The Greek Islands get all the attention from international tourists, but they can be crowded, especially during peak season. Why not spend some time in the Adriatic Sea on the charming and picturesque islands of Croatia instead? Located off Croatia’s mainland on the Adriatic Sea, many of these islands are severely underrated and are ready to welcome travelers with open arms. These are 10 of the best Croatian Islands to explore for a relaxing getaway in Europe.
Hvar is the most popular Croatian island and has become a resort town. This means it has the infrastructure to support tourism and cater to the needs and interests of international visitors. The island has a stunning hilltop Spanish Fortress to explore, a baroque cathedral, and plenty of idyllic beaches. Travelers can visit the Franciscan Monastery or simply roam the historic streets of quaint Hvar town.
Brač is the perfect island paradise for travelers who want to relax on the beach rather than soak in Croatia’s cultural heritage. This island destination on the Adriatic Sea has two main towns where travelers can choose to stay, Supetar and Bol. Supetar is the biggest town and is the location where the ferry arrives from Split, so for convenience, this is the ideal place to book accommodation. While staying on Brač, travelers must spend a day at Zlatni Rat Beach (Golden Horn Beach) and see the sunset or sunrise from Vidova Gora, the iconic rocky viewpoint.
Vis is a Croatian island off the Dalmation Coast that retains its ancient city walls and traditional public bath. This is the inhabited Croatian island that is the farthest away from the mainland and remains one of the best preserved in terms of natural flora, fauna, and wildlife. While it was once supported primarily by its fishing industry, Vis is now primarily dependent upon agriculture and tourism to support its economy.
Rab is an island in the Adriatic Sea with an old town of the same name. The town remains enclosed by ancient walls, and the island has 30 sandy beaches for travelers to relax upon. The island is 22 km long and 11 km wide, stretching northwest to southeast. Nicknamed the Happy Island, Rab is in the Gulf of Kvarner and experiences approximately 2600 hours of sunshine annually.
Mljet is the ideal Croatian destination for nature lovers. This island is considered the greenest in Croatia and the most beautiful. Mljet is home to Mljet National Park, which visitors can access from the small villages of Pomena and Polače. There is no official park entrance, but it takes approximately 40 minutes to walk in from Polače and 20 minutes to walk in from Pomena. Admission to the park can be purchased at kiosks within either town.
There is only one hotel on the island, Hotel Odisej. However, there are plenty of other accommodation options available to travelers in the form of private rooms and guesthouses.
Korčula is the perfect island to visit in Croatia for travelers who appreciate fine wines and gorgeous sea views. The island is located off the Dalmation Coast and has pristine beaches and a historic old town, without the crowds of more popular islands like Hvar. Take a winery tour while visiting or simply sample some of the island’s best wines from wineries like Vitis Winery or Grošić Winery.
Pag is a Croatian island with a unique, moon-rock-like landscape. It’s fairly barren, especially in contrast to the greenery of Mljet. As one of the largest islands in Croatia, Pag is worth exploring, and while visitors come for the scenic views, they stay for the parties. Pag has a party scene that is comparable to Ibiza or Mykonos, so it’s a great spot for solo backpackers to connect with like-minded travelers.
Krk is located in the Kvarner Gulf and is one of the most sought-after Croatian islands for travelers. It has an old town by the same name and is home to the 5th-century Krk Cathedral. The old town of Krk features the same charming architecture as iconic Dubrovnik with fewer tourists. Travelers looking to reach Krk from other islands or Split can use the Jadrolinija ferry service.
This beautiful Croatian island has stunning lush green vegetation and offers impressive views of the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. The main town on the island is called Mali Lošinj and has a large harbor area. The slogan for the island is “The Island of Vitality” and offers a chance to see incredible marine wildlife at the Lošinj historical underwater park or as part of a dolphin watching tour. Travelers interested in culture, history, and architecture can visit the Museum of Apoxyomenos, the Fritzi Gallery, or the Blue World Institute.
Susak is a small Croatian island located just west of Lošinj. The permanent population of the island is under 200 people, and while it is a vibrant summer destination, the island is quiet throughout the winter months. Susak is unlike any other island in Croatia; a dialect spoken here is so different from Croatian that people from the mainland may not understand it. People wear traditional folk costumes, and the terrain of the island is completely sandy.