Island hopping in Croatia
Croatia is becoming more and more popular as a summer holiday destination. People are drawn by its gorgeous coastline, historic cities and cheap prices. Flying over, you can see its busy patchwork of islands dotted around the Adriatic sea, over a thousand of them. An extensive and reasonably priced ferry service make zipping between islands really easy. Over my three trips to Croatia, I have visited a number of the islands. These included an island hopping trip from Split to Dubrovnik, camping on Dugi Otok island and attending Soundwave Croatia and Obonjan festivals. Here I will give the low down on some of the 5 best island destinations to get you ready for island hopping in Croatia.
Use this website, croatiaferries.com, to find timetables and maps for all the ferries serving Croatia’s vast coastline.
1) Brac Island
Brac is one of Croatia’s largest islands, and is just off the coast from the city of Split. I stayed in the pretty town of Bol on the south of the island. Croatia is famous for its rugged rocky beaches, which you will find here in abundance, and its beautifully clear water. I can honestly say from all the countries I’ve been to, Croatia has the most crystal clear seas! Brac has a bit of everything, so spend one day climbing to the highest point on the Adriatic sea, Vidora Gora, for some spectacular views. Take a walk along the water through the lush green pine trees from Bol to Zlatni Rat Beach. One day, we hired a small motorboat and took a picnic to a secluded bay. I think Brac is great if you want something a little different to a standard beach holiday.
2) Hvar Island
Hvar is really good fun and should definitely be included in a island hopping in Croatia tour. The main hub of the island, glamourous Hvar town, is a small bay town with a unique history. The polished marble streets, gothic style architecture and vibrant nightlife give the place a real character. We spent the evenings amongst the bustle of the town and the harbour, enjoying cocktails at happening bars and clubs (try Carpe Diem Beach and Hula Hula Beach Bar). The waterfront restaurants serve up fantastic fresh seafood. Inland, the island is famous for its fragrant lavender fields. We hired a motorbike to tour the island and check out the gorgeous purple fields. For a relaxing afternoon by the ocean, grab a taxi boat over to the rocky Pakleni islands.
3) Bisevo Island
Bisevo island is where you will find the famous Blue Cave. We took a day trip from Hvar to visit the cave, which is only accessible by boat. The entrance is just 1.5m high and 2.5m wide. This means as we approached, we all had to get a little friendlier with the other passengers and squeeze ourselves into the belly of the boat. Passing under the mighty rock, the boat floated silently into the cave. At the right time of day, the sunlight shines through the water and up into the cave in such a way that it baths the entire cave in an enchanting blue glow. Anything under the water takes on a magical silver shimmer. I really recommend this experience! It is possible to take day trips here from Split, Hvar or Vis.
4) Dugi Otok Island
Dugi Otok is a little more off the beaten track than the other islands listed here. We turned up on Dugi Otok with no real plan and nowhere to stay, so ended up wild camping in the pine forests around the village of Bozava. It is a beautiful sleepy island, great for a relaxing break. The islands main draw is probably the Telascica nature park, which is an extension of the neighbouring Kornati islands national park. This makes Dugi Otok an ideal place for trekking and cycling. There are many hidden beaches only accessible by sea, so hiring a boat to explore is a great option.
5) Korcula Island
Korcula is known for its dense pine forests and medieval old town, Korcula Town. The town has the nickname ‘Little Dubrovnik’ thanks to its charming churches, squares and palaces. Therefore this makes it a great place to explore without the crowds you would find in Dubrovnik. The orange roofed Old Town was built in a way to give it maximum protection from the strong wind, and this has given it its distinctive fishbone layout. Spend a day wandering the breezy narrow alleyways and checking out the sights, and end with dinner at a restaurant overlooking the sparkling Adriatic Sea. If you are after completely untouched natural beauty, take a boat from Vela Luka on Korcula to Proizd island to witness its white pebble beach and turquoise waters.