Discover Croatia’s Hidden Gems: The 10 Best Croatia Islands to Explore
Croatia is widely recognised for its gorgeous islands and coastline, which annually draw millions of tourists. Croatia is a true island paradise that is just waiting to be discovered, with over a thousand islands. There are many hidden treasures that provide a quieter, more genuine experience, despite the fact that some islands are quite popular and can become packed during peak season. We’ll introduce you to the ten most best islands to visit in Croatia in this article.
With each island having its own own traditions, customs, and cuisine, Croatia’s island culture is a crucial component of the nation’s identity. The islands have a lengthy and complex history that dates back to Roman times, and throughout the ages, they have been changed by numerous cultures and influences. A look into the nation’s past is provided by the historic centres of many of the islands, which still have their original narrow alleys, stone homes, and ancient ruins.
We’ll present you to the top ten islands in Croatia in this article, each with its own special sights, things to do, and scenery. Croatia islands have it everything, whether you’re searching for gorgeous beaches, quiet coves, historic ruins, or a buzzing nightlife. The most important details about each island, such as how to get there, where to stay, and what to do, will be given to you.
The islands of Croatia have a long and rich history that dates back to antiquity. Among the earliest people to settle on the islands were the Greeks and the Romans, who left behind a large number of ruins and historic places. The Byzantines, the Venetians, the Austro-Hungarians, and the Yugoslavs were only a few of the different empires that dominated the islands throughout history. The islands are now a popular travel destination for tourists from all over the world and are a part of the sovereign Republic of Croatia.
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The Croatian island of Vis is a remarkable hidden gem, providing travellers a singular fusion of culture, scenic beauty, and culinary delights. Here’s a closer look at what to anticipate while travelling to this picture-perfect island.
Vis Island, which is in the Adriatic Sea, is renowned for its pristine landscape, clean waters, and attractive settlements. Vis has managed to retain its unique character, unlike many other Croatian islands, and visitors can take advantage of the relaxed, unpretentious ambiance.
Vis Island’s Beaches:
Vis Island’s beautiful beaches, which range from quiet coves to long lengths of sand, are one of its main attractions. Stiniva Beach, Srebrna Beach, and Stoncica Beach are a few of the island’s busiest beaches. Swimming, tanning, and water sports including diving and snorkelling are available to visitors.
Vis Island’s History and Cultural Sites:
The history of Vis Island is extensive, and there is proof that people have lived there since the Neolithic era. Visitors can explore historic sites like the Roman Baths and discover the island’s significance in the region’s military history. A number of museums, including the Fishermen’s Museum and the Vis Heritage Museum, are also located on the island.
Best Food and Wine Experiences on Vis Island:
With its abundance of fresh fish, regional products, and traditional Croatian meals, Vis Island is a food lover’s heaven. At one of the island’s many beachfront restaurants, such Konoba Bako or Pojoda, visitors may savour delectable fish. For lovers of wine, Vis Island is home to a number of renowned wineries, including Lipanovic and Vina Caric.
Getting to and Around Vis Island:
Visitors can travel to Vis Island by private boat or by ferry from Split. Since there isn’t much public transportation on the island, a car or a scooter is your best bet for getting around. Visitors should be advised that many of the island’s roads are curvy and small, making it difficult for inexperienced drivers to navigate them.
Anyone who wants to experience the best of Croatia’s island culture should travel to Vis Island. There is something for everyone on this alluring island, from its breathtaking beaches and fascinating history to its delectable food and wine.
One of Croatia’s most well-liked vacation spots is Hvar Island, which is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, fascinating history, and exciting nightlife. Hvar Island, which is the fourth-largest island in the Adriatic Sea and is situated in the middle of the Dalmatian archipelago, is around 70 km long. It is easily reachable from Split, Dubrovnik, and other adjacent islands by ferry or catamaran.
Hvar Island’s beaches
Croatia’s Hvar Island is home to some of the country’s most exquisite beaches, which have clean white sand and brilliant blue water. Some of the most well-known beaches are:
- Stiniva Beach – located on the southern coast of the island, Stiniva Beach is a secluded cove surrounded by high cliffs, accessible only by boat or on foot.
- Dubovica Beach – situated in a picturesque bay on the southern coast of the island, Dubovica Beach is known for its crystal-clear water and peaceful atmosphere.
- Palmizana Beach – located on the Pakleni Islands, just a short boat ride from Hvar Town, Palmizana Beach is a tranquil oasis surrounded by lush vegetation.
Hvar Island’s natural beauty and outdoor activities
In addition to its beaches, Hvar Island is also known for its rugged natural beauty and outdoor activities. Some of the top things to do on the island include:
- Hiking – Hvar Island is home to several scenic hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding islands.
- Cycling – the island’s quiet roads and scenic landscapes make it a popular destination for cycling enthusiasts.
- Water sports – visitors can enjoy a wide range of water sports, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and windsurfing.
Getting to and around Hvar Island
Split, Dubrovnik, and other adjacent islands provide catamaran or ferry service to Hvar Island. Visitors can use a bus, taxi, or rental car to navigate around the island. Hvar Town, the island’s capital, is small enough to be explored on foot, but if you want to see the more outlying areas of the island, you should rent a car.
One of the biggest islands in the area, Korcula Island is located on the southernmost section of Croatia’s Adriatic coast. The beautiful coastline, historical landmarks, and extensive cultural heritage of Korcula are well renowned. The island is a great place to go island hopping in Croatia because it is easily accessible by ferry, catamaran, or private boat.
Korcula Island’s historical sites and cultural attractions
Visitors can tour a number of historical sites and cultural landmarks on Korcula Island, which has a long history. The mediaeval town of Korcula, which is renowned for its restored architecture, winding lanes, and old city walls, is the island’s most well-known attraction. St. Mark’s Cathedral, the Korcula Town Museum, and the Marco Polo House are a few of the island’s other cultural landmarks.
Best beaches on Korcula Island
Korcula Island is home to some of the best beaches in Croatia. Some of the most popular beaches on the island include:
- Pupnatska Luka Beach: Located on the southern coast of Korcula Island, this secluded beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning views.
- Vela Przina Beach: This sandy beach is located in the village of Lumbarda and is popular with families and couples.
- Bacva Bay: This quiet bay is located on the eastern side of Korcula Island and is ideal for those who want to escape the crowds.
Best food and wine experiences on Korcula Island
Korcula Island is known for its traditional Dalmatian cuisine and excellent wines. Some of the best food and wine experiences on the island include:
- Wine tasting at Bire Winery: This family-owned winery produces some of the best wines on Korcula Island, and visitors can enjoy a tasting while taking in the beautiful vineyard views.
- Local seafood dishes at Konoba Mate: This cozy restaurant is located in the village of Pupnat and serves up delicious seafood dishes using fresh, locally caught fish.
- Olive oil tasting at Lina’s: Korcula Island is known for its high-quality olive oil, and visitors can sample some of the best varieties at Lina’s.
Getting to and around Korcula Island
From Split or Dubrovnik, you can take a ferry or catamaran to Korcula Island. Visitors can use a car, scooter, or bike to get around the island after arriving. Additionally, public buses travel between the island’s towns and villages.
One of Croatia’s largest islands, Brač Island is part of the central Dalmatian group of islands. It is renowned for its beautiful beaches, pristine waters, and extensive history. We shall examine what Brač Island has to offer in this section, from its well-known beach to its cultural landmarks.
Brač Island’s famous beach – Zlatni Rat:
On Brač Island, Zlatni Rat is arguably the most well-known beach, and for good reason. This unusual tongue-shaped beach is close to the town of Bol, and the wind and waves determine where it is in relation to the town. It is a must-see location for anyone visiting Brač Island because of the pristine waters and stunning surroundings.
Brač Island’s history and cultural sites:
The numerous cultural sites located all around Brač Island serve as reminders of the island’s long history, which dates back to the Roman era. The most well-known of these is the 4th-century AD Diocletian’s Palace in the city of Supetar. The highest point on the island, Vidova Gora, and the Blaca Hermitage, a 16th-century monastery constructed into a cliffside, are two further noteworthy locations.
Best food and wine experiences on Brač Island:
Brač Island is renowned for its delectable cuisine and regional wines. Lamb barbecued on a spit, grilled seafood and the renowned Brač cheese are some of the must-try foods. Visitors can also partake in wine tastings at nearby wineries where they can sip the famed Plavac Mali wine from the island.
Getting to and around Brač Island:
By ferry, city of Split is close to the island of Brač. Additionally, numerous daily flights connect major Croatian cities like Zagreb and Dubrovnik with the airport on the island of Bol. Visitors can use a bus, taxi, or rental car to navigate around the island. Exploring the island’s breathtaking sceneries by bike or on foot is another well-liked activity.
The undiscovered island of Mljet is situated close to the Pelješac Peninsula in Croatia’s southern region. The island is renowned for its verdant green trees, pure blue waters, and tranquil environment, making it the perfect vacation spot for anyone seeking peace and quiet.
Mljet Island’s national park and natural beauty
The primary attraction on the island, which occupies a sizable chunk of it, is the Mljet National Park. Malo Jezero (Small Lake) and Veliko Jezero (Big Lake), two saltwater lakes, are found in the park along with the surrounding lush vegetation. The park can be toured on foot, bicycle, or even kayak by visitors.
Best beaches and water sports on Mljet Island
Saplunara Beach, Blace Beach, and Limuni Beach are just a few of the lovely beaches on Mljet Island. The beaches are renowned for their clean waters and isolated setting, making them the ideal location for relaxation. Scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkelling are all popular water sports.
Mljet Island’s history and cultural sites
Visitors can tour a number of historical monuments on Mljet Island, including the Benedictine monastery built in the 12th century on the island of St. Mary in Veliko Jezero. The Roman Palace in Polae and the Illyrian defences in the town of Govedari are only two of the numerous antiquity sites on the island.
Getting to and around Mljet Island
Mljet Island can best be reached by ferry from Split or Dubrovnik. Visitors can use bikes, cars, or foot to explore the island after they arrive. On the island, you can rent bikes and vehicles, but it’s crucial to realise that the roads can be winding and congested, so drivers should be skilled.
Overall, Mljet Island is a secret paradise that is undoubtedly worthwhile for anyone looking for a quiet vacation between nature and history.
Located in the northern Adriatic Sea, Cres Island is a hidden gem. It is renowned for its pristine environment, breathtaking scenery, and clean seas. People who enjoy outdoor pursuits including biking, hiking, and swimming in the ocean should visit the island.
Cres Island’s natural beauty and outdoor activities
The natural beauty of Cres Island, the second-largest island in the Adriatic Sea, is spectacular. Griffin vultures, which are frequently seen soaring above cliffs, are among the island’s diverse flora and fauna. On the island, there are many hiking and biking paths that lead through forests, up hills, and along the coast. The trail leading to Mount Osorica, the island’s highest point, which provides sweeping views of the ocean and nearby islands, is the busiest.
Best beaches on Cres Island
Some of Croatia’s most gorgeous beaches may be found on Cres Island. The Valun beach, which is found on the western side of the island, is one of the most well-known. It is a pebble beach with pine trees surrounding it, and the clean waters are ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Lubenice, which is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, is another beach that is well seeing. It offers an unmatched view of the sea and neighbouring islands from a clifftop location 378 metres above sea level.
Cres Island’s history and cultural sites
The history and cultural heritage of Cres Island are extensive. The island has been populated from prehistoric times, and there are several archaeological sites there, including the ruins of early Christian churches and Roman villages. The largest settlement on the island, Cres, retains much of its mediaeval core, including a Venetian tower, city walls, and a town gate.
Getting to and around Cres Island
Taking a ferry from the mainland is the most convenient way to get to Cres Island. The cities of Rijeka and Krk are connected to the island via ferry. The island has limited public transit, therefore driving is the most practical form of transportation once there. The island offers car rentals, and the town of Cres has a number of parking facilities. You can also travel around the island on foot or by bicycle.
The northern Adriatic Sea’s Pag Island is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, pristine waters, and exciting nightlife. Pag is most popular islands in Croatia because tourists can easily visit the island by a bridge that is connected to the mainland . This section will cover Pag Island’s beaches, dining options, historical and cultural landmarks, and transportation options.
Pag Island’s beaches and outdoor activities
For those who enjoy the outdoors and the beach, Pag Island is the ideal vacation spot. There are over 20 beaches on the island, each of which offers a distinctive experience. Zre, Simuni, and Caska are a few of Pag Island’s well-known beaches. Water sports including kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing are available on these beaches.
Best food and wine experiences on Pag Island
Pag Island is famed for its delectable cuisine, which features dishes like the world-famous Pag cheese, lamb, and olive oil. The terrain and climate of the island make it the perfect place to cultivate grapes, and Pag wine has gained popularity among wine connoisseurs. Visitors can sample regional wines at the island’s numerous wineries or savour traditional meals at neighbourhood eateries.
Pag Island’s history and cultural sites
The Old Town of Pag, which is home to magnificent cultural artefacts and buildings from the 15th century, is one of the many cultural attractions on Pag Island, which has a long history. Other noteworthy cultural locations are the Benedictine abbey of St. Mary and the Pag Lace Gallery, which displays the age-old technique for producing lace.
Getting to and around Pag Island
Cars, buses, and ferries make it simple to get to Pag Island. The Pag Bridge connects the island to the mainland, making it simple to get to by automobile. Regular bus services also link Pag Island to neighbouring cities. Guests can also go to the island by ferry from the mainland. Once on the island, guests can travel small distances on foot, by car, or by scooter.
Šolta Island is a tiny island in the centre of Dalmatia, not far from Split. It is the perfect vacation spot for anyone seeking a quiet, stress-free break from the bustle of popular tourist hotspots. Šolta Island, with its quaint mediaeval villages, lovely bays, and clean water, is the epitome of traditional Mediterranean life.
Šolta Island’s natural beauty and outdoor activities:
Šolta Island is the ideal location for people who enjoy the outdoors and being in nature. The island is covered with fragrant pine forests, and the coast is dotted with a lot of hidden nooks and coves that are great for swimming and tanning. With numerous clearly indicated trails that provide breathtaking views of the island’s mountainous interior and the surrounding sea, the island is also a fantastic location for hikers and cyclists.
Best beaches on Šolta Island:
Some of Croatia’s most stunning and remote beaches may be found on Šolta Island. Maslinica Beach, Rogac Beach, and Necujam Beach are a few of the island’s top beaches. These beaches provide abundant chances for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports in addition to magnificent natural settings and crystal-clear waters.
Šolta Island’s history and cultural sites:
Šolta Island has a significant cultural and historical past despite its modest size. The island is peppered with quaint historic settlements that provide a picture of typical Mediterranean life, including Stomorska, Maslinica, and Grohote. The Necujam Roman Villa and the Stomorska Old Town are only two of the historical and cultural landmarks on the island.
Getting to and around Šolta Island:
From Split, there are frequent boat and catamaran connections to Šolta Island. Once on the island, travellers can travel by bus, taxi, rental bike, scooter, or vehicle, or by foot. Traveling around the island is reasonably simple due to its size and ease of navigation.
The Croatian province of northern Kvarner Bay has the undiscovered beauty of Rab Island. It is one of the most visited places in the area because of its stunning beaches, clear sea, lush vegetation, and rich history.
Beautiful beaches that are great for swimming, tanning, and water activities can be found on Rab Island. Rajska plaa (Paradise Beach), a long, sandy beach that spans for about two kilometers, is one of the island’s busiest beaches. Pudarica Beach, Suha Punta Beach, and Kandarola Beach are a few additional well-liked beaches.
Rab Island has a lot of outdoor activities available, including hiking, cycling, and diving, in addition to its beaches. Numerous hiking and biking trails on the island provide breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Divers can explore the underwater environment of the island, which is home to a variety of marine life and shipwrecks.
Best food and wine experiences on Rab Island
The delectable food of Rab Island, which draws from both Italian and Croatian culinary traditions, is well-known. Fresh seafood, spit-roasted lamb, and Pag cheese, a type of cheese derived from sheep’s milk, are some of the island’s delicacies.
Additionally, the island is home to a number of top-notch wineries. The best wines in the area can be sampled on winery tours and tastings open to the public.
Rab Island’s history and cultural sites
Rab Island has a lengthy past that goes back thousands of years. Since prehistoric times, people have lived on the island, and it has been ruled by numerous civilizations, including the Romans, Byzantines, and Venetians.
One of the island’s top attractions is Rab’s old town. The town is well-known for its four bell towers, which are among Croatia’s best-preserved Romanesque buildings. The Rab Museum, the Church of St. Justine, and the Church of St. Mary are some further historical locations.
Getting to and around Rab Island
The easiest way to reach Rab Island is by ferry from the nearby city of Rijeka. Ferries run several times a day during the summer months and take approximately two hours. Once on the island, visitors can explore the island’s attractions by car, bike, or on foot. There are also several local bus lines that run between the island’s towns and villages.
Stunning 140-island archipelago known as the Kornati Islands is situated close to Zadar in northern Dalmatia. The islands’ unspoiled natural beauty, clean waters, and abundant marine life are well-known. The Kornati Islands are also the location of the 220 square km Kornati National Park, one of Croatia’s best-preserved natural areas.
Kornati Islands’ National Park and Natural Beauty
Anyone visiting the Kornati Islands should make sure to visit the Kornati National Park. There are more than 800 different plant types and countless bird species in the park, which is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. With their rocky cliffs, secret coves, and isolated beaches that are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, the islands’ natural beauty is also something to see.
Best Beaches and Water Sports in Kornati Islands
Some of Croatia’s best beaches and water sports may be found on the Kornati Islands. Levrnaka Beach, Tureta Beach, and Lojena Beach are a few of the most well-known beaches. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking are just a few of the water sports available in the crystal-clear seas surrounding the islands.
Kornati Islands’ History and Cultural Sites
The Kornati Islands have a rich cultural past in addition to their stunning natural beauty. The islands have been inhabited since prehistoric times, and many civilizations, notably the Illyrians, Romans, and Byzantines, have dominated them. The ruins of historic churches, monasteries, and fortifications may be found all across the islands for visitors to explore.
Getting to and Around Kornati Islands
Boat transportation to the Kornati Islands is available from a number of ports in the area, including Zadar, Sibenik, and Murter. Visitors can tour the islands on foot or by boat once they arrive. The natural beauty and cultural heritage of the islands can be explored by tourists on a number of scheduled boat tours, which are led by professional guides.
The Kornati Islands are a well-kept secret in Croatia, providing tourists with an opportunity to take in unspoiled natural beauty, a fascinating cultural past, and a variety of outdoor pursuits. The Kornati Islands are a must-see location, whether you’re a fan of nature, history, or just want to unwind on a beach holiday.
In summary, Croatia’s islands provide a plethora of undiscovered treasures just waiting to be discovered. Each island has its own own appeal and attractions, from the breathtaking beaches and natural beauty of Hvar and Mljet to the rich cultural history and delectable food and wine experiences on Bra and Pag. The Kornati Islands give visitors the option to try thrilling water sports while exploring a beautiful national park. The islands of Croatia have something to offer everyone, whether they are seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural enrichment. It’s now simpler than ever to visit these hidden jewels thanks to convenient transportation alternatives. Don’t pass up the chance to explore these magnificent Croatian islands and everything they have to offer.
Which is the best Croatian island to visit?
The best Croatian island to visit depends on your personal preferences. Each island has its own unique features and attractions. Some of the most popular islands to visit are Hvar, Brač, Korčula, and Vis.
How many islands are there in Croatia?
Croatia has more than 1,000 islands, islets, and reefs, but only around 50 of them are inhabited.
Which island is closest to Split in Croatia?
The closest island to Split is Brač, which is only a short ferry ride away.
Which Croatian islands can you drive to?
Only a few Croatian islands are connected to the mainland by bridge, and therefore are reachable by car. These include Krk, Pag, and Vir. Other islands can be reached by car ferries or catamarans, but cars are not always necessary on smaller islands where everything can be reached by foot.