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Best Beaches In Croatia To Relax And Unwind After A Hectic Year
Note: Due to COVID-19, it should be noted that all Beaches in Croatia are open, but it is recommended that visitors maintain a physical distance of 1.5 meters (both in the water and while sunbathing) unless they are members of the same group. There are also several other measures set to keep you safe, and you can find these and much more Croatian pandemic travel information, which is regularly updated here. Additionally, you can track down more social distance friendly activities in Croatia here.
There is no denying the beauty that you’ll see when traveling around Croatia. We’re always bragging about the natural wonders and rich cultural diversity, and you really can’t blame us. But how do you pick the best beaches in Croatia?
How do you choose where to swim in the sparkling azure Adriatic? There are over 1,000 islands, inlets, and isles stretching across 6,000 kilometers of coastline in Croatia.
If you’re traveling to Croatia to enjoy the beaches, be sure to bring your GoPro with you. You’ll kick yourself if you leave it at home.
Okay, beach towels at the ready, it’s time to find out what beach in Croatia suits you and your travel plans best.
Pasjača Beach, in Konvale near Dubrovnik, was named the most beautiful beach in Europe by European Destinations 2019.
Just 10 minutes from Cavtat and 30 minutes from the city of Dubrovnik, the beach is nestled at the foot of a cliff.
The beach began back in 1955 when a tunnel was constructed from the fields upstream. The remaining rocks were left on the seaside, where the waves broke them down into pebbles then into the sand.
Mali Bok Beach, Cres Island
This is one of those beaches in Croatia that require some effort to get to it. Once you get there, though, you will be rewarded with unparalleled beauty. Rocky cliffs surround Mali Bok on Cres, one of the Kvarner Region islands, an excellent beach for those who like to snorkel or dive.
The Adriatic gets deep at this beach quite quickly, but there is no need to be afraid of the deep blue Adriatic. There are no Great Whites in this neck of the woods!
Sakarun Beach, Dugi Otok
the “Croatian best beaches” list because it’s freaking awesome! Sakarun is 800 meters long, so there is plenty of room for you to lay down your towel and claim your little piece of beach paradise.
The beach is on Dugi Otok, so if you are in Zadar, many small charter boats will take you for a day trip to Sakarun Beach for a reasonable price.
Ručica Beach, Island Of Pag
This beach is a unique experience. The crystal-clear sea with the backdrop of the rocky, desolate Pag slopes. The beach is a combination of sand and rock, and to get there; you need to walk through “the canyon.” There are no facilities available, so bring everything you need, including some shade.
Sveti Jakob, Dubrovnik
Located just south of the main center of Dubrovnik, this small but gorgeous beach is ideal for getting away from the crowds, especially during the peak months of July and August. The beach is around a half an hour’s stroll from the Old Town, and you do have to walk down more than 100 steps to get to it. The result is worth it; trust us!
The beach is pebbly and has an on-site cafe serving refreshments and light snacks. There is a lot of shade on this beach for those who want it, as the pine trees roll down to the shore. You can also see Dubrovnik’s city walls from the sand, providing a stunning backdrop.
Golden Cape Beach, Rovinj
Istria has very few sandy beaches, but its beaches are stunning nonetheless. Golden Cape beach is just a few kilometers from the charming town of Rovinj, a beach loved by locals and tourists alike. A lush park lines the shoreline, so there is plenty of shade to escape the heat and take a nap under a tree.
Bilotnjak Beach, Privlaka
Bilotnjak beach in Privlaka is a little slice of paradise. It is an entirely natural beach: no concrete and no sunbeds. Just a little warning – there are no facilities at all here. The steep rock descends into the sea and sand, a real natural oasis away from the village. There is a place to park your car (which you will need to access this beach), and then you need to walk down the steep set of stairs to the beach.
Zlatni Rat, Brač
All I can say is WOW! This beach is arguably Croatia’s best beach and consistently wins various international best beach awards. Zlatni Rat’s is a long golden pebble beach, which changes shape with the currents and prevailing winds.
The beach is located in Bol and overlooks the island of Hvar. Pine tree lines the beach, making this a picture-perfect location. Also, adding the alluring waters of the Adriatic Sea, you have everything you need for an absolutely magnificent Croatian beach vacation.
This beach is close to Zadar but not in the center, making it a great spot to escape busy crowds. The beach has a chilled-out feel, so if you don’t like too much action, this is a good choice. Located around 25 kilometers away from the center, you will need to drive, catch a bus, or get a taxi.
The beach is very family-orientated, while the water is clear and shallow, making it ideal for an afternoon’s splashing around. There are also a couple of cafes just off the beach, convenient places to grab lunch.
Pecine Beach, Rijeka
This little gem of a beach is located a stone’s throw from Rijeka and is perfect for a sneaky little swim. As always, the Adriatic doesn’t disappoint here either. By all accounts, this is a top beach in an area not known for too many good beaches.
Pupnatska Luka, Korcula
For some of the bluest sea you will ever see in your life, this particular beach is where it’s at! There are many small coves and beaches south of Korcula, and this one is undoubtedly one of the best. A pebbly beach, it lies below a thick forest.
The pebbles are blinding white, which makes the water look even bluer than it already is. The contrast from the green forest also looks impressive in the pictures you will take here.
This is quite a sheltered spot, so you won’t find many crowds. You could even call it a hidden gem. There are a few upmarket restaurants just off the beach, serving delicious salads and seafood dishes.
Queen’s Beach, Nin
There are many sandy beaches in the Zadar-Nin area, but this one is probably the biggest and the best. Families love this beach because of the shallow water and relative safety of the beach and water. Don’t forget your sand-free beach towel when you’re headed to this excellent beach!
This is one of Rab’s beautiful sandy beaches, and its plus point is that it’s a quiet spot as well. You don’t have to venture too far from the main beach, Rajska, to get here, and you will be rewarded with fewer crowds and a more laid-back atmosphere.
The beach is backed by beautiful green pine trees, while the waters are relatively shallow, which makes it ideal for families who want to get away from the main crowds.
However, during peak season, the crowds tend to spillover from the main beach, but you will grab a spot if you get there early enough. There are also cafes and restaurants very close by if you want a break from splashing and/or to head out for lunch.
Vela Przina Beach, Korcula Island
Arguably Korcula’s best beach, Vela Przina, is very popular with holidaymakers during the summer months. If you want to spend the day at this beach, you’ll need to get in early to claim your beach real estate. There are spectacular views out to the island of Lastovo from this beach, so be sure to bring a camera.
The small island of Susak is as close to a castaway island as you’re likely to get! The beaches here are beautiful, and the moon-shaped crescent of the beach has waters that go out for a long distance. Therefore, you can easily paddle or splash with your children without worrying about dangerous drops or tides.
The downside is that you will need to get a ferry from Mali Losinj, which can take some time, but the journey is more than worth it. The beach is also sandy, which is a rarity in Croatia and makes for the ideal spot to chill out, relax, and enjoy some seaside quietness. If you get tired of relaxing on the beach, you can also venture out to explore the village.
Paradise Beach, Lopar
This long sandy beach is a rare gem in Croatia. There aren’t very many sandy beaches in Croatia, but Lopar boasts 22 of them, with Paradise, the biggest and most popular. This beach is perfect for families as it’s very shallow, and you have the facilities you need to keep the family entertained for the day.
Lovrecina Bay, Brac Island
Around four kilometers away from Postira, this small bay is a cluster of beaches on the island that gives you that authentic paradise beach vibe. The sea here is literally translucent blue, and the olive groves and old church ruins bordering the beach will make you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Again, this isn’t the most accessible beach to get to; there is no bus service directly to the beach and not much in the way of parking. However, if you can get there, which is definitely possible, you will be rewarded with a total lack of crowds and a considerable amount of space to yourself. This area is also quite exclusive, so you can expect some top quality restaurants a short distance away.
Stiniva Beach, Vis
In recent years, the island of Vis has become increasingly popular with tourists looking for a destination, not swarming with summer crowds. Stiniva Beach is a beach for those of you prepared to put in a little work. You’ll need to earn the right to visit this little slice of heaven by descending a goat track. If you happen to have a boat, you can somewhat cheat and pass through the rocky Stiniva gateway, opening up into a grand stone amphitheater. The beach is stony and the sea magical. Stiniva is a real treasure and an unforgettable beach experience.
Tip: The European travel site European Best Destinations recently asked travelers to vote for the best beaches in Europe for 2016, and the hidden Stiniva Beach topped the list.
Nugal, Makarska Riviera
This one is for those of you who like to let it all hang out! Nugal is a nudist beach, and we had to include at least one of those. It’s located at the bottom of a cliff, which is accessible by descending through a forest. This beach has to be one of the most picturesque beaches on the Makarska Riviera. If you like to bare it all at the beach, this is the one for you.
Bačvice Beach, Split
Found right in Split’s city center is one of the most well-known beaches globally: Bačvice Beach. There is something for everyone at this beach. While it’s not the most beautiful beach in Croatia, it ranks as one of the most fun. Bačvice has plenty of activities going on during the day, while at night, the beach comes alive when all of the bars and clubs lining the shore open their doors. The local sport of picigin originated at Bačvice Beach, and you’ll see loads of locals playing.
The island of Biševo has a hidden gem, Porat Beach. This little sandy beach is perfect for those of you sailing the Adriatic. We visited this sandy beach on our captain’s advice and spent the day swimming and lazing about. It was a day of pure relaxation set in an idyllic Dalmatian bay.
This beach is one of the best on Pelješac. Trstenica is a sandy/pebble beach and a perfect spot for families located in Orebic. Grab yourself a couple of bottles of chilled Pošip and head to the beach for a day of fine wine and lazing in the sunshine, while the kiddies frolic in the shallow sea.
Another beautiful beach on the island of Hvar is Grebisce. To reach the beach, you will need to head to the popular Grebisce campground and walk through it to gain access. Once you get there, which isn’t an incredibly long walk, you will see the beach is narrow and not very shaded. However, the sand and shallow waters are beautiful for those who want to chill out.
The campground has a cafe and small restaurant, so you can quickly grab some refreshments there. Additionally, there are several other beach bars just around the headland, if you just walk a few minutes from your perched spot for the day!
Punta Rata, Brela
Punta Rata has been nominated as one of the most beautiful pebble beaches in the world countless times, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s heavenly. Located on the Makarska Riviera, where you can take your pick from a myriad of breathtaking beaches, this beach still stands out. Let’s not forget the famous Brela Stone located at this beach, the very symbol of Brela and Croatia.
A lovely quiet beach located on the far side of Mljet, this sandy beach is perfect for those looking for peace and quiet amid beautiful Adriatic scenery.
Heading to Hvar, you can’t go past the spectacularly stunning Dubovica Beach. Located between Hvar Town and Starigrad, this unadulterated pebble beach invites you to take a dip and experience the abundant joys of the Adriatic sea.
Cape Kamenjak, Premantura
A short drive south of Pula in Istria lies Cape Kamenjak, one of Croatia’s most spectacular coastal areas. With its kilometers-long coastline made up of coves, inlets, beaches, sea caves, and islands, it’s a stunning destination to get away from the bustling towns. The numerous rocky shores are a short walk from one another, many of them still unnamed and ideal for sunbathing. Another popular activity is cliff jumping, while kayaking is a beautiful way to explore these shores.
Šunj Bay, Lopud Island
One of the gorgeous Dalmatian islands west of Dubrovnik, Lopud Island, is where you’ll find Šunj Bay, a delightful stretch of sand, which is hard to find in Croatia, between rocky hills. From Dubrovnik, you can reach Šunj Bay via the passenger-only ferry and a hike or bike ride across car-free Lopud Island. While there, you might also want to explore the many ruins of villas, monasteries, palaces, and forts that dot the island.
Banje Beach, Dubrovnik
Located just south of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Banje Beach may be the most famous of all Dubrovnik beaches. It is undoubtedly the most photogenic. Although it gets super-crowded here, you’re still encouraged to spend some time lazing around on the rocks and going for dips in the gloriously blue and refreshing water. Nowhere else can you enjoy such an iconic view while swimming than here. Afterward, head over to the Banje Beach Restaurant for food and drinks.
Zrce Beach, Island Of Pag
Anyone looking for a beach party simply must check out Zrce Beach on the Island of Pag. This spot is nothing short of world-famous for its epic summer music festivals, sunset party cruises, open-air nightclubs, and 24-hour parties.
Baska Beach, Krk Island
Krk Island in the Kvarner Bay is Croatia’s largest island, home to many fine beaches. Arguably the best beach on Krk is Baska Beach, situated near the town of Baska, which lies at the far southeastern terminus of the island’s main road. There are several beaches around the town, the most accessible and largest of which is the main Baska Beach. Almost two kilometers long, it’s lined by a multitude of bars, restaurants, campgrounds, and hotels.
Sveti Ivan Beach, Cres
One of the most beautiful beaches on Cres Island, Sveti Ivan Beach, lies below the ancient fortified town of Lubenice. This secluded beach is a popular destination for yachts and small boats, a wonderful pebble beach with azure-blue waters. It’s only accessible on foot on land via a trail that runs from the town, down the hillside, and through typical Mediterranean vegetation.
Proizd, Vela Luka
Near Vela Luka, the main ferry port on Korcula Island, lies the small islet of Proizd. Home to a few gorgeous rock beaches, it’s reachable by water taxi from Vela Luka, making for an ideal day trip. As a naturalist beach, it’s one of the best quiet beaches in Croatia for snorkeling and skinny-dipping.
More Beaches In Croatia
Here are other top-rated beaches in Croatia that we know you’ll love.
- Veli Zal Beach, Brsecine
- Pasjaca Beach, Konavle
- Blace Beach, Mljet
- Divna Beach, Peljesac
- Duba Beach, Peljesac
- Mulini Beach Rovinj
- Golubjera Beach Rabac
- Ravni Beach
- Klancac Beach
- Moscenicka Draga Beach
- Kasunji Beach
- Trstenik Beach
- Bene Beach
- Kastelet Beach
- Sv. Nedilja Beach
- Ambrela 705
- Zlatne Stijene
- Veli Rat
The Island of Krk
- Potovosce Beach Krk
- Velo celo Krk
- Vela Luka Beach
- Pupnatska Luka Beach
- Bratinja Luka Beach
- Orlandusa Beach
Book Ferries In Croatia
You can book ferries in advance to better prepare for your island-hopping adventure. Type in your two locations here:
So, which of these best beaches in Croatia will you visit this summer?
If you want more great beach action, check out these beaches and how to travel the Maldives on a budget.
We want you to know: A huge thanks to self-taught photographer Tim Ertl, an Austrian who has spent the last ten years traveling up and down the Croatian Coast and captured many of these photographs. Tim has an excellent photography blog about the 1,000 things to do in Croatia, also has a kick-ass Flickr account with photos to drool over. Tim was kind enough to share some of his suggestions with us, but you can also find dozens more of his best Croatian beaches here.Share