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Sailing Croatia: 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites You Can Visit By Yacht

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Between sparkling sapphire beaches, enchanting historic architecture, and tantalizing coastal cuisine, it’s no wonder Croatia is a trending destination for global travellers.

With 1244 islands along the Adriatic coastline and an extensive network of lakes and rivers, there’s an abundance of Croatia sailing holidays to choose from. Even better, Croatia is home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites! These protected landmarks are carefully selected by the United Nations for their cultural significance and ‘belong to all peoples of the world.’

Excited to experience a slice of Adriatic history but prefer to stick to sailing? You’re in luck! Five of the World Heritage Sites in Croatia are located on the coast and can be easily visited during your sailing holiday. Keep reading to learn more.

Croatia unesco site Dubrovnik

5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites To See On Your Croatia Sailing Holiday

UNESCO Sites Croatia: Dubrovnik Old Town


Known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic,’ the Old Town of Dubrovnik is a time capsule to the 13th-century Mediterranean. Complete with Gothic churches, Renaissance-era palaces, and Baroque fountains, this well-preserved destination is a must for history aficionados.

Of course, anyone who loves coastal charm will fall in love with Dubrovnik Old Town, too. Situated on aqua-blue water with sandy beaches and lush vegetation, Dubrovnik blends small-town magic with waterfront luxury.

The best way to get a taste of Dubrovnik is to walk along the Old Town Walls, which connect the ancient fortresses encircling the UNESCO site. You’ll get a perfect view of the coastline, nearby islands, and iconic terracotta roofs sweeping across the city.

As you explore the museums, churches, fountains, and palaces, be sure to include a tour (or two) of Old Town’s wine bars!

As Playwright George Bernard Shaw put it, “Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik.”

Croatia unesco site old town street Dubrovnik

UNESCO Sites Croatia: Plitvice Lakes National Park


The otherworldly mystique of Plitvice Lakes National Park has long enchanted visitors to Croatia. With rolling hills, crystalline lakes, and cascading waterfalls, the dense forest is so magical it feels straight out of a fantasy film.

Although the park’s 16 different lakes are exquisite on their own, the site’s most iconic features are the rushing waterfalls. In fact, thanks to the hilly landscape, these cascades connect each lake in a never-ending flow of sparkling mineral-rich waters.

One way to experience the grottoes is on foot – 18 km of wooden pathways enable visitors to meander around the sequences of tumbling water. However, Plitvice Lakes National Park is best experienced by boat.

Croatia unesco site plitvice lakes waterfall

UNESCO Sites Croatia: Historic City of Trogir


Ancient history is on full display in the Historic City of Trogir. People have lived in this coastal town since the 3rd century BC, making it a remarkable example of what historians call urban continuity.

But don’t let the antiquity fool you – no matter your taste, there’s plenty to do in Trogir! Fine restaurants, bars, cocktail lounges, and cafes line the cobblestone streets, tempting visitors to indulge at all hours of the day. Shopping is also a main attraction here, particularly for artisan goods and local produce, oils, and meats.

Can’t get through a holiday without plenty of sweets? Trogir is also home to an entire square dedicated to ice cream.

Of course, Trogir’s main attraction is boating, so it is one of the most popular destinations for a Croatia sailing holiday. From nearby islands to local watering holes, this UNESCO gem is best experienced on the water.

Croatia unesco site town aerial view of Trogir

UNESCO Sites Croatia: Stari Grad Plain on Hvar Island


Sailing Croatia is incredible no matter where you go, but Stari Grad Plain on Hvar Island might be the most unique destination on your itinerary.

This strip of coastal land has been preserved since the 4th century BC, when the Ionian Greeks cultivated it for agriculture and irrigation. The resulting land organisation system was so influential in European farming history that UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2008!

Today, the land’s geometric segments and dry stone wall boundaries attract agritourism and boating enthusiasts alike. Local produce is the star of the show here, tempting visitors with mouth watering cuisine and artisan markets.

Wine tasting is a must here, especially after a long day of hiking the rolling hills or cruising the coastline!

Compared to other boating destinations, the Stari Grad Plain is quite laid back, making it the perfect place to unwind surrounded by historic splendour.

Croatia unesco site evening view of the waterfront in Hvar

UNESCO Sites Croatia: Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik


Of the many architectural marvels along the Dalmatian coast, the undisputed crown jewel is St. James’ Cathedral in Šibenik.

What makes this cathedral so special? It’s the largest church in the world built completely from stone with no brick or wooden supports. Throughout its construction in the 15th and 16th centuries, all of St. James’s stone was quarried from the nearby islands of Brač, Korčula, Rab, and Krk.

If you’re an architecture fanatic, the structure is also known for having an interior shape corresponding exactly to the exterior design. Furthermore, 74 heads are carved in stone along the outside walls – a strange, yet mesmerising design detail.

Even if you don’t know much about architecture, Game of Thrones viewers will recognise the site from Season 5 as the fictional town of Braavos.

front view of cathedral a Croatia unesco site

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Ready for a historic expedition you’ll remember forever? Sailing Croatia is undoubtedly the best way to experience this magical country. Dream Yacht offers sailing charters from four well-located Croatia bases, making it easy to discover all the best Croatia has to offer.

No matter your level of yachting experience, Dream Yacht Charter makes it easy to journey through the many incredible UNESCO sites Croatia has to offer. We can’t wait to help you plan your dream Croatia sailing holiday!

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