Over 1000 islands are scattered across the Croatian coastline concealing some of the best beaches in the Adriatic. Whether you dare to bare at one of Croatia’s famed nudist beaches, set off on an energetic hike to discover your own slice of paradise or fancy bouncing across the waves to reach hidden coves by jet ski, there is a beach for you.
1. Pakleni Islands, Hvar
The Pakleni Islands are a cluster of islands stretching out from Hvar’s main town. All easily accessible by water taxi, brave travellers will want to catch a ride to the closest island Jerolim, where clothing is optional. Adjacent island Marinkovac is known for its raucous beach club on Stipanska bay. Carpe Diem beach club is frequently visited by the rich and famous (think sinking tequila shots with Prince Harry, Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Moss) and is arguably one of the hottest clubs in the Adriatic. Those wishing to feel sand between their toes will need to visit Perna.
2. Nin, Dalmatia
Croatia isn’t best known for its sandy beaches but Nin is a welcome exception. Its warm, shallows waters are framed by towering mountain peaks and are a great snorkelling spot. Those wishing to have a wet and wild adventure should give windsurfing as try. There is a summer-only beach shack to rent the gear from. With some of the richest waters in the Adriatic be sure to try the seafood risotto at nearby tavern Gostioni Sokol.
3. Zlatni Rat, Brac
Winning the accolade for Croatia’s best beach, Zlatni Rat is a golden sweeping stretch of powdered sand. Pick up a paddle board or kayak to explore neighbouring coves, while the less adventurous amongst us can easily slink from siesta to sea. Feeling peckish? Pop to Mali Raj restaurant that serves up traditional Dalmatian cuisine. Order their speciality, roast octopus. Leisurely stroll along the promenade from the harbour town of Bol (located on Brač) for 30 minutes to reach the award-winning beach.
4. Rajska Plaża, Lopar
Ditch the over-crowded tourist islands and opt to stay in Rab instead. Hedonistic sun, sea and sand desires are fulfilled here as two kilometres of blonde white sand cosies up to gin-clear waters. Follow up serial tanning with a beach massage, then bed down at Hostel Rab. The hostel occupies a prime spot in the Old Town and boasts a sun-drenched terrace that looks over the terracotta tiled roofs across to the pretty marina.
5. Beach Mali Bok, Cres
Cast yourself away to the secluded Mali Bok bay, located on Cres island. Beneath the sleepy village of Orlec follow the steep descent until you reach the blinding waters of the craggy cove. Be sure to pack plenty of supplies as there are no beach bars or restaurants on the paradise isle.
6. Spiaza beach, Susak
Susak is a lesser-known Croatian island in the Kvarner bay archipelago and is covered in sandy bays and beaches. Hiking trails connect the beaches to the surrounding sleepy villages. The biggest (and best) being Spiaza beach. Catch the ferry from Mali Lošinj.
7. Stiniva Beach, Vis
Croatia’s furthest-flung island hides one of its best treasures. This one takes a bit of effort to find. Follow the goat track down to the cove that’s sheltered by two towering cliffs. Once you spot the glimmer of azure water on the coastline you’ll know you’re nearly there. Not so long ago the cove was crowned the best beach in Europe, so go early as fame brings crowds.
8. Oprna Beach, Krk
Krk has more Blue Flag beaches than any other island and Oprna Beach is one of the best. Completely off-the-beaten track, the wild beach can be found at the bottom of an incredibly steep and strenuous descent. No buses service this part of the island so you’ll need to rent a car. Leave it at the campsite car park before tottering down the cliff edge to reach the perfectly-pebbled beach. Reward yourself with a chilled beverage from the sole beach bar but be warned, the drinks are so strong it’ll rip the hairs of your newly waxed chest.
9. Sveti Jakov Beach, Dubrovnik
Not all Croatian beaches require a two hour descent or need a water taxi to ferry you to a sparkling bay. Sveti Jakov is situated about a mile outside from Dubrovnik Old Town and is easily reached by foot or by jumping aboard bus number 5 or number 8. It’s the last stop on the bus, but with views across to the Old Town and some of the best sunsets you’ll see, it’s worth the bumpy bus ride. Thrill-seekers can rent jet skis to power across to the next cove.