Croatia: a not-so-hidden gem of a destination
Seaside resort:
Croatia
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Croatia’s Adriatic coast in brief

 

Visit Croatia for beautifully clean waters, UNESCO-recognised heritage, countless island day trips, national parks, nightlife for all and water sports.

 

Location:

West and south Croatia

Nearest airports:

Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Losinj, Zadar and Split are closest to the coast. Brac and Pula airports are near the coast but handle internal flights only.

Key resorts & areas:

Porec and Medulin (Istria), Opatija and Crikvenica (Primorje-Gorski Kotar), Pag (Lika-Senj and Zadar), Kolovare (Zadar), Pirovac and Vodice (Šibenik-Knin), Makarska Riviera (Split-Dalmatia), Banje and Sveti Jakov (Dubrovnik-Neretva)

Major sights & activities:

Split’s medieval centre, Dubrovnik Old Town, various national parks, swimming, sailing, diving, golf

Best time to go

June to September; peak season is July and August

Did you know?

Including the islands, Croatia’s coastline is a staggering 5,790 km long - just imagine how many holidays that adds up to!

 

Beach holidays in Croatia

 

Up until recently, Croatia has been something of a hidden gem for travellers seeking a relaxing beach holiday. Now, however, the secret’s out and holidaymakers are flocking to the country’s spectacular Adriatic coastline in their droves.

Croatia’s coast is split into seven regions, each of which have resorts and beaches that are worth considering.

 

Istria

Istria is the northernmost coastal region of Croatia and used to be part of Italy, which is reflected in the remnants of Italian culture and language that remain in the area. The main beach holiday destinations in Istria include:

  • Porec - This is one of the country’s most popular resorts thanks to its wealth of accommodation and its proximity to two scenic bays to the south, Zelena and Plava, as well as Sveti Nicola island.
  • Medulin - This family-friendly resort is close enough to Pula to allow for sightseeing trips to the city should you get tired of sunbathing (if this is possible!) on Bijeca beach.
  • Umag - This is an incredibly popular resort considering its relatively small size. Attractions here include the old town and nearby cycling trails.
  • Rovinj - Another top destination in Istria, Rovinj is a true Mediterranean fishing port and not to be missed if you want a traditional holiday experience.

 

Primorje-Gorski Kotar

East of Istria lies Primorje-Gorski Kotar and its many beach options, including:

  • Opatija - This popular resort has plenty of history and seaside glamour for the perfect beach holiday in Croatia. You can easily visit other beach destinations in the area, such as Lovran, or go on day trips to attractions like the Plitvice Lakes or Risnjak National Park from here.
  • Crikvenica - The Crikvenica Riviera has both sand and pebble beaches (the bulk of Croatia’s beaches are pebble) and even has a pet-specific beach next to the port of Podvorska.

 

Lika-Senj and Zadar

Lika-Senj and Zadar are technically two separate counties, but they share control over one of the best beach destinations in Croatia - the island of Pag, which is famous for the parties held on Zrće beach. Other destinations in Zadar include:

  • Kolovare - This town beach has both sand and pebbled parts. It’s fairly popular but you can get away from the crowds by heading to the more secluded sunbathing spots to the east towards the headland.
  • Borik - This family-friendly beach is located 4 km from the city centre and is easily accessible by bus. It can get busy, but you’ll find quieter spots to the west if needed.

 

Šibenik-Knin

Located in the centre of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, Šibenik-Knin has more than 300 islands, islets, reefs and cliffs to explore. Top destinations include:

  • Pirovac - This resort has it all. Sandy beaches, olive groves, forests, coves and history combine to create a fantastic holiday destination.
  • Vodice - Visitors will find beautifully-kept beaches and parks in Vodice, as well as must-see attractions like waterfalls and local traditional festivals.
  • Zaboric - Sand and pebble beaches can both be found in Zaboric, which is 10 km from the city of Šibenik. Look out for its most popular festival in July and activities such as jet-skiing and volleyball.

 

Split-Dalmatia

One of the most popular destinations in Croatia, the city of Split is well-known for both its own attractions and the excellent beaches that lie nearby. These include:

  • Makarska Riviera - This has become increasingly popular over the years and is now a top draw to the Split region. The beaches are mainly pebble, but the riviera is around 60 km long, minimising crowds for those willing to walk along the coast to quieter spots. Baska Voda is one great beach to keep an eye out for.
  • Bacvice - This relatively small sand and shingle beach is incredibly popular and is where picigin, a version of volleyball unique to Split, was first created.

 

Dubrovnik-Neretva

Dubrovnik is high up on the list of top destinations in Croatia and has several great beaches nearby.

  • Lopud Island - This is a favourite destination for the locals thanks to its rare fine white sand beaches and beautiful hilly backdrop.
  • Banje - This beach is located conveniently close to Dubrovnik’s Old Town and offers great views of the city walls for sunbathers.
  • Sveti Jakov - This beach is further away from the city, but this means that you can enjoy a particularly quiet sunbathing experience.
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