Ask which beaches are Croatia’s best and a litany of names will spring forth. The country is known for its idyllic surfside destinations ranging from family-friendly havens to partygoers’ paradises. These five beaches offer up more than pebbly shorefronts for sunbathing. They’re also ideal departure points for hikes to nearby attractions. What to pack: bathing suits and hiking boots.
This small, quiet beach located on Central Dalmatia’s Island of Brač showcases views of Hvar Island and Stina vineyards. A must during a visit – hiking to Dragon’s Cave, a Glagolitic monastery carved into the mountain. Sculpted on the cave walls are a mix of Christian and pagan symbols, including, of course, a dragon. As entering Dragon’s Cave can only be done on a guided tour, contact Croatia Tourism for further information.
Zlatni Rat Beach
Just three miles away from Murvica Beach on Brač’s south coast is Croatia’s most photographed beach, Zlatni Rat. A Mecca for water sports enthusiasts, especially windsurfers, Zlatni Rat also appeals to little ones due to its aqua park. A worthy pursuit post beach fun is strolling along the pine tree-shaded promenade into the village of Bol. Inspired to achieve greater heights, hike up Vidova Gora Mountain to catch sundown.
It could be said getting to South Dalmatia’s Pasjača Beach is half the fun. The journey starts with a drive through pastoral countryside lined by cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards. Upon reaching the village of Popovići, visitors descend a cliff trail and pass through a rock tunnel, arriving to stunning panoramas of the Adriatic.
Sveti Ivan Beach
Germany’s Bild magazine ranked Croatia’s Sveti Ivan Beach as number 15 on its list of the world’s top 40 beaches. A 40-minute hike from Lubenice village brings travelers to this secluded, white-pebble beach. In swimming distance is the ethereal Blue Cave on Žanje Bay.
If a beach were made for children, it might just be Dugi Otok Island’s Saharun Beach (also known as Sakarun Beach) in North Dalmatia. Even at its deepest point, the waters off this white sand beach are only knee-deep. After taking a dip, stop at the village of Božava in Zadar to experience public art installations from Nikola Bašić. Sea Organ is a sound art installation comprised of 35 pipes fitted into the pavement. As ocean waves meet Sea Organ, a concert of sorts occurs. Beside it is Bašić’s Greeting to the Sun, a model of the solar system made from 300 solar-driven panels that comes alive when the sun is at a certain angle. Thanks to the tide and the sun, both are triggered exactly at sunset.