When I was a small kid, Croatia beaches were something we all looked forward to during the summer. It was our playground where most of learned how to swim, catch our first fish and walk around barefoot on pebble and rocks along the coast. We played endlessly throughout the day and our parents really had a hard time getting us back to our tents or trailers.
Life was way different back in the 1970's, but the pristine beauty of nature along the stunning Croatian coast remains the same. Limestone mountains, breathtaking rocky coastline, pine and fig trees, olive grooves , pebble beaches and the warm emerald sea are simply a magnet for thousands of people that travel in Croatia each year from early spring till late autumn.
The diverse and picturesque coastline with well over a 1000 islands of various sizes is 5835 km long, so rest assure sure that there is plenty of rock, pebble and even sandy Croatia beaches for everyone.
Most of them can be reached with any vehicle, while some remain accessible only on footpaths or by boats. These are the secluded beaches mostly on the islands and believe me, they're well worth the trouble of walking or hiring a boat. And you will hardly find them in any Croatia guide publications.
I often travel to Croatia. Make that more than 40 years. I traveled this amazing coast with my parents, relatives, friends, my family and on my own. And I also used various type of transportation to explore around.
Cars packed up with a tent or pulling a caravan, motorcycles, sailing boats and for the last years in my Volkswagen camper van. If you really wish to experience the secluded Croatia beaches and islands, hire a sailing boat or go for an organized cruise in a fully restyled old fishing boat. It's the only way to see the islands from another perspective.
Which are my favorite Croatia beaches? A lot of them, and I do discover a new one on occasion. Experienced travelers usually ask the locals about the place worth a visit, so most of the time I rely on this type of old fashioned information exchange.
So I'll leave the selection to them, as they best know their country. According to various Croatian and foreign sources plus a couple of my own favorites, these are a few of the best Croatia beaches, from north to south.
Looking for some peace and quiet immersed in pure nature? Great, Camping San Polo and Colone are inviting campers with their slogan "Back To The Nature" and this is exactly what you get here.
Located between the towns of Rovinj and Pula on the Istrian peninsula and a 15 minute drive from medieval Bale, both camping sites share one reception and are just about far enough from the crowds. Both have great pebble and rock beaches, basic facilities, a bar, restaurant and a small shop.
There is plenty of shade and pitches close to the beautiful sea carved stone beach. If you're lucky enough, you might even get a pitch of your dreams here. Just imagine bathing, snorkeling and building stone sculptures all day long and enjoying the sun set just in front of your camper van or tent. One of my favorite places.
The nearby ornithological park offers plenty of foot and biking paths where you can enjoy bird watching or exploring the nature all the way up to the town of Rovinj.
Lubenice is a picturesque village on the island of Cres and located on a cliff 376 meters above this stunning beach in the north Adriatic Sea. The German Bild magazine has ranked it among the 15 most beautiful beaches of the world.
This unique pebble dream is still quite uninhabited despite it's natural beauty. It takes about 40 minutes to walk down on a steep slope and well over an hour to get back. So get ready for a bit of adventure or visit this beauty by boat if you have a chance.
The small town of Baška on Krk island is located right on the 1800 meters long pebble and sand beach. The town is a great family resort, with a camping site, shops, bars and restaurants almost on the beach.
So if you like to have everything at the reach of your hand and don't mind the summer crowds, you just found a great place to visit or stay. If you visit out of the main season, you can enjoy all this in a much more relaxing atmosphere, since the crowds will gradually go away by the time.
Lopar on the island of Rab, has the most sandy beaches on the Adriatic sea. The well known 1500 meters long and shallow Rajska plaža (Paradise Beach) is well known among families with small kids. They can endlessly play in the shallow sand, without you having to worry about them too much.
The beach also proudly carries the blue flag, a sign of quality and preserved environment. If you wish to explore around, there are many others, less populated sandy bays such as the Sahara for example.
Ever since my early youth, a lot of campers that I know, drove down south to discover the island of Pag and most of them stayed in Camping Straško. This is currently one of the most organized and neatly planned out camping in Croatia facilities. A bit large, but still fits the bill of my taste. It also has a separate naturist section and a beach.
Truth being said, Novalja is one of the few towns on the coast with such a large variety of family friendly beaches in a range of 3 kilometers. Some of them are immersed in a natural Mediterranean ambient of pine forests while others are flat out in the open.
These wide and blue flag awarded Croatia beaches with the emerald and easily accessible clean sea are a pure magnet. With many other natural and historical attractions on the island and dreamlike sunsets, this place more than merits a visit.
Fourteen kilometers from Zadar and far away from the crowds lies the proud and historical town of Nin. A camping site is located next to a 5km long sandy beach that goes by the name Kraljičina plaža (Queens Beach). The German ADAC ranked it at the top of the most beautiful Croatia beaches.
This is a great place for small children and anybody else that loves to endlessly explore and play in the sand. One of the lagoon’s special features is also medical Peloid mud. It's other
claim to fame is wonderful winds for sea sports such as kite and windsurfing. More than enough fun for any age!
Dugi Otok is an island in the Zadar archipelago and best known for the Sakarun beach, which could, judging from the image, easily find it's place as a far away tropical island. The sandy bay is about 800 meters long and you can find it near small towns of Veli Rat, Soline and Božava on the northwestern part of the island.
It was also listed as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. You will be more then impressed with the turquoise blue sea and white sand covering the shallow seabed. The nearby tall lighthouse is a must photo session of this area.
Solaris Resort is large and currently the best on the coast. A well pitched camping site, mobile homes, hotels with spa's, marvelous replica of an ethnic Dalmatian village with it's own vegetable garden and serving excellent local food will take care of all you needs.
Oh, and the beach? The sand and pebbles run all along the resort's shore and beyond. Some parts are seeded with umbrellas and deck chairs while others are left in a natural state.
For the young and young in heart, there are various water slides in the brand new Aquapark, a pirate ship in the harbor and a mini golf course. A foot and bicycle path runs all around the resort and just above this playful beach.
This is with no doubt the most famous of Croatia beaches. You will find it's image in every publication and website about the Croatian coast, and I will make no exception here.
The 1000 meter long pebble cape is well known to change it's shape and position according to the direction of the wind. Do to favorable winds, Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) on Brač island is also a well known windsurfers spot and lately became one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe!
Vis is a small island far off the coast in the Adriatic sea. This small beach is bounded by two high cliffs, which are separated by a distance of only four meters between them, and at least half of the beach gets the shade during the day.
For those who do not have a boat, Stiniva is almost inaccessible, since it requires a 30" walk from the nearest village on a steep goat track. Swimming at the beach is worth the walk by the way, but remember that you also have to get back home using the same track.
If you're out for some pristine, romantic and timeless natural environment, Pelješac is well known for it's pebble Croatia beaches scattered around the shores and under the impressive St. Ilija mountain. This scarcely inhabited peninsula will amaze you with small towns from another time, with captains villas and grooves of pine and cypress just about everywhere.
In it’s Best of Croatia section, at Best Beaches part, Frommer’s Guide is saying :
“Orebic (Pelješac Peninsula): The civilized beach gently rolls into the sea. This is a place where families spend the day together and, at the end of the day, Mom brings covered bowls full of fruit down to kids who don’t want to leave their sand castles and snorkels for dinner. The water is warm, the sun constant, and the people as nice as they come. “
Pelješac is also a well known wind and kite surfing spot, do to the favorable winds in the chanell between the neighboring Korčula island. Here is a full list of some of the best Pelješac beaches.
If you enjoy discovering beautiful medieval towns such as Dubrovnik and need a quick dip in the sea afterward, this municipal beach is just for you. You will hardly ever be alone
here, but the overlooking view to the old fortress town and the island of Lokrum will justify your stay here.
This is a club like pebble and sand beach, where you'll enjoy yourself on a deck chair under an umbrella holding your favorite drink. If you need to escape from the crowds, you can always rent a pedal boat and cruise around the city walls and enjoy the view from the sea.
The Adriatic Road runs along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Most of my customers from our Spicy Camper van rental find it absolutely amazing. And I couldn't agree more than that.
Beside it's beauty and stunning scenery behind many curves, it also offers quite a few local Croatia beaches by the road or at least close to it. Sometimes you just have to carefully observe the scenery below the road and find a way to get there. The small detour you made will usually be worth all the trouble. Take my word for it.
It's the basic essence of any camper van travel, to explore and discover with a lot of patience...
There you have it. Some of the best Croatia beaches on the coast and the islands. However, these are not the only ones, but merely a fraction of many others you will find along your way. So from here on, I'll let you explore on your own. If you have a chance, spring and autumn are the best seasons to do so. As a final note, your trash and leftovers belong in a garbage cans and not in nature.