Best Islands In Croatia For Your Bucket List
Croatia is a hot summer destination, thanks to its stunning coastline. But its islands are without a doubt the most popular holiday destinations. With stunning nature, beautiful beaches and mesmerizing old towns, there’s so much to love about them.
Regardless of what your idea of the perfect vacation is - maybe it is island hopping and maybe it’s lounging in the sun for a week straight - you will love all of these places. Here are the eight islands you absolutely must see in Croatia!
8 Must See Islands In Croatia
Hvar is a very popular destination with both the younger and older crowds. The young people are mostly there for the amazing nightlife, and the older people are usually more attracted to the charming beaches and stunning resorts.
Be warned - Hvar is not for those on a budget. It’s one of the most expensive destinations in the country, especially when it comes to accommodations and dining out. But that’s mostly true for the actual town of Hvar - there are plenty of other, smaller villages on the island that are much less crowded and not as overpriced.
In addition to that, there are lots of secluded beaches throughout the island. They’re hidden away in lagoons and surrounded by trees and untouched nature. There are even some beaches that can only be reached by boats - perfect if you’re looking for some privacy.
The entire island is truly stunning, from the cobblestone alleys of Hvar Old Town, to the cliffs and hidden lagoons of the southern shore.
Krk is an island that’s connected to the mainland via bridge, just like Pag as you will soon see. The most popular destination there is definitely the town of Krk, with the ancient old town that features a 5th century cathedral.
Krk Old Town is also famous for the Frankopan Castle with ancient stone passages and a beautiful bell tower. Naturally, the Krk town is always going to be the most crowded destination on the island. Especially with the younger crowd, since it’s the hottest spot on the island if you’re looking for great nightlife.
However, there are lots of smaller villages you can go to, with amazing beaches and beautiful nature, but which are not as crowded. The Stara Baška municipality is actually home to some of the most stunning beaches of the island, so you should definitely visit it.
There are lots of secluded beaches throughout the island. Some of them can only be reached on foot, which is perfect if you’re not opposed to some light hiking.
Rab is an island that has quite a lot to offer. From historically important sites, to long, sandy beaches - there’s lots to explore here. Starting with the WW2 concentration camp; not exactly a hot holiday destination, but it’s interesting to see what life on the island was like when it was occupied by the Italians.
The town of Rab is the best spot for you, if you want to see some of the more historically important sites on the island. You can see the Benedictine Monastery, the Church of St. Justine and a couple of bell towers - all of which were built ages ago, and are very well preserved.
There’s a beach on the island that’s literally called Paradise Beach, and it’s not even an exaggeration. With miles of soft sand and crystal clear azure sea, this little area of Lopar truly feels like a small piece of paradise.
And there’s just so many other beaches on the island that it is impossible to list them all. What you need to know is that most of them are sandy and surrounded by unspoiled nature on the one side and lovely turquoise sea on the other.
4. Kornati Islands
If your perfect holiday includes adventures and lots of exploring, the Kornati Islands are the perfect destination. This is actually an archipelago that consists of about 140 smaller islands, and is the largest archipelago in the Adriatic sea.
And they are very different from most other islands in Croatia. Because there are no sources of fresh water nearby, the islands are very barren. Don’t expect to see lots of green and forests here - instead, you can see some truly beautiful rock formations, explore the grottoes, caves and rugged cliffs.
Definitely visit the Kornati National Park if you’re ever here. Dubbed as Croatia’s nautical paradise, it’s going to be such a thrill to “slalom” in between the tiny islands for any sailor. You should also go scuba diving when you’re visiting the islands, because words cannot do justice to the rich, gorgeous underwater life here. If you are inetersted in visiting National Parks in general, Plitvice and Krka are some of the best ones with amazing waterfalls!
The island of Korčula is and always will be a favorite of mine. And not for the Korčula Old Town, which I have to admit is gorgeous, but frankly overcrowded. In fact, I was much more mesmerized by the Lumbarda village.
It is not as crowded as the actual town of Korčula, which is a huge plus for me. The beaches are mostly small and secluded - another thing I really loved. And the harbour in the village is breathtaking and actually really large.
Seafood fans will absolutely love Fridays in the village - in the evening, all the local fishermen gather around in the town square for the “fish evening”. You can try freshly grilled specialties and truly enjoy yourself.
But there’s no denying that the town of Korčula is what everyone wants to see on the island. Rumoured to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, it attracts a myriad of tourists on a daily basis. The cobblestone alleys are enchanting, the restaurants inside the city walls overlooking the neighbouring Pelješac peninsula offer delicious dinner with a view and the turrets and ancient houses leave you in awe. It truly is something you have to experience at least once in your lifetime.
Pag is actually quite interesting because it is an island, but it is also connected to mainland Croatia with a bridge. So, if you’re in the mood for a scenic oceanside drive, this is probably one of the best destinations for you.
The island is very popular with young crowds, for the famous Zrće beach. It comes alive in the summer, with wild 24-hour parties. If you’re not a fan of crowds and dancing, you might want to stay away from the Novalja town.
Instead, you can go to any other village on the island such as : Povljana, Smokvica, Košljun… These are much more peaceful and a lot less crowded than Novalja. You can expect to see miles and miles of sandy beaches here, along with clear, deep-blue water. Not much to complain about, right?
One thing to note is that Pag is quite different from the more southern islands. It is much more bare - think more rock and less forest. It’s pretty much heaven on Earth for all of you who can spend hours upon hours lounging in the sun, but also a hell on eatch for those of you who need a little shade!
If you’re in the mood for an adventurous vacation, which includes hiking, cave diving and kayaking, Mljet where you want to be. This is also the closest island on our list for those who are also planning to visit Dubrovnik.
Don’t expect lots of luxurious resorts, wild nightlife and hundreds of fancy restaurants here, it’s more of a nature lover’s paradise. Don’t get me wrong - the resorts that exist there are very luxe, there’s just not hundreds of them.
The most popular part of the island is probably the Mljet National Park. It covers the entire northwest part of the island, and it actually includes two salt-water lakes. In the middle of the Large Lake there’s a tiny island with a 12-century Benedictine Monastery - how cool is that? Granted, the building is now a cafe/restaurant, but the original architecture is very well preserved and stunning to see.
Another really popular destination on the island is the Odysseus cave, rumoured to be the Ogigia from Homer’s Odyssey, where Odysseus hid before surrendering to the charms of Calypso. The island has a rich history, rich forests and very rich fauna, and it will be so effortless to find your own little piece of paradise here.
Brač is one of those destinations where you can’t pinpoint exactly why it is so popular. Is is the stunning beaches? The fancy resorts? The awesome nightlife? Or maybe the lovely nature and mild climate? It’s very hard to be sure, because Brač has it all.
I can be sure that the most famous part of the island is the Golden Horn beach. The iconic horn-shaped beach is in the southern part of the island, and it’s in pretty much all of Croatia travel guides. The sand/pebble beach is several miles long and surrounded by crystal clear blue sea. And it tends to get pretty crowded in peak season.
Bol and Supetar are the two most popular towns on the island. They are usually swarming with tourists in high season, because everyone wants to see those gorgeous sandy beaches.
Head to one of the smaller villages on the island if you’re looking for privacy and untouched nature. Or just go exploring the island - see the ancient caves that date to 12 millennia BC, go hiking on the amazing trails and check out Vidova gora - the highest peak of all Adriatic islands.
Which Croatian Island Will You Fall In Love With?
Hopefully, you will get a chance to go on a long vacation and relax on all of the above islands in Croatia. However, these are all lovely spots for a great getaway even if you end up picking just one.
You can also add Montenegro to your itinerary and hop over for a day to enjoy Kotor!
Author Bio - Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on her travel blog with her husband.