There’s something special about a beach town; that unbeatable blend of sea, sand and sophistication. And Croatia has plenty to pick from, along its captivating coastline and on the shores of its sublime islands. The best beach towns in Croatia include some of the Med’s must-see spots, as well as lesser-known gems where you can holiday in happy tranquillity. Read on to find out about our favourites and you might just discover your next destination for a dreamy beach getaway.
Sometimes called the Saint-Tropez of Croatia, the picturesque fishing port of Rovinj has all the essentials of an indulgent beach break. The colourful old town blends Venetian-era architecture, romantic cobbled lanes and one of Croatia’s only Michelin-starred restaurants (Monte, a chic spot serving up creative takes on local cuisine). Meanwhile, the pristine pebbles of Mulini Beach are a stone’s throw from the historic centre. A little further afield in the protected Golden Cape Forest Park, Lone Bay is a turquoise-watered, tree-shaded stretch that’s popular with families. The bay also gives its name to the luxurious Hotel Lone; minimalist, cruise-liner-like lodgings set among soaring pines just steps from the shoreline of Mulini Beach. It’s Croatia’s only member of the exclusive Design Hotels – a premium portfolio of independent, design-driven locations. Perfect if you want to stay in style in one of the best beach towns in Croatia.
If you’ve been researching the best beach towns in Croatia, your scrolling may have been halted by the iconic Zlatni Rat, also known as Golden Horn Beach. Seen from above, this spectacular spit of fine golden pebbles stretches out into a tie-dye sea of aquamarine and blue. It’s an idyllic image that’s frequently featured in guidebooks and beloved by the tourist board; an inviting vista to tempt tourists to Croatia. And it’s just as beautiful at beach level too, where the shape of the spit shifts in the breeze and currents of the Adriatic – a breeze that makes this a favourite spot with windsurfers. Even better, this beauty of a beach is a scenic 15-minute stroll from the town of Bol. While the beach steals much of the spotlight, the town is lovely too. Round off a relaxing day with a visit to Stina Winery to sample local tipples from a table overlooking the seafront promenade. Or head east to see the charming Dominican Monastery. It sits beside the beach of Martinica with its shallow, sloping and swimmer-friendly shoreline; an attractive alternative on days when the eternally-popular Zlatni Rat is a little crowded.
During the high season, Hvar Town’s traffic-free streets hum with tourists and the harbour bustles with boats toing-and-froing between the delights of the Dalmatian Coast. Our secret to a slower-paced visit is to plan your trip for springtime. The winding, whitewashed alleyways are quieter in the shoulder season, making it easier to traverse the cobblestones as you take a walking tour of the town. Highlights include the 17th-century St. Stephen’s Cathedral in its picturesque square, the tranquil Franciscan Monastery overlooking a charming cove – and of course, the beaches. One of our favourites is Pokonji Dol; a vintage postcard of lush greenery, sun-bleached shingle and glass-clear water. From there, a 20-minute wander through the fragrant pine forest brings you to the secluded and sheltered Mekićevica, where swimsuits are optional and tourists are few and far between. To discover more of the region’s pebbled shores, hire a boat and sail, swim, repeat in the nearby Pakleni Islands. While the summertime vibe is beach club cocktails and DJ sets until sunrise, the quieter months are more serene and sedate in this scenic archipelago.
Once an island accessed by a drawbridge, today the perfectly-round peninsula of Primošten is connected to the mainland by a man-made isthmus. This quaint and compact town is a labyrinth of limestone buildings, their red rooftiles baking beneath the Croatian sun. The highlight of the centre is the historic hilltop Church of St. George – and it’s the highest point of the town too, great for taking in the sea views. Speaking of the sea, Primošten made it to our list of the best beach towns in Croatia for a reason. Mala Raduča is the most popular beach and has the scenic city as its beguiling backdrop, plus the convenience and comfort of nearby restaurants for a lazy lunch. Meanwhile, Velika Raduča has that irresistible coastal colour palette of green, white and blue, where tree-lined pebbles meet azure waters. These are just two of the beaches waiting to be discovered – plan your trip to pretty Primošten to find your own favourites along this captivating bit of coastline.
Situated on the island of Krk, the relaxed resort town of Baška boasts some brilliant beaches. Vela Plaža is the closest to the old town; a long, slimline stretch of sea-softened pebbles and sand with plenty of space for swimmers and sun-worshippers. Further afield, Mali Raj translates roughly to ‘little heaven’ and it’s easy to see how this heavenly beach got its name. The small, secluded bay can only be reached via a coastal hike or by boat, but your efforts will be rewarded by a dreamy dip in the perfectly pristine water. Besides being one of the best beach towns in Croatia, Baška is also a haven for hikers thanks to its mountainous surroundings. Many of the trails lead to yet more beaches, so be sure to bring your swimwear as well as your walking poles. At the end of a delightful day, retreat to town to recount your favourite moments over sea-view sundowners in one of Baška’s laid-back bars.