Croatia is one of the hottest destinations for 2018/2019 summer holidays. The stunning coastline, dotted with more than a thousand islands, is lined with gorgeous beaches where you can relax, party or have fun with the kids. Many of these beaches, which are usually pebbly coves, backed by pine forest and blessed with crystal clear turquoise waters, are regularly voted the most beautiful in the world. Get the best out of your holiday with our essential guide to the best beaches in Croatia!
Best for party people
The number one party beach in Croatia is Zrće, near the town of Novalja on the northern tip of Pag island. As well as a multitude of fantastic bars and open-air clubs, it also hosts some of the best music and dance festivals – including Hideout, Sonus and Fresh Island – in the Mediterranean. In Split, you can hit the central Bačvice beach for a swim and perhaps a game of picigin with the locals, and hang around after dark when things heat up at the bars and clubs. Come in July for the Ultra Europe festival or August for the Split Beach Festival. The best party beach near Dubrovnik is Banje, which attracts hordes of people, particularly on hot summer nights when the beach clubs and bars set up DJ sessions and beach parties. Girandella Beach in Rabac is another party hotspot, with outdoor clubs and summer music festivals.
Best for families
The Punta Rata beach in Brela, one of the prettiest seaside towns on the Makarska Riviera, is one of the most beautiful anywhere in the Mediterranean. The water is shallow enough for younger kids to splash around safely, while older kids will enjoy jumping off the rocks. There are lots of facilities to keep mums and dads happy too, from sun beds to lots of places to eat and drink. The Sveti Ivan beach in Pula, which shelves gently into crystal clear waters, is another top choice for families, and also boasts all the essential amenities. Baska beach, on Krk Island, is long by Croatian standards – almost 2 kilometres, in fact. It’s an excellent option if you’re travelling with little ones, and offers lots of water sports for older kids too.
Best for couples
The tiny Plat beach, near Cavtat, is a paradisiacal little spot, which is perfect for relaxing and soaking up the romantic views. There are lots of secluded coves and beaches (clothing is usually optional) in the Pakleni islands, just off Hvar: take a taxi boat across to famous Palmižana beach, or rent a boat to find your own private bay. At the southernmost tip of the Makarska Riviera, you’ll find picturesque Gornja Vala beach in Gradac. It’s one of the longest on the Adriatic, with almost 5 kilometres of shingle and pale pebbles backed by pine forest and olive groves.
Best for water sports
Chances are you’ve already seen Zlatni Rat beach on Brac Island, which adorns a thousand brochures and websites. And the pictures don’t do it justice: stretching to a point along both sides of a slender, golden sandbar (the ‘Golden Horn’), it’s a truly spectacular sight. There are all kinds of beach adventures and water sports on offer, and it’s one of the best places in Croatia for kite-boarding and wind-surfing. It’s also a great spot for a few drinks and some people-watching as the sun goes down. Copacabana beach in Dubrovnik is the best city beach for water sports – parasailing, kayaking, water-skiing and tubing are just some of the activities on offer.