17 Best Islands in Croatia to Visit This Year

When planning an itinerary for your Croatia trip, you must wonder whether to visit any of the islands in Croatia. And since the answer is Yes, you must think about which island in Croatia you should visit. 

Well, don’t worry! In this post, we list the 17 best Croatian islands to visit this year! 

Dubbed the land of 1000 islands, Croatia has so many islands that it can take years to visit them all. However, only about 78 of these islands are real islands, 47 of them are inhabited, and only 15 of them are over 50 km2 big with at least 1000 inhabitants. The rest of the islands are actually islets, rocks, and reefs. 

The best islands in Croatia to visit, Illustration

You won’t find many countries in the world where ferries are such an integral part of locals’ everyday life. Islands in Croatia are like small countries, they are all unique in their own way with a different vibe. Although they all boast wonderful landscapes, numerous beaches, mistrustful locals, small villages, olive orchards, and terraced vineyards, they also differ one from another in so many ways.

Whether you are looking for a laid-back vibe, relaxing beach time, partying, or active holidays with your family or friends, there is an island in Croatia to suit your needs. 

Hvar is the trendiest and the most popular Croatian island

Brač is the best island for families with children. 

A cool vibe, beautiful beaches, yummy food, quirky history, and lack of big full-service resorts make Vis one of the best Croatian islands for couples

Šolta is one of the best islands to visit near Split

Korčula, dubbed the Emerald Island, is one of the most beautiful Croatian islands

Croatia’s greenest island, Mljet attracts visitors with its wonderful nature, dense forests, ample hiking opportunities, turquoise sea, and overall tranquility. 

Elafiti islands are the best islands near Dubrovnik

The southernmost permanently inhabited island in Croatia, Lastovo is a perfect island for those in search of off-the-beaten-path destinations and “away from it all” type of holidays!

Connected with the mainland by the bridge, the north Adriatic island of Krk is the most visited island in Croatia.

The least developed and the least populated yet the largest Croatian island, Cres is one of the best islands in Croatia for beaches

Dubbed Vitality Island, Losinj is the best island in Croatia for well-being and recharging your energy.

Susak, an island made entirely of sand deposits, is one of the smallest inhabited islands in Croatia.

If summer for you means music, dancing, and clubbing until the wee hours, then Pag Island is the best party island in Croatia.

Rab Island’s many sandy beaches make it a perfect island in Croatia for families with small children.

Dugi Otok, a gateway to Kornati National Park, attracts nature and outdoor enthusiasts in search of active holidays.

Many summer festivals take place on the island of Murter during the summer, making it along with Pag, a popular party island in Croatia.

The Kornati archipelago is a real natural wonder full of hidden coves, lovely beaches, and great restaurants. The archipelago is a dream destination for all sea lovers and sailing aficionados.


Great for everything!

Sunset over Hvar Town from Spanjola Fortress

Hvar is the trendiest and the most popular Croatian island. It is a great place to spend your holidays and a regular stop on all itineraries for first-time visitors to Croatia.

Hvar has it all: beautiful beaches, easy access from the mainland, natural beauty, great tourist infrastructure, good restaurants, quality wines, charming coastal towns, historical sites, clubbing scenes in Hvar Town, and loads of activities for people of all ages.

Why visit: For all the reasons listed above. It appeals to everybody.

Where to stay: Places by Valamar, Heritage suites Zanini, or Villa Riva

Where to eat: Konoba Kokot, Black Pepper


Great for family!

With its lovely beaches, family-friendly hotels, low-key outdoor activities, and very safe environment, Brac is an ideal island for families with children to spend their holidays.

However, Brac also attracts couples with its wineries, hiking and cycling trails, and adults-only boutique hotels.

We also like Brac for its proximity to the mainland, its cultural heritage, and yummy food.

Why visit: Zlatni rat is the most renowned of all beaches in Croatia, and it is featured on so many best beaches in the world lists.

Where to stay: Elaphusa Hotel Bol for families, Lemongarden hotel for couples

Where to eat: Konoba Kopacina, Konoba Toni


Great for couples!

Beach in Komiza, Vis Island

We would move to Vis permanently. That’s how much we love it.

A cool vibe, beautiful beaches, yummy food, quirky history, and lack of big full-service resorts make Vis one of the best Croatian islands for couples. 

Vis used to be a military base for the Yugoslav army and thus entirely closed off for foreigners for more than 4 decades.

Due to this fact alone, it’s still a bit underdeveloped. Its lack of big hotels keeps the summer crowds low compared with other central Dalmatian islands.

Why visit: If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination where you can relax and recharge (although this is changing lately as foreign tourists start discovering Vis)

Where to stay: Hotel San Giorgio, Apartments Villa Anka

Where to eat: Mala Travna, Pojoda, Roki’s


Great for a day trip from Split!

Šolta is one of the best islands to visit near Split. In the past, a popular curse in Split was I hope you end up on Šolta Island. As you can imagine, traveling or living on Šolta wasn’t that popular. However, those days are long gone and today not only that Šolta attracts tons of visitors, especially yachtsmen, but it is also a place for locals to get away from hustle and bustle of Split. 

Šolta’s coast is very indented, and it hides wonderful bays, coves, and unspoiled beaches. 

Why visit: Šolta is still pretty much intact, especially when you wander to its outer shores; the island’s proximity to Split 

Where to stay: Heritage Hotel Martinis Marchi, Apartments Villa Lemony, Hotel Paradise Punta

Where to eat: Pasarela, Volat


Great for foodies!

Korcula old town, town square, bar

Korčula, dubbed the Emerald Island, is one of the most beautiful Croatian islands. It is also one of the southernmost islands in Croatia, and one of the closest to the mainland. The crossing takes only 20 minutes.

With stunning landscapes, historic towns, great local wine, lovely secluded beaches, crystal clear sea in all shades of blue, and yummy food, Korčula is a great place to visit for couples, or generally for all food and wine lovers.

Some also argue it’s one of the best and the most chilled places in Croatia, and we don’t object!

Why visit: yummy food and great wines, natural beauty

Where to stay: Aminess Lume Hotel, The Fabris Luxury Inn, Korcula Hill Apartments

Where to eat: Konoba Mate, Konoba Pagar, Ignis Tapas Bar, Konoba Skafeti, Konoba Maslina


Great for hiking!

Croatia’s greenest island, Mljet attracts visitors with its wonderful nature, dense forests, ample hiking opportunities, turquoise sea, and overall tranquility.

A northern part of Mljet has been a protected national park since 1960, and it’s pretty much the only area that attracts lots of visitors. The rest of the island doesn’t feel crowded, not even at the peak of the summer. Thus, it’s a perfect place to visit if you are on the lookout for some peace and quiet, delightful swims, lovely hikes, and fresh seafood.

Why visit: nature, hiking, swimming, and snorkeling

Where to stay: Apartments LampaloVilla Radulj

Where to eat: Marijina Konoba, Stermasi

Elafiti Islands

Great for a day trip from Dubrovnik

A beach and houses in Sudard on the island of Sipan near Dubrovnik

Located just slightly northwest of Dubrovnik, Elafiti islands are the best islands near Dubrovnik. 

Often visited on a day trip from Dubrovnik, the Elafiti Islands consist of 13  islands and islets. Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan are the three main inhabited islands. Kolocep and Lopud are car-free. 

Visiting Elafiti is like stepping back in time. Quaint villages with very few tourists and basic tourist infrastructure, peace and quiet, secluded bays, sandy beaches on Lopud Island, olive groves, kayaking, hiking, and some seriously good restaurants like Bowa or Villa Ruza, are the reasons people visit Elafiti.

Why visit: easy to visit from Dubrovnik, tranquility, sea kayaking

Where to stay: Hotel Bozica, Kalamota Beach House, Skipper’s Suite

Where to eat: BOWA Restaurant, Restaurant Obala, Villa Ruza


Great for away from it all type of holidays!

Lastovo is the southernmost permanently inhabited island in Croatia. It is also one of the most remote, and quite isolated Croatian islands and one of the least visited. It is popular among boating enthusiasts, but not so much among other visitors to Croatia.

Lastovo is beautiful, though. Its archipelago has been declared a protected nature park back in 2006. One fun fact about Lastovo is that it is marked by the number 46. Its archipelago consists of 46 islands, islets rocks, and reefs. Island’s surface is 46 km2. There are 46 small churches in the archipelago.

The island has only five settlements. And it is one of the best star-gazing places in Europe due to the low light pollution on the island.

With its rocky and steep shores, hilly interior, scattered villages, and few visitors, Lastovo is still wild and untamed. The sound of crickets, and the smell of the sea, pines, and immortelles, truly remind me of the Mediterranean as it once was.

Why visit: natural beauty, authentic holidays away from it all, peace and quiet

Where to stay: Villa Maria Apartments, Apartments Vesna

Where to eat: Podanje, Konoba Bacvara


Great for the first-time island experience!

Beach near Stara Baska, krk Island

Krk is the second largest island in Croatia. It is located in the northern Adriatic region of Kvarner, only 30 km south of Rijeka. 

The Krk Bridge connects the island with the mainland. Rijeka International Airport is located on Krk Island. This makes Krk easily accessible whether you decide to travel by plane or by car.

Krk truly has it all for a perfect vacation for visitors of all ages and travel styles, from quaint villages, historical towns, rich cultural heritage, many cycling and hiking trails, some of the best beaches in Croatia, great wines, and good restaurants. Add to that a great tourist infrastructure, Krk’s proximity to Slovenia, Austria, Northern Italy, and south Germany (all within 5 hour drive), and you will understand why Krk is the most visited Croatian island.

Why visit: easy access by car or plane, proximity to many central European towns, a good and varied tourist offer, good tourist infrastructure

Where to stay: Jezevac Premium Camping Resort, Rooms N Stara Baska, Hotel Villa Margaret

Where to eat: Konoba Pod prevolt, Restaurant Rivica


Great for beaches!

Meli beach on the island of Cres, sailing boat

Oh, how we love Cres! Cres is one of the least developed and least populated islands in Croatia, and yet is the biggest of all Croatian islands.

Visited mainly by sailing and camping aficionados from Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, and Germany, Cres will charm you with its numerous wild beaches, often only accessible by boat or on foot, vast spaces, hiking and cycling trails, small hilltop villages, and olive groves.

Why visit: for beaches and if you need to unwind

Where to stay: Art Farm Filozici or camping Kovacine mobile homes

Where to eat: Art Farm Filozici


Great for wellness!

Mali Losinj, Cikat Bay

Losinj is another one of the north Adriatic islands, along with Cres, Krk, and Rab.

Since the 19th century, Losinj has been known as a vitality island. The slogan that the island proudly carries to this day!

Covered in a thick pine forest, abounding in Mediterranean plants and herbs, and surrounded by the sea, Losinj is a perfect destination for all those who want to improve their health, or simply recharge.

The island has lots of hiking trails, numerous coves, bays, and beaches, some of the best hotels in Croatia, a bottlenose dolphin observatory, and a sea turtle rescue center.

Why visit: for well-being and to recharge, to see the dolphins in the wild, and simply to enjoy the sea

Where to stay: Hotel Bellevue, Boutique Hotel Alhambra, campsite Cikat

Where to eat: Japanese restaurant Matsunoki, Restaurant Corrado


Great to unwind!

Susak Island

Susak must be one of the smallest inhabited islands in Croatia. And it is also the only Croatian island entirely made of sand deposits and covered with reeds and vines.

This car-free island has only one village and not a single hotel or a campsite, and it is a perfect place to unwind.

You can also visit Susak on a day trip from Pula or Mali Losinj.

Beaches are sandy!

Why visit: sandy beaches, to unwind

Where to stay: You won’t have much choice – Sansego Suites

Where to eat: Again not much choice, konoba Barbara is your best bet


Great for partying!

Pag is the strangest place you might visit in your lifetime. And the closest place to what the planet Mars might look like. In fact, the most popular hiking trail on the island boasts The life on Mars name. The north part of the island is made of pure stone, with no trees nor bushes, only low-lying lavender, immortelle, and other aromatic herbs.

Pag is the most popular party island in Croatia. 

Zrće beach, close to the town of Novalja, is a popular tourist destination for the young and restless. Zrće Beach, a party beach with the best clubbing scene in all of Croatia, offers 24/7 parties from May through September in Kalypso, Ice Bar, Papaya, Aquarius, or Noa beach clubs.

But Pag also features a crystal-clear sea, beautiful beaches, Lun’s olive gardens, and one of Croatia’s best cheeses.

Why visit: Clubbing and summer festivals at the Zrce beach, but also for relaxed family holidays, or active outdoor vacation.

Where to stay: Hotel Boskinac

Where to eat: Restaurant Boskinac


Great for small children!

Dubbed “the Happy Island” Rab is a perfect choice for families with small children due to its sandy beaches and shallow waters.

No other place in Croatia has so many sandy beaches as Rab Island has! Although less popular than its northern neighbors, Losinj, and Krk, Rab still attracts a fair amount of crowds.

The other attractions include a lovely, historic town of Rab with its four churches, Dundo reserve, a dense holm-oak forest, one of the best-preserved in the whole Mediterranean, and a must-try Rab cake made of almonds, lemon and orange zest, and maraschino liqueur.

Why visit: Sandy beaches, history and culture, and lovely landscapes are some of Rab’s forte. However, it’s also a great place to unwind, take interesting day trips, hike, and explore hidden bays and coves.

Where to stay: Padova Premium Camping Resort, Imperial Valamar Collection Hotel, Vintage Holiday Home

Where to eat: Konoba Rab, Restaurant More, Restaurant Sampjer

Dugi otok

Great for adventure!

With its striking cliffs, sandy beaches, remote villages, protected nature park Telasica, and numerous bays, Dugi Otok attracts a fair share of nature and outdoor enthusiasts in search of active holidays.

Whether you enjoy cycling, sea kayaking, snorkeling, diving, swimming, rock, or big game fishing, Dugi Otok is the place to be! The island is also a great gateway to visiting Kornati National Park.

Why visit: for outdoor activities, especially water activities, to relax far from the crowds

Where to stay: Gorgonia Apartments and Suites, Villa Nai 3.3

Where to eat: Gorgonia Grill, Konoba Trapula


Great for summer festivals!

Murter Island, Sailing Boat, Bay

With a surface of fewer than 20 km2 and a population of only 5000 people, Murter is, believe it or not, the largest island in the Sibenik archipelago.

The island of Murter is conveniently connected with the mainland by a bridge.

It is known for summer festivals, for its beautiful sandy and pebbly beaches, and as a gateway to Kornati national park – making it one of the favorite destinations for sailing aficionados.

Why visit: Summer festivals, taking place in the town of Tisno, are some of the best in Croatia!

Where to stay: Golden Haven Luxe Glamp Resort, Villa Ena

Where to eat: Konoba Boba


Great for sailing!

Watching the Kornati only on photos, I couldn’t understand what all fuss was about. Croatia has so many beautiful islands and Kornati, from that perspective, looked to me just like naked rocks.

Anyways fast forward to 2017 when I visited them for the first time. And oh boy, was I wrong!

Kornati is one of the most stunning places I have seen in my life (and I’ve seen quite a fair share in my 25 years of professional sailing all over the world).

The only way to visit and get to know Kornati Islands is by boat. This most indented archipelago in the Mediterranean is a maze of 89 islands, islets, and reefs. Due to the strong winds that blow here, the islands have very scarce vegetation, and they truly look like from another planet.

The Kornati archipelago is a real natural wonder full of hidden coves, lovely beaches, and great restaurants. The archipelago is a dream destination for all sea lovers and sailing aficionados.

Why visit: Lovely landscapes, great swimming and snorkeling, the best sailing spot in Croatia, and good food

Where to stay: Holiday Home Queen of Kornati, Glamping Resort Festa

Where to eat: Konoba Levrnaka, Restaurant Festa

We hope you have a better idea of the islands in Croatia, and which one can fit your travel style. As always, if you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below.


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1 thought on “17 Best Islands in Croatia to Visit This Year”

  1. Hey Frank, thanks a lot for your valuable insights and posts about Croatia! Thanks to your blog we have managed to plan our trip to Croatia last year despite all the covid restrictions. This year we will be coming back to Croatia! We will be spending some time first in Dubrovnik and afterwards in Split. We would also love to spend some time on croatian islands. At this point of time I have in mind Vis and Hvar. However, I was wondering is it better to stay on one island and get a ferry to another island and have more like a day trip? Or should we spend couple of days on both islands?
    Would appreciate any tips/thoughts. Thanks :)

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