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As the northern part of Croatian coast, Istria is the largest Croatian peninsula. Well known for its historical towns, attractive coastline and gastronomy. Full of very lively, coastal, tourist towns and quiet, peaceful towns and vineyards in the inland. Its landscape, often compared to the Tuscany or Provence.
Istria is a region of exceptional wines and truffles. As a very popular tourist destination, with its broad selection of seaside resorts, sports centres, small agricultural estates or wine roads, Istra will satisfy even the most demanding visitors.
The Kvarner Gulf is the area in Northern part of Croatian Adriatic, bordered by Croatian mainland and Istrian Peninsula. Kvarner Gulf includes some of Croatian islands as well as coastline cities and towns. This region offers a wide range of destinations for sailing, from Umag to the Kornati, this sailing region is a little more demanding for sailing in Croatia due to its more variable weather conditions, and especially strong NE wind Bura that sometimes can blow gale force even in the summertime, coming from the coast falling from a massive mountain Velebit.
Destinations to visit by sailing in this region are (recommended): Poreč, Brijuni national park, islands Susak and Unije, island Cres, island Krk, Mali Lošinj town on the island of Lošinj, Rab on the island of Rab, island Ilovik and all the way south to the islands of Silba and Olib. Starting ports for catamarans in this area are Pula, Krk and Rovinj. Pula and Rovinj are starting ports in Istria, and Krk is found in hte heart of Kvarner Gulf.
Travelling to Istria and Kvarner is easily accesable by roads from Central Europe due to the closenes of Italy and Slovenia, close access to highways and Pula airport. Ryan air has a regular line from London to Pula. Other close airports to Pula are Trieste, Treviso and Venezia airport in Italy and Ljubljana in Slovenia.
Looking at the map of Croatia, one of the geographical features presents is a peninsula located within the north-western part of the country. This peninsula is the region of Istria. Istria is home to Pula, which is a city that contains many structures of the former Roman Empire. There are also many different beaches available in Istria for people that enjoy swimming. Finally, if you are Italian and would prefer to speak that language during the majority of your trip, the coastal areas in Istria all have places where Italian is understood.
Kvarner is the region immediately to the south-east of Istria, where the Adriatic Sea makes a gulf to the Croatian mainland (this gulf is known as the Gulf of Kvarner). There are two primary regions within Kvarner that are of interest to tourists. The first is the region of islands located within the Gulf, where many natural tourism activities such as sailing, swimming, and kayaking can take place.
The second region is the mainland region of Kvarner, which contains the Croatian city of Rijeka. Rijeka functions as the main port within Croatia and is not really a major tourist attraction. However, if you are interested in culture and being outdoors, Rijeka offers many opportunities in the form of churches, castles and museums.
Suggested Sailing Routes
Sailing out of Punat towards Rab - Silba – Molat – Premuda – Veli Lošinj – Supetarska draga
Alternatively: Olib, Ist, Božava (Dugi otok), Ilovik, Kolovrat Bay (Cres).
Sailing Croatia moments: the belfries of Rab, a walk on Silba, bathing on Tramerka, the Veli rat lighthouse, the solitude of Premuda, the charm of Veli Lošinj.
On day one head out straight for Rab (21 miles).
On day two the mistral wind will carry you quickly across the 24 miles to Silba. There are no automobiles there, and the gardens are overflowing with flowers. Silba truly has no double, and it is quite unique in its beauty. There are two harbors on the island. The one on the north side is for use by sailors. The anchor can also be dropped in the safe harbor offered by the Porta Sv. Ante Bay.
From Silba head out on day three further to the south to the out-of-the-way Zapuntela, and then a further 7 miles from Ist and Molat (there are many buoys available there for moorage) and then a further 2.5 miles on the outer side of these islands to the small, uninhabited, islet of Tramerka.
Weigh anchor here off the spectacular pebble beach on the island's north side. Late in the afternoon make your way a few miles on to Brgulj Bay on the southern side of the island of Molat. For the night you can choose between safe harbors at the top of the bay along the forested islet of Brgulj were there are some thirty buoys or a berth at the small port on Molat. There are not more than 17 miles in total from Silba to Molat.
On day four head back north. Make your goal Premuda (the small port of Krijal on the open sea side of the island). As there are just under 16 miles to there, we recommend you take a side trip to Solišica, a deep bay of low shores on the northern part of the island of Dugi otok, on the southwest end of which is the unique lagoon in the Pantera Bay. There you can visit the oldest lighthouse on the Adriatic on Veli rat, or, sailing on northwards, make a stop in the port of Ist Bay (here too there are moorings available around the breakwater like in marinas) or at Griparica on Škarda. Premuda awaits you with its miniature harbor with only ten berths to moor to, but there are further twenty or so buoys anchored around it; the anchorage is protected by crags and the Masarina chain of islets so that there is good swimming here. The village of Premuda is on top of the island and can be reached by a short walk.
Sail back to civilization on day five, 13 miles to Veli Lošinj (alternatively: Mali Lošinj, which means that the next morning you will wait for the bridge to be raised at Privlaka). The port of Veli Lošinj is somewhat crowded, but after the busy celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary you'll find a place to berth along the long quay under the belfry of the parish church where you can see some very valuable paintings.
Veli Lošinj is a charming town, crowded around the port. Here too you ought to be wary of the north-easterly Bura. If it does begin to blow go back a bit to the Rovenska port and find safe mooring alongside a fishing trawler until the wind dies down.
For the next day we recommend you first make the five miles to Jadrišćica (Pogana, i.e. Punta križa), a deep narrow bay on the southern head of the island of Cres. There you'll find peace, quiet and a cozy restaurant along with a small quay. Move on another 19 miles that same day to the marina in Supetarska draga, the middle one of three safe bays of the northwestern coast of Rab (there is also Kamorska draga and Lopar Bay). (Alternatively: if you've fell in love with the town of Rab it's only 16 miles to see it again.) On day seven you need only make your way back to Punat.