19 Best Beaches in Croatia You Should Visit this Summer (+Photos)

With more than a thousand islands and a deeply indented coast that adds up to 3,600 miles of shoreline, it’s no surprise that Croatia boasts a seemingly countless number of beautiful beaches. Esteemed for their scenic beauty for centuries, beaches in Croatia have become increasingly popular since the country’s independence, and Croatia’s entrance into the European Union in 2013 means that island-hopping and beach explorations are easier than ever before.

While Croatia has some lovely sandy beaches, most are covered with water-smoothed pebbles or gravel. It’s the clear blue, temperate waters of the Adriatic Sea and the awe-inspiring views of the rocky, verdant shores that make the best beaches in Croatia such attractive travel destinations

19. Sveti Jakov Beach, Dubrovnik

A very picturesque place, Sveti Jakov Beach lies in a secluded spot, just ten minutes’ drive down the coast from Dubrovnik. Boasting divine views of its old town, far off in the distance, the tiny slice of paradise is accessed via 160 steep stone steps.

Surrounded by soaring cliffs and sparkling turquoise waters, the pretty pebble beach is ideal for lounging on lazily. As well as sunbeds and parasols, there are a small restaurant and bar to grab a drink or meal at. Aside from ambling along its pier and clambering about its rocks, you can rent jet skis and sea kayaks here.

18. Beritnica Beach, Pag

Beritnica Beach

Even quieter, calmer and harder to access is the beautiful Beritnica Beach. Very lunar-like in appearance, its remote, rocky reaches can be found along a humongous bay in the north of Pag – one of the largest islands along the Dalmatian Coast. To get here, you have to hike for roughly 30 minutes along the ‘Life on Mars’ trail from Rucica Beach.

Bordered by three massive boulders and a craggy climbing cliff, its bleak, almost white rock landscapes contrast delightfully with the vivid blues of the sea beside them. As it is wild and untouched, you’ll have to bring any snacks, drinks, umbrellas and snorkeling gear with you. Other than exploring all of its remarkable formations, you can see loads of little fish flitting about its shallows.

17. Spiaza Bay, Susak

Spiaza Bay

An increasingly popular tourist destination, the small, sandy island of Susak can be reached by catamaran from either Rijeka or Pula on the mainland. Once there, the most scenic spot to head is the stunning Spiaza Bay which is lined by some brilliant beaches.

A very relaxing place, its soft sands and shallow waters are hemmed in by rolling green hills with the tiny town of Susak also set alongside it. While sunbathing, swimming and splashing about, you can enjoy spellbinding views of the beach and bay. As numerous restaurants and cafes are found nearby, it makes for a very convenient and chill family holiday.

16. Kupari Beach

Kupari Beach

Only a short drive further down the coast from both Sveti Jakov Beach and Dubrovnik is the captivating Kupari Beach. While its crystal-clear waters and warm sands attract beachgoers, just as many come to explore the eerie, abandoned hotels and houses that border it.

Once one of the grandest resorts in Dalmatia, it often welcomed Yugoslavia’s elite with Josip Broz Tito himself also regularly holidaying here. During the Croatian War of Independence, however, the site was severely damaged, and its wealthy guests never returned. Exploring all their ruined rooms is now a fascinating if rather creepy experience.

Emerging again into the daylight, you can lounge on its soft sands or swim in its welcoming waters while gazing at the old, deserted buildings all around you.

15. Njive Beach, Istria

Njive Beach

Right in the south of Istria along the western side of Cape Kamenjak is one of the region’s most spectacular stretches of coastline. Protected by a rugged cove and ringed by cliffs, the idyllic Njive Beach makes for some fantastic photos and viewing.

While it is mostly made up of gravel and small pebbles, there are flat, warm rocks to either side for visitors to sunbathe on. Clustered atop its cliffs are green groves of pine trees while turquoise waters twinkle down below. If you plan on swimming, make sure to bring some water shoes as lots of sea urchins are dotted about the cove.

14. Nugal Beach, Makarska

Nugal Beach

Even more eye-catching though is the incredible Nugal Beach, just south of Makarska along the Adriatic Sea. Accessed via a pleasant 30-minute hike through forests and along clifftops, its bay is a lovely place to suntan or snorkel with its southern part being clothing optional.

Tucked away in Osejava Forest Park, the pebble beach is surrounded by steep, soaring cliffs and gorgeous groves of trees. Asides from admiring its large limestone formations, you can also jump off of some of them if you feel brave enough. Altogether, its epic scenery, views and the hike there make Nugal one of the best beaches in Croatia.

13. Sunj Beach, Lopud

Sunj Beach

Just a half-an-hour ferry ride west of Dubrovnik is the quiet, little island of Lopud which has long been a popular retreat for the city’s elite. The most developed of the Elaphiti Islands, it is famed for its sandy shores with the secluded Sunj Beach being the pick of the bunch.

Hemmed in by green, forest-clad hills, its soft, golden sands slowly give way to crystal-clear waters. Countless sun loungers and parasols dot the beach which is also backed by several restaurants and bars. To get here, you can either walk for 20 minutes across the island, hop on a boat or take a short golf buggy ride.

12. Stiniva Beach, Vis

Stiniva Beach

If you’re looking to head even further off-the-beaten-path, then the small but scenic Stiniva Beach along the south side of Vis is a great place to go. Towered over by gigantic limestone cliffs, its hidden beach and bay boast some wonderful scenery and views.

Remarkably enough, the entire area was once a cave in the distant past. The collapse of its ceiling into the sea is what created the breathtaking beach we see before us today. Although it is quite rocky, you can still sunbathe, swim or enjoy its astounding rock formations. It can get quite crowded though as many boats stop here on tours around the island.

11. Sakarun Beach, Dugi Otok

Sakarun Beach

A firm favorite with families, Sakarun Beach’s white sparkling pebbles are backed by lots of lush pine trees the whole way along. Coupled with the tantalizing turquoise waters alongside them, this all paints a very pretty picture. This has led to it being nicknamed the ‘Caribbean of the Adriatic’.

Lying right at the northern end of Dugi Otok Island, the beach lies in a box-shaped bay, just a short ferry ride or boat tour away from Zadar. As its glinting waters are quite shallow and the seabed is sandy, it’s ideal for children to splash about in. You can also always snorkel at Sakarun or stop for a snack or drink at one of its little bars.

10. Velika Plaža, Omis

Velika Plaža

Just 30 minutes’ drive down the coast from Split is the exceedingly picturesque Velika Plaža. Overlooked by enormous rocky peaks, its peaceful sands and shimmering waters lie right by Omis old town. Perfect for families, it has everything from playgrounds and beach volleyball to jet skis, kayaks and windsurfing for people to enjoy.

Stretching roughly 800 meters in length, the sandy pebble beach is located right where the Cetina River meets the Adriatic. As well as some excellent bars and restaurants, it has sun loungers, showers and changing rooms for visitors to make use of. Besides snapping photos of its dramatic backdrop, you can wallow in its shallows or take pedalos further out.

9. Banje Beach, Dubrovnik

Banje Beach

Located in the extreme south coast of Croatia, Dubrovnik is one the country’s top travel destinations, in part because of the city’s many beaches. Banja Beach, located to the east of the city’s Old Town district, is particularly popular.

The pebble beach is surrounded by some of Dubrovnik’s best hotels and is equipped with all the amenities that upscale travelers expect, including deck chairs, umbrellas and ranging rooms equipped with showers. The beach favored by celebrities is a great in-town spot to enjoy water sports like jet skiing and paragliding too.

8. Dubovica Beach, Hvar

Dubovica Beach

Located on the popular southern coast of Hvar Island, Dubovica is the island’s largest beach. Only a short drive from the town of Milna, the pebble beach is sheltered in an emerald green lagoon set against a small cluster of historic stone houses nestled among rolling hills.

Limited parking helps keep this beach from becoming crowded. The calm, crystal clear water invites undersea exploration, making snorkeling is a popular activity. As one of the sunniest spots in Europe, sunbathers flock to Hvar’s picture-perfect beaches as well.

7. Podrace Beach, Brela, Makarska

Podrace Beach

Often considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, Podrace Beach lies just outside the small village of Brela, half-an-hour from Makarska. Very small, it is surrounded by lovely rock formations and lush pine tree groves with the country’s spectacular coastline stretching away endlessly to either side.

Just as alluring as its serene sands are its crystal-clear waters which teem with marine life. Many people go snorkelling here with some small boats also bobbing about its cove. After enjoying its stunning scenery, water and views, you can walk along and see the Brela Stone – another of the region’s standout sights.

6. Stara Baska, Krk

Situated on the southwest coast of the Island of Krk, Stara Baska is a small Croatian village situated at the end of the island’s main road. Once known for its locally grown and milled wheat, today, Baska’s major draw is the pebbly beach located around one mile from town.

The beach lies in the sheltered cove of Oprna Bay. By foot, the beach is accessed by hiking down a steep path. While there are facilities at the Skrila campsite located above the beach, there’s nothing more than a small bar on the beach itself, so visitors must trek in their own supplies. The beach can also be reached by boat from Stara Baska.

5. Queen’s Beach, Nin

Queen’s Beach, or Kraljicina Plaza, is a beach located in the town of Nin in northern Dalmatia. Sandy beaches in Croatia aren’t common along the country’s rocky coastline, and those that stretch for miles are even more rare, which explains the enormous popularity of Queen’s Beach.

Another feature that’s made this beach a favorite is the peloid mud found in the shallow areas of Nin’s lagoon. Prized as an effective treatment for sore joints and muscles, people come from all over Europe to slather themselves in mud and relax in the sun. The wind-swept beach is a popular destination for kite and wind surfing as well.

4. Sveti Ivan, Cres

Sveti Ivan

Sveti Ivan, or Saint John, is the most famous beach on Cres Island. It’s located at the foot of the picturesque village of Lubenice, an ancient fort city built almost entirely of stone.

The beach is a favorite stopping spot for yachts at sea. By land, the beach is accessible only by foot, but the scenic 45-minute descent to the sheltered beach is part of its attraction. Visitors follow red arrows to reach the snow-white pebble beach and crystal-clear water. The climb back up takes around one and a half hours.

3. Punta Rata, Brela

Located in the small town of Brela around 14 km (9 miles) to the north of Makarska on the Dalmation Coast, Punta Rata is a resort beach that’s valued as much for its amenities and facilities as it is for its picturesque beauty.

Surrounded by groves of olive and fig trees, Brela provides a pretty backdrop for this gently sloping beach. Lifeguards, sports facilities and a promenade lined with restaurants and coffee shops make this beach a family favorite, perfect for wading.

2. Rajska Plaza, Rab

Rajska Plaza

Located on the Island of Rab at the resort village of Lopar, Rajska Plaza, or Paradise Beach, is one of the most famous beaches in the Adriatic. Unlike the clothing-option beaches that have garnered Rab a reputation as an ideal destination for naturists, Rajska Plaza is known as a perfect place to spend a family vacation.

Visitors can wade out into the calm and shallow waters for nearly half of a mile without getting their heads wet. It’s also one of the few sandy beaches on Croatia’s rocky islands.

1. Zlatni Rat, Brac

Zlatni Rat

The Island of Brac is best known for the beach Zlatni Rat, which lies on the island’s southern coast to the west of the postcard-pretty town of Bol. Currents in the surrounding Hvar Channel have shaped this one-of-a-kind beach into a narrow, elongated “spit” of land that extends around 450 meters (1,500 feet) into the clear blue sea.

Sunbathers on the narrow white pebble beach enjoy views of the sea on both sides. Views of the shore are just as stunning. Roman ruins peek out of groves of pine trees set against the soaring beauty of Vidova Mountain, the highest peak in the Adriatic islands.

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