Croatia’s best & bluest beaches

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Croatia is one of those #blessed countries that play by Mediterranean rules, meaning that early autumn (September and maybe even beginning of October) is practically still summer; weather’s still nice, sea water’s still warm, nightlife’s still buzzing lively, but quieter than before.
If you find yourself in Croatia during its summer months, there is one thing that you will definitely want to do, and that is head to the beach. Now, when it comes to Croatia’s beaches, my advice is to head south; that means Dalmatian coast and islands. And despite the fact that most of the beaches on my list (or anywhere in the country) may not have a grain of sand on them (pack your swim shoes because pebbles and rocks everywhere), they are still gems worth visiting.

 

Uvala Dubovica, Hvar island

Hidden in a cove besides a historic manor house on the southern part of the island of Hvar, this gorgeous beach is ideal for a peaceful, relaxing day. Meaning if you want to get over a hangover from a wild night out – which is why many go to Hvar on the first place – without screaming children, watersports and too much noise around, this is where you head to. The beach can only be found if you know where to look for it. Heading from Hvar town to Stari Grad by car, scooter or bus (don’t go for the bicycle option, it’s hot, it’s uphill, you are gonna die), look out for a “Dubovica” sign and a parking spot at the side of the road. From there, you can reach the beach and its crystal clear water by hiking down a mountain path for about 10 minutes.
Tip: Go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to enjoy the beach at its absolute best, with very few people around. Going during off-peak times also means that you have a shot at finding a spot in the small parking space available. I also suggest you wear comfy shoes, considering you have to walk down and then hike up a mountain (says the girl who wore flip flops), and that you have some food with you, since there is only one restaurant and beach bar on site.

 

• Pakleni islands beaches

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Mlini beach, Marinkovac island
If you are in Hvar town, bypass the fancy beaches there (unless you want to chase celebrities), and smack across the waves on a taxi boat to the nearby Pakleni islands, a gorgeous chain of 16 small isles that stretch right in front of Hvar. The isles are covered in pine trees, which explains their name origin (“paklina” is an archaic word that describes the pine resin that was once used to coat ships with), and have a plethora of sun-drenched beaches, secluded bays, turquoise waters and a fair share of restaurants and beach bars. The islands are frequented by yachtsmen and yachtswomen as well as by divers and snorkelers. Amongst the most beautiful Pakleni beaches are Mlini at Marinkovac island, Zdrilca at Marinkovac island, Palmižana at Sveti Klement island, Vlaka at Sveti Klement island, and Amo (voted by CNN as word’s top naturist beach in 2011) at Jerolim island.

 

• Stiniva Bay, Vis island

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Stiniva Bay, photo by http://www.sugamantours.com
One word: dreamy. The beach was voted as “Best in Europe” in 2016 by the Brussels-based tourism organisation European Best Destinations, and it definitely feels like “a James Bond villain rail”, as accurately described by The Telegraph. And that’s because Stiniva is obscured from the view of passing yachts and boats thanks to two towering cliffs that frame the bay, leaving only a small opening that leads to the sea. Does that sound cool or what?!
Tip: If you decide to reach the beach by land, wear your best hiking shoes and grab a bottle of water. Stiniva Bay is not accessible by car, and getting there requires 20 minutes of walking down a demanding steep path (which you then need to hike back up!). Alternatively, hop on a boat or a yacht, anchor it off the cove, and swim to the shore, or use an inflatable dinghy to get there.

 

• Zlatni Rat, Brač island

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Zlatni Rat, photo by http://www.discover-island-hvar.com
Known at the Golden Horn or the Golden Cape, this split of land extending into the turquoise sea features in the majority of guidebooks, brochures and advertisements for Croatia. The poster boy of Dalmatian beaches has crystal clear shallow water (this is where you should take your little ones to swim), loads of space (although it does get crowded in the midst of the summer), as well as a killer surrounding natural scenery composed by the Vidova Gora mountains and the neighbouring island of Hvar lying directly ahead.

 

• Veli Rat, Dugi Otok island

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Veli Rat, photo by conte-adriatic.com
With Croatia boasting with tourism during the summer, the island of Dugi Otok (translated to “long island” – 45km long!) is a refreshingly calm, relatively unknown option for your holiday break. Veli Rat is one of the Dugi Otok’s most beautiful beaches, and is located at the island’s northernmost part. Featuring a romantic lighthouse (with a lighthouse apartment suite as a popular accommodation option), a pebbled beach, gorgeous blue as far as the eye can see, and thick pine trees, it is a great pick to enjoy the Adriatic Sea.

 

• Saharun, Dugi Otok island

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Saharun Beach, photo by http://www.welcome-to-croatia.com
And finally, SAND!!! Saharun Beach, also located at Dugi Otok, is the perfect option for anyone who despises a rocky beach, and prefers their feet sank in warm sand. Shallow water make it ideal for young children to swim in, whilst the surrounding pine forest offers a much welcomed shade during the aggressively hot summer days.
Tip: Pack your camera! The intense turquoise water in combination with the white sand and dark green pinetrees make Saharun beach one of the most photographed in Croatia.

 

Have you ever been to Croatia?

Which are your favourite Croatian beaches? 

| More Croatia posts here and here.

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