Croatia is a country decorated with a magical hinterland and jaw-dropping coastline. It hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and if there’s one thing people think of when they think about travel to Croatia, it’s the beaches.
Everyone has heard of Bacvice, Zlatni Rat and Zrce beaches, here are some of my favorite ‘not-so-obvious’ Adriatic gems that will take your breath away.
1. Saint James Beach, Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has a special place in my heart, a city where many of my childhood memories where created. It takes me back to a time when sunscreen was optional and carefree amounts of vanilla ice cream were consumed. Saint James Beach was where my love for sun and sea began, with a stunning backdrop of ancient walls of Dubrovnik, it’s one of the most attractive beaches in Croatia (it has an a-la carte sense to it), expensive looking water and hard to get to. I always like hiring a Vespa and cruising there like a local (the landscapes on the way are to die for). So grab a beach chair and enjoy!
2. Mala Luka, Omis
Believe it or not my husband proposed to me at Mala Luka (trust me very romantic for a Croatian man)! A once army base now turned into beach resort, it is located 3 kilometers from Omis (a city whose history dates back to ancient times) and a 40-minute drive from Split. If you want to skip the buzz of Bacvice beach, this is the ideal spot to escape the city crowds. Mala Luka is the perfect drive-by-beach location, but be careful not to zoom passed, as the turn off is small and not so noticeable!
3. Saint John Beach (Lubenice) Island Cres
Back in Australia I have a close girlfriend named Stela, her father was born on the Island of Cres, in a quaint village Lubenice; an ancient fort city founded about 4000 years ago. When I was still living in Melbourne, Stela and I often sipped on quality coffee and exchanged stories of our travels. I always remembered Stela saying ‘Malina you must visit Lubenice and Saint John Beach! Cres is an island that is still a bit wild and not explored’.
I was always so magnetized to central Dalmatia that I would oversee the northern coastline and islands, and then one summer I went! Oh what had I been missing?! Saint John beach positioned under the stunning village of Lubenice is renowned for one of the cleanest beaches in Croatia, but as the saying goes beauty comes at a price, you either have to hire a boat or walk from Lubenice village (40 minute descent) I felt like I was being punished for my ignorance.
P.S. Take plenty of water and sunscreen!
4. Bili Boci, Island Proizd
Proizd Island is situated off the far western end of the larger island of Korcula, the island is decorated with white beaches and the smell of salty freshness overtakes your senses. I couldn’t believe that something so magical existed-truly God given. Bili Boci beach is the perfect spot to forget the everyday rat race of urban life and a reminder of the existence of beauty and richness of the Dalmatian Coast. Don’t leave the island without taking a stroll through the offbeat forest trails.
5. Vinogradsce Bay, Island Pakleni-Hvar
Vinogradsce Bay located on Pakleni Island is the perfect bay to escape from the hustle of Hvar town. It’s my favorite spot to sunbake, bathe, sip on coffee and play a few hands of the traditional Italian card game (famous in Dalmatia) called Briskula. It’s also a celebrity ‘unknown’ getaway so don’t be shocked if you bump into someone famous! Easily reached within 25 minutes by taxi boat from Hvar harbor or arrive in style with your own boat.
6. Stiniva Beach, Island Vis
Its no secret that Hvar has always been the Queen of islands on the Adriatic coast, but Vis is becoming a threat to the crown. The island of Vis is full of vineyards, hidden rubble paths and small village’s inviting you to come and explore. Stiniva Beach is a 30 meter long piece of paradise framed by large cliffs, making a gateway to water heaven. Located on the islands south coast, Stiniva beach can be accessed two ways, by boat or foot. By foot was my choice, a 30-minute walk down a steep rural trail and like a rabbit out of a hat, there she was Stiniva beach, I had a smile from ear to ear and a great base tan to match.
In whole Croatians especially Dalmatians can’t live without the sea. It feeds them, bathes them, and heals them. 1000’s of songs by Croatian artists are dedicated to the Adriatic. For me it’s unthinkable to choose a best or favorite bathing spot as each beach, cove and bay has its own charm and story to tell. One of my favorite Dalmatian song lyrics ‘More, more, more ča je to u tebi da te čovik više od života voli’ its dedicated to the Adriatic and sings ‘oh sea, sea, sea what is it in you, that I love you more then my life’.
Which Croatian beach will you visit this summer?