Croatia Beaches

The Ultimate Guide to Croatia Beaches

With an 1800 km coastline and hundreds of islands scattered into the turquoise Adriatic, there is no shortage of beautiful Croatia beaches.

The country offers the best of both worlds:

  • Mediterranean beauty (and the delicious food)
  • Not crowded and still somewhat unexplored

Croatia Beaches

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, travelling with children, or hoping to party through the Croatian night (and suffer through the hangover on a gorgeous beach), Croatia has something for you.

In this article, we are looking at the best, most pristine, beautiful, and exciting locations on the Croatian coastline. Hopefully, by the end of it you would want to book a ticket already!

Know What To Expect

Croatia might not be as crowded as other beach destinations, but the sea resorts are world-renowned. Why?

For starters, it has some of the cleanest beaches in Europe. They are second only to the waters of Cyprus beaches.

It is also a hotspot for island hopping – there are over a thousand islands that belong to Croatia. The biggest is Cres (and yes, there are some gorgeous Croatian beaches there), while the most populous is Krk (it’s a great place for nightlife).

Finally, Croatia is much more than a gorgeous coastline. There is amazing food here – some of the world’s best olive oils come from Croatia. The culture is fun and very diverse, and so are the cities. Whether you are a simple sun-loving vacationer, a history nerd, a 24/7 party fanatic, or a family, looking for some well-deserved rest, Croatia has something for you!

What Is Blue Flag?

There are hundreds of Blue Flag certified Croatia beaches. But what even is Blue Flag and what makes those spots better?

Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a not-for-profit NGO that promotes sustainable development, including sustainable beach tourism.

To get the blue flag, a beach must complete all of the FEE’s requirements. These include water quality compliance but also environmental education, maintenance and sustainable beach management, and safety measures.

Blue Flag beaches are not necessarily the most remote and untouched areas. The FEE requires a beach to have lifeguards and first aid equipment plus drinkable water available. This is simply impossible on some lesser known beaches.

Keep it in mind, though, if you are the adventurous beach-goer. Having some fun in the sun could end tragically if you decide to be stupid about it.

If you are going with family or if you’re not a fan of hiking to a beach, try to stick to Blue Flag certified spots. These are the cleanest, most well-maintained, and the best in terms of safety. You will find no shortage of them, either, Croatia has some all over the coastline.

Croatia Beaches

Beach Supplies

Some of the beaches on this list are very popular and well-maintained. They have bars and restaurants all over, you can rent out an umbrella, there are street food vendors walking up and down.

Others, especially the more “secret” and remote ones on islands, have nothing. Here is a comprehensive list of things to bring to one of those untouched Croatian beaches:

  • Swimsuit and cover up  – these should be self-explanatory (though there are plenty of nude beaches throughout Croatia if that is your scene)
  • Appropriate footwear – some of the beaches on this list require walking down steep trails. Needless to say, flip flops and sandals are not ideal for this. It’s best to wear light sneakers and change into your flip-flops once you get to the sand. And if it’s a pebbly beach, consider getting beach shoes. They are not super pretty but they will keep the nasty cuts to a minimum.
  • A set of towels – if there are no hammocks or lounge chairs, you would need at least two towels – one to sit on and another one to dry yourself. You can thank me later for not having to rub a sandy towel against your wet skin.
  • Beach tent  – I personally like this better than umbrellas. They are easier to transport and they provide the same shade. Not to mention it’s a much better option for families. This way, you can easily keep kids in the shade (remember, they are much more sensitive to sun damage).
  • Portable speaker – I have been guilty of forgetting this on multiple occasions. If you are going to the beach with friends, a great soundtrack is an absolute must. Your phone simply doesn’t play music loud enough and if there is no beach bar, you would be stuck there without your tunes. This is just a friendly reminder for this not to happen.
  • Beach chairs or a hammock – My personal favourite is a hammock since it’s much lighter (and it is kind of cool to swing around under the Croatian sun). However, there isn’t always a good spot to set up your hammock, especially on rocky beaches. If you are up for a bit more to carry, grab beach chairs. They are cheap and nothing really beats them in terms of comfort.
  • Cooler with plenty of beer – OK, so maybe beer is not your drink of choice. Either way, get a cooler with plenty of your favourite drinks. Some people even bring cocktail-making supplies. Don’t forget the Croatian olive oil and snacks, too!

Dress As Croatians Do

Unless you are going to a nudie beach, you would need to pick out some swimwear. It helps to know that:

  • Speedos are fine but they are not as common as you might think. Wearing swim shorts is a lot more common among Croatian men. So no need to go all European here.
  • You need some sort of cover-up if you are a girl. Most Croatian women wear the kaftan style cover-ups but anything breezy and comfortable will do.
  • If you plan on going for lunch or dinner, you would need actual clothes. A lightweight linen shirt doesn’t take up a lot of space, pack it.

And finally, great sunglasses are an absolute must on Croatian beaches. Your retina needs the protection and it is a style must for Croatia!

Learn About The Coastline

To help you orient yourself, here is a handy map:

Up north, bordering Slovenia and Italy, you find Istria. This is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea and most of it belongs to Croatia. It’s very close to Western Europe and the beaches are gorgeous, so you better expect some crowds. Depending on where you go, you can still find some untouched spots in Istria. As a whole, though, it’s much better suited to the party type of traveller (or the types that enjoy resorts over backpacking and hiking).

Best Croatia Beaches In Istria

There is a good reason for all the travellers flocking to Istria. Here are the best Croatia beaches in the region.

Lanterna Beach In Rabac

This one is very family-friendly. It’s right in the resort and you can easily reach it by foot. It’s pebbly and very safe (you have at least 50 meters of shallow water entering the sea).

The other huge benefit to this one is you can rent out shade and beach chairs, as well as water sports equipment, and there are bars and restaurants nearby. This is a Blue Flag beach, which is yet another proof of quality.

Croatia Beaches

The Beaches of Medulin

Medulin is the best of both worlds. It’s a beautiful little town, very close to Italy and so very Italian in vibe (cobbled streets, Mediterranean food and all). The only downside is people caught on to this destination really quick. Today, this is a tourist hotspot and a tourist hotspot only.

The perk?

No matter what your travel style is, Medulin has something for you. It is equally famous for camping and hippie vibes and for family-friendly resorts.

The most popular and arguably most beautiful beach here is called Bijeca and extends for over a kilometre along the coast. This is a white sand beach, once again with a very mild entrance to the sea, and calm waters. Locals swear that this is The Place to go skinny dipping. I will leave that decision to you, though.

If you want to spend the whole day here, you could camp out under the trees above the beach. It is a gorgeous place to overlook the sea, it’s free, and you would be much cooler than under the umbrellas. Or you could head over to one of the many restaurants and bars for a cocktail and some people watching. Or play beach volleyball with the hot locals (trust me, there are many). All up to you, really, have fun!

Porec: You Have Never Seen Water This Clear

Porec attracts thousands of campers each year and for good reason. The nearby camp Lanterna has some of the clearest turquoise-coloured waters in the Adriatic. Even if you are not one for camping, you could easily get here and enjoy the sun.

It’s a small beach, just around 200 meters, but it has everything you need. Kids will enjoy running around the pebble and pave areas (careful, though, they get very hot), while you relax and sip on your mojito. Or, if you would rather go swimming, you can rest assured that there is a lifeguard every day between 10 AM and 6 PM. The sea is unpredictable, it’s always best to stay safe. Other than that, it’s definitely one of best Croatia beaches.

And now, moving on from Istria, a little further south, you will find the Kvarner Gulf:

Kvarner Gulf: The Best Of Both Worlds

Squeezed between Istria and Dalmatia, people tend to overlook this Croatian gulf. The fact remains, though, that this is not only the best place for island hopping, it’s also an amazing beach destination (on the mainland) and it is full of romantic little towns and rich history. Not to mention all the delicious seafood that you will get to try!

Rijeka Is The Place To Go

Croatia Beaches

Rijeka is Croatia’s biggest and most important port. If you can only go to one place in the Kvarner Gulf, make it this rich and hedonistic city. It is the perfect gateway to the islands, though Rijeka itself will keep you content and busy as well.

Ploče and Kostanj are the two Blue Flag Croatia beaches in the area. Ploče is especially fun to visit – it even has a water barrier made for water basketball. Yes, this is a thing and it’s surprisingly fun. Both of the beaches are accessible for disabled people and are child-friendly.

If you are the party type, head over to Igralište. It is a calm beach full of children by day but turns into party central at night. There are also two dog beaches in Rijeka if you want to take your puppy for a sea adventure.

All in all, Rijeka has everything. But if you crave a day trip, it’s time to go:

Island Hopping!

There are hundreds of beautiful islands in the gulf. Here is what you need to know about exploring them:

Krk is for sure the most accessible – there is a road bridge that connects it to Rijeka so you are only around a half hour drive away.

Start at Krk Town, which is a tiny historic town with the ruins of a city wall around the old city and plenty of street musicians, cobbled streets, and wine cellars.

If you are a wine nerd, though, you need to drop by Vrbnik. It is the wine-making centre of the island and it’s the best place to purchase some of those legendary Croatian reds. Or, if you would rather have food and an amazing, go to Baška, a small fishing village with possibly one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in the region.

Beyond Krk

The rest of the gulf’s islands are only accessible by boat. Rest assured, though, there are plenty of options for you to get there. The ferries are the cheapest, while combined island hopping tours are the most efficient and will help you get the most out of your day.

Three of the must-visits are Lošinj, Rab and Cres, all of which combine sunny Croatia beaches with historical towns and mouth-watering seafood options.

If you enjoy less crowded places where it’s just you and the sea, try Lošinj’s Zabodarski beach. This pebbly and sheltered place is ideal for your romantic getaway. Try cycling or walking here and then spend the afternoon under the pine trees. If you remember to pack some rosé in a cooler, you will have the perfect Croatian beach day.

Northern Dalmatia

Do you want to see the most beautiful sunset in the world? Go to Zadar! Even Hitchcock said it:

Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, in Florida, applauded at every evening.

Fortunately, Northern Dalmatia is also one of the easiest regions to explore. Everything seems to be less than an hour drive away and that is a major perk!

Spend some time travelling around the medieval towns, even if the beach seems to call too powerfully. Zadar itself is a great place to do this, with the old buildings, the layout, and the gorgeous beaches that surround it.

For some much-needed solitude, you can head out in the sea toward the secret islands of Silba, Olib and Dugi otok. These are easily the Adriatic’s most beautiful unexplored locations.

The other island must-visit spot is the infamous Kornati archipelago. This is a protected National Park area with unique sea life and unspoiled beaches. And it’s also home to a place called Babina Guzica – literally “Your Grandma’s Butt”. Yes, this is the official name.

Dreamy Croatia Beaches In The Free City Of Braavos

Šibenik was once the heart of medieval Croatia. It is also the free city of Braavos on Game of Thrones. Let me tell you why you need to visit (even though you won’t see the Titan of Braavos or meet Arya).

First off, Šibenik has a spectacular medieval architecture, including a beautiful cathedral and four fortresses, each with a magnificent view over the city and the endless blue Adriatic sea.

Secondly, the beaches around the real-life Braavos are unbelievable. The town is located in an indented bay, following the Krka river. This makes it a unique and beautiful environment for sun-seekers from around the world.

Which is the best one? We vote for Zaboric – a small settlement just a couple of minutes out of Sibenik. It has both sandy and pebbly beaches and can suit every beach-goers needs!

Finally, Sibenik is also just 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of the Krka National Park, which is world famous for the waterfalls and the bright turquoise lakes.

Croatia Beaches

Beyond Croatia Beaches: The Krka Park

You can go swimming without ever setting foot on any of the Croatia beaches. If you are staying in Sibenik, don’t miss the Krka National Park. And more importantly, don’t miss the Skradinski buk – arguably everyone’s favourite part of the park.

This massive natural pool is bordered by super high waterfalls on one side and gorgeous cascades at the other.  is one of the most attractive parts of the park. It is a massive, clear, natural pool with high waterfalls at one end and cascades at the other. There are 17 waterfalls in Skradinski buk with a total denivelation of 47.7 m. This place is considered to be one of the most beautiful calcium carbonate waterfalls in Europe!

Split And The South Of Dalmatia

Split is everyone’s favourite and there is a damn good reason for that. Let’s look at the best Croatia beaches in the region!

Bačvice In The Heart Of The City

Split’s most famous beach is located right next to the city centre. It is huge and sandy, making it a hot spot for all the visitors. Don’t expect peace and calm but rest assure that it would not be crowded either. Bačvice can accommodate over ten thousand visitors!

This is also Croatia’s picigin capital. Wondering what picgin is? It’s basically a more evolved form of playing around with a ball in the water. A sort of shallow water volleyball if you will. It looks a lot easier than it actually is, though, and the locals are great at it. Try it but be humble, you might not turn out to be super great.

Hvar Beaches: Pebbles, Pebbles, Pebbles

Hvar boasts some of the dreamiest pebbly Croatia beaches. The island also boasts breezy pine forests surrounding the tiny bays.

My best tip here:

Ask the locals for secret beaches. 

As one blogger said:

I admit that before I went to Hvar I had read several articles on the Internet about the most beautiful beaches on the island. Dubovica, Lučišće, Milna, Zaraće, Jagodna, Grebiše were often mentioned. The pictures looked gorgeous and for a moment I thought it would be cool to see it in real, but just after a while, I started to think that if the beaches were mentioned so often they would be crowded by tourists for sure. Anyway, driving to specific place would not be the same thing as wandering ahead into the unknown and exploring the beaches. I was sure that it could lose all its charm, so we decided to act spontaneously.

Acting spontaneously is indeed one of the best things you can do in Hvar. The island has good roads, local people are friendly and always happy to help, and you would be discovering some truly magnificent places (including rare Croatia beaches, of course)!

Should You Go To Dubrovnik?

I know you were probably wondering why Dubrovnik is not in this article. Well, now it is. But I have a good reason for leaving it last.

Croatia Beaches

Though Dubrovnik is an absolute must-visit in Croatia, you would find the highest density of tourists here as well. Croatia beaches are amazing all over the coastline. My best tip for Dubrovnik is: explore the historical city and all the charming little streets, budget some beach time elsewhere.

Of course, the major exception here is if you are tight on time. Dubrovink is still a gorgeous place and the beaches are well-worth a visit. I am just saying that if you’re staying longer you could find just as beautiful but much less crowded Croatia beaches!

And finally, I’d like to hear about your personal favourite Croatia beaches: where are they, what makes them special, and how should we get there. Sharing is caring!

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