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Top 10 Best Islands in Croatia For Your Bucket List

Looking for the best islands in Croatia? You’ve just landed on the ultimate local guide to the best and most beautiful islands in Croatia.

I’ve been traveling to Croatia my entire life, and living in the country since 2014 – that’s nearly 30 years of experience traversing the coastline and islands. From the most popular islands in Croatia to the lesser known gems that locals flock to, I’m here to dish out all my insider knowledge.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 best Croatian islands to visit.

1. Losinj

A view of the colorful buildings of Losinj and a medieval church tower on a sunny day

Located on the northern coast in Kvarner Bay, Losinj is a Mediterranean paradise made up of fragrant landscapes and charming seaside villages. Lesser known on an international level, locals swear by Losinj as one of the best islands in Croatia.

The island is particularly famous in Croatia for its incredible health and wellness benefits, with the island’s air quality possessing healing properties. Many individuals with asthma and lung conditions come here to reap the benefits of the fresh sea air.

Mali Losinj is the best area to stay on the island, with its large harbor and picturesque waterfront promenade lined with colorful houses. I also recommend visiting the island of Cres, which is connected to Losinj by a bridge. Here, you’ll find some of the most spectacular and untouched beaches in all of Croatia!

Where to stay in Losinj 🏨
Budget: Casa Maria 2
Mid-range: Luxury Apartments
Luxury: Boutique Hotel Alhambra

2. Rab

A beautiful sunset over the town of Rab on Rab island in Croatia, painting the sky pastel shades of purple, yellow and orange, with a stone walkway in the foreground.

If you are on the hunt for the best sandy beaches in Croatia, then Rab is the island for you! This pretty island boasts no less than 30 sandy beaches, making it a paradise for anyone that loves spending their days lounging on the shore.

The main town of Rab is also a charming spot, with its historic core surrounded by ancient walls and four bell towers. And don’t miss out on trying the famous Rab cake, a traditional dessert made with almonds, honey, and maraschino liqueur.

Fun fact: Rab was nicknamed the “Happy Island” by the Illyrians and Romans that used to inhabit the island. They awarded the island the rare title “Felix”, meaning “fortunate”. You can read more about the history of this significant title here.

Where to stay in Rab 🏨
Budget: Guest House Galeb 2
Mid-range: Four Towers Apartments
Luxury: Arbiana Heritage Hotel

Best Rab Experiences 🤩
Scuba Diving Around Crikvenica/Krk Island from Rab

3. Dugi Otok

Sandy beach on Dugi Otok with turquoise waters and sailboats in the distance.

Located near the coastal town of Zadar, Dugi Otok, meaning “Long Island” in Croatian, is a stunning place to get off the beaten track. Even in the summer months, Dugi Otok offers a tranquil and secluded experience, with its crystal clear waters, picturesque beaches, and untouched landscapes.

This island is home to the incredible Saharun Beach, a stunning sandy cove that feels like you’re in the Carribean rather than Croatia. Also part of Dugi Otok is the Telascica Nature Park which is known for its impressive cliffs, saltwater lake, and diverse vegetation. You can spend your days here swimming, snorkeling, hiking, or simply relaxing on the beach.

Where to stay in Dugi Otok 🏨
Budget: Double Room Zaglav 
Mid-range: Picić Guesthouse
Luxury: Villa Nai 3.3

Best Dugi Otok Experiences 🤩
From Zadar: Dugi Otok Boat Tour- The Best Island Spots, Small Group
From Zadar: Full Day Kayak Adventure
From Zadar: Private Speedboat Tour “Hidden Gems of Dugi Otok”

4. Kornati National Park

An aerial view of the barren Kornati islands with few shrubs of greenery dotting the landscape and gorgeous turquoise water surrounding the islands. Two boats float in the water.

Kornati is a collection of 89 islands (yes, 89!) situated just below Dugi Otok. This nautical paradise was made for sailing, with impossibly clear waters and numerous secluded coves waiting to be discovered. The largest of the islands is called “Kornat”, by which the group of islands got its name.

This archipelago is so special, that George Bernand Shaw described it by saying: “On the last day of Creation God desired to crown His work, and thus created the Kornati islands out of tears, stars and breath.“

Because Kornati is a national park, there are no hotel chains or resorts on the islands. Instead, visitors can stay in small private fisherman’s cottages owned by locals, which you can organize through this agency. Otherwise, it is best to stay in the nearby coastal town of Zadar and take a day trip to the islands from there.

Where to stay in Zadar 🏨
Budget: Aldo Apartments Center
Mid-range: Hotel A’mare
Luxury: Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Iadera

Best Kornati Tours 🤩
From Zadar: Highlights of Kornati by Traditional Sail Boat
From Zadar: Kornati Boat Trip with Lunch and Swim Stops
From Sibenik: Kornati Experience Small Group Boat Tour

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    5. Pag

    A few of Beritnica Beach and the Adriatic Sea from the stone path leading up to the secret bay

    Pag is a unique island known for its moonlike landscapes and also for being one of the best islands in Croatia to party. While the town of Novalja is popular for its nightlife on world-famous Zrce Beach (the Croatian Ibiza), the rest of the island offers a peaceful retreat with glorious pebbled beaches and otherworldly scenery.

    One of my favorite beaches is Beritnica Beach, a beautiful sheltered bay with 3 large boulders in the water. It is unlike any other beach you’ll find in Croatia! To get there, you’ll need to hike for about 30 minutes over pebbled and rocky terrain, so make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes. Also, be sure to bring bottled water and snacks because there are no facilities at this beach.

    📍 To find the exact location of Beritnica, get my free Croatia Google Map pins.

    Where to stay in Pag 🏨
    Budget: 4Rest Villa
    Mid-range: Hotel Plaza
    Luxury: Boutique Hotel Intermezzo

    Best Pag Experiences 🤩
    Novalja: Zavratnica and Rab Boat Tour
    From Metajna/Novalja: Pag Bay Guided Sea Kayaking Tour

    6. Šolta

    A view of the tiny fishing village of Maslinica on the island of Solta taken from a boat as it approaches the shore on a sunny day.

    When it comes to hidden gems in Croatia, Solta is definitely one of them! Located just a short ferry ride from Split, Solta offers a tranquil escape with its untouched nature and charming villages. One of my favorite places on Solta is the port village of Maslinica, which beautifully blends a new marina and restored castle with traditional stone houses.

    Solta is dotted with a number of quiet villages which you can visit by taking a boat tour around the island. A few additional stops worth making are Stomorska Bay and the Shipwreck of Kontessa in Nečujam.

    Fun fact: Solta actually means the “Island of Olives”, which is super fitting as you’ll notice the endless groves of olive trees that carpet the landscape. This is a great place to buy some local olive oil to take back home with you as a souvenir!

    Where to stay in Solta 🏨
    Budget: Apartman Maslineo
    Mid-range: Sea Sun Apartments
    Luxury: Heritage Hotel Martinis Marchi

    Best Solta Experiences 🤩
    Blue Lagoon and Secluded bays of Solta island 10h Boat Tour from Split or Brac

    7. Brac

    A birds-eye view over one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, Zlatni Rat, on the island of Brac

    I have so many wonderful memories from Brac Island! When visiting Croatia as a child, I used to go to Bol with my best friend and her family, and spend a couple of weeks swimming, sunbathing on Zlatni Rat Beach and drinking mocktails at Varadero 😎. Now, as an adult, I still love going back to Brac for its beautiful beaches and charming towns like Milna and Sutivan.

    Brac is one of the best islands in Croatia for families because it is fairly easy and quick to reach from Split. The island also has plenty of nice, pebbled beaches that gently slope into the water, which are ideal for small children or those who don’t swim. In addition to beaches, Brac also offers tons of outdoor activities like windsurfing, hiking, biking, and more.

    Where to stay in Brac 🏨
    Budget: Hotel Kastil
    Mid-range: Zlatni Rat Beach Resort
    Luxury: Villa Dalmatina – Adults Only

    Best Brac Experiences 🤩
    Brač: Island Exploration Tour by Four-Wheel Drive Jeep
    Explore the West coast of the island Brac by BETINA boat

    8. Hvar

    Woman laying on a pebbled and rocky beach on Hvar island in Croatia with a straw hat covering her head and face from the sun. The crystal clear turquoise sea laps up onto the shore and a small wooden boat floats in the water.

    Hvar Island might be known as the “St. Tropez of Croatia,” famous for its glamorous nightlife scene, music festivals, and upscale beach bars, but it’s also one of my favorite islands.

    Don’t let its reputation fool you. While Hvar Town does fulfill its role as a party destination, the rest of the island remains relatively untouched and filled with peaceful villages like Stari Grad, brilliant white stone Hvar beaches, and stunning landscapes.

    You can easily combine your visit to Hvar with the nearby Pakleni Islands, a string of gorgeous islets just a short boat ride away from the Hvar Town harbor. Depending on what you’re after, these islands offer luxurious beach bars, hidden coves, and even clothing-optional beaches for those seeking a more liberating experience.

    Where to stay in Hvar 🏨
    Budget: Old Town Apartment Mare
    Mid-range: Amfora Grand Beach Resort
    Luxury: Palace Elisabeth

    Best Hvar Experiences 🤩
    Boat Tour to Pakleni Islands on a Comfort Yacht
    From Hvar: Vis Island and Blue Cave Speedboat Tour

    9. Korcula

    Woman walking down the stone steps of Korcula island in Croatia

    Once a settlement of the Greeks who named the island Black Korcula (Kerkyra melaina) due to the dense, dark forests that cover the island, Korcula is now a popular destination for its rich history, clear waters and darling villages. The main town of Korcula is also said to be the birthplace of famous explorer Marco Polo (you can even see his birth house there).

    The Old Town, also nicknamed “Little Dubrovnik”, is a stunner. The maze of narrow, stone buildings, and medieval walls that surround the city make it look like something plucked straight from a storybook! I recommend staying in or around Korcula Old Town and renting a car to visit other parts of the island like Pupnatska Luka Beach, Vela Luka, and the many wineries scattered throughout the island.

    Where to stay in Korcula 🏨
    Budget: Korkyra Fit Suites
    Mid-range: Apartment Chupa
    Luxury: The Fabris Luxury Inn

    Best Korcula Experiences 🤩
    1 Hour Private Walking Tour in Korcula
    Korcula Island Mountain E Bike Tour
    Croatia Korcula Island Buggy Safari Tour

    10. Mljet Island

    A woman in an orange swimsuit reclining on a makeshift wooden bench under a shade sail, with a rustic stone hut beside her, all set against the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea near Mljet, creating a serene and secluded getaway ambiance.

    I’ve been vacationing in Croatia my entire life, yet it wasn’t until 2023 that I first visited the island of Mljet…and let me tell you, it was worth the wait! Mljet is unlike any other island in Croatia. First of all, ⅓ of the island is a national park, covered in gorgeous green pine forests.

    The island has two saltwater lakes, one of which has an island in the middle of it with a Benedictine Monastery that is open to the public. The lake waters are pristine and perfect for swimming, surrounded by the most verdant lush greenery.

    I’d recommend this island to nature lovers. It is very quiet and slow-paced. Renting a bike is the most popular way to explore Mljet and its breathtaking scenery. There are, of course, lots of other outdoor activities like hiking, sea kayaking, and even a diving center. Overall, Mljet is the island to choose if you just want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature.

    Mljet is also one of the best day trips from Dubrovnik if you don’t want to spend your entire trip there.

    Where to stay in Mljet 🏨
    Budget: Apartments and Rooms Sobra
    Mid-range: Villa Radulj
    Luxury: Hotel Odisej

    Best Mljet Experiences 🤩
    National Park Mljet E-Bike Tour
    From Dubrovnik: Mljet National Park & 3 Islands Tour

    BONUS: Vis Island

    I know this post is abou the top 10 best islands in Croatia, but it’s really hard to pick just 10! I couldn’t complete this list without including the island of Vis.

    Vis is the furthest island away from mainland Croatia, and because of this, it’s not as popular among tourists. On top of that, the island was closed off to visitors for more than 50 years while it served as a miltary base during Yugoslavia, which prevented the development of mass tourism. As a result, Vis has maintained its natural beauty and traditional way of life.

    When visiting Vis, be sure to check out the Blue Cave, one of the most popular attractions on the island. You can take a boat tour to see this stunning cave with its vibrant blue waters. Another must-see spot is Stiniva Beach, which was voted as one of the top beaches in Europe!

    Final Thoughts on the Best Islands in Croatia

    That wraps up this list of the top islands in Croatia to visit! Hopefully this post has helped you decide on the perfect island for your upcoming trip. Whether you’re looking for a party scene, historical sites, or a relaxing beach vacation, there is a spot under the sun for you on Croatia’s magnificent coastline.

    Before you go, make sure to grab my island hopping guidebook for even more information on Croatia’s best islands as well as insider travel tips and local recommendations.

    Visiting Croatia’s islands? Download the Croatia Island Hopping Guidebook!

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    Croatia Travel Planning Guide

    💸 What is the currency in Croatia?
    As of January 1st, 2023, the official currency of Croatia is the Euro and NOT the Kuna (which is also the name of the national animal of Croatia).

    🇭🇷 What language do they speak in Croatia?
    Croatian is the official language of Croatia. Learn some phrases in Croatian before your trip with the Ling app!

    🚑 Should I buy Croatia travel insurance?
    10000% YES – Seriously, don’t leave home without it. You never know what can happen on the road. I like SafetyWing because they provide excellent coverage for as little as $1.50 a day.

    📱 Will my phone work in Croatia?
    Maybe – check with your provider to see if you’ll have service while traveling Croatia. If you don’t have service (or it’s too expensive) I recommend getting an eSIM like Airalo. Airalo allows you to have data while traveling without the high costs of roaming. They have super affordable plans available for 190+ countries, including Croatia. Download the app and get your plan before you leave home so that you have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia!

    🏨 What’s the best way to book my Croatia accommodations?
    For Croatia hotels, Booking is by far the best site.

    🛫 What’s the best site to buy Croatia flights?
    I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

    🚗  Is it safe to rent a Car in Croatia?
    Yes! – In fact, renting a car in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the country! I recommend Discover Cars because they check both local and international rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. (Get your Croatia road trip itinerary here)

    💦 Is it safe to drink the water in Croatia?
    Tap water in Croatia is completely safe to drink, so bring your reusable water bottle and fill up!

    🪪 Do I need a visa for Croatia?
    Depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need a visa to enter Croatia. Check the official Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information on who should apply for a visa.

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