9 Most Beautiful Islands in Croatia
Here are the most beautiful islands in Croatia you don’t want to miss if you visit this incredible country!
As you have often heard me say, Croatia is one of the most beautiful European countries that I have visited. During a road trip I discovered that the country really is as diverse as you always hear about. When you visit the cities, you can expect colorful architecture, atmospheric streets, and delicious food. When you visit Croatia’s nature parks, islands, and beaches, you’ll discover the sun shines more than not.
I’ve already written about why cities like Zagreb and Dubrovnik are worth a visit when you visit. Now it’s time to write about the most beautiful islands in Croatia — nine of them to be exact! From lively towns to stunning scenery, sunny beaches, and unique villages, you’ll see why these nine were picked! Get ready to book your next vacation destination!
Quick Note on Croatia
Although Croatia is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination, it is still less well-known than countries such as France and Italy. It is just as beautiful, the weather is just as wonderful, and the price is actually a little lower than in other popular European holiday countries.
Croatia is on the Adriatic Sea, with Italy as a neighbor. In addition to the sea, Slovenia, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are all around Croatia. Altogether these countries make up a part of the Balkans. You could easily include Croatia into a Balkans road trip like I did.
The islands of Croatia also belong to the so-called Balkan peninsula. There are hundreds of Croatian islands next to the mainland, the majority of which are small uninhabited islands. Both the inhabited and uninhabited islands have spectacular nature reserves and rockeries. Discover it for yourself below!
9 Most Beautiful Islands in Croatia
The island of Mljet is close to the large city of Dubrovnik. With an area of around 100 km², Mljet is one of the ten largest islands in Croatia. In addition, it also bears the title: densest wooded island in the Mediterranean. It is therefore not surprising that part of the island has been designated a national park. The landscape is rocky and green and there are various rare plants and shrubs, including the white shrub clover.
The varied landscape is a nice journey of discovery when you visit. You could walk or go cycling to take in all the views. In addition to the wooded areas, you’ll see the salt lakes, which also belong to the national park. Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero, which means as much as large lake and small lake, are also perfect for a dip in the water on hot days. You can, of course, also simply take a dip in the sea from the beloved Saplunara Beach in southeastern Mljet.
The island of Palagruža is a bit further from the Croatian coast and closer to Italy. It is one of the smaller, uninhabited islands and still worth mentioning. In the middle of the island, you will find a lighthouse where you can actually stay. There are two apartments for a max of 4 guests per apartment. When you stay on this small island, it is imperative that you bring enough food and drink yourself. After all, you are one of the few “residents” of Palagruža.
There are two beaches where you can snorkel, enjoy the sun, and take a dip in the water. It goes without saying that you are not bothered by other beach visitors here. It is easiest to combine a night’s sleep on Palagruža with a stay on the island of Korcula. From here you can rent a boat that will take you to the island.
The movie Mamma Mia! came before when you discovered the most beautiful Greek islands. Skopelos was the scene of the first film in the series.
There is now a second part, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, and this time the beautiful Croatian island of Vis was the recording location. Vis has only been open to tourists since 1989 and is therefore one of the less visited islands in Croatia. It used to serve as a military base, so you didn’t even want to get there as an outsider.
Vis is now a cozy island with two larger towns, Vis and Komiža, the high mountain Hum, and the Blue Grotto a short distance from the island. The latter belongs to the island of Biševo. However, Biševo is uninhabited and, therefore, can easily be combined with a visit to Vis. The Blue Grotto gets all kinds of special color hues due to the light and the reflection on the water.
Once back on Vis you climb Hum. The route requires good walking shoes, but the final view is all worth it. Afterwards you will catch your breath on one of the terraces in the towns on Vis.
Opposite Split is the island of Brač, which is also one of the largest Croatian islands. It is rightfully called one of the most beautiful islands. It houses vineyards, vast forests, a mountainous landscape and one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Zlatni Rat is located on Brač and is one of the main reasons why visitors choose this island. You also see a lot of windsurfing, snorkeling, and swimming when you spend the day on Zlatni Rat. Don’t miss island hopping towards the blue cave either.
Brač has more to offer than a beautiful beach. As the so-called “sunniest island,” it’s a great place for long walks. Discover the rolling landscape, enjoy the beautiful colors and relax in the towns and villages of the island.
Thanks to the vineyards, wine tasting is also one of the options on Brač. You will also encounter a lot of limestone in the buildings on the island. Brač has limestone as the base layer. It is not only used in other parts of the world, but of course also on the island itself!
Just like Brač, the island of Hvar also has a limestone background that forms the basis of the hilly landscape. Hvar is one of the better known islands and sees a bit more tourism. Beautiful lavender fields grow on Hvar that you not only smell, but also see from the village of Velo Grablje. Due to the many hours of sunshine on Hvar, the whole looks almost magical.
In addition to beautiful nature, Hvar also has a great nightlife. There are several clubs that open their doors when the day on the beach is over. You can find the “After Beach Parties” on the boulevard of Carpe Diem Beach, for example.
Whether you like the nightlife or not, you will find plenty of fun things to do during the day to have a great time, like this wine and chocolate tasting.
Moreover, book a stay just outside the city center and you will not notice the pleasant nights. Do you want to visit the clubs? Then you will also find plenty of hotels and apartments in the center of Hvar.
Preferably book a hotel room with a balcony that overlooks the beautiful characteristic orange roofs of Hvar.
The second largest island in the Adriatic is Krk. It is an island with a varied landscape. There are beautiful parts where vineyards and olive trees set the tone and there are parts where it is mostly rocky. This variety makes Krk a pleasant holiday destination where there is plenty to see and do. Visiting the capital, walking through the greenery, wine tasting and sightseeing: it’s all possible.
Krk is easily accessible thanks to the direct connection to the mainland. A nice stop when you travel around Croatia by car. Yet you can also reach the island in a more surprising way. Krk has an airport called Rijeka Airport. From there, you can be in the city center in half an hour. In the city you will find the Castle of Frankopan. As the name suggests, the castle belonged to the Frankopan family and it is still a special sight in Krk.
If you can’t get enough of Croatian nature, visit the Brioni Islands. Two large islands, Veli Brioni and Mali Brioni, surrounded by 10 small islands, form the island group. Together they form one of the national parks in Croatia: Brijuni National Park. (Brijuni is the Croatian name of Brioni). Several boats belong to the park that take you from one island to the next.
Millions of years ago these islands were still attached to the mainland where prehistoric animals roamed, so you can find dinosaur traces in Brioni. You can spot animals that are still among us during a visit to the safari park.
Discover the trees and plants during one of the walking and cycling excursions. You can enjoy the beautiful surroundings at your own pace, but on predetermined routes to protect nature.
The island of Rab with its capital of the same name lies close to the Croatian coast. Here too, the landscape is formed by limestone, creating special cliffs and caves. Half of the island, however, consists of forest, making Rab after Mljet the most wooded island in the Adriatic Sea. Again a diverse landscape to discover! The pleasant town of Rab and the sandy beaches along the coast of the island also belong to that landscape.
There is so much to experience in the city of Rab that it deserves some extra attention. Age-old buildings, winding paths and impressive churches are all encountered when you walk through Rab. The medieval city is surrounded by city walls that seem to form the walls of an age-old museum. The town is of course not a real museum, but well maintained over the centuries so that you can see all those medieval elements everywhere.
Although it sounds somewhat repetitive, the variation in the landscape at Lošinj is also the reason that the island closes the list of beautiful islands in Croatia.
Discover the trees, plants and animal species that live in the dense forests of Lošinj when you explore the island on foot or by bike. Climb to the highest point, Osoršćica, on the island in the mountainous north and enjoy a spectacular view of the nearby islands and the sea. On the other side of the island you come across a long bay with cozy hotels, restaurants, and ports.
On and around Lošinj you can also go for beaches where you can enjoy the pleasant climate. Thanks to the bays where a number of the beaches benefit from, you also have little trouble with the wind, which makes a day at the beach even more pleasant.
Because Lošinj once formed one whole together with Cres, the connection between the two islands is excellent. It is therefore easy to go to one of the towns on Cres for a day. Or visit Mali Bok beach, which is part of one of the protected nature reserves on Cres. Tons of options!
They were: the most beautiful islands that Croatia has to offer travelers. Now I am curious about your opinion:
What do you think is the most beautiful islands in Croatia?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe and Tiqets for specific attraction deals.