Discover the Adriatic Coast and Islands of Croatia

Pula Croatie

Tourism on the Croatian coast

Croatia has almost 1,800 kilometers of coastline on the mainland and over 4,000 kilometers on its islands, making up 72% of its total coastline. Most of Croatia is therefore bathed in the Adriatic Sea, much to the delight of travellers. The Croatian coastline is highly fragmented, with 698 islands, 389 islets and 78 reefs. There’s something for everyone to enjoy on a trip to Croatia’s Adriatic coast: swimming, sailing, hiking, exploring the country’s history, discovering medieval and Roman sites, fishing ports, etc. Here you’ll find the best things to do in Croatia on the Adriatic coast:
Carte de la Croatie

Map source: Wikipedia.com

The best beaches in Croatia

Officially recognized as the second cleanest in Europe (after Cyprus), Croatia’s coasts tend to be pebbly rather than sandy. The best beaches are to be found on the islands: Rab boasts a pretty bay at Lopar, Korcula has two sandy beaches near Lumbarda, while the tiny island of Susak is made up entirely of fine, compact sand.

The most popular beach (and ideal for photos) is the beach of small white pebbles, shaped like a point, called Zlatni Rat on the island of Brač (accessible by ferry from Split).
Brac île Croatie

Wikimedia – Wolfgang Hunscher

Italian-style tour of Istria, by bike

The Istrian peninsula, in the northernmost part of the coast, is dotted with vineyards, villages and Roman remains that lead you to the Italian-style coastal towns ofPoreč, Pula and Rovinj, with their succession of coves and beaches. The region’s network of cycle paths makes cycling a great way to visit the sites and the seaside.

A stay in one of these coastal towns is an excellent base from which to explore the Adriatic coast. In fact, you’ll find plenty of vacation homes on Croatia’s Adriatic coast.

Favoring less-frequented areas

Most visitors head straight for the Dalmatian coast, as there are more flights to Split and Dubrovnik. But Croatia is also full of beautiful, yet little-known places. For example, the Brijuni islands, close to Pula, can be reached via the fishing village of Fazana and offer a day on deserted beaches with Roman ruins as a backdrop. Or theisland of Cres, the largest Croatian island, with its beautiful secret beaches and trails through the Tramuntana forest.
Pula Croatie

Flickr – dokiai

Of course, Dubrovnik is a must (see below), but consider Pula and its Roman remains (see photo), or Sibenik, which underwent a facelift 3 years ago. The best of all is Split, with its lively Saturday market, excellent beaches and Riva esplanade lined with cafés and bars.

Moving from island to island

Off the coast of Makarska, there’s an island to suit every taste: the very green Mljet (accessible via Dubrovnik) is best for enjoying nature with its national park, Vis (via Split) for discovering Croatian specialties, Brač for water sports and Hvar for relaxation and celebrity spotting.

The best way to move between the islands is to concentrate on well-connected groups. For example, it’s easy to travel between Krk, Rab and the « party island » Pag. Pag, or between Brač, Hvar and Vis. Check ferry timetables on site.

The ideal solution is to find an apartment or vacation home on one of Croatia’s islands. This would allow you to be in the heart of the islands and visit most of them without having to leave the mainland each time. You could save precious time on your vacation. What’s more, you’ll be as close as possible to diving spots and water sports.

Dubrovnik

The city of Dubrovnik has established itself as an important cultural and economic center in recent years, and this is evident in its architecture and heritage. In fact, Dubrovnik once rivalled Venice for supremacy. Dubrovnik looks out over the Adriatic Sea from its famous city walls. Today, the walls house a fascinating open-air museum with galleries, churches, palaces and a multitude of museums.
Dubrovnik Croatie

Flickr – gari.baldi

Dubrovnik’s Old Town, a great place to stay on a budget, is nicknamed the « Pearl of the Adriatic » and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. It abounds in carefully preserved buildings, with a range of Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture adorning monasteries, fountains and churches. Take the Dubrovnik cable car for incredible views over the city and bay, and visit the Croatian War of Independence Museum, which details the conflict in the 1990s.

Did you travel to the Adriatic coast? How did you find it? What’s the best place to visit on the Croatian coast and islands?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Croatia