Do you know why Adriatic Croatia is becoming more and more popular each year? Why do you get to see more of it on the news, with taglines “Celebrity XY Spotted Enjoying Top Beaches in Croatia?” or “The World’s Biggest Yacht in Zadar, Croatia”? It is simple – it’s the coast with the most! What’s the attraction? Croatia’s 1,800km coastline, with its islands and the turquoise Adriatic Sea, beautiful beaches, watersport hotspots and historic ports. If your Mediterranean fantasies feature balmy days by turquoise waters in the shade of ancient walled towns, Croatia is the place to turn them into reality!
Officially recognized as Europe’s second-cleanest, Croatia’s shores tend to be pebbly rather than sandy. Anyhow, one can enjoy exotic sandy beaches, the best ones are on the islands: Rab boasts a lovely 2 km sandy bay at Lopar or the most photogenic beach called Zlatni Rat on the island of Brač.
Island hopping or take a break at the coastline
In the editor’s choice part one of the top Croatian beaches, one may already find many beautiful ones worth visiting and enjoying. But since there are many more, let’s continue with this fine overview. There’s an island to suit every taste: green Mljet (near Dubrovnik) is best for nature, Brač for watersports and Pag for relaxation and partying. Among many old coastal cities, besides Dubrovnik, also consider Rovinj or Šibenik, which has undergone a makeover including a new town beach. Best of all is Split, with its excellent beaches, and the Riva esplanade lined with cafés and bars.
So, let’s talk some serious beach hopping, part two…
The island of Mljet
Mljet is located near Dubrovnik, just off the coast of Pelješac and is considered as the greenest Croatian island. It is a home to the Mljet National Park, one of eight Croatian National Parks, that stretches over almost 5400 hectares. Two deep bays filled with a combo of sea and fresh water, known as Malo jezero and Veliko jezero (Small Lake and Great Lake) are the most famous locations of this area. Other landmarks include the Odyssey’s Cave, and one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Croatia, the Saplunara beach. Saplunara beach is located on the south shores of Mljet. Almost two km of soft sand stretches along pretty, half-moon bay, and borders a thick pine forest. This is one of the must-visit sandy beaches in Croatia. Saplunara beach may be the last hidden jewel left in the Adriatic and its beauty is truly a balm to the soul.
The island of Rab
Madly popular, Rab (Arbe in Italian) has some of the most diverse landscapes in the Kvarner region. It’s well known for the old town of the same name, encircled by ancient walls. The town’s 4 prominent church bell towers include the Romanesque tower at the Cathedral of St. Mary and the tower at the ruins of St. John the Evangelist Church. The more densely populated southwest coast has pine forests and beaches, while the northeast coast is a windswept region with few settlements, high cliffs and a barren look. In the interior, fertile land is protected from cold winds by mountains, allowing the cultivation of olives, grapes and vegetables. The Lopar Peninsula offers the best and over twenty sandy beaches, Rajska plaža (Paradise Beach in English) being one of the most popular sandy beaches in Croatia. The beach is almost 2 km long, with warm shallow water perfect for families, but it gets really busy during the summer. The water is so shallow, it will take you lots of walking to soak head to toe in the sea. However, the sea is clean, and the beach is extremely safe for children.
The island of Brač
The island of Brač is the longest and most elevated island in central Dalmatia, 48km long, 14 km wide, covering 394 square km. It provides an excellent window into authentic island life, particularly in the interior since it is less visited than the neighboring island of Hvar. Brač has an extensive and fascinating history also, as it has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
But for sure, the island of Brač is the most famous of its Zlatni rat beach. The most famed and photographed beach in all Croatia is a cone-shaped beach made of such fine stones they almost feel like a sand. Due to its shape, this beach takes winds only on one side, while the sea on the other side remains calm. Pine forest covers central part of Zlatni rat. This area provides lots of shade, and this is where all restaurants and beach bars are. Being the most popular beach in all Croatia, Zlatni Rat gets busy, but crowds are there only in July and August.
The island of Pag
Pag is the fifth-largest Croatian island in the northern Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its barren, moonlike landscape, lace production and Pag cheese, as well as for its vivid and crazy non-stop partying village of Novalja. Pebble and sand beaches ring the island.
The Ručica beach, located 12 km southeast of Novalja, is a nice, partly pebbly, and partly sandy beach. Located in the part of the island with very little to no vegetation, the Ručica beach looks absolutely surreal. There isn’t any shade on the beach and the beach can be reached by car.
Split might be the second largest city in Croatia, but with its fine beaches, historical landmarks, museums, art galleries, and natural parks, it may well be the place to visit on your trip to this beautiful country. It may also be a simple city, but this simplicity promises a refreshing experience and escape from a more conventional urban life. It is also very special due to its wonderful city beaches, even though it is a big city which usually cannot brag about its wonderful city beaches.
Bačvice beach is the favorite bathing place in Split. Throughout the entire year you can see the most courageous ones bathing and playing picigin, which is the favorite summer sport in Split. Bačvice beach is only 15 minutes away from the city center. The beach is sandy with some parts paved. There are bars, restaurants and pastry shops near, in which you can refresh with a versatile food and drink offer during summer heats.
Primošten is a small town located between Šibenik and Split. The old town is situated on a small island. which is connected with the mainland. Primošten attracts tourists with its interesting architecture, beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. The city is as a unique tourist destination and a large number of tourists come back to Primošten year after year. Primošten was first mentioned in old documents from 1564 under the name Capusta Cista. In the past it was an island protected by stone walls and towers, and in the 16th century a movable bridge was built that connected this village with the mainland. Later the bridge was replaced by an embankment and Primošten thus becomes a peninsula.
The beach in Mala Raduča bay is the main beach in Primošten, around the Hotel Zora. The beach is pebble and there are no pine trees on the very beach, but you can enjoy shadow of pines on the Raduča peninsula. The town center, restaurants and the promenade are near and the beach itself looks out on the old town. Deck-chairs and parasols are available for rent. There are showers and dressing cabins.
Makarska Riviera is a part of Dalmatian Adriatic coast, which is about 60 kilometers long and only several kilometers wide, squeezed under towering the Biokovo mountain. Sunny climate and long pebbly beaches make this region a popular tourist destination. A string of settlements along the coast from the border with the Omiš Riviera on the northwest to the Neretva delta on the southeast.
Promajna is located 4 km south from Baška Voda and 6 km northwest of Makarska. A larger part of the settlement lies below the slopes of the Biokovo mountain, along the old coastal road. Promajna was named after the sun which happily peers (promalja) above Biokovo in the most beautiful sunrises, freely spreading its rays towards the sea. The clean air, enriched with oxygen by the gentle breezes, comes down from the mountain across the greenery of the pines, olives and vineyards, right down to the white beaches of Promajna Bay, and mixes with the scents of the crystal-clear sea. Promajna lies along a beautiful beach, with many coves and all the way up to Baške Vode. The sea is crystal clear and turquoise, almost unbelievably pretty.
Rovinj (Rovigno in Italian) is situated on the north Adriatic Sea, located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula, and is a very popular tourist resort. With charming piazzas, Venetian-style houses and super delicious Italian-flavored food, Rovinj may well be one of the prettiest towns in Croatia.
The coast of Rovinj is well known for its variety and it is characterized through stones and rocks. Those who can’t imagine their summer holiday without fine sand might be initially disappointed, but very soon they will become aware of the beauty and the charm of the coast which has a lush submarine life, and where every beach is different and certainly represents something worth exploring.
On the west side of the Old Town core lies the Monte beach. For those who find accommodation in the Old Town, this beach will only be a few minutes walk away. This is also the ideal place for visitors who start touring the Old Town – they can find relief from the heat in the Rovinj sea. Walking toward the south side of the old town from Rovinj’s main square, there is a rocky coastal area suitable for sunbathing and swimming in front of the St. Katherine island. Swimming under the St. Euphemia church and its famous bell tower gives you a unique sense of joy. Although the beach is about 150 meters long, the locals divided it into several parts. A considerable number of visitors watch the sunset from the Monte beach, which makes them a unique romantic destination. The beach is perfect for people staying in the town center or visitors willing to take a swim after a long city walk.
You can explore many more of the top beaches in Croatia or enjoy city guided tours with our Cultural Places App, offering a real deal for relaxation and cultural lovers!