Croatia is a country with more than a thousand islands, and choosing the most beautiful ones is not an easy task. Game of Thrones put Dubrovnik (and its surrounding islands) firmly on the map, but the Adriatic Sea has some insanely gorgeous and diverse Croatia islands to choose from for your green travel holiday.
The pride of Kvarner is one of the last islands in the entire Mediterranean where there are oak forests. It attracts tourists with its cycling and trekking paths, the harming historical core of Rab Town, and a relaxed, laidback atmosphere. Perfect for sports lovers.
Brač is the location of the most beautiful beach on the Adriatic, the Zlatni Rat (“Golden Horn”). Featured on virtually all Croatian tourist brochures, the beach is perfect for swimming and water sports, especially surfing (many come to the island for surfing alone). Other attractions include the famous caving site, Dragon Cave, and the so called desert Blaće.
The first inhabitants of Korčula were Greek: there is even a myth that the first town on the island was founded by the Trojan Antenor in the 12th century BC, and numerous remains of Greek culture are today exhibited in the island’s museums and galleries. Korčula also boasts of its natural beauty and the tradition of winemaking: a local white wine, Pošip, is renowned throughout Europe.
A perfect oasis of tranquility and peace, for those who prefer smaller communities, far away from the tourist crowds common in coastal Croatia. Hidden coves, sandy beaches, vineyards, olive groves and pine forests – Vis is perfect for lovers of nature and especially popular among couples.
The largest island in the Adriatic is connected to the mainland with a bridge, and has strong ties with the nearby city of Rijeka. It’s known for nautical tourism (local waters are great for diving), several great beaches, and is generally considered great for a family vacation. Due to the bridge, it’s fairly well connected to the rest of the region, especially Istria, and it can be a great starting point for many field trips and excursions. Roads in Croatia are mostly in great condition.
If you’re looking for parties, look no further than Pag; the island is the number one party destination in coastal Croatia. This is why it’s especially popular among the youth, and there are several music festivals held every year. The focal point of nightlife in Pag is the Zrće beach, dotted with beach bars and clubs which are open 24/7 – which means the party never stops. But the island has another, gentler side: the folklore tradition is still strong, and there are numerous folklore events. Its cuisine is well-known for delicacies such as Pag cheese. I recommend visiting the interior of the island: it’s so dry and barren it’s often called “moonlike”.
Hvar is the sunniest Croatian island, with more than 2600 hours of sunlight per year. Known for its exciting nightlife, wellness and spa centers, and sports facilities, it’s the crown jewel of northern Adriatic. Hvar Town, the main settlement, is a centuries old town featuring some of the most preserved and beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture in the country.
Located 16 kilometers south of Korčula, Lastovo is an island where there are no big hotels or fancy tourist resorts; only a few towns and villages attracting those who yearn for a quiet and peaceful holiday. The entire island was declared a Nature Park in 2007 due to the beauty and diversity of its flora and fauna. There is also a strong wine-growing tradition.
Located south of Dubrovnik, Mljet is the most heavily forested island in the Adriatic. Nicknamed “the greenest island in Croatia”, a third of its total area holds the status of a National Park. Featuring hundreds of animal and plant species, and two interconnected saltwater lakes in its interior, Mljet attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Murter is the location of several popular electronic music festivals held in the summer, and a renowned sailing regatta, Latinsko sidro (“Latin Sail”). Only 20 meters of sea divide the island from the mainland, and there is a draw bridge connecting the two. All of its four settlements – Murter, Jezera, Tisno and Betina – are tourist resorts, so Murter embodies everything that makes Croatian tourism so successful – charming little towns, friendly locals, great beaches and the clean sea.