News, Culture & Society

Zizoo charters family yachts to tour the Croatian coast

Hop aboard for a value family break in Croatia: Island-hopping in a chartered yacht is fun and surprisingly affordable

  • The Daily Mail’s Robert Harman chartered a yacht to carry nine guests
  • Zizoo offers sailboat hire for £1,985 per week, and Robert toured Croatia’s coast
  • Key stop-offs included the island of Solta, Lucice cove and Stari Grad in Hvar

Look at a map of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and there must be as many islands as there are spots on its canine namesake.

With the Adriatic nation enjoying a surge in British holiday traffic this summer — thanks to Croatia being outside the even-pricier-than-usual Eurozone — many people will have been wondering which island to choose from in the waters between Spilt and Dubrovnik.

The best-known are Brac, with its world-famous beach (a delicious spit of sand called Zlatni Rat) and Hvar, famed for its nightclubs and beautiful people. But if you haven’t made up your mind, why not try a selection?

Glorious: Robert chartered a yacht to carry nine guests and toured Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, with stop-offs including Spilt (pictured) the island of Solta and Stari Grad in Hvar

You certainly do not need to be a sailor to charter a decent family-sized yacht for a week.

With a skipper costing between £100 and £130 a day, you can leave him (or her) to do all the work and enjoy a waterfront holiday home for less than the cost of a hotel — and no need for a hire car, either.

We found our boat through Zizoo, the online yacht broker. Type in your budget, the number of people, dates and your preferred boat (sail or motor), and it works just like a property search company.

We were a group of four adults and five children under the age of ten, and we wanted to sail to and from somewhere with regular UK flights.

We settled on a Bavaria 45, a well-equipped, German-built yacht based in the port of Trogir, a short taxi ride from Split Airport.

It sleeps up to ten people in four cabins and has three loos (each with a shower), a big galley and two huge water tanks that we only needed to refill once all week.

Nine's company: Robert's party included four adults and five children. All were entertained

Nine’s company: Robert’s party included four adults and five children. All were entertained

Our first destination was just a couple of hours away. Often eclipsed by neighbouring Brac, the island of Solta is crenelated with pretty inlets, perfect for dropping anchor before a leisurely lunch.

A short hop further on (everything is a short hop), we reached Brac for the night and parked in a snug cove at Lucice. Every boat comes with a dinghy — we buzzed ashore for piles of barbecued meat at a jolly, family-run restaurant.

And that was very much the pattern all the way around the Dalmatian Islands, cruising at a leisurely pace, never more than a few hours at a time and giving everyone a turn at the wheel. 

Some nights, we slept at anchor in little bays. Yet perhaps the prettiest view was when we tied up by the quayside at Stari Grad, a Venetian gem on Hvar.

But there was no doubting the highlight of the week. Sailing away from Vis, Croatia’s most remote island, we found ourselves racing against an entire pod of dolphins. Funnily enough, they won.

Travel Facts

Easyjet (, 0330 365 5000) flies Gatwick to Split from £76 return. 

Zizoo (, 0800 151 0165) offers sailboat hire for £1,985 per week (average) peak season.