A country where East meets West, Croatia is the gateway to modern and ancient Europe. Welcome to a jewel of the Adriatic with over 1000 islands waiting to be explored. Azure seas, lush greenery and mountainous backdrops – Croatia is a feast for the eyes. Whilst the mainland cities of Split, Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Pula are undoubtedly worth visiting, the islands offer a unique glimpse into Croatia of old – a place where ancient myths and Greek Gods seem to dwell. Here are Croatia’s best islands to visit in 2020:
Hvar is perhaps the most famous of the islands. With terracotta roofed buildings, pretty fishing boats and the pre-requisite super yachts that line European harbours, Hvar is the busiest Croatian island. Renowned as the party island, it attracts jet-setters and inter-railers alike. Hvar Town has a bustling Mediterranean feel, whilst on the other side of the island you’ll find the UNESCO Stari Grad Plain. An ancient agricultural and untouched landscape created by the Greeks in the 4th century BC.
One of the most southern islands in the Adriatic, Mljet is perfect for couples looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and explore mother nature in all her glory. Watch sunsets across the sea from a secluded cove or spend the day basking in the Adriatic waters. This stunning island is easily reached from Dubrovnik and has numerous walking and cycling trails which lead you around the island, including the national park. The national park is home to salt-water lakes and a former Benedictine Monastery, and visitors can hire kayaks to explore the island further.
One of Croatia’s best islands and best kept secrets. Visitors can discover the island on a Jules Verne coastal cruise and get to the heart of this stunning strip of land. A place of true peace and tranquillity, it’s hard not to fall in love Dugi Otok. With white sandy beaches, endless blue skies and crystal clear water, mysterious caves, and otherworldly lake – it’s the perfect place to marvel at the wonder of nature. Part of the Zadar archipelago on the Dalmatian coast, the island is home to twelve small villages, each with their own charms.
Characterized by rolling hills and fig trees, Brac is one of the largest islands. Visitors can quite easily explore the island by catching one of the regular boats from Split. For unparalleled views across the Adriatic climb the highest peak on the island – Vidova Gora Mountain. On the island, you’ll find the famous and unspoilt Zlatni Rat Beach, one of the best beaches in Croatia, if not Europe. It’s Caribbean-esque sands protrude over 500 meters into Adriatic as small yachts and fishing boats bob lazily in the calm waters and shoals of fish dart through the clear waters.
The island of Losinj has long been a playground of wealthy Europeans seeking the health benefits of the Adriatic and is now home to some world-class spas. Thanks to its mild climate, gentle sea breezes and 2,600 hours of annual sunshine, Losinj has been a leading health resort since 1892. Evidence of its history can be seen in the Habsburg-era facades of the gargantuan villas that line the wide harbour.
The fact that Vis is the furthest from the country’s land should not stop you from wanting to explore this tiny island. Defined by authenticity and an overall bohemian feel, the island of Vis offers unspoiled getaways. You can reach it via a ferry ride from Split, which lasts about 2 hours tops, depending on the company (there are a total of four rides a day during the summer season). Things to do in Vis? Beautiful beaches, spectacular caves and ancient Roman ruins are just some of the highlights.
The comedy Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again filmed here and released in 2018 made the island quite popular with Hollywood enthusiasts worldwide. However, the island offers plenty of opportunities to escape the crowds.
Croatia is a country of culture and cuisine, ancient rivalries and even older natural wonders. Its islands are the perfect antidote to modern life, and yet are only a stone’s throw from the sprawling cosmopolitan cities – both old and new. With mild year round climate, Croatia and its islands really are the perfect destination anytime of year.