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Best Beaches In Croatia To Relax And Unwind | Chasing the Donkey

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There is no denying the beauty you’ll see when traveling around Croatia. We’re always bragging about the natural wonders and rich cultural diversity, and you can’t blame us. But how do you pick the best beaches in Croatia?

How do you choose where to swim in the sparkling azure Adriatic? Over 1,000 islands, inlets, and isles stretch across 6,000 kilometers of coastline in Croatia.

If you’re traveling to Croatia to enjoy the beaches, bring your camera with you. You’ll kick yourself if you leave it at home.

Okay, beach towels are ready; it’s time to find out what beach in Croatia suits you and your travel plans best.

Pasjača Beach

Best Beaches In Croatia_Pasjaca Beach_Zoran Jelaca HTZ
Photo: Zoran Jelaca via HTZ

Pasjača Beach, in Konvale near Dubrovnik, was named the most beautiful beach in Europe by European Destinations 2019.

Just 10 minutes from Cavtat and 30 minutes from the city of Dubrovnik, the beach is nestled at the foot of a cliff.

The beach began in 1955 when a tunnel was constructed from upstream fields. The remaining rocks were left on the seaside, where the waves broke them down into pebbles and then into the sand. 

Mali Bok Beach, Cres Island

Mali Bok Beach, Cres | Croatia Travel Blog
Croatia’s Best Beaches – Mali Bok Beach, Cres

This is one of those beaches in Croatia that requires effort to get to. Once you get there, though, you will be rewarded with unparalleled beauty. Rocky cliffs surround Mali Bok on Cres, one of the Kvarner Region islands, an excellent beach for those who like to snorkel or dive.

The Adriatic gets deep at this beach quite quickly, but there is no need to fear the deep blue Adriatic. There are no Great Whites in this neck of the woods!

Sakarun Beach, Dugi Otok

Sakarun Beach_Dugi Otok_Kayaking Zadar

This beach always makes

the “Croatian best beaches” list because it’s freaking awesome! Some call it the Croatian Caribbean because the sand on this beach is incredibly white, and the sea is as crystal-clear as the Caribbean Sea. Sakarun is 800 meters long, so there is plenty of room to lay down your towel and claim your little piece of beach paradise.

The beach is on Dugi Otok, so many small charter boats will take you for a day trip to Sakarun Beach for a reasonable price if you are in Zadar.

Ručica Beach, Island Of Pag

Ručica Beach, Pag| Croatia Travel Blog
Ručica Beach, Pag. Photo Tim Ertl

This beach is a unique experience. The crystal-clear sea with the backdrop of the rocky, desolate Pag slopes. The beach combines sand and rock; to get there, you need to walk through “the canyon.” No facilities are available, so bring everything you need, including shade.

Sveti Jakob, Dubrovnik

Located just south of the main center of Dubrovnik, this small but gorgeous beach is ideal for getting away from the crowds, especially during the peak months of July and August. The beach is half an hour’s stroll from the Old Town, and you have to walk down more than 100 steps to get there. The result is worth it; trust us!

The beach is pebbly and has an on-site cafe serving refreshments and light snacks. There is much shade on this beach for those who want it as the pine trees roll down to the shore. Dubrovnik’s city walls can also be seen from the sand, providing a stunning backdrop.

Golden Cape Beach, Rovinj

Golden Cape Beach, Rovinj | Croatia Travel Blog
Golden Cape Beach, Rovinj. Photo Tim Ertl

Istria has very few sandy beaches, but its beaches are stunning nonetheless. Golden Cape beach is just a few kilometers from the charming town of Rovinj, a beach loved by locals and tourists alike. A lush park lines the shoreline, so there is plenty of shade to escape the heat and take a nap under a tree.

Bilotnjak Beach, Privlaka

Bilotnjak beach in Privlaka is a little slice of paradise. It is an entirely natural beach: no concrete and no sunbeds. The steep rock descends into the sea and sand, a real natural oasis away from the village. Just a little warning – there are no facilities at all here. There is a place to park your car (which you will need to access this beach), and then you need to walk down the steep set of stairs to the beach. 

Zlatni Rat, Brač

Zlatni Rat Beach- Croatia Travel Blog
Croatia Best Beaches – Zlatni Rat

All I can say is WOW! This beach is arguably Croatia’s best beach and consistently wins various international best beach awards. Zlatni Rat’s is a long golden pebble beach, which changes shape with the currents and prevailing winds.

The beach is located in Bol and overlooks the island of Hvar. Pine tree lines the beach, making this a picture-perfect location. Also, adding the alluring waters of the Adriatic Sea, you have everything you need for an absolutely magnificent Croatian beach vacation.

Posedarje, Zadar

This beach is close to Zadar but not in the center, making it a great spot to escape busy crowds. Located around 25 kilometers from the center, you will need to drive, catch a bus, or get a taxi. The beach has a chilled-out feel, so this is a good choice if you don’t like too much action.

The beach is family-orientated, while the water is clear and shallow, making it ideal for an afternoon splashing around. There are also a couple of cafes just off the beach, convenient places to grab lunch.

| Travel Croatia Guide

Ricina Beach, Vrsi

About 18km outside of Zadar, you will find the municipality of Vrsi. With sandy, arcing shores, Ricina Beach is right in town. The gentle slope towards the water and the beach bar, umbrellas, and changing rooms make this an excellent option for families with young children. 

Views of Pag Island and nearby mountains make this a great little gem to check out.

Duboka Draga, Vrsi

While in Vrsi, don’t miss a stop at Duboka Draga beach. The pebbled beach with crystal clear waters is tucked between coves, making it an escape from the bustle of the city. Despite being tucked away, it is accessible by car, making a trip to this breathtaking spot feasible for most travelers.

Don’t forget your camera – the view of the Velebit Mountains is one you won’t want to forget!

Pecine Beach, Rijeka

Pecine Beach, Rijeka | Croatia Travel Blog
Pecine Beach, Rijeka. Photo Tim Ertl

This little gem of a beach is located a stone’s throw from Rijeka and is perfect for a sneaky little swim. As always, the Adriatic doesn’t disappoint here, either. By all accounts, this is a top beach in an area not known for too many good beaches.

Pupnatska Luka, Korcula

For some of the bluest sea you will ever see in your life, this particular beach is where it’s at! There are many small coves and beaches south of Korcula, and this one is undoubtedly one of the best. A pebbly beach, it lies below a thick forest.

The pebbles are blinding white, which makes the water look even bluer than it already is. The contrast from the green forest also looks impressive in the pictures you will take here.

This is quite a sheltered spot, so that you won’t find many crowds. There are a few upmarket restaurants just off the beach, serving delicious salads and seafood dishes. You could even call it a hidden gem.

Queen’s Beach, Nin

Queens Beach Nin | Croatia Travel Blog

There are many sandy beaches in the Zadar-Nin area, but this one is probably the biggest and the best. Families love this beach because of the shallow water and relative safety of the beach and water. Don’t forget your sand-free beach towel when you’re headed to this excellent beach!

Livacina, Rab

This is one of Rab’s beautiful sandy beaches, and its plus point is that it’s a quiet spot as well. You don’t have to venture too far from the main beach, Rajska, to get here, and you will be rewarded with fewer crowds and a more laid-back atmosphere.

The beach is backed by beautiful green pine trees, while the waters are relatively shallow, making it ideal for families who want to get away from the main crowds.

However, the crowds tend to spill over from the main beach during peak season, but you will grab a spot if you get there early enough. There are also cafes and restaurants close if you want a break from splashing and/or heading out for lunch.

Vela Przina Beach, Korcula Island

Vela Przina Beach, Korcula| Croatia Travel Blog
Vela Przina Beach, Korcula – Tim Ertl

Arguably Korcula’s best beach, Vela Przina, is very popular with holidaymakers during the summer months. If you want to spend the day at this beach, you’ll need to get in early to claim your beach real estate. There are spectacular views out to the island of Lastovo from this beach, so be sure to bring a camera.

Spiaza, Susak

The small island of Susak is as close to a castaway island as you’re likely to get! The beaches here are beautiful, and the moon-shaped crescent of the beach has waters that go out for a long distance. Therefore, you can easily paddle or splash with your children without worrying about dangerous drops or tides.

The downside is that you will need to get a ferry from Mali Losinj, which can take some time, but the journey is more than worth it. The beach is also sandy, which is a rarity in Croatia, and makes for the ideal spot to chill out, relax, and enjoy some seaside quietness. If you get tired of relaxing on the beach, you can also venture out to explore the village.

Paradise Beach, Lopar

Paradise Beach | Croatia Travel Blog
Croatia Best Beaches – Paradise Beach Photo: Lopar TZ

This long sandy beach is a rare gem in Croatia. There aren’t very many sandy beaches in Croatia, but Lopar boasts 22 of them, with paradise the biggest and most popular. This beach is perfect for families as it’s very shallow, and you have the facilities you need to keep the family entertained for the day.

Lovrecina Bay, Brac Island

Around four kilometers from Postira, this small bay is a cluster of beaches on the island that gives you that authentic paradise beach vibe. The sea here is literally translucent blue, and the olive groves and old church ruins bordering the beach will make you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.

Again, this isn’t the most accessible beach to get to; there is no bus service directly to the beach and not much in the way of parking. However, if you can get there, which is definitely possible, you will be rewarded with a total lack of crowds and a considerable amount of space to yourself. This area is also quite exclusive, so that you can expect some top-quality restaurants a short distance away.

Stiniva Beach, Vis

Vis Croatia Cruises

In recent years, the island of Vis has become increasingly popular with tourists looking for a destination, not swarming with summer crowds. Stiniva Beach is a beach for those prepared to put in a little work. You’ll need to earn the right to visit this little slice of heaven by descending a goat track. If you happen to have a boat, you can somewhat cheat and pass through the rocky Stiniva gateway, opening up into a grand stone amphitheater. The beach is stony, and the sea magical. Stiniva is a real treasure and an unforgettable beach experience.

Tip: The European travel site European Best Destinations recently asked travelers to vote for the best beaches in Europe for 2016, and the hidden Stiniva Beach topped the list.

Nugal, Makarska Riviera

Nugal Beach, Makarska | Croatia Travel Blog
Croatia Best Beaches – Nugal Beach, Makarska Photo: Vjeko Begovic

This one is for those of you who like to let it all hang out! Nugal is a nudist beach, and we had to include at least one of those. It’s located at the bottom of a cliff, which is accessible by descending through a forest. This beach has to be one of the most picturesque beaches on the Makarska Riviera. If you like to bare it all at the beach, this is the one for you.

Bačvice Beach, Split

Sandy Beaches in Croatia_Bacvice Beach Split

Found right in Split’s city center is one of the most well-known beaches globally: Bačvice Beach. There is something for everyone at this beach. While it’s not the most beautiful beach in Croatia, it ranks as one of the most fun. Bačvice has plenty of activities going on during the day, while at night, the beach comes alive when all of the bars and clubs lining the shore open their doors. The local sport of picigin originated at Bačvice Beach, and you’ll see loads of locals playing.

Porat, Biševo

The island of Biševo has a hidden gem, Porat Beach. This little sandy beach is perfect for those of you sailing the Adriatic. On our captain’s advice, we visited this sandy beach and spent the day swimming and lazing about. It was a day of pure relaxation set in an idyllic Dalmatian bay.

Trstenica, Orebić

Trstenica Beach, Orebic | Croatia Travel Blog
Croatia Best Beaches – Trstenica Beach, Orebic Photo: Villa Orebic

This beach is one of the best in Pelješac. Trstenica is a sandy/pebble beach and a perfect spot for families in Orebic. Grab yourself a couple of bottles of chilled Pošip and head to the beach for a day of fine wine and lazing in the sunshine while the kiddies frolic in the shallow sea.

Grebisce, Hvar

Another beautiful beach on the island of Hvar is Grebisce. To reach the beach, you must head to the popular Grebisce campground and walk through it to gain access. Once you get there, which isn’t an incredibly long walk, you will see the beach is narrow and not very shaded. However, the sand and shallow waters are beautiful for those who want to chill out.

The campground has a cafe and a small restaurant, so you can quickly grab some refreshments there. Additionally, there are several other beach bars just around the headland if you just walk a few minutes from your perched spot for the day!

Punta Rata, Brela

Punta Rata Beach | Croatia Travel Blog
Croatia Best Beaches – Punta Rata Brela

Photo: Brela TZ

Punta Rata has been nominated as one of the most beautiful pebble beaches in the world countless times, and it’s not hard to see why. Located on the Makarska Riviera, where you can take your pick from numerous breathtaking beaches, this beach still stands out. Let’s not forget the famous Brela Stone located at this beach, the very symbol of Brela and Croatia. It’s heavenly.

Saplunara, Mljet

Best Sandy Beaches In Croatia - Saplunara

A lovely quiet beach located on the far side of Mljet, this sandy beach is perfect for those looking for peace and quiet amid beautiful Adriatic scenery.

Dubovica, Hvar

Dubovica beach | Croatia Travel Blog
Croatia Best Beaches – Dubovica Beach, Hvar

Photo: Hvar-Dubovica.hr

Heading to Hvar, you can’t go past the spectacularly stunning Dubovica Beach. Located between Hvar Town and Starigrad, this unadulterated pebble beach invites you to take a dip and experience the abundant joys of the Adriatic sea.

Cape Kamenjak, Premantura

Cape Kamenjak, one of Croatia’s most spectacular coastal areas, is a short drive south of Pula in Istria. With its kilometers-long coastline made up of coves, inlets, beaches, sea caves, and islands, it’s a stunning destination to get away from bustling towns. The numerous rocky shores are a short walk from one another, many of them still unnamed and ideal for sunbathing. Another popular activity is cliff jumping, while kayaking is a beautiful way to explore these shores.

Šunj Bay, Lopud Island

One of the gorgeous Dalmatian islands west of Dubrovnik, Lopud Island, is where you’ll find Šunj Bay, a delightful stretch of sand, which is hard to find in Croatia, between rocky hills. From Dubrovnik, you can reach Šunj Bay via the passenger-only ferry and a hike or bike ride across car-free Lopud Island. While there, you might also want to explore the many ruins of villas, monasteries, palaces, and forts that dot the island.

Banje Beach, Dubrovnik

Balkans Travel Guide: Best Beaches in the Balkans. Banje Beach

Located just south of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Banje Beach may be the most famous of all Dubrovnik beaches. It is undoubtedly the most photogenic. Nowhere else can you enjoy such an iconic view while swimming than here. Although it gets super-crowded here, you’re still encouraged to spend some time lazing around on the rocks and going for dips in the gloriously blue and refreshing water. Afterward, head over to the Banje Beach Restaurant for food and drinks.

Zrce Beach, Island Of Pag

Croatia Travel Tips: Zrce Beach
Croatia Travel Tips: Zrce Beach

Anyone looking for a beach party simply must check out Zrce Beach on the Island of Pag. This spot is nothing short of world-famous for its epic summer music festivals, sunset party cruises, open-air nightclubs, and 24-hour parties.

Baska Beach, Krk Island

Krk Island in the Kvarner Bay is Croatia’s largest island, home to many fine beaches. Arguably the best beach on Krk is Baska Beach, situated near the town of Baska, which lies at the far southeastern terminus of the island’s main road. There are several beaches around the city, the most accessible and largest of which is the central Baska Beach. Almost two kilometers long, it’s lined by a multitude of bars, restaurants, campgrounds, and hotels.

Sveti Ivan Beach, Cres

Sveti Ivan Beach, Cres| Travel Croatia Guide
Sveti Ivan Beach, Cres

One of the most beautiful beaches on Cres Island, Sveti Ivan Beach, lies below the ancient fortified town of Lubenice. This secluded beach is a popular destination for yachts and small boats, a wonderful pebble beach with azure-blue waters. It’s only accessible on foot on land via a trail that runs from the town, down the hillside, and through typical Mediterranean vegetation.

Proizd, Vela Luka

Near Vela Luka, the main ferry port on Korcula Island, lies the small islet of Proizd. As a naturalist beach, it’s one of the best quiet beaches in Croatia for snorkeling and skinny-dipping. Home to a few gorgeous rock beaches, it’s reachable by a water taxi from Vela Luka, making for an ideal day trip.

More Beaches In Croatia

Here are other top-rated beaches in Croatia that we know you’ll love.

DUBROVNIK RIVIERA BEACHES

  • Veli Zal Beach, Brsecine
  • Pasjaca Beach, Konavle
  • Blace Beach, Mljet
  • Divna Beach, Peljesac
  • Duba Beach, Peljesac

ISTRIA BEACHES

SPLIT BEACHES

  • Kasunji Beach
  • Trstenik Beach
  • Bene Beach
  • Kastelet Beach

PULA BEACHES

  • Ambrela 705
  • Havajsko 
  • Zlatne Stijene 

DUGI OTOK BEACHES

ISLAND OF KRK BEACHES

  • Potovosce Beach Krk
  • Velo celo Krk
  • Vela Luka Beach

KORCULA ISLAND BEACHES

  • Pupnatska Luka Beach
  • Bratinja Luka Beach
  • Orlandusa Beach

Book Ferries In Croatia 

You can book ferries in advance to better prepare for your island-hopping adventure. Type in your two locations here:

So, which of these best beaches in Croatia will you visit this summer?

MORE CROATIA TRAVEL BLOGS

If you want more excellent beach action, check out these beaches and how to travel the Maldives on a budget.

We want you to know: A huge thanks to self-taught photographer Tim Ertl, an Austrian who has spent the last ten years traveling up and down the Croatian Coast and captured many of these photographs. Tim has an excellent photography blog about the 1,000 things to do in Croatia and a kick-ass Flickr account with photos to drool over. Tim was kind enough to share some of his suggestions with us, but you can find dozens more of his best Croatian beaches here.

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