For many travelers, Croatia is the best mix of stunning beaches, picturesque medieval coastline towns, authentic countryside and some breathtaking natural wonders. It’s such a diverse destination that you could easily mistake it for three or four different countries altogether.
Perched along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia has over one thousand islands and islets, with only about fifty of them being permanently inhabited. With such extreme diversity comes its huge popularity as a tourist destination.
Almost every major island has its own special charm and set of attractions. In Croatia, travelers will find islands where thousands of people go for holidays and places that are practically unknown and offer private getaways alike.
If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, you have to add at least a few of these islands to your itinerary. Here are the top islands in Croatia.
Best Islands in Croatia
22. Silba Island
The island of Silba is located to the southeast of Losinj Island, in the northern Dalmatia area. It has the shape of an eight number, with the only village of Silba located in the middle, where two opposing bays almost meet.
There is no traffic on Silba and the few residents are involved in tourism and agriculture. There are plenty of small beaches and coves where you can enjoy the turquoise water around the island. The symbol of the island is the Toreta, a small tower that can be climbed for beautiful panoramas of the island.
How to the get to Silba Island – You can book a day trip from Pag to Silba Island. Also, there are regular passenger ferries between the island and Zadar, through several other islands.
21. Galesnjak Island
One of the hidden gems in Croatia, Galesnjak Island is popular due to its heart-shape. The island is covered with low vegetation and although it has a few pebble beaches, don’t expect too much from it!
Also known as the “Island of Love”, many couples come here to confess their love or get engaged. The island is uninhabited and there are no tourist facilities but this is what makes it unique.
How to get to Galesnjak Island – There are a few day cruises from Zadar to Galesnjak Island that also include stops to other places. If you only want to visit this island, I recommend renting a private boat.
20. Scedro Island
A small island off the southern coast of Hvar Island, Scedro is protected as a nature reserve. It is one of the most beautiful islands in Croatia, with countless little coves where travelers can arrive on boats and enjoy the peacefulness of this natural haven.
The two most popular bays, with crystal clear water and small shaded beaches, are Loviste and Monastir. Inside the densely forested island, there are the ruins of an old village and a deserted Dominican monastery. There are several restaurants on the main northern bays, but other than that, it’s completely unspoiled nature.
How to get to Scedro Island – There are no ferries that go to Scedro Island and the only ways to reach it are by private boat or by hiring a water taxi from Zavala, on Hvar Island.
No time to read now? Pin it for later!
19. Kolocep Island
The smallest of the three inhabited islands of the Elaphiti Archipelago and also the southernmost inhabited island of Croatia, Kolocep Island is also closest to Dubrovnik. It’s a small island of just about two and a half sq. km, making it the perfect day trip from Dubrovnik.
Locals call it Kalamota and it has two villages located on either side of the island, easily reachable on foot. Visitors can visit the pre-Romanesque churches, swim in the Blue Cave or spend the day on one of the two small beaches.
How to get to Kolocep Island – There are daily car and passenger ferries from Dubrovnik to Donje Celo, also stopping on the other islands of the Elaphiti Archipelago. You can also choose a guided tour from Dubrovnik that also includes stops to Lopud and Sipan Islands.
18. Krapanj Island
With a surface of only 0.45 sq. km, this island is located just 300 meters from the coast, south of the city of Sibenik and is densely populated. Its the perfect destination if you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing place!
The western part of the island is occupied by forest, while the eastern side is home to the small village of Krapanj. Villagers gather and process sponges from the sea and there is even a small sponge museum, as well as an old Franciscan monastery and church.
How to get to Krapanj Island – There are regular passenger boats between the tiny island and the village of Brodarica, about 7 km south of Sibenik.
17. Solta Island
The island of Solta is located just off the western coast of the larger Brac Island and about 18 km away from the coast of Split. It’s often overlooked as a travel destination, yet it’s a fascinating place, with many protected coves and beaches where tourists can avoid the crowds.
Solta Island is an excellent day trip from Split, with several small villages like Rogac, Grohote, Necujam, Maslinica or Stomorska offering accommodation and restaurants.
How to get to Solta Island – There are daily car and passenger ferries between the port of Split and Rogac. There is also a ferry between Rogac and Milna on Brac Island. You can also choose a catamaran cruise from Split that includes a stop to Solta Island.
16. Kornati Islands
The Kornati Islands is an archipelago of over 100 islands covering a large area off the coast of Croatia between Zadar and Sibenik. Most of the islands and islets are included in the Kornati Islands National Park, a spectacular natural area with pristine coves and turquoise water.
There are no permanent homes on the islands but only temporary shelters of people from neighboring islands who own land on Kornati. The best way to visit these splendid wild islands is as a day trip from Zadar, Sibenik or Split. Adventurers can also stay for more days in basic shelters without electricity of running water.
How to get to Kornati Islands – There are no ferries and no roads on these islands. The only way to reach them is by private boat or with a day tour from Zadar, Sibenik or Murter Island.
15. Cres Island
This is one of the largest, yet mainly deserted islands with large areas of wilderness and only a few thousand permanent residents. Mixing pristine and quiet pebbly beaches with natural protected areas where rare griffon vultures live, Cres stretches for a long way from north to south, having two distinct types of landscapes.
There are many fascinating historical sites in Cres Town and the old capital of Osor has an insightful archaeological museum. Other interesting places include the old villages of Lubenice and Valun.
How to get to Cres Island – You can take a day trip from Krk Island to Cres. There are also car ferry connections from Brestova on the mainland to Porozina and from Valbiska on Krk Island to Merag. There is a regular ferry line that connects Rijeka, Cres, Unije, Susak and Mali Losinj.
14. Mljet Island
Mljet Island is a natural paradise, with green forests and vegetation, perfectly clear water and an abundance of underwater life. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Adriatic, with a variety of attractions and unique features.
The northern part of the island is included in the Mljet National Park, with the two breathtaking salted water lakes of Veliko and Malo Jezero. The lakes are excellent for hiking, swimming and snorkeling, while the tiny islet of St. Mary houses the old 12th century St. Mary’s Church, abandoned in the last century and now a popular sight.
The island of Mljet also features some of the best beaches in Croatia, excellent hiking paths, as well as cycling, diving or kayaking opportunities.
How to get to Mljet Island – You can choose a guided tour from Dubrovnik. There is a regular car ferry connecting Sobra on the eastern side of the island to Prapratno on the mainland. There are also passenger ferries from Dubrovnik to Polace and from Split to Pomena (through Brac, Hvar and Korcula islands).
13. Brac Island
Brac Island has a rather interesting limestone landscape, with parts of the coast that are rugged and steep, while others are low and sandy. It’s a more authentic and less touristy island compared to nearby Hvar and Korcula, with traditional villages and secluded beaches.
Among the most fascinating attractions of Brac Island, there is the town of Supetar with its harbour and medieval streets, the world-famous beach of Zlatni Rat in Bol village, the charming villages of Splitska, Skrip, Milna and Pucisca. Visitors should not miss the traditional produce, including the excellent olive oil.
How to get to Brac Island – There are many car ferries from Split to Supetar, especially during the summer months and also guided tours. There is another car ferry from Makarska to Sumartin on the eastern side of Brac. Regular passenger ferries come from Split to Milna and Bol. During the summer, there is also a ferry from Dubrovnik that reaches Bol.
12. Murter Island
The largest island of the Sibenik Archipelago is actually quite small, with only 19 sq. km. and five settlements. Apart from the several amazing beaches like Slanica Bay, Podvrske, Jazina and Tisno village, the island of Murter is the perfect place to explore the Kornati Islands National Park.
Some of the beaches are also lesser-known party destinations for those who like to dance under the stars.
How to get to Murter Island – The island is connected to the mainland by a drawbridge at Tisno that is usually opened two times a day for 30 minutes.
11. Vis Island
Among the best islands in Croatia, Vis is the farthest inhabited island from the Croatian mainland. The main activities on Vis Island include tourism, fishing and agriculture, especially vineyards.
The authentic culture and unspoiled natural beauty are the two main advantages of visiting Vis. The two main settlements of Vis and Komiza offer plenty of attractions, including Roman and Greek ruins, old churches and villas.
Here you’ll find some of the best beaches in the country (Stoncica, Stiniva, Rukovac and Srebrna), traditional fishing villages, wineries, diving spots and much more. The island of Vis was selected as the filming location of the movie Mamma Mia 2, featuring breathtaking scenery that left the whole world amazed.
How to get to Vis Island – There are daily ferries and catamarans that run between Split and Vis Town or you can choose a guided tour that includes stops to the Blue Cave and other tourist attractions. There is also a less frequent ferry from Ancona, in Italy.
10. Lopud Island
The small island of Lopud is located just off the southern Dalmatian coast, close to the city of Dubrovnik. It’s mostly famous as a tourist destination for the superb sandy beaches, like the beautiful bay of Sunj.
Other attractions include the Franciscan Monastery, the town of Lopud, the 15th century church of Our Lady of Sunj, old fortresses and historical ruins, as well as kayaking and hiking opportunities. There are no cars in Lopud, making it a perfect day trip from Dubrovnik or a nice place to stay and relax.
How to get to Lopud Island – You can choose a guided tour from Dubrovnik that includes stops to lots of other beautiful places. There are daily passenger ferries from Dubrovnik to Lopud, also stopping on the other two main islands of the Elaphiti Archipelago.
9. Rab Island
The island of Rab is located on the northern Adriatic coast of Croatia. It’s a unique place, with two distinct types of landscapes. Barren karst can be found in the northern and eastern side, while the southeastern side is covered by one of the last oak forests in the Mediterranean.
The island was the home of Saint Marinus who founded the city state of San Marino. Rab Island is mostly famous for its many and diverse beaches, from superb sandy ones in the north, to the remote coves in-between the rugged cliffs of the west.
Among the top islands in Croatia, it has many sandy beaches like the stunning Paradise Beach, making it a great destination for family holidays. Other fascinating attractions of Rab Island include the churches, palaces and fortress of Rab Town, the forest of Dundo, traditional villages and more.
How to get to Rab Island – You can visit Rab island as a day trip from Baska. There is a regular car ferry connection from Stinica on the mainland to Misnjak on the south side of the island. There are also connections from Lopar to Valbiska on Krk Island and from Rab Town to the island Novalja on Pag Island and to Rijeka on the mainland.
8. Lastovo Island
The most remote and hardly accessible inhabited island of Croatia, Lastovo has no sandy beaches and only a handful of tourist services. Travelers only arrive on the island during the summer season and there are not many of them, making this island one of Croatia’s hidden gems.
Ferries from Dubrovnik and Split usually take over 3 hours to reach it so day trips to Lastovo aren’t very popular. The steep rocky coast and wooded interior make it perfect for hiking.
There are also over a dozen places where it’s possible to reach the sea for swimming, with only a handful of small pebbly beaches. Other attractions include the authentic villages with old churches, the vineyards and a fascinating Festival. The island is protected as a nature reserve.
How to get to Lastovo Island – There is a car ferry from Split to Ubli on Lastovo that also stops in Vela Luka on Korcula. There is also a faster passenger ferry on the same line. There is also a passenger ferry from Dubrovnik, although not every day of the week.
7. Pag Island
Among the best islands in Croatia, Pag Island is definitely the perfect destination for travelers who like to party, especially during the spring break period. It has awesome bars and nightclubs, offering a unique experience. In the past years, it has become one of the top destination for those who backpack through Croatia.
The best party place on the island is known as Zrce, a stretch of beach nightclubs located near Novalja. There are also other things to do on Pag Island, including a visit of the charming Pag Town, seeing the stunning Pag Bay, sampling the Pag cheese, exploring the small beaches, bird-watching, and much more.
How to get to Pag Island – It’s actually very easy to reach Pag, as the island is connected to the mainland by a bridge and the city of Zadar is located nearby, having an international airport. There is a passenger ferry from Rijeka to Novalja stopping in Rab Town. There are car ferries from Prizna on the mainland to Zigljen on the island.
6. Losinj Island
Once connected to the island of Cres, Losinj is now divided by a narrow canal and joined by a bridge. It’s a long island and a very popular travel destination, offering a diverse holiday experience that includes historical sights and beautiful beaches.
The most famous beaches include Veli Zal, Plieski, Zabordarski, Cikat, Krivica and others. For nature lovers, there are over 250 km of trails and pathways to discover the interior, while the stunning underwater landscapes and fauna can be explored by snorkeling and diving.
The towns of Veli Losinj and Mali Losinj offer amazing historical and cultural attractions, as well as plenty of hotels and restaurants.
How to get to Losinj Island – A drawbridge links this island to Cres Island, making it easy to reach (the bridge opens for boats two times a day). Cres can be reached by car ferry from Brestova on the mainland or Valbiska on Krk Island. There is a regular passenger ferry that goes from Rijeka to Cres and reaches Mali Losinj, as well as ferries from Zadar and Pula.
5. Ciovo Island
This is an island located in the central Dalmatia region, just off the shore next to the town of Trogir, being linked to it by a drawbridge. It has been inhabited for centuries, featuring amazing historical heritage dating back to the 15th century, like the Dominican Monastery, the Church of the Holy Cross, the Franciscan Convent of St. Anthony and other small churches.
It’s also known for its pleasant beaches and beautiful landscapes of vineyards, olive groves and pine forests. There are plenty of lodging options on the island, making it a great holiday destination.
How to get to Ciovo Island – You can visit Ciovo as a day trip from Trogir or Split and visit other tourist attractions along the way. There is a drawbridge that connects the island to the town of Trogir, which is connected itself to the mainland by another bridge.
4. Sipan Island
This is the largest of the Elaphiti Islands near the city of Dubrovnik, just off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. It’s famous for the vineyards, olive groves and palm trees that grow on the island and has two main settlements and ports, Sudurad and Sipanska Luka, with a road connecting them.
Among the attractions that are worth visiting, the Stijepovic Skocibuha castle and tower, a Benedictine monastery, many old churches and chapels, several hiking paths and small beaches. It is a nice day trip from Dubrovnik.
How to get to Sipan Island – There are daily car and passenger ferries from Dubrovnik to Sudurad and Sipanska Luka, also stopping on the other islands of the Elaphiti Archipelago.
3. Krk Island
This is the largest and most populated island of the Adriatic Sea. Located near the city of Rijeka, it’s also the most visited of the Croatian islands, given its diversity and easy accessibility. While visiting this island, don’t hesitate to take a boat tour to 5 beautiful nearby islands.
Krk Island is extremely popular with travelers, given its cultural and natural heritage, with old medieval towns, charming traditional villages, superb beaches and remote bays, restaurants and clubs. Among the most fascinating attractions of Krk Island we can include Krk City, the splendid towns of Omisalj and Vrbnik, the islet of Kosljun and its monastery or the Biserujka Cave.
How to get to Krk Island – The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge and it has its own international airport. If you want to explore the nearby islands, there are ferryboat connections from Valbiska Port to Rab and Cres islands during the summer.
2. Korcula Island
Among the most beautiful islands in Croatia, Korcula has a special place, with its impressive town of Korcula that is known as Little Dubrovnik due to its beautifully preserved medieval heritage. Although it’s the second most populated among the Croatian islands after Hvar, it’s also less visited by travelers, which makes it extremely appealing to people looking for less crowded destinations.
Other attractions include the picturesque villages of Vela Luka, Lumbarda, Smokvica and Blato, as well as plenty of pristine beaches in places like Zrnovo, Pupnat, Lumbarda and more. Korcula Island is also densely forested, making it a haven for nature lovers.
How to get to Korcula Island – There are daily car ferries from Split to Vela Luka and from Orebic to Domince, close to Korcula Town. There are also regular passenger ferries from Split, Dubrovnik and Hvar, with more connections during the summer season. You can also choose a day trip from Dubrovnik that includes a stop to Peljesac Peninsula.
1. Hvar Island
This is one of the top islands in Croatia, being a popular party destination and the sunniest island, with over 2700 hours of sunshine each year. The amazing Hvar Town combines the beautifully preserved Venetian architecture and historical sites with an incredible nightlife and is one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe.
On the other hand, Stari Grad is the oldest settlement on the island and a much quieter place to visit. Hvar Island also features small and pebbly beaches, superb villages and towns, as well as one of the best places in Croatia to experience scuba diving. As a day trip from Hvar, I recommend visiting the Green and Blue Caves.
How to get to Hvar Island – There are car ferries from Ancona (Italy) and Split to Stari Grad, and from Drvenik on the mainland to Sucuraj on the island. Passenger ferries arrive on Hvar Island from Split, Dubrovnik, Ancona, Pescara, Rijeka, Korcula, Bol (Brac Island) and more.
My trip to Croatia is one of my favorite holidays ever! There are so many places to discover and islands to explore. I know that visiting all these beautiful Islands in Croatia would take a lot of time but you need to add at least a few of them to your itinerary. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below.
May the travel bug bite you!