With over 1,100 miles of shoreline hugging the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a wonderland for those seeking a bit of sun and sand. Between the charming coastal villages and lush, dreamlike landscapes, it’s easy to see why Croatia is considered one of the best beach destinations in the Balkans. Although the entire country is postcard-worthy, the following areas are our top picks for an idyllic seaside getaway.
Located just off the coast between Split and Dubrovnik, the island of Hvar is the perfect mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. It’s blessed with over 2,800 hours of sunshine each year, making it the sunniest island in the Adriatic. But besides spending your days lounging on the beaches or splashing in the turquoise waters, you’ll also have plenty of fascinating sites to see inland, especially in Hvar Town and Stari Grad.
Get lost amongst the cobblestone streets of Venetian architecture, trek to the top of the Spanish Fortress for sweeping seaside views, or simply unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail while you watch the sunset at a beach bar. Spend 2 nights in Hvar on Gate 1’s 14 Day Dalmatian Isles, Croatia & Slovenia tour.
Opatija’s history as a resort destination dates back to the 19th century when Austro-Hungarian royals would retreat down the coast to escape the harsher winters up north. Even to this day, the opulent atmosphere is ever-present as the town is dotted with grandiose mansions, manicured gardens, and stroll-worthy promenades overlooking the sea.
After indulging in the luxurious lifestyle of the old town, feel free to venture up to Mount Učka, whose 4,580-foot peak looms over the Opatija riviera. From the summit, you’ll have panoramic views of the coast and picturesque Slatina and Lido rocky beaches down by the ocean.
Marked by lush pine forests, secluded pebble beaches, and century-old olive groves, Korcula is one of Croatia’s most unspoiled destinations. Besides the wide array of outdoor activities (kayaking, boating, and scuba diving are incredibly popular), this island also attracts wine connoisseurs from around the world. Two of Croatia’s most famous grape varieties, Pošip and Grk, are produced right here on the island.
Of course, no trip to this seaside escape would be complete with a visit to the Old Town – home to the legendary explorer, Marco Polo. With its fortified walls and maze of red-roofed buildings overlooking the sparkling ocean, Korcula Old Town is referred to as the mini-Dubrovnik of the Dalmatian Coast.
Croatia’s second-largest city is caught between the old world and the new. Its impressive 1,700-year history is dominated by Diocletian’s Palace, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and the historic heart of the old town. The elaborate city gates, sprawling stone courtyards, and towering cathedral towers are some of the best-preserved monuments from the Roman Empire.
But leave the palace walls, and you’ll find a vibrant community that sheds light on Split’s more modern side. You can catch a glimpse of local life at the many waterfront cafes, traditional restaurants, and bustling farmer’s markets flooded with locals and visitors alike. But if you’re looking for a bit of relaxation instead, you can always head to the nearby Bacvice Beach, which is home to one of the only sandy beaches on the Adriatic. Experience the beauty of Split on Gate 1’s 10 Day Croatia & Slovenia tour.
At the estuary where the Krka River meets the Adriatic, you’ll find the ancient settlement of Šibenik. While Croatia has its fair share of fortified cities, Šibenik is one of the most remarkable, with architecture that encompasses 1,000 years of history. In addition, it’s home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Šibenik Cathedral and the St. Nicholas Fortress), two must-see attractions for any history buff.
Šibenik is also the ideal jumping-off point for exploring the Kornati Islands, a largely uninhabited archipelago part of the Kornati National Park. However, you don’t have to travel across the sea to enjoy the wilderness – Krka National Park is also just a stone’s throw away from the city. Croatia is synonymous with sun-soaked beaches, although the added benefit of having historic medieval cities and picturesque fishing villages also adds to its undeniable allure. It’s simply one of those places you must see for yourself to experience! Enjoy the best of what this Adriatic gem has to offer on one of our guided tours.