People perceive sailing as an activity affordable only to the rich, but when it comes to sailing in Croatia; this is absolutely not the case. There are many ways you can have an amazing sailing holiday in the Adriatic even though you’re on a tight budget. We give you some tips on how to make the best out of your holiday and explore this beautiful country with little funds.
Choose your yacht carefully
Motor boats are usually more expensive than sailing boards, but they can cover more distance. Naturally, older yachts are cheaper than newer yachts – but have no worries – all major charters maintain and run a full diagnostic on all of their vessels every year. Catamarans are the most expensive, but they provide a great degree of comfort. Most of the charters also provide a discount if you book early; and in Croatia that means booking in January or February. Also, ask your charter about vessels in the ‘economic’ class which are usually there for those who want to sail low-budget.
Marinas and parking
There are about fifty marinas dotted all along the coastline; about half of them owned by the Adriatic Croatia International Club (ACI marinas). See if your charter has a deal with the ACI giving you a discount to park in their marinas. Usually the daily price of a marina is between 5 and 8 euros per day, but some days in the peak of the season you may not find a place as they tend to be full. If there is no space, your charter will usually recommend you other solutions, and some of them may include cheaper parking in one of the local-owned marinas.
Go early or late
You’ll get rid of your parking problems if you avoid going in July and August, and you’ll also save money. Instead, go in April or Octobers: the sea will be warm and good for swimming, but rental prices (and prices overall) will be lower. Also, there are several regattas in October, some of which even open for amateurs.
Don’t eat out…often
Marinas usually have restaurants, shops and all necessary tourist facilities. But sailing low-budget usually means forgetting about eating out in luxurious seafood restaurants and taverns. Fortunately there are plenty of moderate, decent restaurants where you'll pay about 40 – 60 Kuna for a starter and 80 – 120 Kuna for a meat or fish main course.
Of course, there are plenty of fast food diners, pizzerias and bakeries where you can eat pretty cheap and enjoy some local favorites.
Be your own cook
Bear in mind that most yachts have all the necessary kitchen appliances for cooking – which is probably the single best money-saving option when it comes to food. You can buy the basic ingredients at local supermarkets; most of them open early in the morning and stay open until late evening – but keep in mind that finding one open 24/7 can be hard. In case you’re wondering, they also sell alcohol, most notably beer and wine, at affordable prices: you can get low-end but decent wine for 40 Kuna a bottle, and beer will rarely cost you more than 20 Kuna.
Improvisation is also a large part of your budget sailing holiday; money-saving opportunities and interesting offers will probably arise all the time as Croatia is a very lively place in the summer. Develop good relations with the locals, which are very tourist friendly, and they'll always help you with useful tips and tricks and make your sailing adventure a truly amazing experience.