The entire Adriatic coast is a special slice of wonder and beauty for all eager globetrotters hungry for adventure and serenity wrapped up into a single experience. It retains its remote and secluded flair, historic and timeless charm, but it also boasts modern marinas and hidden beaches that can only be approached by boat. The perfect vacation, or the closest thing to it, might just be an escapade to Croatia, so that you can see and taste as much as possible of its Adriatic wealth.
Now that the borders of the world are slowly reopening and we’ll soon have the chance to visit remote and untamed areas, you can add Croatia to your bucket list. It ticks all the travel boxes: excellent food, glorious sandy and pebble beaches, pine-covered alcoves, dramatic cliffs, fortresses, and exquisite natural scenery. Due to Croatia’s wealth of perfect islands, we’ve singled out a few you should add to your must-see list for that dreamy adventure in Europe.
For first-time visitors to Croatia and its islands, Krk represents a wise choice as the most easily accessible both to locals and tourists coming from the mainland. That, however, doesn’t take away any of its mysterious beauty and unspoiled charm. The Krk Bridge might bring you from the mainland to the island, but exploring the island itself is a different story – one that calls for a boat.
Visit Krk’s Frankopan Castle, check out the cave of Biserujka, and take your time to see and taste Vrdnik. You’ll find that the local wine will keep you occupied for long enough, and the food is equally alluring, too.
Brijuni National Park
Specking the west shores of Istria, the Brijuni archipelago counts up to 14 islands, uninhabited, untamed, and breathtaking. You will find charming resorts on its main islands of Veliki Brijun and Mali Brijun, and they have both earned the distinction of being protected National Parks.
Keep in mind that only the largest island, Veliki Brijun, can be accessed by ferry. The simplest way to reach the many secluded beaches and the islands themselves would be an inflatable boat like Ribco that you can safely use to settle in the most secluded marinas and alcoves. If you’d like to spend some time inland, too, you’ll find numerous activities at your disposal, from horseback riding, to visiting some of the sights, such as the dinosaur footprints and the world-famous Byzantine castrum.
Cloaked in pure emerald, this little gem of the Adriatic coast has been known as a top pick for travelers and locals alike. As well known as it has become due to its national park status, Mljet retains its peaceful feel, and since you’ll be able to use your boat to explore its many hidden alcoves, you won’t have to worry about crowds at all. Most tourists will stay in the Pomena area, one of the local villages, so you can set sail and spend time elsewhere.
Make sure you’re taking good care of your vessel, so that you don’t encounter any issues while you’re spending time away from the main sections of the islands. In addition to off-shore escapades to get to know the coast of Mljet, set aside a few hours to visit the National Park itself and the stunning lakes in the inland – they won’t disappoint!
The remotest, most dramatic archipelago off the coast of Croatia and near Split, Palagruža consists of two main islands, Vela Palagruža and Mala Palagruža, together with numerous other, smaller reefs surrounding their shores. The steep, wave-crashing coasts of these islands make it difficult for visitors if you’re not using your very own boat to move around and stay near the beaches.
To match the Vela Palagruža’s sharp cliffs, the imposing lighthouse remains one of the main reasons for travelers to stop by and soak in the view from its top. Just make sure you’re versed with your vessel and you’ll be able to safely explore this remote, but lovable archipelago.
The Dalmatian coast alone is enough of a beauty to attract many tourists every year, so naturally, the islands right off its coast cannot be any less impressive. Dugi Otok, which means “Long Island” in Croatian, is one of the largest, most imposing islands in the Adriatic region, and one of the simplest to visit while you’re in Croatia. If you’re planning to visit Dugi Otok, and you’d like a genuine cultural escapade, wait for August, so that you can stay there during the local festival Saljske užance.
Other than this food-filled festivity, you should make some time for scuba-diving, and ask the locals to point you in the direction of the island’s many coves. Go see the Lighthouse Veli Rat, spend some time lounging on Sakarun beach, and take your boat to some of the lesser-known nooks of the island.
While the sheer number of islands off the coast of Croatia might seem intimidating, these are some of the best options you can start your explorations with. Truth be told, you cannot go wrong with any of the other 700 islands (and counting). What will most certainly happen is that any of the listed places will have you madly in love with this part of the Adriatic, so that you’ll be back for another round in the future.