10 of Croatia’s Most Beautiful Islands

Croatia was made for island-hopping, best enjoyed on a luxury cruise from Split or Dubrovnik. There are multiple hidden treasures and popular gems that can be uncovered on a Croatia holiday, whether you're looking for idyllic beaches and tranquillity, rich history, wineries and vineyards for tasting and touring, or a foodie's paradise. With more than a thousand islands to choose from, each offering a unique allure of its own, it can be difficult to decide where to go. But if you're looking for the ultimate in fjaka, a Dalmatian word that has no direct English translation, referring to a state of relaxation and bliss, you'll want to put at least one of Croatia's most beautiful islands on your must-visit list.
Brac town


The largest island in Dalmatia, Brac is not only fully sustainable, but it boasts awe-inspiring scenery that includes a coastline that varies from dramatic rocky beaches to sandy and pebbly stretches like Zlatni Rat, often named amongst the most beautiful in Europe. Surrounded by an aquamarine sea on three sides, it glistens under the sun, jutting out a third of a mile into the Adriatic providing opportunities for unforgettable swims. Sea kayaking, standup paddleboarding, mountain biking, and hiking can all be enjoyed on Brac too. One of the most scenic trails leads to Vidova gora, the highest point in the Adriatic islands where you can enjoy a jaw-dropping view of Zlatni Rat, nearby islands, and the surrounding sea.

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Mljet National Park saltwater lake


The Adriatic’s greenest isle, Mljet often ranks high on lists of the most beautiful islands in Croatia. Unlike any other, over 70 percent is covered in dense forest and a quarter is designated as a national park. The park features two saltwater lakes in hues ranging from emerald to turquoise, with the smaller lake home to St. Mary Islet which can be accessed via a short boat ride. One of the most popular things to do is visit its 12th-century Benedictine monastery which houses a cafe and souvenir shop. Swimming, kayaking, and sunbathing can be enjoyed on beautiful beaches along the shore. There are also scenic trails to hike or pedal, with bikes available for hire near the park’s entrance.

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Korcula Old Town


Korcula is renowned for its breathtaking natural scenery as one of the best islands in Croatia. When the ancient Greeks landed here, they were reportedly so struck by the island’s dense, dark forests that they named it Korkyra Melaina, or Black Korcula. There are also many postcard-perfect beaches, some tucked into coves surrounded by fragrant greenery, ideal for sunbathing, swimming, or snorkelling. The island is most famous for its connection to international explorer Marco Polo, and its fortified historic centre. The Old Town, surrounded by medieval walls, towers, and imposing gates, looks like something from a fairytale. Its narrow, winding streets and alleyways are lined with elaborately carved Gothic buildings, romantic balconies, tranquil courtyards, traditional tavernas, and independent boutiques.

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Hvar lavender fields


Hvar has become one of the most popular destinations for a Croatia vacation amongst the rich and famous with a world-class dining and nightlife scene, but it’s also stunningly beautiful. Renowned for its abundant sunshine, with as much as 2843 hours of sun annually, the climate is ideal for immersing yourself amidst the striking natural beauty. During the day, enjoy an idyllic mix of spectacular beaches tucked into secluded coves, brilliant turquoise bays, fragrant lavender fields, and vineyard-covered hills. After dark, head to one of the hopping nightclubs, dance ’til dawn, and then do it all over again. Don’t miss the view of the yacht-filled harbour, the town, sea, and nearby Pakleni Islands from the top of the Spanjola Fortress.

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Telascica Nature Park

Dugi Otok

Located near Zadar on mainland Croatia, Dugi Otok (Long Island), offers unspoiled nature with a small population of only around 1,500 residents. Telascica Nature Park sits at its southern tip, renowned for its abundant flora and fauna that includes more than 400 plants, with many rare and endemic species. Its serene bay is one of the Adriatic’s most beautiful, with remarkable clarity and abundant marine life for snorkelling and diving. It also boasts islets like Talijuric with archaeological ruins that include 1st-century AD Roman buildings and Illyrian burial mounds. Sakuran Beach at the island’s northern end is renowned as one of Croatia’s longest. Surrounded by pine trees, its snow-white sands edge crystal-clear blue waters and stretch for a half-mile.

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Komiza village Vis


Vis, the furthest island from the Croatian mainland, is one of its most beautiful, which comes at least in part to it being closed to the public for some 40 years while used as a military base. With little development, the island has managed to retain its natural, unspoiled beauty. Along the southern coast, you’ll find picturesque coves and tranquil bays providing blissful seclusion with the opportunity to sunbathe or swim and snorkel in crystal-clear water. From here, it’s easy to reach the famous Blue Cave on Bisevo Island too. Accessed via a small boat, the interior is illuminated in a surreal blue glow when conditions are right.

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Rab Town


The happy Island of Rab, as so-called by the Romans, is nestled in the middle of the Gulf of Kvarner in northern Croatia. It was first recorded as Arba Island in 360 BC, which translates to dark, green, and forested. Today, some call it the “island of love,” although a combination of all three nicknames might best capture the spirit of this enchanting gem. Its beauty is boundless, with over a third of the island covered in lush pine and oak forests whilst sandy beaches, sparkling turquoise water, and a charming Old Town await. Enjoy a stroll through the ancient, atmospheric stone streets where bell towers rise from Romanesque churches while nearly deserted beaches are just a short drive away.

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Sudurad village Sipan


The largest of the Elaphiti Islands, lying just 12 nautical miles from Dubrovnik, Sipan is home to only a small population of just over 40 residents, but it packs a punch with shaded coves and deserted lagoons for swimming in sparkling blue-green waters. Beyond soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach, there are two main towns, Sipanska Luka and Sudurad with rich histories, friendly locals, and authentic cuisine. In between, discover the ruins of ancient palaces and churches, and a lush valley with vineyards, citrus groves, and olive and fig trees. Foodies will appreciate the opportunities to enjoy traditional Croatian dishes along with olive oil and wine tastings.

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Aerial view of Cres island lagoon


Cres may not be a household name, but it’s surely one of the most beautiful islands in Croatia, as well as one of the least developed despite being inhabited since the Paleolithic era. Its rich past has left traces from the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and the first independent Croatians, including the 16th-century Venetian tower, Arsan Palace. But this list is all about beauty of which Cres has plenty, including enticing beaches, dramatic cliffs, forests, and caves. You’ll want to stick around to watch the sun go down – with any luck you might even see a griffon spread its nine-foot-long wings as it flies by a glorious orange and pastel-coloured sky.

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View of town in Pag


Pag is a unique, craggy island with much of it barren, providing a moon-like landscape, particularly the side that’s exposed to Velebit Mountain. But it’s beautifully contrasted by the cerulean sea that surrounds it and boasts everything a visitor could want: breathtaking beaches, endless outdoor activities, delectable cuisine, and vibrant nightlife. Sheep outnumber the people 4:1, providing the island’s famous cheese, Paški sir, one of Croatia’s most celebrated culinary exports. Try it with some of the island’s wine, with Pag boasting a time-honoured tradition of winemaking too. Visitors also won’t want to miss visiting the quaint shops along the medieval streets of Pag Town, where local women can be seen stitching lace in the doorways. 

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