Croatia has a whopping 1,200+ islands, but only 48 of them are inhabited. We’ve reviewed nearly half of those 48 options and picked the best Croatian islands to add to your bucket list.
From party islands to quiet seaside getaways few tourists know about, here are our top picks for a Croatian island getaway.
Known for its sandy beaches, traditional architecture, and limestone quarries, Brac is a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea. When in Brac, head to the resort town of Bol to go swimming, snorkeling, and windsurfing.
The famous Golden Horn beach is also a must-see on the island. Before you leave, make sure to stop by the island’s oldest limestone quarry in Rasohe, which dates back to ancient Rome. From Split, Brac is sixty minutes away by ferry.
Hvar is a fortified island town in Croatia. It’s a ninety-minute ferry ride from Split and is often part of island-hopping tours in the Adriatic Sea.
The city of Hvar is most known for its 13th-century walls and rich history. But this hilltop fortress is now a popular summer destination in the Dalmatian region, with about 20,000 people visiting the island every day during its peak season. Make the most of your day in Hvar by visiting St. Stephen’s square and Fortica.
Korcula is the most populous island in the Adriatic Sea, with locals settling mostly in the Old Town. This gives you a lot of things to do and see when you visit the island. First and foremost, the architecture that dates back to the Venetian Renaissance makes up for a great Instagram picture. You’ll see local performers dressed in traditional folk costumes. Restaurants and cafes serve delicious Mediterranean food. Of course, the beaches are also breathtaking.
Krk is a big island in the Adriatic Sea that’s connected to mainland Croatia by the Krk Bridge. There are so many things to see when you visit the island, like Biserujka, a subterranean cave with interesting stalactite and stalagmite rock formations, and a great hall where concerts are sometimes held.
You can also go beach-hopping if you’re spending a day in Krk. Malinska, Punat, and Njivice are just some of the popular beach destinations on the island.
Mljet is Croatia’s greenest island and home to the Mljet National Park, an island retreat in the Adriatic Sea. It was founded in 1960 and has since been a popular tourist spot in Croatia, with over 100,000 people visiting the park annually.
Aside from the park, you can also go to the island if you want to have
Lopud is a small Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, about a two-hour ferry ride from Dubrovnik. It belongs to the Elaphiti archipelago with other islands like Sipan and Kolocep.
When in Lopud, you can have a nice, relaxing day at one of its several beautiful beaches. The most popular beach destination in Lopud is Sunj bay. Its shallow waters make it a favorite spot for families traveling with kids. Here, you can go swimming, kayaking and sunbathing.
A quiet Mediterranean spot in the Adriatic Sea, Solta is like a fairytale village come to life. Its pristine natural surroundings, aquamarine waters, and quaint seaside houses make it a great destination for those who want a slow and relaxing day by the sea.
It’s a two-hour ferry ride from the town of Split on mainland Croatia and is close to Hvar and Brac, two other bigger and popular island destinations in the Dalmatian region.
There are about a thousand islands in the Croatian archipelago, and Losinj is one of them. This big island in the Adriatic Sea is of historical and natural interest.
If you’re visiting Losinj, make sure to visit the two museums in the island’s main town of Mali Losinj, Apoxymenos and Losinjski Muzej. But if a day of swimming and sunbathing by the sea is more of your thing, head to the Pileski, Veli Zal, and Zabodarski beaches.
Vis is a gorgeous island in the Adriatic Sea, about a two-hour ferry ride from the mainland town of Split. Its beautiful beaches and natural scenery are largely the background for the big Hollywood film Mamma Mia 2.
When in Vis, visit the Srebrna, Stoncica, Smokova, Zaglav, and Stiniva beaches. Stiniva, in particular, has a very interesting location. This small but pretty beach is situated on a tiny alcove between two cliffs, giving you a one-of-a-kind view.
Space travel might be beyond us regular folks, but you can take yourself to the moon when you visit Pag, Croatia. This island in the Adriatic Sea is most known for its barren, moonlike landscape and long coastline. Pag has sand and pebble beaches that you can visit in a day, including the
pace travel might be beyond us regular folks, but you can take yourself to the moon when you visit Pag, Croatia. This island in the Adriatic Sea is most known for its barren, moonlike landscape and long coastline. Pag has sand and pebble beaches that you can visit in a day, including the Ruccia and Beritnica beaches. Zrce Beach is also popular among tourists, slowly getting known as the Ibiza of Croatia with its fun parties every summer.
Rab is an island in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia. It carries the name of the historic old town that was established in the Middle Ages. Rab is popular for its pristine beaches and old buildings.
You can spend a lovely day on this island swimming in the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea or visiting some of its ancient structures, including the 16th-century Church of St. Justine, which is now a museum.
Silba is a tiny island in Croatia. It has a total area of just 5.8 mi2. Despite
So if you’re planning on going island hopping among Croatia’s beautiful isles, make sure to stop by Silba and explore its sandy beaches and rock formations. Toreta, an iconic observation tower on the island, should also be on your list of must-see sites in Silba.
Kornat is the largest island in the Kornati archipelago of Croatia. It is surrounded by the beautiful blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, which makes it a popular destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Yachtsmen also love docking by the island just to enjoy a day at the sea. Interestingly, there are no permanent settlers on the island of Kornat. So, if you want a quiet getaway while in Croatia, take a boat ride to Kornat.
Dugi Otok is an elongated island off the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. It is a breathtaking ecotourism destination with its sandy beaches, bays, and cliffs. Here, tourists love to go swimming, hiking, and sailing.
When in Dugi Otok, make sure to visit the Saharun Beach, a seaside attraction surrounded by tall pine trees. Telascica Nature Park is also a popular destination on the island. Here you can observe a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Cres is an island in Croatia known for its rich history. It has ancient buildings that date back to the 16th century, including the Venetian Tower and Arsan Palace. Cres also has several villages which are connected by a long road that runs across the island.
If you’re planning on stopping by Cres when you visit Croatia, make sure that you go see Lake Vrana, a highly guarded freshwater lake known for its great depth.
Lastovo is an island town in Croatia that is known for its scenic hillside villages and buildings that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. These Renaissance structures mixed with Arab and Turkish influences give Lastovo a signature aesthetic.
If you’re looking for a Croatian island to take pictures of for Instagram, then you should definitely head to beautiful Lastovo. While on the island, have a taste of local wine at one of its many vineyards.
At only 1.5 mi2, Susak is one of the smallest islands in Croatia. However, tourists still love visiting the island for its beautiful sandy beaches, traditional and colorful folk costumes, and the quiet and serene getaway it offers.
Visitors love hiking, swimming, and scuba diving at Susak. You should check out one of its nine beautiful beaches, like Obis Bay where you can go cliff diving and Punta Valica Bay where you can have the perfect sunset view.
Are you perhaps interested in pottery? Well, Iž is the perfect island for you to visit if you’re in Croatia. It is an island town where most of the inhabitants are engaged in pottery.
You’ll find a lot of authentic Croatian pottery tools and traditional pottery crafts on this island, which are now indicated as protected immaterial goods in the country. Aside from pottery, Iž is also home to beautiful natural spots, like its gorgeous beaches.
Zlarin has the longest island port in Croatia, which makes it a favorite destination for yachtsmen and boat enthusiasts. Aside from its famous port, it is also known for its pristine beaches and natural spots, as well as its rich historical and cultural heritage.
When in the island of Zlarin, you can go sailing, swimming, hiking, and snorkeling for hours on end, thanks to the good amount of sun time that it receives every day.
Sipan is the largest island in the Elaphiti archipelago in Croatia. Tourists who visit love to explore it via bicycles, which you can rent easily when you arrive on the island.
This Croatian island used to be a summer getaway for rich Dubrovnik families during the 15th century. Today, you can still see some of the structures that housed these families. During your bike tour, stop by the Sudurad village, a seaside village where a 16th century tower still stands.
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.