Discover Croatia by Boat: Island Hopping from Dubrovnik

Embarking on an island-hopping adventure from Dubrovnik offers a unique chance to explore Croatia’s stunning coastline and enchanting islands like Hvar, Korčula, and the Elaphiti Islands, revealing their spectacular landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Starting your trip from the historic city of Dubrovnik, famously known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” sets the perfect backdrop for what promises to be an unforgettable exploration of the Dalmatian Coast. Island hopping in Croatia is undoubtedly the best way to see Croatia, offering a unique vantage point of its pristine waters, lush islands, and picturesque ports.

This guide will help you plan your boat trip from Dubrovnik, including tours to Mljet, Split, Brač, Korčula, the Elaphiti Islands, and Hvar. Discover Split’s Diocletian’s Palace, Mljet National Park, and other captivating spots along the Croatian coastline. We’ll also share essential tips for island hopping, ensuring a memorable trip filled with dazzling sunsets, crystal-clear waters, and the unmatched beauty of the Croatian coast.

elaphiti islands dubrovnik

Why Explore Croatia’s Coastline from Dubrovnik by Boat

Exploring Croatia’s coastline from Dubrovnik by boat offers unique access to remote coves, hidden beaches, and picturesque coastal towns. A boat journey along the Dalmatian coast is an immersive experience in the natural beauty, culture, and tranquility of Croatia’s islands and shoreline.

Benefits of Boat Travel

  1. Access to Remote Locations: One of the most compelling reasons to explore Croatia by boat is the unparalleled access it provides to secluded spots. These hidden gems are often off the beaten path and provide a sense of discovery and exclusivity.
  2. Intimate Travel Experience: Unlike large cruise ships, small ship cruises in Croatia offer a more personalized and intimate travel experience. With fewer passengers on board, you receive attentive service and the opportunity to get to know fellow travelers who share similar interests.
  3. Local Insights: The presence of local crew and expert guides on these small ship cruises enriches your journey with deep insights into Croatian culture, history, and natural wonders. This personalized learning experience extends beyond the boat, as you explore islands and coastal towns with those who know them best.
  4. Ease of Exploration: With everything organized for you, from accommodation to itineraries, exploring multiple destinations becomes stress-free. You can visit several islands without the hassle of renting a car or navigating unfamiliar roads.

Unique Experiences

  • Unforgettable Views: The visual feast of sailing along the Croatian coast, with its clear blue waters, rugged inlets, and lush islands, is unmatched. The perspective from the water offers breathtaking views of the coastline and sunsets that paint the sky in vibrant hues.
  • Swimming and Snorkeling: The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea invite you to swim and snorkel directly from your boat. Discovering the underwater world of the Croatian coast is a serene and exhilarating experience.
  • Cultural Immersion: Boat tours from Dubrovnik often include stops at culturally rich destinations like Mljet National Park, the Elaphiti Islands, and the Pelješac Peninsula. These excursions provide a deep dive into the local culture and history.
  • Relaxation on the Waves: The gentle motion of the boat and the soothing sea breeze offer a unique setting for relaxation. The leisurely pace of boat travel allows you to fully absorb the beauty and tranquility of your surroundings, making each moment on the Adriatic a cherished memory.

Choosing to explore Croatia’s coastline from Dubrovnik by boat opens up a world of adventure, relaxation, and cultural discovery. Whether you’re lounging on a yacht, embarking on a small ship cruise, or even hopping between islands by seaplane, the experiences you’ll gather along this stunning stretch of the Adriatic will stay with you long after your journey ends.

How to Plan Your Boat Trip from Dubrovnik

Choosing the Right Boat

When planning your boat trip from Dubrovnik, the first step is to choose the appropriate type of vessel that aligns with your preferences, budget, and the nature of your trip. Here are the main options:

  1. Sailboats: Ideal for families and those seeking an active vacation. Although sailboats provide an economical choice for island hopping, they are slower and offer limited space and comfort. These are available with a skipper, or as a bareboat if you have a sailing license.
  2. Catamarans: Offering a perfect balance between comfort and cost, catamarans are suitable for groups seeking a relaxed journey without sacrificing space. Like sailboats, they are not the fastest option but are excellent for leisurely exploration.
  3. Gulets: These are large, elegant ships designed for bigger groups, providing spacious accommodation and all-inclusive services. Gulets are a luxurious choice, often including a full crew and amenities for a comfortable journey.
  4. Motor Yachts: For those prioritizing speed and luxury, motor yachts are the top choice. They come fully crewed and are equipped with entertainment and water toys, ideal for a glamorous, high-speed cruise along the Croatian coast.

Each type of boat offers different levels of service and amenities, so consider what is included in the charter cost. Typically, the charter fee and crew costs are included, but additional expenses like marina fees, fuel, and onboard meals may vary depending on the vessel type.

Booking Tips and Best Seasons

To ensure a seamless experience, here are some essential tips for booking your boat trip:

  • Advance Booking: Secure your boat well in advance, especially if you plan to travel during the peak season. This guarantees the best selection of boats and avoids last-minute availability issues.
  • Consider the Season: The best times to visit Dubrovnik for a boating trip are during the spring and fall. These seasons offer mild weather and fewer crowds compared to the busy summer months.

By considering these factors and choosing the right boat, you can plan a memorable and enjoyable island-hopping adventure from Dubrovnik. Whether you opt for the independence of a sailboat or the luxury of a fully crewed yacht, the stunning Croatian coastline awaits your discovery.

Must-Visit Spots Along the Croatian Coastline

Elaphiti Islands

Embark on a boat tour from Dubrovnik to the Elaphiti Islands, where the serene beauty of Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan awaits. These islands are celebrated for their lush greenery and crystal-clear waters, providing a perfect escape from the bustling city. On Koločep, explore captivating caves and unwind on scenic beaches, all accessible only by boat. Lopud offers the sandy Sunj Beach, ideal for families, and a rich history encapsulated in its medieval Franciscan Monastery. Šipan, the largest of the three, allows you to experience the traditional island lifestyle with its olive groves and vineyards.


A boat transfer to Korčula introduces you to an island known as “Little Dubrovnik” because of its medieval walls and rich history. The Old Town, encased by fortified walls, features winding streets that reveal Gothic-Renaissance architecture, including St. Mark’s Cathedral. Beyond the town, discover sandy beaches like Vela Przina and secluded coves perfect for snorkeling. Immerse yourself in local culture with a visit to wineries where the indigenous Pošip grape thrives.


Mljet, often hailed as the most verdant island in the Adriatic, offers a tranquil retreat into nature. The Mljet National Park covers the western part of the island, featuring two saltwater lakes, Veliko and Malo Jezero, ideal for kayaking and swimming in their turquoise waters. Don’t miss the Benedictine monastery on the islet of St. Mary, which promises a picturesque journey back in time. For adventure enthusiasts, the sandy beaches of Saplunara and the mythical Odyssey’s Cave provide thrilling exploration opportunities.

mljet island


Hvar is synonymous with vibrant lavender fields, historical towns, and lively cultural scenes. This island is a hub for visitors seeking both relaxation and entertainment. The town of Hvar offers architectural wonders and bustling squares. Explore the local cuisine and vibrant nightlife, or take a quieter approach by visiting the secluded beaches and small fishing villages that dot the island.

island hvar


Discover Vis, an island with a unique aura, preserved from mass tourism due to its previous military use. Explore the cultural tapestry woven by its Greek, Roman, and Venetian history. Visit Komiza, known for its fishing heritage, and enjoy local delicacies in the town of Vis. The island’s remote beaches and hidden bays offer peaceful retreats, while adventurers can explore military tunnels or the impressive Fort George. Vis’s exclusivity makes it a special destination for those looking to experience a different side of Croatia.

These islands each offer unique experiences that make them must-visit destinations on your Croatian island-hopping itinerary. Whether you seek historical insights, natural beauty, or cultural immersion, these spots provide ample opportunities to create lasting memories.

boat tour dubrovnik

Tips for a Memorable Boat Trip in Croatia

Packing Essentials

When preparing for your boat trip in Croatia, packing appropriately can significantly enhance your comfort and convenience. Here are some tips based on seasoned sailors’ advice:

  1. Choose the Right Luggage: Opt for a duffel bag or soft bag instead of hard suitcases. These are easier to stow away and won’t clutter your limited cabin space.
  2. Essential Clothing: Pack light and include quick-dry clothes that can double up for multiple uses. Essential wears include swimwear, light jackets, and comfortable deck shoes. Remember to pack a mix of casual and smart clothing, as some evenings may call for a more formal attire.
  3. Navigating the Weather: Always bring a lightweight but warm layer like a fleece or a breathable waterproof jacket, as evenings on the sea can get chilly.

Local Customs and Etiquette

Understanding and respecting local customs and etiquette can make your journey more enjoyable and immersive:

  1. Hospitality Practices: Croatians are known for their hospitality. If invited aboard a local’s boat or into a home, it is polite to accept and wear the slippers offered to you.
  2. Dining Etiquette: When dining out, it’s common for locals to ‘fight’ over the bill. Participating in this playful dispute shows your gratitude and engagement with the local customs.
  3. Respecting Privacy and Space: Always be mindful of personal space and privacy when on shared boats or in crowded places. This includes being aware of your surroundings and keeping noise levels down.
  4. Environmental Considerations: While engaging in activities like swimming or snorkeling, ensure you do not disturb the marine life or litter in the waters. Croatians pride themselves on the cleanliness and natural beauty of their waters.

By following these tips, your boat trip will not only be memorable but also respectful and considerate of the beautiful environment and culture you are immersed in.

Enjoy and make memories

This adventure showcases the serene beauty and intimate experiences of exploring the Croatian coastline by sea. Selecting the right vessel is key to a memorable journey.

As we conclude, let’s remember the essence of this maritime journey: a blend of exploration, relaxation, and cultural immersion. To embark on this remarkable adventure, book your Boat Tour with Dubrovnik Watersports. Experience Croatia’s breathtaking islands up close, whether you seek the tranquility of the Elaphiti Islands or the historical charm of Korčula. A boat journey from Dubrovnik promises a unique exploration of Croatia’s treasured hideaways, leaving you with lasting memories.

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