Charity De Souza is a Florida native and travel enthusiast. Traveling to over 50 countries abroad and residing in 6, she has a passion for exploring new cultures. While Central Florida is where she calls home, her favorite travel memories include skydiving in Switzerland and watching the sunset in Morocco.
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A picturesque European country that offers the perfect opportunity for island hopping, Croatia is a great place to enjoy outdoor adventures and natural splendors. These small islands include spectacular shorelines and beautiful vistas from charming coastal towns, where you can explore historic landmarks and admire the Adriatic Sea. Here are the most beautiful islands in Croatia you must visit.
The most popular island in Croatia is Hvar. Both and island and a town, it is a beautiful place to explore some of Croatia’s history, from the historic Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Grace to the old town of Hvar. Sample southern Croatian cuisine with a glass of wine at one of the small local restaurants and admire yachts bobbing on its sun-soaked shores. It’s one of the swankiest destinations in Croatia and a magnet for the rich and famous and those who love luxury.
The largest island in Dalmatia, Brac is known as a luxury retreat with a beautiful coastline. It’s just a short ferry trip away from Split, and offers you a chance to explore the country’s rich history since it’s been inhabited since the Neolithic age. Make sure to marvel at its rocky coastal areas and natural white stone, the island’s signature export, which was used to create the stunning Diocletian’s Palace in Split.
Known for its blue cave Bisevo, Vis is a dreamy island destination that is far from Croatia’s mainland. Serving as a Yugoslav National Army base from 1950 to 1989, it boasts an unspoiled paradise-like atmosphere where you’ll be surrounded by some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes. You can explore two towns, the northeast Vis Town and Komiza in the southwest, where beach enclaves lure you in for a day of soaking up the sunshine.
Rab sits off Croatia’s northern coast in Kvaner Bay, offering 13 miles of pure tranquility along the Adriatic Sea. Known as the place where King Edward VIII took his new wife Wallis Simpson in 1936, where he cast of his regal garments and jumped into the sea, setting the scene for the island’s nudist-friendly tradition. Its laid-back ambiance reaches out to its stunning beaches, while its small town is a landscape of terracotta roofs and church towers.
Greeks originally set up camp on this island, calling it Korkyra Melaina – Black Korcula because of its dense, dark forests. It’s now more famous for its white wine, which is known as the crispiest, coolest kind in Croatia made from the posip grape. It’s the second more populous island in the Adriatic region and features a mix of picturesque hamlets an vineyards, while charming fishing villages are dotted along the coast. With a nickname “Little Dubrovnik”, make sure to admire its medieval walls or visit the Marco Polo gallery and cathedral.
One of the largest of the northern Dalmatian islands, Dugi Otok is easily reached by boat and is best for trekking, cycling and diving. Here you can explore the western part of the island to discover its collection of high cliffs and rugged coastlines, then visit the town of Sali for fresh succulent seafood in the local restaurants. Only 27 miles long, the most famed beach on the island is Sakuran, and its southeastern quarter was declared a National Park.
Nestled in the northern corner of the Adriatic Sea, Cres is dotted with forests, cliffs and hilltop towns along the coast. See its 16th-century Venetian Tower and Arsan Palace, along with the Cres Museum that houses local costumes, weapons and relics. Known for its population of griffons, so make sure to look up and see if you can spot this fearsome bird spreading its wings past an iconic Adriatic sunset. Accessible by ferry via Rijeka, it is the perfect place to explore the unique culture and charm of Croatia’s island life.
Pag is known for its moon-like landscape, lace production and Pag cheese, this island offers a chance to explore pebble and sand beaches and a 15th-century Church of St. George. Pag town is known for its cultural heritage, where medieval streets lead to quaint shops with local ladies stitching lace. Walk along the Old Town Pag to see an archeaological site or head to Zrce Beach to see its picturesque beaches, then indulge in nightlife at Novalja.
Easily accessible by ferry from Split, Solta is a great place to enjoy some of the island’s most picturesque vineyards and olive groves that have been passed down from multiple generations. Rent a bike and explore the tiny towns and farms that dot the island, then hike to Vela Straza to capture views from its 777-foot peak or go swimming and sailing at its bays and beaches. If you like diving, explore the island’s underwater treasures that include artifacts such as Roman shipwrecks.
One of the smallest inhabited islands in Croatia, Krapanj sits just 1,000 feet from the mainland itself, making it the most accessible islands in the country. It has a long history with sea sponges, and you can see products of the sponge vendors in local shops or dive deep for an undersea exploration for yourself. Afterwards, enjoy island life and sample the island’s regional delicacy, squid ink risotto.