The crystal clear, pristine waters along the Croatian coast attract flocks of visitors each year for vacationing and famous events like Yacht Week. The Dalmatia islands between Split and Dubrovnik are one of the most beautiful places to sail and explore in all of the Mediterranean, so its no surprise that it is a popular summer destination.
When I signed up for Intrepid Travel’s Sailing Adventure in Croatia, I knew it would be a relaxing and beautiful week of vacation but I had no idea how much diversity and beauty there was to discover on the Dalmatian coast. Each day, I was blown away by the beauty of Croatia’s islands!
How do you choose which Croatian island to visit when they are all so lovely? I’ve summarized 6 of the best islands in Croatia, highlighting what they are best known for and why I loved them.
Here are the 6 Croatian Islands That You Need to Visit During Your Next Summer Vacation!
Best known for: Charming old town
Home to a walled old town, Korcula feels like a mini Dubrovnik on an island with a quarter of the crowds. Similar to Vis (mentioned below), Korcula has a charm about it, especially as you meander the tiny alleys of the old town. It is not uncommon to see house cats in the windows beneath lines of laundry drying in the sun. It is so picturesque! The water around the island is as blue and clear as it comes, making the sail into Korcula stunning. It is worth sitting on the deck for! Korcula has a fairytale-like quality to it when you catch some live music at sunset from a seaside table with a cold drink in your hand.
Best known for: Mountain scenery & historical sights
Probably my favorite of all the islands we visited in Croatia was Vis because there is a charm about it that is palpable from the minute you arrive. It also happens to be one of the largest islands in the Dalmatia chain, which expands your opportunities for exploring the local culture and history. Vis Town and Komiza are the two largest villages on the island, and Komiza is truly a dream. It is incredibly picturesque at sunset as all the fishing boats come into the harbor and beach goers swim under the sandstone architecture of this charming village. Vis also has a fascinating history which I learned about on 3 hour wine and history tour led by a passionate and knowledgeable local historian. I talked all about my love for Vis and shared words of wisdom about my experience on my Intrepid Travel blog post all about this island.
Best Known for: Blue Cave
Most easily accessed from the Komiza harbor on Vis, Bisevo is a tiny island in the Dalmatian chain that is famed for its a natural wonder–the Blue Cave! I wrote a whole post covering everything you need to know about visiting Bisevo and the Blue Cave because it is a beautiful spot for a day trip. It can only be visited with a licensed operator, so naturally it is quite popular with tourists. You can expect crowds during the summer, but it is worth adding on to your Vis itinerary!
Best Known For: Nightlife
Perhaps the most well known of the Croatian islands is Hvar, a popular vacation spot for locals and foreigners alike thanks to its stunning weather, scenery, and city life. With a thriving bar and club scene, Hvar is the best island for a fun night out! Hvar Town offers swanky hotels where the most famous Croatian vacationers stay. There is a general sense of luxury here with elegant restaurants and legendary beach bars to fill your Instagram feed with enviable spots. Personally, it wasn’t quite my vibe and I spent most of my time on the idyllic beaches of Hvar and exploring the fragrant lavender fields which have been a mainstay of the island’s economy for years.
Best Known for: Natural Scenery at a National Park
The Dalmatian coast is well known for its island scenery, but I had no idea that there were also national parks ON the islands in this chain. Mljet is the southernmost of the islands on this list and the entire western part of the island is Mljet National Park, which you can explore via hiking and biking trails, or on a short ferry ride around the waterways. It is much quieter than other islands, but it makes up for that in natural scenery.
I also had an incredible meal in Mljet, recommended to me by our boat’s skipper, at Konoba Antika. According to our skipper, Antika has the best lamb in all of Croatia because they cook it for 3 hours with wine and vegetables in a giant pan. You need to order in advance because of the portion size and cook time, but it is well worth it. The lamb was so rich in flavor and absolutely fell off the bones into a thick gravy with potatoes and veggies. It was my favorite meal from our time on the islands!
Best Known for: Quaint, quiet retreat
Brac is less of an island about doing things and more of a place to relax. We stayed in Milna, a sleepy fishing village that is perfect for just meandering around and exploring the quaint moments of life. There are several cute restaurants and ice cream spots to stop at as you walk towards the end of town. At the end of town, there is a beautiful little rocky beach with crystal blue waters which you can easily relax at for a few hours!