Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Croatia might be a relatively small country, but it has some of the best beaches in all of Europe. Nature lovers can enjoy the nation’s natural coastlines with breathtaking views of the horizon. On the other hand, social butterflies will enjoy the tourist centers and all the opportunities they offer to participate in beach parties or activities like windsurfing.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why people have started choosing Croatia or their beach vacation destinations is because it still flies under the radar of many travelers. Most people still opt for other coastal hotspots in southern Europe. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the beachy paradises this little country has to offer but you’re not sure where to start, keep reading.
Map of the 15 Best Beaches in Croatia
1. Bacvice Beach, Split
Bacvice is the centerpiece of Split in Croatia. Though it’s small, it has everything a beachgoer might need to have a relaxing time by the water. There are beach clubs where you can rent an umbrella or chair, but you can also find free areas right on the sand if you’d prefer to lay out your towel. There are even some trees that offer a little bit of shade on hot sunny days.
The beach is near the city’s harbor, so you’ll often see boats in the distance, but you don’t have to worry about that affecting the water quality. The sea here is still clear and blue, especially if you go during the week or early in the morning when there are fewer crowds.
Since the water here is very shallow, even hundreds of feet away from the sand, and the tides here are gentle, it’s extremely family-friendly.
2. Beach Prapratno, Metohija
If you drive an hour away from Dubrovnik, you’ll be able to find Beach Prapratno, a more pristine and natural beach that is perfect for people who want to get away from the buzz of the city. The beach is tucked away in a bay, which helps prevent the sea from getting too rough or choppy, so it’s a great spot for people who love the water but aren’t the best swimmers.
Despite being a pretty rustic shore, the beach still has all the amenities you’ll need, like restrooms and changing areas. However, there are no restaurants or shops, so make sure you bring your own food and refreshments if you want to spend the whole day here.
This beach is most often frequented by locals, so it’s not overly commercialized and will help you get an authentic Croatian experience.
3. Beach Sakarun, Soline
Sakarun is one of the most picturesque beaches in Croatia. Famous for its patches of white sand and blue water, this part of the coast has an almost tropical ambiance that locals and tourists both love.
If you plan to go on a walk along the shore, make sure to watch your step or consider wearing shoes, though, since some areas can have more pebbles. Though once you get into the water, that is no longer an issue.
There also isn’t much shade, especially close to the water, so make sure you bring plenty of sun protection to avoid getting burned. Sakarun is one of the best places in Croatia to relax in part because of its long sandbar, which adds an extra layer of security, so you can have a stress-free time.Hot Tip:
Since this is a beloved beach spot for locals, be prepared for potential crowds.
4. Beach Stračinska, Šolta
Beach Stračinska, often simply referred to as Stračinska, is a small and remote cove where visitors can enjoy the water. The island of Šolta has many beautiful bays and coves to enjoy. To access the beach, you’ll need to travel down an unpaved road, but the route is easy to follow, and there’s even parking about 100 yards away from the shore.
The beach is shared by both beachgoers and boaters, so you’ll want to watch where you swim since there are no lifeguards here. In general, though, it’s a safe beach with shallow water near the shore, gentle tides, and very few waves.
Despite its pebbly shore, Stračinska is a popular beach for sunbathing, so make sure you go early to find a place to lay out your towel if you plan to go on a summer weekend. It’s also a great spot for leisurely strolls and rock hunting.
5. Bellevue Beach, Dubrovnik
Bellevue Beach is one of the best places to go for a swim in Dubrovnik. This part of the coast is lined with rocky cliffs, so it often goes unnoticed.
Though this is a rocky beach, most of the pebbles are smooth and small, so they aren’t uncomfortable to walk or lay out on. However, the beach isn’t very large, so don’t expect to go on any long walks.
The water here is pretty shallow as well, and you don’t have to worry about any sudden drop-offs. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant, though. There are no lifeguards on duty here, so if you’re visiting with children, make sure to keep an eye on them if they go for a dip. Since this beach is small, it can get crowded with just a few visitors, so make sure you scope out a spot early.
6. Cisterna Beach, Rovinj
Cisterna Beach is a gorgeous gravel shore on Croatia’s northern coast. Its bright turquoise water and nearby lush greenery give it an exotic look that feels very different than what you might expect from a European destination.
You don’t have to worry about discomfort while you’re on the shore. The gravel here is small and smooth, creating a soft and almost sandy surface that’s perfect for laying out or going for a walk. However, double-check the tides before you head out for the day. When the waves come in, the beach floods and isn’t visitable.
If you decide to go for a swim, you can look forward to warm, clean water you can stay in for hours. Since there aren’t any strong waves, people of virtually any swimming level are able to enjoy themselves without having to worry about currents.
7. Golden Horn Beach, Brač
Golden Horn Beach also goes by a few other names: Zlatni Rat and Golden Cape. However, no matter what name you prefer, they all refer to the same stunning beach on one of Croatia’s islands, Brač.
Though it’s one of the most famous beaches in the country, its relative seclusion helps keep it from seeming too crowded, even on busy summer holidays and weekends. Perhaps what’s most striking about Golden Horn is the contrast between its velvety white sand and bright blue water, which feel like they belong on a Caribbean island.
This beach is popular among all types of beachgoers, from those who prefer relaxing on the sand or wading in the water to thrill-seekers who want to try out windsurfing or kayaking. So, no matter who you travel with, you’ll be able to spend a fun-filled day on these shores.
8. Kasjuni Beach, Split
With its cliffs and forests that create a dramatic and natural backdrop, Kasjuni Beach is a fantastic getaway spot for people who are looking for an escape from city life for a while.
Its wide expanse of small, golden, and tan pebbles and clear, gentle water help add to the relaxing ambiance on this part of the coastline. However, if you’re more of an extrovert and like being around excitement, you can still have a great time at Kasjuni. Near the parking entrance to the beach, music is often playing and more crowds tend to form.
If you need a little peace and quiet, you just need to wander away a few yards for things to have more of a calmer tone. You don’t have to worry about lugging a cooler with drinks with you while you’re here, either. There’s a beach bar that offers a variety of refreshments.
9. Lanterna Beach, Stari Grad
Lanterna Beach can be found right in the middle of Rabac’s most popular tourist area, but don’t let that keep you from visiting. In fact, if you like to meet new people while on your travels, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better spot for a beachy getaway.
It’s popular among young tourists and families, so there’s always a pleasant hustle and bustle of people and something to do. However, the beach still retains some natural charm. In order to reach the sand, you’ll need to take on a short and easy trek through a coastal pine forest.
This part of Croatia’s beach has plenty of amenities as well. There are multiple food and drink options, and you can even purchase a newspaper or magazine while you’re in the area. There are also showers and restrooms, so there’s no need to cut your visit short.
10. Liska Slatina Beach, Lošinj
Liska Slatina is a no-frills beach that relies on its natural beauty to draw in visitors … an angle that works in its favor. The beach is small, under 0.25 miles in length, but that adds to its charm. Since it’s so small, it’s usually not crowded, as many locals and foreigners prefer heading to the larger shores in the area.
The water is, thus, naturally clean, and there’s usually a nice breeze to help stay cool on warm days. However, there isn’t much natural shade near the water, so you’ll want to bring a beach umbrella or other forms of sun protection to keep from getting too hot or burning.
The current here is gentle, and since it’s fairly remote, you can even go snorkeling without worrying about bothering any other swimmers. You can access this beach by car, but you’ll have to walk the last few yards.
11. Nugal Beach, Makarska
Nugal Beach is definitely a small, secluded beach with breathtaking blue water that’s often comfortably warm and shallow.
There’s only one way to get to the beach, and that’s via a rocky path along the coast. While the walk is easy, be sure to watch your step and wear reliable shoes with traction to ensure you don’t stumble. It might also be difficult to walk down if you’re traveling with anyone who has mobility concerns.
This beach is definitely a change of pace, depending on what you’re used to. It’s considered a naturist site, which means visitors are welcome to enjoy the sun and the water in a “natural” state if they so choose. This means there are relaxed rules regarding swimwear. However, you can wear whatever bathing suits you like, and this is still a perfectly family-friendly beach.
12. Pasjača Beach, Konavle
Pasjača Beach is a narrow strip of coastline located at the bottom of the Konavle cliffs. Due to erosion from the rocks, the beach has a combination of soft sand and smooth gravel, which create an interesting texture that is dramatic and easy to walk on.
This isn’t the best beach for people who have trouble with mobility, though. To access the beach, you have to take on a path down the cliffs’ slopes. There are steps to help deal with the incline, but you still need to watch your step as you walk.
If you don’t like crowds, this is one of the best beaches to visit. Most tourists and even many locals prefer not to tackle the effort it takes to get to the shore, so it’s not just physically secluded, but it also rarely has more than a few people.
13. Plaža Baška, Baška
Baška is a popular Croatian resort town, and the beach it shares its name with, Plaža Baška, is one of its best features. A “Blue Flag” holder since 1999, this beach is internationally certified to have high-quality, clean water that’s safe for swimmers of all ages.
Since it’s so close to town, you’re never far from anything you might need, so if you forget to pack something in your beach bag, it’s not a problem.
Yet, just because you’re near town doesn’t mean the beach is always loud and full of excitement. During the week, the entire shore is pretty calm, but even on weekends, when there are more crowds, all it takes is a short walk to find some peace and quiet.Hot Tip:
Don’t expect a stretch of sand to await you, though. This is almost exclusively a pebbly beach, but they’re not uncomfortable.
14. Zrce Festival Beach, Novalja
Of Croatia’s many beaches, Zrce Festival Beach, often shortened to Zrce, is one of the few to be awarded “Blue Flag” certification for cleanliness and water quality. This status is a large part of its popularity.
This beach was once one of Croatia’s biggest summer festival spots, and, in fact, the shore was lined with dance clubs and party venues. However, in recent years, the area has calmed down a bit. There are still festivities on the sand, but there are also many stretches of calm and quiet if you’d prefer to relax away from the excitement.
Due to the frequent foot traffic on this stretch of the coast, there are plenty of amenities. So anything you might need, from a place to shower to some refreshments, are always nearby. This isn’t the most family-friendly beach, though, so keep that in mind.
15. Sveti Ivan Beach, Lubenice
Though Sveti Ivan is this beach’s official name, it also goes by St. John’s Beach and Lubenice Beach. Since this beach is located on Cres, one of Croatia’s islands, you’ll likely need to catch one of the many ferries that travel to and from the mainland.
This stretch is particularly popular among nature lovers because of its lack of development. There are hiking trails and bike paths around the shore and various soft sandy and pebbly places that let you access the water.
However, this isn’t the most private beach. During the spring and summer, dozens and even hundreds of visitors can be found enjoying the sun and clear water. So, while you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a place to lay out your towel, it might not be that quiet. You’ll also want to bring sun protection as the shadier spots tend to get taken quickly.
Croatia has no shortage of beaches. From rustic hideaways to shorelines that are full of excitement, there’s a part of the Croatian coast for every sort of traveler. While it’s hard to go wrong at any of the country’s beaches, we hope that this list has helped you narrow down your options so you can pick the best one for your dream vacation.
Featured Image Credit: Kat von Wood via Unsplash
Frequently Asked Questions
Croatia has some of the best beaches in Europe. Much of the country’s coastline is pristine and natural, so you can find bright, clear water and soft sand. Since it’s also a less-visited beach destination in Europe, much of Croatia’s coastline is relatively tourist-free.
Many of Croatia’s beaches have very clean water. As a general rule, though, beaches near the country’s largest cities, like Dubrovnik, can be more prone to pollution. Its islands, on the other hand, are often more remote, so they tend to have cleaner water.
Croatia has many swimmable beaches. The country’s coastline is defined by clean, warm water and inviting stretches of sand. However, that doesn’t mean you can go for a dip everywhere. Typically places where swimming is prohibited are marked, but you can double-check with authorities.
Croatia’s water is generally considered to be on the warmer side, but that doesn’t mean it’s always comfortable for swimming. The warmest temperatures are found in August. After the end of September and before May, you might find you need to wear a wetsuit.
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