Island Hopping Croatia. What Is The Best Croatian Island To Visit?

It was 2007 when we first went island hopping in Croatia, taking in the northern Istrian islands of Cres and Krk. Croatia wasn’t even part of the EU back then and virtually nobody near Medulin had seen an English tourist. In order to communicate, we had to converse in German and very broken Croatian from a phrasebook but we became hooked on the Adriatic Sea and have been back to Croatia four times since then. If you’re thinking about having a holiday in Croatia but you’re wondering which Croatian Island to visit, we’ve compiled a list of a few of them to help you out.

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Rovinj Croatia. Island Hopping
Rovinj Croatia.

Why Croatia?

In the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, there are 718 islands, 389 islets and 78 reefs, making the Croatian archipelago the largest in the Adriatic Sea and the second largest in the Mediterranean Sea with only the Greek archipelago being larger.

Aside from having a brilliant football team, Croatia has an amazing coastline and a cuisine to match.  Obviously, with so much coastline, fish, sealife and crustaceans feature heavily on the menus but that’s not to say that there’s nothing for the veggies and vegans. Fresh vegetables are plentiful and there’s a new rise of plant-based cuisine and restaurants. Markets are packed with dried beans and produce and being so close to Italy, pasta and rice are readily available.

Croatia’s coastline is very rocky and there are few naturally sandy beaches but the waters are some of the best we’ve ever seen. Snorkelling and diving are easy and the waters are mostly calm between spring and summer. There are sea urchins in some parts of the waters, so best to take some swimming shoes but other than that, our kids were very happy to swim in all parts of Croatia and we feel that Croatia is a wonderful country to spend time in.

Driving in Croatia is very easy, the roads tend to be in good condition even in rural parts, the signs are easy to follow and I solo travelled to/around Croatia at least twice with all three kids.

Island Hopping In Croatia. What Is The Best Croatian Island To Visit?

With so many islands and so much choice how on earth are you supposed to choose just one? We recommend that you don’t choose one but instead spend four to five days on a number of islands and see a range of Croatian Islands along the coast. You can just turn up at the ferry port and buy a ticket or pre-buy your ferry tickets beforehand. Some ferries allow you to prepurchase a ticket but boarding is on a first-come, first-served basis.

In alphabetical order, we list over twenty Croatian islands (with some help from our blogging friends) that we think you should consider visiting.

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Rab, Croatian Island
Rab, Croatian Island Hopping

Brac Island

After spending a month travelling through the Croatian Islands with our kids there was one place that became our firm favourite for a family-friendly Croatian island destination. Bol, the oldest village on the island of Brac is quintessentially Mediterranean in its look and feel with splendid warm sunny days in summer to bask in the stunning waters.

The town itself is situated alongside a small and colourful boat harbour which is where you will arrive if coming via the local ferry system which is the easiest way to travel to Brac. Ferries come from both directions via the Dubrovnik island service or directly from Split.

The town is bursting with accommodation choices and I recommend staying higher up on the hill to give yourself some of the most impressive views over the bluest of oceans. The town itself is super pedestrian-friendly so you definitely won’t need a car in Bol unless you want to head off into the hills to do some exploring further afield.

Bol is the equally perfect place to get active on the beaches or simply relax and read a book. Zlatni Rat (aka The Golden Horn), the most famous, and possibly most recognisable beach in all of Croatia can be found in Bol and is just a short 10-minute walk from the centre of town along a scenic walkway. Shaped in a sharp V, Zlatni Rat is just as impressive to see in real-life particularly from an elevated position and is a great place to swim or people watch. If the winds pick up the best bet is to head to the smaller beaches tucked into the shoreline a little closer to town.

If you are into watersports, hire a SUP board and master the fun of the ferry waves as they pass. Alternately you can try kayaking, windsurfing or for the younger families, a paddleboat complete with an attached water slide. If you want to get active on land then Bol also offers tennis courts, a lovely pedestrian walkway for a daily walk or jog or you can head into the hills to explore the side of Bol away from the tourist strip. It is here that you will come across the friendly locals with their small backyard veggie plots and get a real feel for living in Bol.

Once the sun starts to set you should definitely check out some of the beautiful restaurants in town. Run by long-time locals and with gorgeous views this is the perfect way to round out a day in Bol.

Written by Karen from Big Adventures For Little Feet. See more from Karen on Facebook

If you’re looking to spend time away from the tourists, we spent a week staying on the eastern side of Brac island in a small, traditional town called Povlja. Povlja has a protected harbour on which many shops and restaurants are based but it also benefits from hidden coves and quiet walks in the hills. The hills are covered with lush forests, vines & olive trees and whilst I was walking the dog we regularly bumped into friendly locals with their goats. The air is super-fresh as very few non-Croatian tourists make it up to that part of the island and as a result, traffic is less.

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Brac Island, Island Hopping Croatia
Brac Island, Island Hopping Croatia

Čiovo Island

Čiovo is a flat and dry island (its peak is just 218m high) located within a stone’s throw of Trogir and easily accessible from Split (10km away). Due to this, it is a popular island to visit in the summer months and especially for families who love the beaches.

In order to get here by car, Čiovo is connected to Trogir Island and the mainland by two bridges so no car ferry is necessary. If you’re travelling by foot, there are excellent boat connections from Trogir and Slatina to Split and there are also regular buses.

Although there is not a huge amount of sightseeing to on Čiovo, popular sights are the Church of Our Lady of Prizidnica dating back to 1546 and the small church of St. Peter in Supetarska lagoon. In the village of Žedno you can find the church of St. Maurice and a Dominican monastery in the village of Arbanija which showcases paintings from the 17th century. Most people come to Čiovo though to relax by the beach, swim in the calm waters of the secluded bays and sample the local cuisine.

Some of the more popular beaches on the island are Pantan, a protected natural resort with the Pantan Mills a short distance away. Okrug Beach, a 2km long gravel beach which is just 5km from Trogir benefits from a number of beach bars and restaurants which are open late into the night. Here, you can rent jet skis, book parasailing and windsurfing. Kava beach features a beautiful, natural inlet near the old fishing village of Slatine and could almost be described as a wild beach.  Medena Beach is a 3km long beach surrounded by old pine trees but has loads of sports facilities nearly.  In Mavarstica there is a so-called “white beach” with exceptionally crystal clear seawater.

For day trips off this Croatian island, you could visit the protected bay of Krknjasi with its amazing turquoise blue sea and wild nature. Krka National Park – best visited from Ciovo with your own car – is also an easy hour or so drive away. Sibenik and pretty Primosten would also be interesting cities to visit for a day out.

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Primošten, Croatia
Primošten, Croatia

Cres Island

Many visitors to Croatia don’t know that parts of it were under Venetian rule between the 16th and 18th century and that after World War I, the islands Of Cres and Krk became part of Italy. It was only after World War II (1947) that the island was returned to Yugoslavia and Cres is a breathtakingly, beautiful proof of this Italian past.

Architecturally, the town of Cres is like a small version of Venice with narrow alleys, lined with magnificent Palazzi and historical buildings. Many people here still speak Italian and it’s only the canals that are missing although there is a marina where you can stroll along the piers, sip coffee and drinks while watching the yachts moving in the ocean breeze.

The ocean surrounds Cres like a big blob of deep blue ink so it is no wonder that one of the most popular activities here is to charter a boat and sail to more secluded beaches where you can also see pods of up to one hundred dolphins. Cres is also a regular stopover for flocks of birds travelling and returning from Northern Europe to Africa.  These unspoiled sceneries and wildlife make Cres one of the most beautiful Croatia islands off the Adriatic coast.

Cres is easy to reach by ferry from the mainland port of Rijeka and there is another ferry from the island’s East coast to Krk. These ferries are for pedestrians and vehicles alike and there’s no need to pre-book tickets as they’re not usually that busy.

If you’re self-driving Cres, you must visit one of the quirkiest spots which is the village of Lubenice. Located 20 kilometres from Cres, high up in the mountains, Lubenice is inhabited by just seven women. From Lubenice take the steep trail down to one of the most beautiful and wild beaches, Plava Grota.

In the end, it’s all about the waters in Cres and those are divine.

Written by Renata Green from Bye Myself. Read more from Renata on Facebook. 

Stay On Cres Island When You Visit These Croatian Islands

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Osor, Cres
Osor, Cres

Dugi Otok

One of the most amazing islands to visit in Croatia is for sure Dugi Otok – which is located in the heart of Croatia in the Zadar region and is well known as a place of peace and relaxation. This amazing island is one of the most hidden gems in Croatia and compared to others, this place still has really quiet spots to visit and is not yet so touristy!

Dugi Otok is characterized by intact nature, authentic coastal towns and mind-blowingly beautiful beaches. One of the most amazing beaches of this fabulous island is Sakarun Beach, a stunning white sandy beach with Caribbean-like flair. Several times this beach has been voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Another beach, that’s high up on our favourite island spots is the wonderful Veli Zal Beach. This one is still relatively untouched and wild with no crowds, bars or restaurants.

Another highlight and a real must-see-place of this Croatian island is the Telascica National Park, where unspoilt nature, majestic cliffs and the Silver Lake Mir amaze its visitors. This wonderful place is located at the southern end of the island and should not be missed on any visit to Dugi Otok! Lovely to visit here is also the beautiful harbour of Sali. With its colourful houses it is really picturesque and a perfect place for having dinner.

The best time to visit Dugi Otok is from May till October. At that time of the year, you can expect fantastic weather, plenty of sunshine and the sea will be perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Dugi Otok can be easily reached by ferry from Zadar.

Written by Martina from Places of Juma. See more from Martina on Instagram. 

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Dugi otok
Dugi Otok, Island Hopping Croatia

Hvar Island

If you’re looking for a great Croatian island to visit with family or friends, why don’t you check out Hvar?

This rather small – only 70 by 10 kilometres – place situated across the port city of Split, is one of the most famous party and jet set islands of Croatia. And while you’ll indeed find an abundance of fancy yachts and expensive restaurants in Hvar Town, the island is much more than just the rumours and actually an amazing family destination.

You can reach Hvar by ferry from Split, Brač, Korçula, Vis and even Dubrovnik. However, outside of the high season, things can get tricky with fewer ferries and even cancelled ones if the weather isn’t great. It takes about an hour to get from Split to Hvar and the trip will cost you about 100 HRK (€13/15$)

Hvar Town is a wonderful place to wander around. It has the classical Mediterranean/Croatian feel, so think cobblestone streets, turquoise water and colourful fishermen boats. Make sure to have some ice cream from the street stall in front of the catamaran ferry dock on the main promenade. They sell super yummy and very special flavours.

Another thing you shouldn’t miss in Hvar town is making your way up to the Fortica Fortress where you have an amazing view over the city and the Adriatic Sea! And if you have enough time, take one of the shuttle boats to the Paklani islands and have a wonderful relaxing day at the beach. There’s even an (admittedly rather narrow) sandy beach to build some sandcastles.

Public transport on Hvar is limited and self-driving can be frustrating in peak season due to the narrow roads & heavier than usual traffic however during the off-peak season it is easier to navigate, although watch out for roaming animals. If you’re self-driving, head over to the oldest city in Croatia, Stari Grad or visit the prehistorical cave of Grapčeva, one of the most important archaeological sites on the Adriatic Coast.

Written by Babs from Mums On Flip Flops.  See more from Babs on Instagram. 

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Hvar Island, Croatia. Island Hopping
Hvar Island, Croatia. Island Hopping In Croatia

Korcula Island

Korcula Island lies opposite the Peljesac Peninsula in southern Croatia. This 20-mile-long Croatian island can be reached by a scenic catamaran or ferry trip from Split or Dubrovnik which arrives into Korcula Town on the east coast of the island or Vela Luka on the west coast. Alternatively, drive to the small town of Orebic on mainland Croatia and catch a short, 30-minute ferry across to the island arriving into Korcula Town.

Korcula island is not a party destination; it is a quiet, laid back, welcoming island with great scenery and good food! Its densely forested landscape provides excellent hiking and cycling opportunities and the warm, clear, calm waters surrounding the island are ideal for snorkelling and water sports such as kayaking or stand up paddleboarding.

The most popular place to visit in Korcula is charming Korcula Town. Inside the walls of the medieval era Old Town (dubbed ‘mini Dubrovnik’), honey-coloured stone buildings line narrow winding lanes dotted with cafes, art galleries and tiny churches. Don’t miss the ornate St. Mark’s Cathedral in the centre of the Old Town.

Beach lovers should head to Lumbarda village in the south-east of the island whose sandy beaches attract visitors from all over Croatia. The biggest beach, Vela Prizina, is a sheltered, long strip of golden sand whose gentle incline into the sea makes it an ideal beach to visit with young children. This area is also famous for its Grk wine, made from the Grk grape which does not grow anywhere else in Croatia. There are several, free to visit family-owned vineyards within the village such as the Lovric or Popic Winery.

Alternatively, visit the island’s only craft brewery at Zrnovo or the olive oil producers in Vela Luka. Hikers should head to the hills around Racisce whilst history lovers should visit Pupnat, the oldest settlement on the island.

Written by Sinead from Map Made Memories. See more from Sinead on Facebook. 

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Korcula Island
Korcula Island

Kornati Islands

The Kornati are not actually an island but instead, a spread out archipelago and a National Park (of the same name) of 150 tiny islands and islets. Looking like spikey crowns, they’re all made of Karst which is a type of limestone landscape that has been eroded to produce ridges and towers.

Whilst you’ll see most of the islands from aboard a boat, you can stop at a few and admire their unique features.  The islands are uninhabited if you don’t count the sheep, and they’re mostly used for farming and growing olive trees. In the past, people did live in the Kornati but mostly for seeking shelter from foreign invasions.

Mana Island features a few ancient-looking structures but sadly they’re not actually real. In fact, they were constructed as a movie set in the 1950s however the from the top of the islet there’s a beautiful viewpoint over the sea with a sharp cliff.

Levrnaka Island is great if you crave an excellent dining experience and/or some beach time. The Konoba Levrnaka serves the most delicious seafood accompanied by the most amazing view. The beach located on the other side of the islet (5 minutes walk away) is a protected, calm bay with no boats.

You can get to the Kornati by using a tour – best to take one from the town of Murter, where you can also buy an entrance ticket to the National Park at the official Kornati office. The ticket price is €40 per adult (300 kn) and €20 (150 kn) for children. There they can help you book a boat ride or you can self-present at a boat in the morning and join in.

The bumpy boat ride is an experience in itself as it takes a bit over an hour to reach the first Kornati islands from Murter by high-speed boat.  Kornati National Park belongs to one of the most beautiful parts of Dalmatia.

You could base yourself in Šibenik and explore from there or alternatively from the island of Murter. 

Written by Veronika from Travel Geekery. See more from Veronika on Pinterest. 

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Murter
Murter Island

Krk Island

I couldn’t write about my homeland and exclude the Croatian island of Krk. It is one of my favourite islands after Hvar. So much history is involved here that it makes it fascinating, the streets and buildings just vibrate with wisdom and magic.

Krk’s position near Rijeka makes it easy to visit including the continental part of Croatia and its lovely capital Zagreb. The far northern part of Krk island is linked to the island of Sveti Marko and Croatia’s mainland by a bridge which makes it easy to visit for those who are self-driving. From here, it is just a 52-minute drive to access the Slovenian border.

The most beautiful town on Krk, is Krk itself, where cobblestone streets are intertwined so magically with its stone gates. So full of history, Krk offers the Frankopan castle which transports you back to medieval times immediately. The Cathedral in Krk hides on a small central, corner of the centre and can be seen from the distance with its domed, Ottoman cupola. You will also get a chance to see the old bath tubes serving for washing the laundry.

The island itself is known for the legendary Baška tablet which is the first proof of the Croatian language written in Glagolitic letters. It dates to the beginning of the 12th century and was found in Baška which is enchanted by the most beautiful beaches on the island. Baška is also characterised by amazing views from the highest peak located here, Obzova and crystal clear waters at one of the longest beaches in Croatia are reason enough to visit.

Malinska ornates its beauty at the lovely shadowed beaches which are part of the long promenade towards Njivice. Beaches are built into the stone offering excellent spots for watching the sunsets.

Island Krk is rich with amazing nature like the canyon Vrženica, lakes Jezero near Njivice and Ponikva near Malinska and also some caves. Cave Biserujka near Omišalj is one of the most enchanting.  Don’t hesitate to visit Krk as it will surprise you in all aspects.

Written by Gabrijela from Under Flowery Sky. See more from Gabi on Facebook. 

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Krk Island
Krk Island

Lokrum Island

If you’re looking to go Croatian island hopping, Lokrum island is an uninhabited nature reserve, 10 minutes or 600m from the ancient, walled city of Dubrovnik. It is a beautiful forested island full of olive, pine, black ash and holm oak trees.  Austrian Archduke Maximilian (1459 – 1519), younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I, once had a holiday home on the island and a monastery and a botanical garden survive from his era.

As soon as you step onto the island of Lokrum you are aware of how special it is. Maybe because you will be greeted by peacocks and rabbits, a strange combination but there you are! The peacocks were originally brought to the island in the 19th-century by Archduke Maximilian and their ancestors now roam freely around the island.

Lokrum is one big forest so start your exploration by taking the steep trail up to Fort Royal Castle where the panoramic views are stunning. Maybe bring a picnic and enjoy it with the 360-degree views of the Adriatic all around you.

After your time at the top of the island make your way to the café, situated in the middle of the island, and grab a cold beer from the café. Sit under one of the trees and watch the rabbits and peacocks wander around you – it’s pretty mesmerising.

If you want to cool off in the azure waters take one of the paths that lead to the coastline. There are several swimming coves to choose from and you can spend some time splashing about in the water and sunning yourself on the nearby rocks.

Oh, and one last thing, before you leave check out the Game of Thrones exhibition, this is your one and only chance to sit on the iron throne and be the ruler of all! Even if you aren’t a fan it is interesting to discover how Dubrovnik and Croatia were used in the series.

Once you have caught your ferry back to the city check out the 5 best things to do in Dubrovnik. From walking the city walls to taking the cable car up to watch the sunset over the Elephiti Islands, it is all pretty magical.

Prices, maps and ferry timetables can be seen and downloaded from the Lokrum website.

Written by Angela from Where Angie Wanders. See more from Angela on Pinterest. 

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Lokrum Island, Croatia Island Hopping
Lokrum Island, Croatia Island Hopping

Lopud Island

Lopus island is part of the Elafiti Islands (or the Elaphites as they’re sometimes known), an archipelago north-west of Dubrovnik which means that those staying in the old city can get away from the crowds and easily visit this island.

One of the largest inhabited islands, Lopud is, in my opinion, the prettiest. You’ll discover a car-free zone, honey-coloured stone houses surrounded by colourful gardens as well as an imposing fortress.

If you’re looking for a day trip to Lopud, there are many sailings on boat tours from Dubrovnik’s Old Harbour – however, these boat trips tend to be Elafiti tours, and may not give you the time to actually get off and explore Lopud for long. Instead of booking a tour, head to the ferry terminal near Gruz Bay and catch the Lopud ferry directly. This ferry takes about 90 minutes and costs only 19-23Kn (around £3).

Once you’ve arrived on Lopud it’s easy to explore from the harbour and walk along the quaint seafront filled with cafés and restaurants. However, the main attraction in Lopud is Šunj beach which is a 25-minute walk from the centre, or a quick golf buggy ride (20KN) away. The beach is sandy, which is very rare on the Dalmatian coast, and its beachfront bars are adorned with comfortable seating and serve up fresh food and cold beers. I have happy memories of watching the children playing in the sand while I relaxed close by.

The only downside of visiting Lopud on a day trip was having to leave. There are a few hotels and lots of self-catering villas on Lopud, so if you fancy experiencing island life close to Dubrovnik, this is a wonderful destination to while away a few days.

Written by Ting from My Travel Monkey. See more from Ting on Instagram.

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Croatian Island Hopping
Croatian Island Hopping

Losinj Island

Lošinj used to be connected to Cres Island but in the Roman era, an artificial channel was dug between the two islands in order to shorten the journey from land to sea. Losinj is known for its strikingly beautiful bays and rich pine-forest, vegetation.  Losinj benefits from more than 2500 hours of sunshine per year with temperatures ranging from the high 20*c to 10*c in the winter.

The only way of getting to Losinj is either by ferry or catamaran. To reach Losinj by car you can either go to the island of Cres and cross to Losinj at the drawbridge at Osor. This drawbridge opens twice a day at 09:00 and 17:00/18:00 and waiting for the bridge to close can take up to an hour.  Or, you can catch the car ferry and catamaran between Zadar and Losinj but this takes over six hours.

The island has two baroque Venetian fishing villages, Veli Lošinj and Mali Lošinj which look like early drafts of Italy’s Portofino.  The main town, Mali Lošinj, is situated to the south of the island and in a large natural harbour. Approximately 6000 of the island’s 8000 inhabitants live here in the south.  It’s home to the main branch of the Museum of Lošinj, in the Fritzi Palace. The Museum of Apoxyomenos has a 2nd-century-B.C. bronze statue of an athlete which was recovered from the sea. Since 1982 the island of Losinj was given the status of a health resort and many hotels and spas around Mali Losinj include a variety of wellness and relaxation programs.

The western coast of Losinj has a natural habitat of about 120 dolphins and loggerhead turtles. If you stay here, you should definitely hire a small boat as there’s a high probability that you’ll see the pods.

There are 250 kilometres of walking trails and cycling paths on Losinj. The walking trail of Losinj Captains is 12km long and stretches from the Bay of Borik, through to Sunny Bay, Mali Losinj, Silver and Golden bay and out to Monte Baston which is the highest point of the route. This is a popular and relatively easy walk and is well signposted, ends in Mali Losinj.

Lošinj’s true beauty is the natural Čikat Bay. A starfish-shaped bay that stretches for 500 metres with a votive chapel at the entrance to the bay.

The Losinj Culinary Festival at the beginning of May should be on every seafood foodie’s menu. About twenty local restaurants participate in showcasing local specialities with tastings, competitions, gastronomic walks and seminars.

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Losinj Island, Croatia
Losinj Island, Croatia

Mljet Island

We visited Mljet while island hopping in Croatia. It is most well known for its natural beauty and is located just off of the coast of Dubrovnik. Most of the island is covered by Mljet National Park which has plenty of trails that you can walk and cycle along.

The majority of people that visit Mljet do so on a day trip from Dubrovnik or on a brief stopover while island hopping. However, you could spend many days exploring all the island’s nooks and crannies.

One of our favourite things to do was hike down to Odysseus Cave. It is located on the Southern Coast and tied to many local legends. While there you can go swimming in the vibrant waters, snorkel, or go cliff jumping.

Another highlight is visiting the saltwater lakes. Veliko and Malo Jezero (Big and Small Lake) are located in Mljet National Park. There is an island monastery located in the middle of the big lake, called St. Mary’s. It was built in the 12th century and you can arrange for a boat transfer or kayak to the iconic sight.

While on Mljet don’t miss exploring the island’s villages. Sobra is a port town and the main tourist hub on the island. Its rocky shores are not ideal for swimming but its friendly locals and great restaurants make it worth a visit. Ask for local Mljet wine to accompany your meals!

A lesser-known village is called Prožurska Luka. It is located just 5 kilometres west of Sobra and has a population of 40. It is very picturesque with its horseshoe-shaped bay and pebble beach.

Simply circumnavigating the island is a fun activity, too. Stopping at little bays and swimming in crystal clear waters can’t be beaten. Don’t forget to don a snorkel to check out Mljet Reef.

Written by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel. See more from them on Facebook.

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Mljet Island, Croatia
Mljet Island, Croatia

Murter Island

Murter is connected to the Croatian mainland by a drawbridge at Tisno. The bridge is usually open for 30 minutes each morning and late afternoon so avoid these times if possible.  Murter is hilly and karstic and there are plenty of olive, fig & almond orchards as well as vineyards.

Although Murter is quiet, Tisno is not and The Garden Resort in Tisno is home to a number of summer music festivals, one of which is Defected Croatia which we attend every year. The town of Tisno has an all year round club called Barbarella’s which is open often until 6am. Tisno is a complete contrast to Murter, despite being within a hand’s reach.

Murter is a dreamy little island located at the entrance to the Kornati Islands National Park. With an indented coastline, gorgeous sandy beaches and crystal clear waters there are loads of secluded bays to explore.  The most famous beaches are on the southern side of the island which is protected from the wind. Slanica Bay is the most popular and it is bordered by pine and olive trees. Podvrske is a shallow, white-sand beach with views over to the Kornati Islands while Cigrade Beach is partially rocky and surrounded by pines. Jazina Beach is very family-friendly with shallow water and sand. Kosirina gives a mix of sandy, gravel and rocky beach. and has two beach bars.

Besides enjoying the beaches of the island, cycling, diving, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing and paintball are popular activities here.

Stay On Murter Island If You’re Croatian Island hopping

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Croatian Island Hopping
Croatian Island Hopping

Otok Zlarin

Zlarin is a small island 3km from the mainland city of Šibenik. It has a permanent population of 284 inhabitants, but from March to October its population can grow to 1,500 people. Although this tiny island is just 9 square kilometres, it is actually the third largest island in the Sibenik archipelago.

Due to its unspoiled beauty, Zlarin is called the golden, green, coral island. Covered with thick pine forests, hidden beaches and small bays, Zlarin is most famous for its Coral factory. The island has plenty of naturally growing coral reefs which the island harvests and turns into coral jewellery and ornaments.

Cars are banned on this small and quiet island so you’ll need to park your car next to the mainland port car park and hop on the ferry over to the island. The most common way of getting around is by bike or golf cart. You can hire a golf cart to collect you and take you to your lodgings.

There is only one hotel on the island which is the Koralj Hotel which has hotel rooms and apartments and the most popular means of accommodation is private, self-catering.  There are a few restaurants, bars and shops on the island and plenty of festivals throughout the summer.

If you visit ask locals for directions to the abandoned village of Borovica and climb to the top of Klepac which will give you 360* views of the main town.  From here you can also see the mountain range of Velebit and the triangular volcanic island of Jabuka.

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Zlarin
Zlarin Island, Croatia

Pag Island

The island of Pag is 60km long and the fifth largest Croatian island. With a coastline of 269.2 kilometres, it is also the Croatian Island with the longest coastline.

Pag is best known for its strange, barren, moonlike landscape with a white rocky coastline and beaches that ring the island. You can get to Pag island by catching the ferry from Prizna to the north of Pag or by driving across the Paski bridge on the south.

To best understand Pag, you should divide the island into three. The southern part of the island is the most touristy and thus busy, whilst the middle area around Zrce Festival Beach and the town of Navlja is a party destination for nightlifers yet the north of the island is much quieter and focused on village life and gorgeous shingle and stone beaches and coves.  We loved the north of the island and finding hidden destinations, quayside family-owned restaurants and soaking up the glorious sun. 

Pag has a long history and as such, there’s a bit to see. In Novalja, check out an original Roman aqueduct of a kilometre in length and in Pag town, the 15th-century Church of St. George was part of Pag town’s defensive walls. Old Town Pag, founded in the 15th century, has an archaeological site and the ruins of a Franciscan monastery. Pag Island is also known for its cheese (Sir), which you’ll see being sold everywhere, Pag Zutica, local white wine and lace which is hand crocheted by (mostly) women in Pag.

The island is a little strange when compared to other Croatian islands as its landscape is so dry and bare. Off Pag’s Road 106, a 3-sided mountain formation was discovered in 1999 that whipped up UFO believers into a frenzy. Unusual stone patterns, stretching 30 metres across have been called the Pag Bermuda Triangle. How they got here is a mystery!

Unlike anywhere else on the island, Lokunja beach is muddy and the locals swear by its healing powers. You can wallow in the stinky mud and wash it off in the shallow waters.

Dive centres on Pag organise dive trips to the island of Premuda which features secluded beaches, water caves & a shipwreck.

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Croatian Island Hopping
Croatian Island Hopping, Pag Island

Solta Island

Solta which is pronounced Sholta is just 9km away from Split and sits slightly further north than Brac. If you’re looking to Croatian Island hop, Solta & Brac are so close together they are easily done in just a few days.

Solta is another island with crystal clear sea, numerous pebble beaches, hidden coves and a long history of wine and honey production. It is a hidden gem of an island and perfect for day trips from Split or longer stays to soak up the chilled atmosphere and beautiful scenery.

If you’re bringing a car, you’ll dock at Rogac and there are at least six ferries a day and a high-speed catamaran from Split.  There’s also a passenger boat that connects Rogac with Brac island.

We recommend that you visit the town of Necujam with its wide bay and beach bars and remains of Roman living.  Maslinica is a traditional fisherman village with great pebbly beaches and stone houses clustered around a deep bay it is a great place to watch the sunset. Stomorska is the most developed village and there’s thriving restaurants, markets and town centre.

The beauty of Solta is in its nature and discovering idyllic places to sunbathe and swim. If you stay in Stomorska, find this hidden cove and beach.  Solta has steep shores, deep bays and sheltered coves. The macchia, herbs and shrubs that fill the island are perfect beekeeping pastures which make Solta famous for its honey but also oil and wine. You can find many wine cellars selling the fruits of their production. 

This Croatia Island is hilly, in comparison to others, and besides hiking, you can cycle to its highest point, Vela straža. At 237 meters high, you can enjoy the view of the surrounding island and looking over to Split.

Other things to do here include diving as there is an original Roman wall at Piškera and shipwrecks at Livka, Stračinska, Senjska and Jorja bay, where you’ll find coral reefs and gorgonians too. Don’t forget to check out Archery Oliveto in the centre of the island and for a trip through some rustic hilltop villages.

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SOlta Island
Solta Island, Croatia Island Hopping

Trogir Island

If you’re more interested in history and architecture than lying on the beach, then Trogir just might be the perfect Croatian Island for you.

This tiny island, which is just 35 km squared, is sandwiched between Čiovo island and the Croatian mainland and is connected to both by bridges. As soon as you cross the bridge from the mainland, you leave behind all reminders of the modern world and feel like you are transported back in time to the medieval ages. This is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The first thing to do when you arrive is to climb the walls of the Kamerlengo Fortress. From here, you’ll have fantastic views of the Adriatic and will also get a good idea of the layout of the city. Its streets follow a grid pattern, which was first laid out by the ancient Greeks. Over the centuries, Trogir has been ruled by various powers, including the Greeks, Romans, Venetians and the Habsburg Empire. Many of the buildings standing today are from the Venetian era and it has even been used as a filming location for various films and TV shows supposedly set in Venice.

If you’re craving sun and sand, there are some beautiful beaches very close by, though not on the island itself. The closest is Pantan Beach, which you can walk to in about 20 minutes from the centre of town. Trogir is only about 25 kilometres northwest of Split and is most often visited as a day trip from there. Most of the buses travelling between Split and Šibenik or Zadar will stop here.

Be forewarned that, once you see Trogir, you probably won’t want to leave! Do consider spending at least one night here so that you can enjoy dinner at Konoba TRS. Its shady garden is the perfect spot for a romantic meal, and they can cater for vegetarians and vegans visiting Croatia on request.

Written by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan. See more Wendy on Instagram. 

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Trogir Island
Trogir Island

Ugljan Island

Ugljan is the first island in the Zadar Archipelago. Separated from the mainland by the Zadar Channel, it is connected with the island of Pašman by the Ždrelac Bridge. It is an easy island to visit with a car and by foot ferry too, taking just twenty-five minutes from Zadar on the mainland.

Ugljan is a green, mountainous island covered in olive groves and dotted with picturesque fishing ports.  The gentle eastern side of the island, closer to Zadar, is more populous while the western side is rugged, steep and uninhabited. The capital town is Preko where the ferries dock but it’s actually a delightful place to have a coffee and walk along the harbour.

From Preko there is a hiking path that leads up to St Michael’s church (265m) where you’ll get a sweeping view of the island and Zadar’s archipelago. Also, visit the Tvrdava SV. Mihovil fortress and take in the views over Preko, Zadar and the neighbouring island. Only a few walls survived WWII but the views are spectacular.  It’s easy to rent a bike from Preko and bike along a coastal path that runs from Preko to Kukljica. Bike paths also run from Ugljan to the western side of the island.

Ugljan has a very indented coast of about 20 km where you’ll find pebbly beaches, hidden coves, clean water and untouched nature. The island isn’t called ‘The Green Island’ for nothing and is perfect for all nature lovers. Here you can rent a boat or a kayak, go scuba diving and explore the near-perfect underwater world of Ugljan.

Keen hikers should note there are twenty different hiking trails across the island. You can walk to the very top of the island Šćah (288m) but note this island is quiet and especially good for people seeking solitude.

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Croatian Island Hopping
Croatian Island Hopping

Vis Island

The remotest of the Croatian islands, Vis Island is one of the most ethereal places I’ve ever visited. The island remained inaccessible till 1989 as the Yugoslav military used it as their naval base.

You can get to Vis island from Split by catamaran, the Jadrolinija ferry or by speedboat. A speedboat is the fastest but the ferry is the most convenient way to travel and also allows you to take your car. From historical gems, cultural experiences, natural wonders, to remote caves, quaint villages, and unique beaches – Vis has it all!

Start your exploration with Vis (Luka), a harbour where the ferries from Split arrive. A 20-minute walk from Luka takes you to one of the oldest and prettiest parts of Vis, Kut.

Komiža, a short distance from the port, is a historic fishing village. St. Nicholas Monastery, Our Lady of the Pirates church, and Komiza Fortress are some of the best places to visit in Komiža and a boat from Komiza takes you on the island of Biševo to witness the unique and other-worldly natural wonder, the Blue Cave (not to be confused with the Blue Cave, Montenegro).

Home to Croatia’s best beaches, Vis is a haven for beach lovers. We loved Stiniva for its uniqueness (a tiny cove of white sand, surrounded by high rocks and shallow, see-through water), Srebrna for its pure water and rocky shores and Stončica for its shallow waters making easy for kids to swim.

The Croatian island of Vis is well-known for its great food and wine. You can visit one of the many vineyards where they offer local wine with local cuisine. A wholesome experience, indeed. Kids and kids-at-heart will love a bite or two of fresh out of the oven traditional Woodfired Pizza. The best place to feast on authentic pizza is Pizzeria Charley in Komiža.

Did you know Vis has been a filming location for a famous Hollywood movie – Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again? Yes, you can recapture the charm of Mamma Mia 2 here on Vis! Vis harbour, Barjoška bay, Stiniva bay, Srebrna Bay, Barjaci, and St. Jerronim church are the most-visited Mamma Mia locations on the island of Vis.

Written by Anjali from Travel Melodies. See more from Anjali On Pinterest

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Croatian Island Hopping, Vis Island
Croatian Island Hopping, Vis Island

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Which Croatian Island is best for island hopping? We look at 21 islands and give you the run down of each.

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