A holiday in the Caribbean might not be on the cards this year for most Europeans. But the crescent-shaped Adriatic country of Croatia is blessed with endless shores surrounded by lush forests, which are sure to scratch your itch for an exotic getaway – minus the transatlantic flight. We’ve rounded up the top 10 below.
The 10 best beaches in Croatia and all you need to know about them
- Spiaza, Susak
- Stiniva, Vis
- Bacvice, Split
- Proizd, Vela Luka
- Kraljicina (Queen’s Beach), Nin
- Nugal, Makarska
- Uvala Dubovica, Hvar
- Sakarun, Dugi Otok
- Sunj, Lopud
- Zlatni Rat, Brac
- Your Croatia beach holidays FAQ
#10: Spiaza, Susak
The tiny, isolated island of Susak is home to one of the few sandy beaches in Croatia: Spiaza Bay. Its long, sandy strip and safe, shallow waters make Spiaza Bay ideal for families with small children, while the plentiful amenities (beach umbrellas and chairs, pedal rental, nearby restaurants) guarantee a comfortable day in the sun.
#9: Stiniva, Vis
Reaching Stivina beach takes some effort. First, a 2.5-hour ferry boat ride from Split gets you to the island of Vis. Then, take another boat from the port of Vis to Stivina (there’s also the option to take a cab, but you’ll have to descend some steep slopes to reach the beach itself). But the stunning setting of this secluded cove, with its soft white pebbles and turquoise waters, is totally worth the journey.
#8: Bačvice, Split
One of the best beaches in Croatia for families, Bačvice offers shallow waters and an array of coffee shops and restaurants. It’s a busy spot, found just one kilometre from Split’s city centre – but its sandy shores and buzzy atmosphere make up for it. If you’re feeling adventurous when you’re there, try your hand at picigin; Croatia’s more acrobatic version of water volleyball.
#7: Proizd, Vela Luka
Technically, Proizd is not a beach but a tiny, uninhabited island (although it does feature a beach by the same name). Accessible by taxi boat from Vela Luka, Proizd is the perfect place to practice social distancing without sacrificing your Croatia beach holiday. Its lunar-looking terrain, with white slabs of stone jutting from the sea, makes Proizd a candid spot for sunbathing and nude swimming. Be aware that there are no umbrellas or other beach amenities. There is, however, a small restaurant on the island, if all the swimming makes you peckish.
#6: Kraljicina (Queen’s Beach), Nin
The island of Nin, where you’ll find Kraljicina beach, is considered one of the best places to visit in Croatia for a variety of reasons. There’s the medieval city with a cathedral, a great view of the Velebit mountains and its soil rich in peloid mud (which locals cover themselves with as a soothing treatment for their joints). Add to that several beach bars and a long strip of sand at Kraljicina beach and you have the makings of an unforgettable day on the Dalmatian coast.
#5: Nugal, Makarska
Google ‘Croatia resorts’ and you’ll probably get several pictures of the posh Makarska riviera. But if you’re looking for a truly secluded gem where you can totally switch off (and swim in the nude) then Nugal beach is for you. Located at the foot of a cliff between Makarska and Tucepi, to reach Nugal you’ll have to cross a dense pine tree forest. Make sure to come well equipped with food and water, as there’s nothing at Nugal besides clear water and untouched nature.
#4: Uvala Dubovica, Hvar
Hvar beaches have a reputation of being a bit on the wild side – but Croatia’s fourth-largest island has something for everyone. Head east, for example, and you’ll soon stumble upon the quiet cove of Dubovica. With a pebbly beach protected from the wind and a lone manor house which doubles as accommodation and restaurant, Dubovica is a great choice for some quiet, family time.
#3: Sakarun, Dugi Otok
For crystal clear waters and an 800-metre long, sandy strip surrounded by pine trees, look no further than the idyllic Sakarun beach. Located on the northwest coast of the verdant Dugi Otok (‘Long Island’ in Croatian), Sakarun beach has shallow waters that make it ideal for families with children. It’s also a popular destination for yachts, so keep your eyes peeled for celebs.
#2: Sunj, Lopud
With sandy beaches in Croatia being relatively few, it’s worth going to extra lengths to find one as perfect as Sunj beach. To reach this gem, you’ll take an hour’s ferry ride from Dubrovnik to car-free Lopud island, and then hike to Sunj beach. You’ll be greeted by nudist and non-nudist bathers alike, swimming in the clear waters and playing picigin. A Mediterranean forest offers shade, while a beach bar will help you sate your thirst from the hike.
#1: Zlatni Rat, Brac
The famous Golden Horn of Brac island must the most beautiful beach in Croatia –and one of the prettiest in Europe. Beloved by surfers, jet setters and nature lovers alike, Zlatni Rat’s V-shaped peninsula subtly changes shape due to the influence of the winds and the currents. To reach it, take a ferry from Split to Brac and then a bus to the area of Bol, where you’ll find Zlatni Rat jutting into the sea. The beach itself is pebbly, but the pebbles are so fine it feels like walking on sand.
Croatian beach holidays FAQ
No. Most beaches in Croatia are pebble beaches, but there are a few sandy ones (that tend to be very popular with travellers). Croatia’s pebble beaches are a joy to visit however, because no sand means clearer water.
More than 100 Croatia beaches have achieved the coveted blue flag status, ensuring crystal clear waters for you to swim in.
Yes. There are several nice beaches in and around Dubrovnik that are worth a visit. There are also several noteworthy beach resorts nearby.
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