• Jan P

Which are the best kitesurfing spots in Croatia?

Updated: Jun 10

Croatia has a lot to offer in terms of beautiful nature, amazing seaside, charming little islands and islets, historic towns and sights, excellent culinary delights, interesting culture and history, and much more. Positioned on the Adriatic coast, Croatia boasts the most indented coastline in the Mediterranean: it has over 1200 islands and altogether over 5800 km of coastline. Croatia gained more visibility on the global tourism radar in the past 15 years, when it became a hot new summer destination for celebrities who frequent the most popular islands Hvar, Korčula, Brač and the town of Dubrovnik with their superyachts.


Nonetheless, apart from yacht moorings and fancy hotels and restaurants, Croatia still remains in a large part a very authentic and pristine destination - you can easily find quiet, calm and non-touristy islands, where you can enjoy total privacy and eat dinner at local restaurants serving fresh seafood, caught that same day by the local fishermen.


Kitesurfing in Croatia


While Croatia is not a world-renowned kitesurfing destination, it nevertheless sports a couple of good kitesurfing spots, where you can get an awesome session on the water. So if you are a kitesurfer (or plan on becoming one) and you plan a vacation in Croatia, it might serve you well to pack your kite gear and take it with you.


Wind

Ok first, a few words about wind. There are three types of wind which are prevailing and most suitable for kitesurfing in Croatia (or anywhere else on the Adriatic coast). Bear in mind that not all spots are appropriate for every type of wind (see descriptions of individual kite spots below).


For wind prognosis, you can check out Windguru.cz which usually has pretty solid predictions, whereas for more accurate info, see also meteo.hr (Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service website).


The three main types of wind are the following:


Maestral: is a thermal wind, caused by the difference in the temperatures over land and over sea. It blows generally from NW direction and is most common in the summer, when the weather is dry and hot. It begins to blow around noon, whereas it slowly gathers strength during the afternoon and blows until sunset. It is steady and usually blows between 15-25 knots.


Burja (bora): a transient wind which arises only after the passage of a cold front and indicates good weather is approaching. It blows from the NE direction and is dry, very gusty and cold. It usually only blows for a day or two, until the air pressures equalize and the weather normalizes. It is strongest by the shore, whereas over open water it quickly loses strength and dissipates. Its strength can vary from 10 to over 40 knots (especially the gust).


Jugo (yugo): a warm and moist wind, blowing from the SSE direction. It indicates bad weather is approaching and is generally accompanied by rain and heavy clouds. Its strength can vary from 10 to over 40 knots. It usually lasts for a day or two, it is stable and steady.


Strong bora in the Adriatic sea

Spots

Ok now to the important stuff: the spots. Bear in mind that the below list of is by all means not an exhaustive one, but these are in my opinion the most notable and most frequently visited kitesurfing spots on the Croatian coast. Not all spots are appropriate for all types of wind - the type of wind mentioned at each particular spot is the type which blows onshore or sideshore at the mentioned spot and is thus the most appropriate for kiting on that spot.


Also, I should note that, when I mention "beginners", I mean people who can already ride, but are not yet confident riders and are perhaps still struggling to go upwind. If the description of a spot indicates it is not suitable for beginners, this does not apply to people who are enrolled in a kitesurfing course and are taking lessons, since the latter take place under supervision and most of the usual "dangers" of the spot are eliminated.


The spots are listed according to their location from the north to the south of Croatia.



1. Ližnjan

This small rocky spot was a bit of a local secret for a long time. It is located on the SE end of the Istrian peninsula, about a 5-10 minute drive from the town of Ližnjan. A bumpy gravel road leads to the spot where you can park in the immediate vicinity of the water. Pine trees offer shade from the sun, and there is a dirt/grass/rocky area available for gear assembly. The spot itself is a small bay, with bora wind blowing directly into the bay. The shore is mostly sharp rocks, and the entry and exit can be a bit tricky. Booties can come in handy. Also, there are usually some boats moored in one part of the bay. For these reasons, the spot is not very appropriate for beginners. There is a small flat area for boosting, otherwise the water is quite choppy, with the height of the chop depending on wind strength.


Water depth: mostly deep, with a very small shallow area on the other side of the bay.

Water conditions: choppy, with a small flat area. In strong winds and further out, a nice wave forms

Entry/Exit: sharp rocks

Wind: bora

Lessons available: there is no kiteschool at the spot itself, but check kitecampistria.com

Safety boat: no (unless you have lessons)



2. Medulin

Located at the south of the Istrian peninsula in the immediate vicinity of the town of Medulin, the spot is a small bay at the southern end of Medulin. It is easiest to park your car in the campsite on the opposite side of the bay and launch from the camp's beach. The spot is open to the south and therefore appropriate for jugo wind, however, there is almost no flat except immediately behind a small shallow reef, where it gets crowded very very quickly. If you don't mind the chop and waves, the spot is quite nice and due to its protected layout and easy entry/exit, it is also appropriate for beginners.


Water depth: mostly deep, with a small shallow area in the bay

Water conditions: chop/wave, a small flat behind the reef

Entry/exit: mostly small pebbles

Wind: jugo

Lessons available: yes

Safety boat: no (unless you have lessons)



3. Premantura

At the very tip of the Istrian peninsula is the town Premantura and a kite spot with the same name. To get to the spot, you have to enter autocamp Stupice and drive all the way through it to the beach, where you can park at/near a small circular peninsula and assemble your gear on a large soft patch of grass. Entry is possible either from the tip of the peninsula or from its base, but each entry point has its own risks - either you have to dodge a bunch of small boats moored in the water, or you have to walk with your kite in the air across the peninsula between camper vans and RVs. There are also sea urchins in the water, so caution is advisable. Due to all this, the spot is not particularly suitable for beginners. Right in front of the peninsula a very sharp and nasty chop is formed due to the crossing of wind and currents, but if you are a confident rider, you can push about 10-15 minutes upwind to the islet Bodulaš, where a nice big flat of turquoise water can be found in front of the islet. The best thing about it is that, very often, you can have this beautiful playground all to yourself. bear in mind though, if the wind drops, you are far away from the shore and since it is not an "offical" spot, there are no safety boats.


Water depth: deep

Water conditions: chop, flat if you upwind further out to Bodulaš islet

Entry/exit: rocks and pebbles

Wind: bora

Lessons available: no

Safety boat: no

Premantura

4. Nin

Nin is a small charming town about 20 km north of the city of Zadar. Located in the shadow of the Velebit mountain range, the powerful bura wind can provide for some insane kitesurfing sessions and massive boosts. There are a few spots in the immediate vicinity of Nin, but the most known one is on the Ždrijac beach - a long pebbly beach with a large car parking conveniently close. The water is mostly shallow and the south side of the beach opens up into a lagoon with perfect flat water. Unfortunately, it can get crowded as the lagoon is fairly small. If you don't mind the choppy water, there is abundant space on the north side of Ždrijac beach. In addition, one has to be careful as there are swimmers and other beachgoers in the immediate vicinity.


Water depth: shallow in the lagoon, deep further out

Water conditions: flat, chop

Entry/exit: pebbles

Wind: bura

Lessons available: yes

Safety boat: no (unless you have lessons)



5. Bol (Brač)

The town of Bol is located on the south side of Brač island and faces island Hvar on the other side of the channel. Bol is in the immediate vicinity of the famous and sexy Golden Horn beach ("Zlatni rat" in Croatian). If you are lucky to be in Bol off-season, you can launch and land your kite on Golden Horn itself, but in the main season it is forbidden. You can still kite around the Horn in the main season and even sit on the beach and chill with your kite in the air, but you cannot launch/land. The launching and landing is therefore done about a kilometer away from Golden Horn in the Yellow Cat kitesurfing centre, which sports a small pebbly beach. The water is choppy, unless you ride upwind from Yellow Cat about 15 minutes to the Golden Horn, where a small flat is formed downwind from the Horn. It is a good place to show off your cool tricks and jumps, since you have a whole beach full of spectators. It is not such a good place to learn, though, as the space is limited and usually there is a lot of kitesurfers who want to use that small flat surface for boosting. The maestral wind is strengthened by the venturi effect as it blows through the channel betwee Brač and Hvar island, and can reach 20-25 knots. The wind blows side shore, through the channel out to the open sea, so it is not the best spot for beginners and novice riders. Nonetheless, there is a rescue boat and a watchful eye is kept for any kitesurfers in trouble.


UPDATE: in 2021 summer season, the launching/landing is also available on the Golden Horn, in the periods from 19 June - 18 July, and from 17 August - 25 September.


Water depth: deep

Water conditions: chop, a little bit of flat

Entry/exit: pebbles (Goldern Horn); pebbles and rocks (Yellow Cat)

Wind: maestral, jugo

Lessons available: yes

Safety boat: yes

For experienced riders, another spot on Brač island is Povlja, located on the north side of Brač island. It is appropriate for bora wind.


In addition to kitesurfing, I should mention the town of Bol has very decent nightlife, with several bars and a large open-air club right above the Golden Horn where the parties go on until sunrise. By the time maestral wind picks up in the afternoon, you have gotten a solid few hours of sleep, ate a good breakfast, cured the hangover and are ready to get back in the water.

The Golden Horn beach

6. Viganj (Pelješac)

The spot is located near the town of Viganj on the south side of Pelješac peninsula, facing Korčula island. Similar as in Bol, here the maestral wind garners some additional strength due to the venturi effect through the channel between Pelješac and Korčula island. The kitesurf spot itself is a small pebbly beach shared with windsurfers and other beachgoers, so there is very little room and it can become quite chaotic when it is crowded. However, once you get out on the water, there is abundant space. The water is choppy and the wind blows side shore. All that combined, the spot is not the best for beginners. Waterdonkey kitesurfing offers lessons and also has a rescue boat available if anyone gets blown too far downwind through the channel.


Water depth: deep

Water conditions: chop

Entry/exit: pebbles

Wind: maestral

Lessons available: yes

Safety boat: yes

Viganj kitesurfing spot

7. Neretva (Blace)

Close to the town of Ploče, at the estuary of the river Neretva, there are two kitesurfing spots in close proximity to each other - one at the cape of the estuary and one a bit further down in the bay. The maestral wind blows side/onshore and both spots are very safe, offering a spacious sandy beach for gear assembly and a large shallow areas with flat water. As such, the spots are very appropriate for beginners. Due to its popularity, both spots can get quite crowded in the summer, especially in their shallow areas, but you will find abundant space if you are willing to ride a bit further out in deep water. The nearby tiny village of Blace is a favourite among kitesurfers and during high summer season, it is almost impossible to get a booking there. Every August, the "Lift Up" kitesurfing festival takes place, which envisages a kitesurfing contest, beach parties and other events - however, due to covid-19 situation, it is still uncertain whether it will be held in 2021 as well.


Water depth: a big shallow area, deep if you go further out

Water conditions: flat, small chop

Entry/exit: sand

Wind: maestral

Lessons available: yes

Safety boat: yes

Kitesurfing spot at Neretva estuary

So there you have it, a description of some of the most popular kitesurfing spots in Croatia. Please feel free to comment if you have any questions or queries, and I will do my best to answer them. You are welcome to tell me what you think about the article and if I should include any other spots - just post a comment below.


Ride safe!

J

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