Croatia is a small Mediterranean country with a wide Adriatic Sea exit. It’s famous for its majestic Mediterranean scenery both on and off the coast. Croatian islands are a large part of that unique amalgam offered by Croatia and they are certainly among the world’s top summer destinations. One of the world’s younger countries exhibits a steady rise in the tourism industry. With more than 15 million tourists each year (and rising), this country of a little bit over 4 million inhabitants doesn’t have to worry about its future.
Needless to say, most of those visits fall off to Croatia’s Adriatic coast and large part goes to Croatia’s islands. There are over a thousand Adriatic islands belonging to Croatia but not all of them are inhabited. We’ll bring you a few of best known Croatian islands which are true top summer destinations.
We’re starting off with Pag located just of the coast of majestic Velebit mountains. Apart from enriching Pag’s scenery, Velebit greatly affects the area’s climate, but that’s of little concern to the island itself. Pag, as you might have already heard, is Croatian top party destination and one of Europe’s best as well. Every summer, Zrce near Novalja on the northern tip of the island welcomes countless younger tourists and best DJ’s the scene has to offer. Croatia’s most popular beach Zrce has over the last decade become one of the most recognizable beaches in Europe. Besides that, one of today’s most popular summer festivals and party destinations – Novalja – is situated on the island of Pag, a very attractive rock-beach island of Croatia.
Apart from being a primary party destination, Pag offers the longest coastline among Croatian islands which means you’ll certainly find someplace to enjoy the scenery in peace and quiet.
Rab is located a little bit north of Pag and it’s considerably smaller. However, it’s still large enough to offer plenty of attractions and accommodations. Unlike most of the Croatian islands which are mostly rocky or barren, Rab is overly green. It’s a true botanical treasure – no small part thanks to more than 300 natural water springs. All that in such a small area makes Rab perfect any time of the year. Whether it’s for summer vacation or winter hibernation.
It might be a little hard to pronounce, but Krk is certainly one of the top summer destinations among the Croatian islands. Krk is northernmost of Croatia’s large islands, and it’s connected to the mainland via a bridge. That makes it easily accessible and quite popular among tourists. If you’re coming from the north, by chance, and you’re way too impatient to explore the coastline, Krk is perfect for you.
However, don’t be impatient to explore the island itself as southern parts offer much gentle scenery with more greenery. Otherwise, Krk is pretty much your average holiday destination – popular for its beaches, water sports, and restaurants.
Brac basically stretches from Split to Makarska which are some of the premier coastline destinations among tourists visiting Croatia. Large island is basically offering everything a conventional summer tourist might need. Secluded bays, coves, beaches, mountains, old Mediterranean towns and villages – you name it. Water sports like windsurfing and diving are quite popular as well. In fact, visiting Brac and not immersing yourself into one of these activities is not recommended.
Since we’re already here, it’s well worth mentioning Solta – a smaller island just west of Brac. Unlike most Croatian islands which are top summer destinations, Solta offers a somewhat different package. It’s the closest island to Split, but still unspoiled to some extent. Solta too offers beaches and secluded bays, but it’s interior is what makes it special. The small island is perfect for hiking and mountain biking – somewhat unconventional summer vacation activities. If you’re not interested in spending your holiday on Solta, you can at least visit it for a couple of days – especially if you’re already situated close by.
Unlike the small Solta, Cres is actually one of the largest islands in the Adriatic. It’s located close to already mentioned Krk in the northern part of Croatian Adriatic. Being as large as it is, Cres offers diverse terrain and equally diverse tourist activities and landmarks. When you get tired of the seawater, you can always turn your attention to freshwater – courtesy of Vransko Jezero (Raven Lake). This phenomenon actually counts among the deepest lakes in south-eastern Europe.
Apart from that, you can enjoy a combination of conventional and contemporary summer activities including relaxing on beaches and partaking in water sports activities.
Vis is one of the furthest off-the-coast Croatian islands, but well worth the trip. The remote island offers crystal clear dark blue waters and equally clean sandy and pebble beaches. The Mediterranean is mostly spoiled these days, but Vis still resonates with the olden atmosphere. If you’re by chance a wine connoisseur, you’ll be glad to know that Vis has a long tradition of winemaking. Add to all that diverse and rich nature, and you’ll see why Vis is one of the top summer destinations among Croatian islands.
Korcula looks like it’s far from the coastline at first glimpse at the map, but it’s actually just across Peljesac which is a peninsula – not an island. That makes it easily accessible, yet still somewhat unspoiled. Apart from the old town which shares the name with the island itself, Korcula offers plenty of architectural wonders. You’ll also stumble on the alleged house of birth of Marco Polo. Needless to say, the island offers everything else a modern tourist might need and that’s exactly why it’s on the list.
Croatian islands – Hvar
Hvar is arguably the best Croatian island and top summer destination in terms of what it has to offer. This barren paradise covered with vineyards has it all. The medieval town in all its splendor, secluded pristine beaches, local wineries, top-notch restaurants, vibrant nightlife – Hvar has it all. This is a true hedonist’s paradise which you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Hvar might be one of the top Croatian destinations, but you’ll still feel relaxed as it’s able to absorb the crowds in a leisurely fashion.
The island of Hvar is the queen of the Croatian Dalmatian islands. It has been famous since the antique because of its important strategic and nautical position, the rich of the various historical periods, the culture and natural monuments, and the literature.
Thanks to the mild climate, the warm winters and pleasant summers Hvar receives many guests, scientists, and travelers, who are attracted by the dense Mediterranean nature, rich tradition and architecture, and nightlife.
We might have forgotten some, but these Croatian islands count among the top summer destinations nevertheless. They should be enough for a lifetime but do feel free to explore other parts of the Croatian Adriatic coast as well.