Without a doubt Croatia is one of our favourite countries to visit. It’s steeped in history, has a landscape that takes your breath-away, and awesome food that varies from region to region. However what we love the most are the islands – over 800 of them – that dot this nation’s coastline. That’s why we had to put together our list of the most beautiful islands in Croatia!
Here’s our top six, all of which have more to offer than just a stunning landscape and coastline:
Brač may be one of the closest islands to the mainland, but it often doesn’t get the plaudits it deserves. That’s because this island – despite being so close to Split – is one of the lesser visited islands in Croatia. However its gorgeous sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and olive tree groves make it one of Croatia’s prettiest islands.
There are many little walking trails that take you into the island’s inland, where you will find quaint villages made up of buildings that have stood there for centuries.
This island was little known, and then a few years ago it became the location for the Hollywood film Mamma Mia. You won’t be surprised then that its popularity has soared since!
However there is a reason Vis was chosen by Hollywood. As the furthest inhabited island from Croatia’s mainland, Vis is unspoiled, has its own unique charm, and is beautiful in a very rustic way. It has the gorgeous waters you’d expect from a Mediterranean island, but also the two main towns – historic fishing villages – appear little different from generations ago.
Due to its location in the Adriatic Sea, Vis was also an important military location so the little island is peppered with artefacts from World War II – perfect for history buffs!
Hvar is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations, but it makes our list of most beautiful islands in Croatia due to its incredible centuries-old port city – also called Hvar.
The hilltop fortress, 13th century city walls – all of which stands in contrast to the stunning hues of blue at the waters edge – make this place picture perfect.
The island has a reputation in Croatia as a party island, and it does have numerous bars, clubs, and nighttime spots to enjoy. However there are other more subdued reasons to visit this island – the road between Stari Grad and Hvar is full of lavender fields! The purple-flowering plant is grown en masse here and just adds to this island’s beauty. It’s in full bloom in June and July, so timing your trip for those months will provide a big pay off.
The only uninhabited island on our list of Croatia’s most beautiful islands is Veliki Brijun. Part of the Brijuni National Park, this island has traces of settlements that go back to 3000 BC! Going back even further in time, there are even dinosaur footprints and tracks on the rocks around the island’s coastline!
However what makes Veliki Brijun so beautiful is not just these remnants of the ancient past, but the true unspoiled nature of the island. Plus, with no inhabitants – yet still easily reached by boat from Fazana – it’s an easy place to enjoy a day trip in nature and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Cres is one of the larger islands on our list, and is a great place to stay for a night or two. We love this island because of the quaint cobbled streets in the main town and the crystal clear water at beaches like Merašćica and Koromačna.
There are also some great walking opportunities on the island, such as trails around the island and the hike to pretty Lake Vrana – one of the deepest in Eastern Europe, and Croatia’s largest in terms of volume!
If you’ve read anything else on Wandering our World, you will know we love to get outside and explore nature. With that being the case, we had to include Mljet on out list of Croatia’s most beautiful islands.
Forest-covered Mljet is known as being the greenest island throughout Croatia, and most of the island is a national park – one of eight in Croatia. There are trails throughout the forest and along the coastline, but we also recommend hiring a bike. There are options for camping here too, making it the perfect nature getaway for a night or two.
The island lakes are mesmerising here, as is some of the architecture – such as the Monastery of St Mary that sits on an island in one of the lakes on Mljet island!