Once an up-and-coming vacation destination in southeastern Europe, Croatia has now well established itself among the classic greats of Mediterranean tourism (think Italy and Greece). This young and small nation—gaining word fame by reaching the final in the recent World Cup—makes for a fan-tas-tic place for a beach getaway. Home to hundreds of kilometers of gorgeous coasts, it boasts wonderful coastal cities, amazing nature parks and excellent food. If you’re after an alternative summer getaway, check out these best Croatia beach destinations to relax and wind down.
5 Best Croatia Beach Destinations
It’s important to note that the entire Croatian coast is lined with awesome beaches and beautiful towns and cities. From the rural landscapes of Istria in the north to the barren Dalmatian shores and the breathtaking islands, there is also plenty of beachside variety for you to choose from. To narrow down your options, we’ve selected the five top beach destinations in Croatia below. Each of them is so amazing that it could easily compete with the world’s most famous beaches.
Hvar Town, the namesake of Hvar Island, is one of Croatia’s greatest small towns. With a photogenic harbor and old town, as well as one of the best nightlife scenes in the Mediterranean, it’s a popular destination among a variety of tourists. Beach-goers, too, will find what they’re looking for on this charming Dalmatian island. Consider hitting Uvala Dubovica Beach or Grebišće Beach.
When it comes to urban beaches, Dubrovnik is without question one of the best beach destinations in Croatia. Even its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town has a couple of small, rocky beaches. However, the greatest Dubrovnik beach lie around that historic core, the star of the show being phenomenal Banje Beach. The Lapad peninsula is home to numerous resorts with their own pebble beaches, while nearby Lokrum Island makes for a peaceful afternoon excursion.
The northernmost city in Dalmatia, Zadar has a millennia-old history and offers a fascinating mix of historic sites. Although the city itself can’t boast any spectacular beaches, Zadar is still one of the best Croatia beach destinations because of its proximity to the Zadar Archipelago. Just off the coast lies a wonderland of island, large and small, inhabited and deserted. Most of them have truly glorious beaches. Your options are plentiful, but focus on islands like Dugi Otok, Kornati and Ugljan.
The island of Brac, situated near Split, is home to what is arguably the most famous beach in Croatia. Zlatni Rat Beach, also called the Golden Horn or Golden Cape, is a beautiful long stretch of golden sand jutting out into the Adriatic Sea. Pictured in basically every guidebook and brochure about the Dalmatian coast, it’s one of those iconic beaches in the world. It can get crowded, though.
The small town of Nin, about fifteen kilometers north of Zadar, might be one of the lesser known beach destinations in Croatia, but it’s certainly beautiful. Skipped by most tourists, it’s often quieter than other beaches in Dalmatia. There are a couple of things that set the beaches of Nin apart from the rest. First, they’re crazy-long, featuring no fewer than eight kilometers of sand. Second, inviting grassy dunes back most of them, instead of rocky coasts elsewhere. Third, some beaches double as a free spa, consisting of so-called peloid mud, which is said to be a treatment for painful muscles and joints. Additionally, Queen’s Beach, the crown jewel of the beaches of Nin, is lined with beach bars.