There are many beautiful islands in Croatia situated in the azure crystal clear waters off the Dalmatian coast. Actually there are around 1,244 Croatian islands of various sizes, including islets, small rocks in the sea, cliffs and reefs. There are a significant number of islands in Croatia in any case, so here we focus on 21 of the best Croatian islands you could ever hope to visit in your lifetime.
Visit these 21 beautiful Croatian Islands, or like most tourists just a few of them, and I’m sure the experience would be incredible.
1. Brac – Best Croatian Islands
Brac is the third-largest island in Croatia and lies off the coast near Split.
This island has the most famous beach in all of Croatia, that being the amazing arrow-shaped beach near the town of Bol, known as Zlatni Rat or Golden Horn.
This island is a bit more affordable than the more popular islands of Hvar and Pag, so it has greater appeal with tourists on a budget.
Younger visitors flock to the island during summer for the coastal parties. Actually there are summer parties all over the Croatian coastline and the mainland in summer, including Zadar, Split and Primošten.
Large numbers of tourists head to the towns of Supetar and Pučišća in Brac to enjoy the sun, sea and nightlife.
Bol is known to be party central, the place to be where you can experience the best nightlife on Brac island. You will be able to find numerous nightclubs and cocktail bars here.
If you’re after a more peaceful vibe, you may want to head to Milna village.
Sutivan also has some amazing beaches, so for all you beach lovers out there, make sure you visit this town as well.
There are plenty of water sports like surfing, paragliding, scuba-diving and jet skiing to enjoy during the day. You definitely won’t get bored on Brac if you’re a water lover.
Vidova Gora is the highest peak on the island of Brač, and also the highest peak on all the Adriatic islands at 780m. The views from the top must be spectacular.
Brac is only one hour away from Split by ferry.
2. Brijuni – Best Croatian Islands
Brijuni is made up of a group of 14 tiny islands, situated near Pula, Istria’s biggest city.
Veli Brijun is the main island and boasts a national park and has a number of native animals that roam around freely. The island also has a safari park where you can spot a variety of exotic animals including elephants. There are even ancient dinosaur footprints to wonder at.
The Temple of Venus
Ruins of a Temple dedicated to the sea god Neptune (Poseidon) and the goddess Venus (Aphrodite) are situated near an ancient Roman Villa in the Bay of Verige, within the Brijuni National Park. This outstanding Roman Villa is thought to have been one of the three most luxurious villas in the Roman Empire alongside a Villa in Pompeii and another one in Capri.
3. Ciovo – Best Croatian Islands
Trogir is a town on the central Adriatic coast of Croatia. The town lies on a small island connected to the mainland and the island of Čiovo by bridges.
By visiting the island of Čiovo you get to experience both.
4. Cres – Best Croatian Islands
Cres and Krk are considered to be the largest islands in Croatia. No one can really know for sure which one of the two is larger, as both islands are around 405 km2 (156 sq miles) in size, though both of them claim to be the largest. Someone has to be lying.
The remarkable thing about Cres is that the island is associated with the ancient Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts in their quest to find the Golden Fleece.
Cres is linked to the mythical story of Apsyrtus, the brother of Medea, which is why the island was once known as Apsyrtides.
The island is separated from the neighbouring island of Lošinj by a channel that is just 12 metres wide. From a distance, these two islands are often mistaken for one another.
Vrana, a freshwater lake is one of the island’s most popular attractions.
5. Dugi Otok – Best Croatian Islands
Dugi Otok or Long Island is the seventh largest island in the Adriatic Sea and a popular sailing destination.
Make sure you visit the nature park Telascica and don’t miss the monumental cliffs located on the southern side of Dugi Otok which rise up 160m.
Make some time for Saharun Beach as well.
Very Interesting Sport: The Croatians have developed a unique amateur water sport called Picigin. The game is normally played on a sandy beach in shallow water around ankle/knee deep. This helps as there is a lot of jumping and diving involved. Players hit a small ball with the palm of their hand to other players in the group while trying to keep the ball from touching the water. It looks like a lot of fun.
6. Galešnjak – Best Croatian Islands
This heart shaped island attracts romantics.
Young men have proposed to their girlfriends here in a truly remarkable setting.
7. Hvar – Best Croatian Islands
Hvar Town is the most stunning town on the island, and for this reason it attracts the rich and famous, cool backpackers, loads of tourists and families alike.
Starigrad, the oldest village on the island is also worth a visit, so to the humble fishing village of Jesla, a serene town on the eastern side of the island.
The hottest nightlife on the Croatian coast occurs on Hvar.
For a party paradise experience like no other, make your way to Carpe Diem to enjoy an unforgettable night out.
Make sure you walk up to the town’s fortress for a great view across the harbour.
Hvar has turned into one of the most popular tourist spots on the Mediterranean coast and because of this it is one of the most expensive islands in Croatia. Hvar is the the best island for beauty and buzz.
8. Iž – Best Croatian Islands
9. Korcula – Best Croatian Islands
Korcula was once the home of Marko Polo, the famous explorer, or so many believe. One of the island’s attractions is even the alleged house where Marco Polo was born.
Korčula was once a part of the Venetian Republic and as added proof, a number of families on the island still bear the surname de Polo today. Each year in May, Korčula even celebrates Marco Polo’s birthday.
Croatia’s most populated island is separated from the mainland by a narrow strait.
The island’s capital is also called Korcula, which is nicknamed ”Little Dubrovnik”. The ancient city is among the most beautiful towns on the Croatian coast.
Korčula is only a a 15 minute ferry ride from Orebić. The island can also be reached by catamaran or ferry from Split, Rijeka or Dubrovnik.
While there is no way to be exactly sure where Marco Polo originated from, the Croatians are adamant that this is the island of his birth.
The beauty of the island may make you wonder why he ever left.
Many ancient Greek myths are also connected to this island. These include the legend of Cadmus and Harmony, the legend of Kerkyra, and that of Antenor.
10. Kornati Islands – Best Croatian Islands
The Kornati islands comprise approximately 150 islands, reefs and islets, with 89 of them part of the National Park. Many tourists come to see the beauty of National Park Kornati and the National Park Telascica every year.
This dense archipelago of islands is a paradise for sailing, diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. The best way to admire them is by sail boat.
The most famous description of this island paradise came from George Bernard Shaw who visited the Kornati Archipelago in 1929 and described them as follows:
“On the last day of the Creation God desired to crown his work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath”
With a recommendation like that, the Kornati Islands must be incredible.
11. Krk – Best Croatian Islands
Krk is referred to as the ‘golden island’.
It is the nearest of the Croatian islands to Western Europe and is easily accessible from the mainland via a bridge.
The island also has its own international airport, which functions as Rijeka’s airport.
Baška in the south, is home to the popular beach of Velika Plaža.
The island is a magnet for divers as the sea around the island has several great underwater attractions.
Krk, the largest island (tied with Cres), is one of Croatia’s busiest islands.
12. Lastovo – Best Croatian Islands
Lastovo is a great place to escape away from it all.
This beautiful Croatian Island is encircled by a 46-islet archipelago and is a sea food lovers paradise.
Visitors who come here in spring can experience the traditional Croatian carnival, Lastovo Poklad.
If this beautiful bay on Lastovo is anything to go by, sign me up.
You can get there with one of the frequent ferries and catamarans from Split and Vela Luka on Korčula as well as from Dubrovnik in summer.
13. Lopud – Best Croatian Islands
Lopud is a smaller island characterized by little mountains, marvellous blue water and sandy beaches.
A beautiful port will welcome you on arrival. Have a meal in one of the charming restaurants.
The Island is a one hour boat ride from Dubrovnik.
14. Lošinj – Best Croatian Islands
Lošinj looks like a picture-perfect Mediterranean postcard.
A Greek bronze sculpture of an athlete was discovered by a diver in the waters near Lošinj island.
This statue is known as Apoxyomenos.
It was raised from the sea in 1999 and after residing in a museum in Zagreb for a period of time, now resides within a museum inside an old palace on the waterfront. You should visit it.
Most tourists head for the big town of Mali Lošinj, though many prefer the village of Veli Lošinj.
The waters surrounding this island often have pods of dolphins gliding through the bay.
Go on a boat and try and spot some.
15. Mljet – Best Croatian Islands
Mljet is largely covered in forrest giving it the honour of being the greenest island in Croatia.
The island has a sprawling national park with two salt-water lakes, where you can swim or kayak in.
Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero (“Big Lake” and “Small Lake”) are located at the western end of the island. In the middle of the larger lake, is a small isle with an old Benedictine monastery.
Most people visit this national-park island as a day-trip from Dubrovnik, and regret it.
This is one of the best Croatian islands to visit for nature lovers, so you may want to stay fro a couple of days.
The island is perfect for exploring the many hidden paths through the forest, swimming and sunbathing on secluded beaches, biking and gliding across the the crystal clear waters.
Hire a bike and cycle around Mljet. This is one of the easiest ways of getting around and you will have loads of fun.
The catamaran departs Dubrovnik early in the morning and you can return in the late afternoon, though it will feel very rushed in one day.
It will take an hour to get there. In the summer months, the catamaran also goes on to Polace which is within the National Park.
In the south of Babino Polje village, Odysseus’ cave awaits you.
Here’s another island claiming to be the island where Odysseus stayed with the temptress Calypso. They spent seven years together, so try and visit the magical island of Mljet for at least one day.
According to Greek mythology, Odysseus (also known as Ulysses) was shipwrecked on Mljet Island after encountering a fierce storm when returning from the Trojan Wars.
The cave where he was washed ashore is named after him.
Don’t confuse this gem with the highly-publicized Blue Cave located further out in the Adriatic, on the east side of the island of Biševo, near the island of Vis.
16. Murter – Best Croatian Islands
Murter is connected to the mainland via a bridge. Here we have another island with a reputation as being a party hotspot. Does it ever stop?
Slanica beach has stunning views of the Kornati islands.
Murter is only twenty meters away from the mainland. A drawbridge makes the island easily accessible and gives it a bit of extra charm.
There are four settlements on the island: the town of Murter, Jezera, Tisno and Betina.
17. Pag – Best Croatian Islands
Pag is a party hotspot, numero uno, where world-famous DJs arrive every year to entertain the mainly European youngsters who party hard alongside the sandy beachfronts.
Croatia’s hottest partying destination attracts thousands of tourists, as its night clubs are open 24/7.
Zrće beach near Novalja is the Croatian Ibiza. This is one of the hottest beach-party destinations in the entire country.
The island has numerous camping grounds where you can stay on the cheap. There are also family run-pensions which make things more comfortable.
Pag is considered a great island for foodies. It is renowned for the production of a delicious cheese churned from the milk of sheep.
Pag is connected by a bridge to the Croatian mainland, so it is relatively easy to get to.
18. Pasman – Best Croatian Islands
19. Rab – Best Croatian Islands
Legend has it that Rab island is where King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson went for a naked swim.
Could this be the reason why Rab Island is considered to be the place where modern beach nudism originated from?
Be sure to visit Rajska plaza (Paradise beach).
20. Sveti Klement – Best Croatian Islands
Here you’ll be able to enjoy water activities or maybe you just want a side trip from Hvar to find your own piece of paradise.
Ferries from nearby Hvar take about 20 minutes.
21. Vis – Best Croatian Islands
Vis has preserved its old Mediterranean feel. It is a romantic destination to visit.
The pristine Stiniva Bay has been named the best beach in Europe by European Best Destinations (2016), so you need to go there.
Vis was closed off from foreign visitors until 1989, when it ceased being a military base. It must be good.
Drop by at the local museum and see the head of the Greek Goddess, Artemis.
Neptune (Poseidon) can even be found in the village of Trsteno, around 12km from Dubrovnik on the mainland. Neptune and two nymphs look out toward the Adriatic Sea.
Exploring the beautiful gardens at Trsteno would make for a great half-day trip before going on a Croatian Island adventure, especially on a yacht-sailing holiday.
I wonder how the Croatian Islands compare to the Greek Islands?
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