Croatia’s coastline is simply breathtaking. We have gathered a list of the best sandy beaches in Croatia where you can work on your tan, relax, and swim!
Croatia is one of the top summer destinations in Europe with over 12 million annual visitors. It’s increasingly popular ever since the country joined the European Union in 2013, and for good reason: breath-taking coast and islands, nature reserves, ancient architecture and fascinating legends.
They say life is a beach – and with over 1,000 islands, it really is in Croatia. The country is a crystal blue water heaven. What many visitors don’t know is that the country has 2,000 kilometers of rocky indented shoreline and that most of its beaches are rocky or covered in pebbles. Some of these pebble beaches are stunning, like the tongue of pebbles sticking out in the Adriatic Sea at Zlatni Rat beach on the island of Brac or Betina Cave beach, a small secluded cave beach reachable only by sea from Dubrovnik, to only name a few.
While some prefer pebble beaches to keep the sand from getting everywhere, what would a beach holiday be without a nice sandy beach? The feeling of hot sand against your skin as you come out of the refreshing waves, that soft caress, that soothing foot massage as you stroll along the beach against the sunset. Or maybe you’re more of a kid at heart and still enjoy being buried in the sand or like to test your creativity while building a sand castle. The good news is sandy patches can be found in many places, but there are also more amazing sandy beaches in Croatia than you think.
How do you know which sandy beach in Croatia to choose and how to get there? Here’s our guide to help you find the best sandy beaches in Croatia. You can choose one to lie on and relax for your entire trip, or why not go island hopping and explore more? There are many ferries, catamarans, taxi boats and sailing trips to help you get more out of your visit.
1. Saplunara beach on Mljet island
Just off the coast of Pelješac, the island of Mljet is a great place to combine lazy days on the beach with romantic legends and an active holiday. Almost 10% of Croatia is made up of national parks and nature reserves and Mljet island is one of them. Covered by lush vegetation, a third of the island is a nature park. This island is one of the most popular coastal hiking destinations in Croatia. The legend has it that at the end of the Trojan War, the beautiful sea nymph Calypso held Odysseus in captivity for seven years as her lover in a cave on the island of Mljet.
Saplunara beach is on the south tip of the island. Walk the long soft stretches of sand in the vicinity of a dense pine forest, where you can relax in the shade when temperatures soar. The beach is not touristy, so you might have it all to yourself if you’re lucky. That also means you should make sure you pack lunch and any sports equipment as there are no food stalls or stores, only a beach bar so if you have a beach cooler you can really stock up.
2. Lopar on Rab island
When you thought Croatia had no sandy beaches, how about finding 22 in close vicinity to one another? With 22 sandy beaches and many secluded coves, you will find your beach. Lopar is a touristic area on Rab island that received a special award for the best beaches in Croatia. Beach sports, secluded areas, snorkeling, diving, pet-friendly, clothing-optional (Ciganka and Sahara beaches), or nudist (Stolac beach) – you will find the perfect match for you. Beaches are easily accessible on foot or by car. When you feel like escaping the crowds on the famous Paradise Beach, go for a stroll or head to the hidden coves which can be reached by boat or taxi boat from Lučica.
Lopar is surrounded by other islands and islets and is situated 110 kilometers from Rijeka and 190 kilometers from Zagreb. It can be reached by ferry from Rijeka. Rab is part of the Kvarner archipelago in the northern Adriatic Sea and it is home to 9,000 people.
3. Saharun beach on Dugi Otok island
Get off the beaten track and explore the ‘long island’ of Dugi Otok, 45 kilometers long and home to only 1,500 people. Saharun beach has white sand and blue waters, which might make you dream of the Caribbean islands. With its crystal blue shallow waters, dark pine trees and tranquil environment, the 800-metre long Saharun beach is perfect for families with children. Cocktail bars and restaurants and summer beach parties will keep you smiling well into the night. The tall lighthouse will make a nice selfie background.
When you get tired of the beach, go explore the small islands, coves and high cliffs of up to 161 meters of Telascica Nature Park at the southern tip of the island.
Get on a car ferry or on a catamaran from Zadar to reach Dugi Otok.
4. Vela Przina beach on Korčula island
Vela Przina is the biggest sandy beach in the town of Lumbarda on the southern tip of the island of Korčula, and it is very popular with tourists and locals. It is only a 15-minute bus ride from Korčula town. You will see many children playing in the sand and sun-seekers playing volleyball. The beach offers spectacular views to the nearby island of Lastovo. Check out Moreska, the Croat warrior dance, while in Korčula.
To get to this beautiful island, hop on a car ferry or catamaran to Vela Luka on the western side of the island from Split. The journey takes 3 and a half hours or one hour and 45 minutes respectively. The catamaran also stops at Hvar Town if you’d like to make a stop on the way there. There’s also a daily catamaran and bus service from Dubrovnik. Korčula is so close to the mainland that it’s connected by ferry to Orebić. Buses operate on the island so it’s easy to get to the main parts of the island regardless of where you land.
5. Mlaska beach on Hvar island
Located to the north of Hvar near the town of Sucuraj, Mlaska beach has shallow waters that are perfect for picigin, a traditional ball game that originated on the sandy beach of Bačvice in Split, where players have to keep the ball from touching the water. There is an auto camp nearby.
The island of Hvar is easily accessible by ferry from Split.
6. Spiaza beach on Susak island
Susak is the only Adriatic island made entirely of sand and it is often called ‘sand island’. With no cars, no roads, and no nightclubs, and very few tourists, you are guaranteed the rest you need. Beach sports and pedal boats, as well as plenty of cafés and restaurants, will keep you mildly entertained. The shallow waters are perfect for children. The island is so small you can easily explore it on foot in a few hours. Nudists can head to Bok beach further east which is significantly less crowded.
Hop on the daily ferry from Lošinj or on a catamaran from Rijeka to reach Susak.
7. Kraljičina plaža (Queen’s Beach) in Nin
If you feel like strolling on a long strip of sand with amazing views of the Velebit mountains, then head for Nin, only 15 kilometers from Zadar. Nin’s Kraljičina plaža (Queen’s Beach) is ideal for a few sips in the sun at one of the beach bars. You will be pampered like in a spa but without the high prices as the surrounding area is rich in peloid mud and many visitors come for mud joint and muscle treatments. Its location also makes it popular for kite and wind surfing.
8. Slanica beach on Murter island
This is one of the busier beaches with paid parking until 5pm and many bars, food stalls and restaurants where you can taste the local cuisine. It is popular with people of all ages. There are many activities for sports lovers, as well as for children who can enjoy the rides in the entertainment park. The shallow waters are great for picigin fans.
Murter island and its over 5,000 inhabitants are connected to the mainland by a bridge.
9. Stončica beach on Vis Island
The beach is in a protected bay with green vegetation where many boats are anchored, adding to the maritime atmosphere of the place. A 20-minute drive from Vis, the beach unravels as you walk down a gravel path. Treat your taste buds to some delicious Dalmatian specialties and fresh fish at the nearby restaurant. The shallow blue waters hide magnificent reef.
Porat beach on the small neighbouring island Bisevo might also be worth a visit.
The easiest way to get to Vis is to take a ferry or catamaran from Split. The journey takes only up to two hours.
10. Trstenica, Prapratno and Zuljana beaches on the Pelješac peninsula
Pelješac peninsula is a short boat ride from Korčula. The region is renowned for its red wines like Dingac, so the perfect place not only for a relaxing swim but also to wine and dine.
Trstenica beach in Orebić is wide and not overcrowded, so perfect to just soak in some sun.
Prapratno beach is partly sandy and partly rocky and is lined with beautiful olive trees and pines. The beach is nestled in a bay so its crystal waters are calm. This, together with its shallow waters for more than 100 metres, makes it perfect for non-swimmers and little children. A ferry connects Prapratno with Mljet Island. For those of you who like to live on the wild side of life, you can stay at a campsite on the beach.
Zuljana beach has calm waters at the foot of a hill covered in lush vegetation.
11. Lovrecina beach on Brac island
Lovrecina beach is 4 kilometers from Postira resort on the island of Brac in a deep bay. It can be reached by car, by boat or on foot. You can buy refreshments at a café and indulge in local specialties at the local restaurant. There are no sport equipment stores on the beach, so make sure you bring your own.
Take a ferry from Split or Makarska. Catamarans are also available from Split. If you have a car, do not worry: there are car ferries.
Pack your swimming gear, sunglasses, sun block and camera. Now you are all set for an amazing holiday by the beach – but not just any beach: a sandy beach with crystal clear blue water in Croatia!