Most cruising boats will enter the Adriatic sea from southern Italy probably from santa Maria da luca. Or from the northern end of Corfu. Whichever you start from unless you are going to take a stop in Monte Negro. The first real option to check in to Croatia is at Cavtat. This is about a 24hr sail from the entrance to the Adriatic. The predominant wind direction in the Adriatic is from the north. So picking your time to go north is very important. Beating in to a head wind for a 100m is no fun.
Once you have checked in it is only a day sail up to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is very touristy but you have to visit this famous walled city. The best place to leave the boat for a visit to Dubrovnik is to go up the river just north of Dubrovnik and stay at the marina. It is a bit of a wind tunnel in there a safe place to leave the boat though.
Once you have done the maddening crowds of Dubrovnik you can get your first taste of the many beautiful islands that Croatia has to offer. There are hundreds of islands and hundreds of places to see. There are many many beautiful anchorages so it is easy to stay away from the marinas. A word of warning though if you anchor anywhere near a town there is a good chance someone will come out in there little fast boat and try to charge you for anchoring. Below i have gone through just a few of the places that have stuck in our memories as some of our favourite must sees.
With the wind nearly always from the north an early start in the morning is always advisable so you can get to your next port of call before the afternoon breeze gets up against you. As with other places in the med beating to windward is no fun and the short chop literally stops your progress in its tracks.
So going north from Dubrovnik, The town of Korcula on the island of the same name is a must see. Korcula is another walled town with loads of history to boot. You can anchor just to the south of the town with only a very short dinghy ride to get ashore. The channel between Korcula and Orebic is very popular with windsurfers and there is a good chance when you traverse the channel that you will be buzzed by the windsurfers as the fly past at a great rate of knots.
Going further north once you get up to Sibenik. You have to take a detour inland with your boat and go all the way up to Skradin. Then take a wonder around the most beautiful waterfalls. You are not supposed to bath in the pools we managed to sneek in though. As you go up from Sibenik you go under a huge bridge that is very popular for bungee jumping. So dont be surprised to see people jumping off the bridge once you have gone past.
Even if you are not a cheese lover. I will confess i am i love a nice strong flavoured cheese. Back to the point a stop on the island of Pag is a must if for no other reason than to try and buy some of the islands famous sheep cheese. We did this and the cheese was not easy to find. Tracey and Cal had great fun trying to find some perserverance paid off in the end and they came back bearing the gift of some famous Pag cheese. We tried some that evening to be honest it was not that great the experience is a great memory though.
If you are going all the way up the Adriatic to venice. Which unfortunately we did not manage to do. As we ran out of time. We did though manage to get as far as Pula. If you are near here then pay Pula a stop as it has a Colliseum that is in much better condition than the one in Rome and is well worth a visit. There is a huge anchorage near Pula and has nearly all round shelter.
To sum up Croatia there are so many beautiful anchorages that you only need to go in to a marina for fuel or water. Leave yourself the whole summer if you can to explore just some of islands. we were only there for 6 weeks as we had to get down to Preveza in the ionion to leave the boat for the winter. 6 weeks was far to short a period of time.