Croatia has some beautiful beaches. The rule of thumb for finding the very best ones is to head south. You’ll find the most seductive sandy shores on the Dalmatian Coast – and some of the most pristine beaches are only accessible by boats or through narrow goat trails, which help prevent crowds. So whether you’re looking for white sand shores, pebbly coves or sun-fried rocks, there is a beach waiting for you in Croatia. Here are some of our favourites...
For those seeking the desert island experience, there are few better experiences than the island of Susak. This tiny island is almost completely made of smooth white sand and is located quite far away from the mainland. The only way to get to Susak is by boat, which only adds to the allure. The main beach is Spiaza, which is a sprawling crescent moon beach. The water is crystal clear and very shallow, making it perfect for walking in the water or some playful splashing. In fact, all who visit this beach have to walk nearly a kilometre out in the water to find ocean deep enough to swim in. If the crowd is too big at Spiaza, the similarly sandy Bok Bay, located a few kilometres away, is a good secondary choice. Many are drawn to Susak by Spiaza alone, so Bok Bay is usually significantly less crowded.
Want a more social experience on the beach? Then Bacvice beach is the place to play. This city is as close to a resort town as Croatia can get with the beach as the central place. For locals, this beautiful shallow bay of sand has served as the background for many of their unforgettable childhood and teenage memories. From the shallow bay for the young children to the water sports of the older kids and the pristine white sand beaches for the parents, there is a little something for everyone. The beach is a social hub in the warmer months with beach bars and all manner of shops nearby. For those that have had their fill of beach fun, the pleasure pavilion is packed with cafes with excellent beach views. Bacvice is something of a spiritual home to a beach game unique to the Dalmatian coast. The unique, yet basic game of Picigin involves players in the shallows performing some athletic leaps as they try to prevent a small ball from hitting the water. It may be basic but it is fun and a local favourite form of aerobic exercise.
For those looking for endless stretches of white sand that run onwards to the horizon, Nin is the place to go. The town of Nin itself is an interesting little place. The Old Quarter is built on a little sandy island just a few metres from the mainland where the current town stands, so the sandy coast is a big part of their way of life. The waters by Nin are quite shallow so there are tonnes of long strips of white sand bars poking up from the ocean all over the area. If there are people on one beach, then there is always a nearby beach that visitors can boat to for some privacy. The main and most popular beach is Queen's Beach, which contains a slew of beach bars, but not much else. This gives unobstructed views of the Velbit Mountains across the water, as well as the beautiful red-roofed city. Visitors shouldn't be alarmed if they spot a few beach-goers just smearing themselves with sludge though. The reedy area behind Queen's Beach is rich with peloid mud, which serves as an effective natural treatment for sore joints and muscles.
Uvala Dubovica, Hvar Island
For those in the mood for colourful nightlife, the Renaissance port of Hvar has earned a world famous reputation for its chic bars. However, when it comes to beaches on Hvar, it is best to leave town. While there are some good coves and beaches to the east, Uvala Dubovica is the most attractive. This is a pebbly beach in front of a beautiful historic manor house. The shallow area of the bay is a good place to go for some serious swimming, but the area gets popular for yachts and motor boats during boating season. As this isn't the sandiest of beaches and there is only enough parking to accommodate about 50 cars, Uvala Dubovica doesn't get as many visitors as the beaches by the port of Hvar.
Lovrencina Bay, Brac Island
Brac Island is four kilometres east of Postira and hosts several beautiful beaches that look as though they were ripped out of a brochure. Of all the beaches, Lovrecina Bay is most loved. It features a grand sandy shore that borders translucent waters, but visitors may just be drawn away from the beach. Located off the beach in a grove of olive trees is a ruined medieval church. Destroyed though it may be, this ancient building nestled in seclusion among the olive trees is simply breathtaking. As there is limited parking and no clear bus stop in the area, getting to Lovrecina Bay as a visitor can be a bit of a chore. However, this difficult to get to location keeps the crowds at bay.
Sunj Bay, Lopud Island
For those adventurous few who treasure the journey to the beach just as much as the beach itself, then the journey to Sunj Bay is the beach for you. The island of Lopud is only accessible by a delightful 50-minute crossing on the Burbrovnik-Sipan passenger ferry. Once on the island itself, visitors get their fill of exercise with a hike through the central hump of Lopud Island. As there are no cars on the island, visitors may find some other walkers, but usually it will be a pretty peaceful walk through Croatian island wilderness. The Sunj Beach is a graceful strip of sand nestled between two rocky promontories. The only other thing on the beach is an informal beach bar ran by the locals. As this beach is so hard to get to, there is likely to only be locals, if anyone, on the beach. It is a great place to make some new Croatian friends.
Located near Korcula Island, the island of Proizd looks at first to be just another hump in the Adriatic Sea covered in pine trees. Its beaches, however, happen to be the most alluring sun bathing and skinny dipping spots in Croatia. There are three beaches that line this tiny island and they are finely kept secrets, so visitors can easily find themselves a secluded spot. The beaches are separated by dramatic sloping rock slabs that shelve steeply over the clear blue sea. There is no accommodation on this island, so visitors will have to book their hotel in the nearby port of Vela Luka on Korcula Island.
Kupari, located just south of Dubrovnik, was once a holiday resort for members of the Yugoslav People's Army. However, the hotels were badly damaged during the 1991 to 1995 war and they have lain derelict since. Though there may be ruins in the back drop, this area is home to the Dubrovnik region’s best beaches. Explorers should try to resist the temptations to wander inside of the shelled, ruined hotels in the distance. These hotels are unprotected, unstable and pretty dangerous.