Croatia has an incredible 1,244 islands of which 47 have a permanent population.
That’s a lot of islands!
But which are the best Croatian Islands to visit?
We think there are 7 vying for top spot:
- The trendy island of Hvar
- The secluded, historical island of Korčula
- The watersports haven of Brač
- Croatia’s most beautiful island, Vis
- The national parks on the island of Mljet
- Croatia’s party island, Pag
- The sandy (and naked) island of Rab
From the silence of nature to all-night-long parties, these Croatian islands have something for everyone and, in our opinion, are the best islands in Croatia to visit.
1. Hvar – The Trendiest Croatian Island
One of the swankiest spots in Croatia, Hvar is the island that suits the status of a celebrity. Often termed as the trendiest or most fashionable island of Croatia, Hvar has the homes of many European celebrities.
The yacht owners pick the Island of Hvar to moor their yachts and spend weekends with their families and there is also tempting nightlife, beautiful beaches, and awe-inspiring seafood restaurants.
The shores of the island have the classic Adriatic views, and the cities of Jelsa and Stari Grad are not only coastal towns but also are rich hubs of heritage, culture, and history.
Whilst Hvar is a luxurious island it does not have to be expensive, owing to the fact that Croatia falls out of the Eurozone, so your money lasts a little longer.
You also have other options whilst on Hvar – visit lavender fields, explore local wineries, try an authentic cooking class, or simply sip some Croatian wine and soak into the rays!
2. Korčula – The Secluded, Historical Island
When Greeks landed on the island of Korčula, they didn’t know about its foggy forests, azure sea waters and pine & olive grooves.
They were inspired by the dense forest and named it Korkyra Melaina (Black Korčula). Today the island is famous for its fantastic white wines that are made exclusively from the endemic posip grape.
After Hvar, Korčula is probably Croatia’s second most famous island as it is only a ferry ride from the most visited city in the country, Dubrovnik. The city itself is also known as ‘Little Dubrovnik’, with similar architecture and its location on a peninsula.
Korčula has also laid claim to being the birthplace of Marco Polo, leaving some Italians ‘furious’, as it is more commonly thought he was born in Venice.
The cobblestone city streets, medieval revival cathedral, pinewood landscapes, local vineyards, and olive groves are all reasons you should visit Korčula island.
Take a tour to Korčula from Dubrovnik:
3. Brač – Home of the Most Famous Beach in Croatia
Whether it is the 780 meter-height Vidova Gora Summit (the highest peak on the Croatian Islands) or radiant white pebble Zlatni Rat beach in Harbour Town in Bol, the island of Brač is adventurous and appealing at the same note.
Remnants of dwellings from the Neolithic Age have been found here and the white limestone architecture draws cultural connoisseurs from all around the globe, meaning Brač really does have something for everyone.
A short ferry ride from Split, the white stone from the island was used to build Diocletian’s Palace, which forms the central part of the city. Brač has never-ending beauty and is blessed with pleasant panoramas.
Brač is also a water sports heaven with windsurfing being the preferred sport of many. Besides windsurfing, you can also opt for scuba diving, parasailing, sea kayaking, wakeboarding, water skiing, and jet skiing on the Bol coast.
Take a tour to Brač from Split:
4. Vis – Croatia’s Most Exclusive and Beautiful Island
Known worldwide for its local food and wine, the island of Vis is worth a visit. The fertile lands and the original bays attracted early Greeks to settle the town in Vis back in the 4th century BC and it continues to be one of the best Croatian islands to visit.
Until 1989 Vis served Yugoslavians as a Naval Base, and now this chic island is a holiday gateway for globetrotters. Mola Trovna and Senko Karuza are famous for fishing trips.
People who genuinely want to feel Vis should try its premium wines.
Whether it’s white Vugava wine or Red Mali Plavac, or even Rogacica, you simply can’t go wrong with a glass (or bottle!) of local wine.
The perfect day involves tanning on Stiniva Beach in the morning, going on an excursion to the otherworldly Blue Caves to avoid the midday sun and then spending your evening quaffing some of the best local wines accompanied by the freshly caught seafood.
5. Mljet – A Quiet Island Blanketed in National Park
What would you say an island which also is a national park? A peaceful paradise? Or a fabulous fairyland? Mljet is all of these things!
Probably most well known for its National Park, which borders two huge saltwater lakes, one of which has a Benedictine monastery from the 12th century on an island in the middle of it.
Mljet was once full of venomous snakes, and in 1910 Indian mongooses were introduced themselves to rid the island of this problem. Whilst they did the job well, they also managed to clear the island of most of its birdlife, meaning Mljet is very short of small hedgerow birds such as sparrows.
Mljet is also well known for its cultural heritage and you will often see local women wearing brightly coloured traditional dresses
The local delicacy is goats cheese dishes so be sure to try one when you stop for some food..
6. Pag – Croatia’s Party Island
The largest clubbing hub of Croatia is on Zrće beach in the city of Novalja.
The sweaty summer days end at the Aquarius, Papaya, and Kalypso beach parties to the beats of DJs. The party-people booze all night on the only island with 24-hours clubbing permission.
The island is more than Zrće though, it has a rich history and cuisine just waiting to be discovered.
The island is expert in making Paški sir – the Pag Cheese made from sheep’s milk and is also famous for the local lamb and Pag salt. These can all be found in the much quieter Pag Town
The island remains linked to the mainland by a bridge giving impressive views by its sides meaning its an easy island to visit.
7. Rab – The Sandy (and Naked!) Island
Rab island stretches for 22 km on the Kvarner Bay in the Adriatic sea. It is famous for its long, sandy beaches and also being the home of naturism after Edward VIII sought special permission to swim naked in the waters here, prompting the start of nudist tourism in Croatia.
The island is fortressed with medieval-aged walls, and the four bell church towers are like guardians in the sky. The peninsular stone building makes an elegant appearance on the island.
A combination of Rab cheese, smoked meats, and seafood meals with wine can be found only on the Island. Famous for food, the tiny organic family restaurants are great places to dine out and every year the island slurps into the sizzling summer festival!
Whatever you do in Croatia, you will be mesmerized, but the islands are a particular highlight of this magnificent country.
The Croatian islands have peaceful nature, a place to party, jaw-dropping coastlines, local food and medieval cities.
There truly is something for everyone here.
If you enjoyed reading about the best Croatian islands to visit, why not try some of our other Croatian articles:
- Where To Go In Croatia: 8 Amazing Places For Your List
- Croatian Road Trip: 12 Days Driving the Dalmatian Coast