The largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, the Croatian region of Istria is a hugely popular jumping-off point for boat tours that take visitors on captivating ocean journeys.
Among the many boating excursions on offer are a number of luxurious private tours that provide select groups of family or friends with the intimacy of having a vessel and crew all to themselves. There are several spots across the region from which such tours depart – one of which is the achingly pretty fishing port of Rovinj. We’ve picked out three of the best luxury boat tours available from Rovinj and Istria as a whole.
Sunset Cruise around Rovinj
Since launching in 2022, Lux Nautic have rapidly become the go-to guys for exclusive boat trips around Istria – even hosting such luminaries as American pop rock band Imagine Dragons aboard their state-of-the-art Colnago 35 motorboat. The three-person team – comprising your skipper, hostess and extra crew member – offer a wide choice of customisable trips in the region, ranging from whistle-stop cruises to full-day adventures. During our two-hour sunset cruise around Rovinj, the service they provided exceeded all expectations. To the delight of our children, there were multiple close-range dolphin sightings, and despite their tender years were even allowed to briefly helm the boat as it zipped across the water. A gentle cruise down the picture-postcard Lim Fjord, lined by vivid lush green cliffs, was another highlight. Angela, meanwhile, proved an impeccable hostess, serving up a steady stream of seafood canapes and fruit platters, and ensuring our glasses were regularly topped up with traditional Croatian spritzers. She was also happy to answer questions about the history and culture of the region and share her experience of living in Istria since she was a child. As we departed, the crew told of their ambitions to scale up and include several additional boats in their fleet and, eventually, offer more ambitious tours including overnight trips to Venice. Based on the evidence so far, we wouldn’t bet against them. Price on request.
From Fažana: snorkeling at sea cave and Brijuni Island
The picturesque village of Fažana on Istria’s southwest coast is the starting point for ferry trips over to Brijuni Islands and its famous national park, where tourists come in their droves to visit the park’s myriad attractions, including a safari park featuring a diverse collection of exotic animals. But rather than squeeze yourself into one of the regular passenger ferries like sardines, there’s an altogether more comfortable way to make the short trip over from the mainland – and that’s on a private boat tour. One of the most popular is this 3-hour guided excursion which focuses on snorkelling among the area’s abundance of flora and fauna and other natural beauty spots. Highlights include the chance to dive in the caves of Seagull Rocks, relax at the tiny cove of Figo, look around the abandoned island of Kozada, and take in views of the disused ex-military base of Muzil. Free drinks and snacks, snorkelling masks and underwater lamps are all included. The tour starts and ends at the port of Fažana. From €309 per group (max 6 people).
Poreč Private Watersports Excursion
Another great tour for fans of aquatic adventure, this private 2-hour excursion takes place off the coast of the popular Istrian resort of Poreč. After departure from your chosen pickup location, you’ll be guided by a professional skipper as you soak up the stunning coastline views on the way out to sea. Over the ensuing hours, you’ll get to try your hand at a variety of watersports activities including hot-seat towable riding, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and kneeboarding. Back onboard, there are plenty of refreshments including soda/pop and bottled water, which are included in the tour price along with all watersports equipment and life jackets. At the end of the tour, you’ll be dropped off at a location of your choice.. From €306 per group (max 8 people).