When I think of Croatia, I immediately think of turquoise sea, rocky coastline and untouched mountains. Together with a long history and excellent cuisine, it’s a combination that few places can offer. If you’re looking forward to a holiday in Croatia, we’ve put together a list of the best resorts and places to go in Croatia to make planning easier.
I have heard so many times around me, “We are only going to Croatia.” Croatia is for us one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Plus, there are so many great things to do in Croatia.
The sea and Croatia is a classic that never gets old. But you can also hike the hiking trails, where you can enjoy fantastic views, or visit historical towns such as Split, Trogir, Dubrovnik.
Croatia also offers beautiful nature. The Plitvice Lakes are known to everyone, but what about, for example, the Krka National Park or the Blue Cave on the island of Biševo (see the article on Split).
In this article we will present the different resorts and places to go to the sea in Croatia – why visit them, for whom they are ideal and what are the disadvantages. At the end of the article you will find a map where the individual resorts are marked for easier planning of your holiday in Croatia.
The best resorts to go to in Croatia
Croatia has the most indented coastline in Europe after Norway. The total length of the coastline (mainland and islands) is 6278 km. There are already quite a few places to go to the sea in Croatia along this length.
The Croatian coast can be divided into 3 main parts, which we will discuss in turn, including tips on specific resorts:
- Istria is located in the very north of Croatia. It’s an area with beautiful rocky coastlines, colourful coastal towns and great food.
- Kvarner lies south of Istria and is a somewhat overlooked area of the Croatian coast. That’s why it’s ideal for those looking for a quieter place.
- Dalmatia occupies the largest part of the Croatian coast. It stretches from Zadar to the Konavle region in the south and has the best beaches in all of Croatia.
Where to go to the sea in Croatia: Istria
Istria is a heart-shaped peninsula in the Northern Adriatic. Rolling hills, hilltop towns, colourful coastal towns, rocky coastlines, vineyards, olive groves and above all great food. Really. Your taste buds will enjoy the most of Croatia.
Many people compare Istria to Italian Tuscany and call it “Tuscany with colours”. Istria is bilingual. The names of towns and signs are in Italian and Croatian.
Where to go to the sea in Istria: tips for the best resorts in Croatia
Pula is the largest city in Istria. It is completely different from other Croatian resorts. It may take you a while to get used to it. Pula is a mixture of Roman, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian and Socialist architecture. Historic Pula is dominated by the Roman Colosseum.
Even though many people choose a different resort for their holiday in Croatia, Pula is not a bad choice at all. It has great beaches – pebble beaches with lots of facilities, wild beaches near the Cape Kamenjak Nature Park or the sandy beach of Medulin. Moreover, it is less touristy and has lower prices.
Rovinj is the most romantic town in Croatia. An old town on a small peninsula with houses built close together, rising directly from the sea. The local church of St. Euphemia and Venetian architecture. The coastal colonnade runs from the old town southwards along Lone Bay to Punta Corrente Forest Park. Further south are other beaches – the further south you go, the less crowded.
Rovinj is also an ideal place for diving, as there are many shipwrecks in the surrounding waters.
Poreč is a small town on the west coast with a long history dating back to the Roman period. The Euphrasius Basilica in Poreč is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s one of the best organized holiday towns in Croatia – clean, plenty of parking spaces, traffic flows even at busy times. The Riviera runs from Cervar in the north to the Green Lagoon in the south. Everyone will find their own place by the sea. Even those looking for sandy beaches.
The best all-inclusive resorts in Poreč:
On the eastern coast of Istria lies the typical tourist village of Rabac. Ideal for those looking for a quieter location with beautiful pebble beaches, which are among the most beautiful in Croatia.
Other famous resorts are Vrsar or Novigrad, which is not to be missed by any fish lover.
Best accommodation in Rabac:
- Girandella Valamar Collection Resort A beautiful four star resort where you will find everything you need for a perfect holiday in Croatia.
- Valamar Sanfior Hotel & Casa : Beautiful beachfront resort with complete facilities – indoor and outdoor pools, garden, half board, restaurant, spa and free parking.
- Miramar Sunny Hotel by Valama r: Cosy and fully equipped hotel with outdoor pools, restaurant, bar, half board and free parking.
Where to go in Croatia: the Kvarner Riviera
The Kvarner Riviera is the area between Istria and Dalmatia, surrounding the city of Rijeka. Kvarner delights with its mild climate, unspoilt nature and resorts that are not overcrowded with tourists.
Kvarner Riviera: tips for the best resorts
Rijeka is an important Croatian port. Crossroads of land and sea routes. Even though it is the busiest port on the Adriatic, the old part of the port is definitely worth seeing thanks to its architecture. The same goes for the Museum of Natural History, where you can learn more about oceanography, the geological history of the Adriatic or enjoy the botanical garden.
Opatija is a resort where you feel like you are on the French Riviera. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire it was even the most fashionable seaside resort. The backdrop is the Učka limestone mountain massif, which, apart from the views, will also impress you with its karst phenomena. It is easily accessible by Poklon Pass, from where you can go to the highest peak Vojak with a lookout tower (1401 m).
Crikvenica may not have a historical centre like other resorts, but it has a mild climate, a beach over 1 mile long and clean air, thanks to which people with asthma find relief here. This makes it one of the best places to go on holiday in Croatia.
Where to stay in Crikvenica: Hotel Miramare Description : New stylish hotel with great value for money just a short walk from the beach
The Kvarner Riviera also includes some famous Croatian islands – Krk, Losinj, Cres and Rab.
Island of Krk
Krk is the largest island in the Adriatic Sea, connected to the mainland by an impressive bridge. It is also one of the most popular, with beautiful beaches and good facilities.
The island of Krk, it’s Romanesque churches, brick monasteries, vineyards and fishing villages. There is an excellent konobe selling local specialities such as handmade pasta shurlice or Kvarner prawns.
The island is crisscrossed with hiking trails that lead through donkey tracks on fertile farmland and rocky slopes.
Island of Cres
The island of Cres is the second largest island in Croatia, but it is not one of the most popular ones. If we do not count the griffon vulture, which is abundant here.
If you are thinking about where to go in Croatia and are looking for a quiet place with beautiful beaches and unspoilt nature, put Cres on your list of where to go on holiday. It is also very accessible from the mainland and other islands.
The main resort is the town of Cres, which is more like an Italian village thanks to its Venetian architecture. On the island of Cres, you will also find some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia – Meli Beach with a gradual entrance to the water, which is accessible only on foot from the village of Ustrine, or St. John beach below Lubenica, which is ranked among the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Where to stay: Hotel Kimen – Annex: Hotel with complete facilities (restaurant, bar, entertainment programme, fitness, free parking) by the pebble beach in Cres
Island of Rab
The island of Rab is one of the most charming and green islands. It has a mild climate, pine forests, a number of sandy beaches and the ancient town of Rab, which is characterised by its red roofs with 4 bell towers rising from them. Thanks to its location, you can enjoy spectacular views from the old town.
Where to stay on the island of Rab: San Marino Sunny Resort by Valamar: Three-star resort with full facilities and half board included
Island of Losinj – sea in Croatia
The island of Losinj is called the “island of vitality”. Its surface is covered with lush vegetation and dense pine forests. It is popular with campers and anyone who loves beautiful, unspoilt nature. The most famous resort on the island of Lošinj is Mali Lošinj. The historical part of Mali Losinj consists of the impressive houses of sea captains from the 19th century. century. The harbour is considered by many to be the most beautiful on the entire Adriatic.
The best accommodation on the island of Losinj:
- Vitality Hotel Punta Description : Modern hotel right by the beach in Veli Losinj
- Hotel Aurora : Resort in a beautiful bay with all the facilities of a four star hotel
Island of Pag
The island of Pag is different from other Croatian islands full of greenery. A rocky moonscape where sheep graze on wild rosemary that grows on bare, pale pink hills. The island is famous for its salt pans around the town of Pag and for its lace-making, which is UNESCO listed for its uniqueness. Electronic music festivals are held on Zrće beach in the summer.
Where to stay on the island of Pag:
- Hotel Plaza – Modern four-star hotel right on the beach
- Hotel Pagus : All-Inclusive hotel suitable for families
- Villa Ani – Clean and fully equipped apartments with outdoor seating and swimming pool
Where to go in Croatia: Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a region stretching from Zadar to the very south of Croatia. Turquoise Adriatic, thousands of islands, hidden coves, pebble beaches, mountainous hinterland, preserved ancient towns. Dalmatia in a nutshell. The long coastline is the reason why so many tourists come here every year. It has the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Croatia.
Dalmatia is so large that it is unofficially divided into 3 subdivisions:
- Northern Dalmatia
- Central Dalmatia
- South Dalmatia
Northern Dalmatia: tips for the best resorts in Croatia
Northern Dalmatia will be loved by all those who want to enjoy the beautiful nature. The area is the gateway to the Paklenica National Park, which stretches around a karst river canyon on the southern slopes of Mount Velebit. The most interesting part of the park are 2 massive canyons – Velka Paklenica and Mala Paklenica.
Northern Dalmatia also includes the Krka and Kornati National Parks. The Krka National Park consists of a system of waterfalls, rapids and cascades on the Krka and Cikola rivers, where you can also swim.
The Kornati Islands National Park is an archipelago of 140 islands that have a rocky surface without greenery due to the strong northern Bura wind. The islands are popular among sailing boats.
Looking for private accommodation in apartments or villa by the sea? Take a look at the offer private accommodation here .
Zadar is the largest city in northern Dalmatia, situated on a small peninsula. It is still a place that is not crowded with tourists like Makarska. It is a perfect base for exploring the surrounding islands, climbing, rafting and hiking.
From Zadar you can reach many islands in the area, which are smaller and quieter (Ugljan, Dugi otok or Iz for example).
Famous are his sea organs made of underwater tubes, where the sea waves play music through the tubes. Another attraction is the Salute to the Sun monument, which consists of three hundred multi-layered glass panels. These absorb the sun’s energy and put on a beautiful light show in the dark.
Best hotels in Zadar:
Sibenik has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is the gateway to the Krka and Kornati National Parks. It stretches around the Šibenik Bay, where the beautiful karst river Krka flows.
Sibenik is a city full of sights. The most famous is the Cathedral of St. Jacob’s Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sibenik is a popular resort, but for actual holidays and accommodation, the resort of Solaris, 6 km away, is a bit better.
Where to stay in Sibenik: Bellevue Superior City Hotel: modern hotel with complete facilities and great views of the old town and the coast
If you are looking for beautiful beaches and nightlife, Vodice is one of the best places to go on holiday in Croatia. The smaller resort of Vodice is 11 km from Sibenik. It’s popular with younger generations looking for a livelier background.
Primosten is a popular resort between Sibenik and Split. The historic part of the town is located on a small island connected to the mainland. Primosten attracts with its interesting architecture, beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. The resort is recognized all over the world and many tourists like to come back every year, which is why it is one of the best places to go to in Croatia.
Central Dalmatia: tips for the best resorts in Croatia
Central Dalmatia is the most popular part of the entire Croatian coast, which is indented with beautiful bays. You can admire ancient villages, historic towns and the dramatic backdrop of the Biokovo mountain range. When people talk about the most beautiful beaches, they talk about the beaches of central Dalmatia. Especially the Makarska Riviera. The beaches are small, white pebbles that have been washed by the sea for centuries.
Split is the cultural and economic centre of Dalmatia and 2. the largest city in Croatia. It is also an important port. You can admire the old town, which is spread around the 2000-year-old Diocletian’s Palace.
Split is a great base for ferry transport to the larger islands in the area – Hvar, Brac, Korcula.
Read our detailed guide to Split, Croatia.
Trogir is a medieval town with beautiful Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic palaces, streets typical of ancient Greek towns, the Romanesque Church of St. Lawrence, Kamerlengo Castle and a promenade. It is situated on an islet between the mainland and the island of Ciovo, which is connected by two bridges. The old town has no beaches. But there are plenty within walking distance.
The Omis Riviera stretches around the resort of Omis, which was quite overlooked a few years ago. But now it’s different, and if you’re looking for a resort with a sandy beach, look no further than Omis. In addition to the sandy beach, there are a number of smaller pebble beaches where everyone will find their own corner. It is an ideal place for families with small children.
Where to stay on the Omis Riviera: Hotel Saint Hildegard.
Who doesn’t know Makarska. The beaches here are the most beautiful in Croatia. The resort of Makarska itself is lively and makes an ideal base to the mountains and islands in the area.
You can even drive to the Biokovo mountain massif. I recommend starting early in the morning and walking the hiking trail to one of the peaks before the sun starts to hit your back. It’s beautiful. Or enjoy the view from the adrenaline-pumping glass observation deck – Skywalk Bikovo.
On the other hand, in high season, Makarska is a headache, the beaches are crowded and parking is a problem. If you’re looking for quiet places, Makarska is not the best choice. We were here in June and it was just right.
The Makarska Riviera includes resorts such as Baska Voda, Baska Polje, Brela, Podgora, Zivogosce, Tucepi and Drvenik.
Read our detailed guide to the Makarska Riviera for everything you need for a perfect holiday.
Island of Hvar
The island of Hvar is one of the most visited islands. It’s a place full of beautiful untouched nature with lavender fields and vineyards, where the smell of wild herbs is in the air. The island has a good tourist infrastructure, rich history and nightlife.
The most popular is the resort of Hvar, where you can find absolutely everything for a relaxing holiday. On the other hand, it’s more expensive here. A good alternative is Jelsa, which has beautiful beaches, is quieter and cheaper. Another resort is Stari Grad, which may not have such beautiful beaches, but is still popular. Its old town consists of traditional stone houses with cobbled streets and churches.
Island of Brac
Where is the most beautiful beach in Croatia? Yes, that’s right. Bol is home to the most famous and most beautiful beach called Zlatni rat. It changes its shape every year due to sea waves and wind.
But let’s see the flip side of Zlatni rat – in high season it’s head to head and the prices are really inflated.
Besides this beach, there are many other beautiful beaches of small, white pebbles or sand. And they’re not even crowded and you can find nooks and crannies that you’ll have all to yourself. Brac is ideal for all water sports enthusiasts and is the best destination for windsurfing.
South Dalmatia: tips for the best resorts
Southern Dalmatia stretches from the Peljesac peninsula to Montenegro in the south. The landscape is so diverse that it cannot be described in a few words.
In July and August it is often very hot here. In spring and June you will be comfortable here.
If you have the time, head through southern Dalmatia instead of following the main coastal road along the parallel ancient Napoleon Road in the mountains. You will have a wonderful view.
The Peljesac peninsula is famous for its Ston walls, which are the second longest surviving fortification in the world after the Great Wall of China at 7 km. Peljesac is the second largest peninsula after Istria and is a beautiful, old and romantic area where it is quiet even in high season. There are pebble beaches and sandy beaches of Prapratno and Zuljana. Salt pans are also typical for the peninsula.
Dubrovnik is the largest city in southern Dalmatia, famous for its old town and 2 km long walls. It’s also the south’s most popular tourist destination. And even more so after Game of Thrones aired. If possible, don’t choose the months of July and August to visit Dubrovnik. You should also take into account that Dubrovnik is quite expensive.
The sea is a bit colder here. As for the beaches, you can choose from rocky, pebble and sandy beaches like Sunj Beach.
The neglected rural region of Konavle, south of Dubrovnik. It is an ideal place to visit Dubrovnik. And also for hiking. The coastline is rocky, but there are still some beautiful beaches. For example, in the tourist resort of Cavtat.
Island of Korcula – where to go in Croatia
The island of Korcula is covered by hills with pine forests, vineyards and olive groves. The main resort is Korcula with its historic centre, where Marco Polo is said to have been born.
Where to stay on the island of Korcula: Aminess Lume Hotel.
Looking for private accommodation in apartments or villa by the sea? Take a look at the offer private accommodation here .
Croatia resorts – map
HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map with tips on the best resorts and where to go to the sea in Croatia. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.
This was our detailed guide to where to go to the sea in Croatia. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey Doviđenja!
More information about Croatia
CROATIA: Split is a historic city with beautiful beaches and complete facilities. Take a look at our guide to Split.
GREECE: Or are you more interested in Greece? Where to go to the sea in Greece we share in the next article. Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece – in this Santorini guide you’ll find all the tips on how to get here, what to see, the best beaches and other useful information.
ITALY: There are so many beautiful places in Italy – we’ve listed the most beautiful places in Italy in a separate article.