips conveniently short and therefore perfect for the exploration of the rich Croatian gourmet scene. Our crew has visited this charming piece of Mediterranean more times than we could count. We have prepared this little cheat sheet with people like us – sailors, serious eaters, and even more severe wine lovers – in mind. For you and your best sailing buddies.
Novigrad (in Italian Cittanova) literally means “the new city”. While perhaps not the most memorable of the Croatian coastal towns, you should still consider it as the new city on your travel map. It’s a peaceful and charming alternative to Umag, perfect for a short stroll and a quiet evening. Just a stone’s throw from the marina, you can find a joint with a simple name (Marina), serving simple but delicious seasonal dishes. Another excellent option for the fans of raw fish is just around the corner; ask for Damir & Ornella.
The picturesque city of Rovinj offers gorgeous sunsets, Michellin restaurants (Agli Amici Rovinj; Monte), 5-star hotels, and loads of artistic ateliers on the way to the Cathedral of St. Euphemia. Once you secured your vessel in the premium marina in front of the Grand Hotel Park Rovinj (150,00 € for Pegasus 50 in the high season) or at the buoy, head for dinner at Maestral Restaurant. Start with cold appetizers and continue with whole roasted dentex. It’s all absolutely stunning. Plus, the presentation and local wines pairing are excellent.
Are you feeling Olympic? You should stop in Fažana, the place of birth of former European, World, and Olympic boxing champion Mate Parlov. Anchor your boat (unfortunately, there is no marina, and the locals are not particularly welcoming when it comes to using their pier) and hop into the dinghy to check out Parlov’s bronze statue and stop for a meal at Sapori di Mari. You guessed it – it means “the flavors of the sea”.
Immerse into the untouched nature in Brijuni National Park. Discover rich local history dating back to Roman times. Moor your sailboat in the marina right in front of the hotel area, go for a short walk, and you will soon realize why former Yugoslav leader Tito, known for his luxurious lifestyle, decided to keep one of his residences right here. If you don’t feel like walking, you can choose a ride with a tourist train through a unique safari park with over 80 different herbivores species. And last but not least: Veliki Brijun is the only Croatian island with its very own golf course. Keep your expectations low, expect sandy (!) greens, and you are in for a treat.
One of the highlights of Northern Adriatic – With numerous ancient remains, long beaches, and world-class music, dance, and theatre acts, Pula should be right on top of your places-to-visit list. Leave your vessel in the ACI marina in front of the magnificent Roman Arena and continue to the city center just a five-minute walk away. Start your Pula exploration at one of the many cafes near the local market. Then visit the fish market in the covered area of the marketplace, and we guarantee you will be delighted. Perhaps it’s not exactly like Rialto in Venice, but it is lively and fun, and you will get a good idea about what you are about to eat in the coming days of your journey.
An old fishing village on a beautiful peninsula with old pine trees and fragrant Mediterranean greenery. If you are looking for a perfect fish restaurant, look no further: Konoba Batelina with chef David Skoko. Skoko is one of the most recognized Croatian chefs, making TV appearances and hosting culinary superstars such as Gordon Ramsay. But most of all, he is a brilliant cook. Gentlemen, leave your black tie at home. Ladies, forget your high heels. Batelina is all about local and fresh catch prepared in a completely unique manner. Make sure to call ahead as they don’t accept walk-in customers.
Mali Lošinj is one of the larger cities on the Croatian islands. With its rich history and well-developed tourist infrastructure, it’s a long-time favorite for family vacations. Čikat bay is commonly on the list of the most beautiful Adriatic bays but be prepared for the crowds. There are many mooring options, but we suggest you call ahead and make a reservation during the summer season. Make sure to stop for dinner at Bocca Vera restaurant just outside the marina. Bonus for animal lovers: Lošinj is home to the largest number of bottlenose dolphins in this part of the Adriatic.
Longing for a bit of solitude, wilderness, and perhaps the most spectacular sunsets in the Adriatic? Stop your boat at the buoys on the Western part of the island, and there is absolutely nothing coming between your eyes and the sun setting over Italy. Try Mesarine for one of the best octopuses in peka (dome-shaped cast-iron baking lid) you would taste on your holiday.
Still not ready for the crowds? Follow this expert sailing advice by Marko: “Never sail past Zverinac without stopping there!” Ristorante Zverinac offers fantastic food and a little pier with electricity but no water. Peace at heart guaranteed.
Mali Iž is a small fishing village on the east side of the island of Iž. Try nice Konoba Diža in the Komoševa bay.
If you have some other favorite restaurants in Northern Adriatic we should visit and consider, please let us know:
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