Croatia is often lost in the shuffle in the European beach escape discussion, if not for quality but for a simple lack of understanding.
The truth is this Eastern European nation of about 4 million people has a lengthy coastline that counts more than a thousand islands and 102 blue flag beaches.
The balmy weather, rustic walled cities, and classic crystal blue make it an ideal holiday destination, but where does one start with this little understood country?
Here are the 8 best beaches in Croatia.
This practically deserted island a ferry ride away from Mali Lošinj is made almost entirely of sand. The shallow bays here extend nearly a kilometer before the sea is deep enough for swimming, making it a premium wading beach.
Saharun, Dugi Otok
This gorgeous white sand beach on Dugi Island measures only about a kilometre long and yet overcrowding is never an issue – even during its famous all-night parties. The crystal blue waters here are more Caribbean-like than Adriatic.
Anywhere on The Makarska Rivijera
This mainland coastal area just south of Split is a hit with those looking for a little more privacy due to its the sparsely visited pebble beach coves. The lack of swimmers means it’s also a great place for water sports and any family activities.
Sunj Bay, Lopud Island
If you’re up for an adventure in addition to a relaxing day at the beach this is your ticket.
Not only will you need a picturesque 50 minute ferry crossing to reach this gem but a pretty rigorous 1.5 kilometre hike to reach the final destination, a rare sandy beach with waves as calm as the vacationers.
Prapratno Beach, Peljesac
If you’re game for warm shallow water and a charming village hemmed in by olive and pine trees then head to the Peljesac Peninsula for your next beach holiday.
The ability to trace the coastline and stumble upon isolated beaches has lead to an increase in popularity with nudists, making it the best ‘anything goes’ beach in Croatia.
Uvala Lapad, Dubrovnik
For those looking for a few more amenities you’ll find them just 2.5 km from Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
The classic sun loungers and umbrellas dotting the gravel beach are just a stones throw away from a plethora of bars and restaurants – and there’s even free beachside wifi!
Solaris Beach Resort, Sibenik
What stands out for this crystal clear Adriatic beach are the camping ameneties.
If you’re driving through with a mobile home you’ll find plenty of space to set up shop on the beach itself. Families with small children will love the much safer swimming pool options plus the epic Aquapark and its many slides.
Palmizana, Hvar Town
If you’re looking for upscale it doesn’t get much better than the fashionable island resort made famous by visits from Prince Harry among others.
Hvar Town itself is a mecca of rustic seafood joints and ornate Gothic palaces but for the true beach escape take the ferry to the uninhabited island of Sveti Klement for true seclusion, no traffic, and unlimited room to explore.