Croatia has quickly become the darling of the Balkans, and Europe as a whole, attracting A-listers, European vacationers and backpackers from around the world.
Aside from the history, UNESCO sites, gorgeous parks, culinary treats and fantastic wines that await visitors to this country, there are the beaches.
The gorgeous sun-soaked coastline of Croatia kisses the crystal aquamarine Adriatic Sea from the Istrian coastline down to the historic city of Dubrovnik.
Be warned: beaches in Croatia aren’t typical – most substitute sand for small rocks, pebbles, and large boulders. But, they are definitely worth a visit. Just bring a cushion or spend a few KN to rent a lounge chair.
Dugi Rat, Brela: Brela’s lush coastline is likely the most beautiful in the country. White rock beaches give way to green-blue water. Electric green pine trees sprout out of gray islands of rock. Brela is a small town – the bus barely stops there – and its tourist presence is significantly less than that of the more popular cities along the Dalmatian Coast, like Split to the north and Dubrovnik to the South. This city’s coastline spans 6 km and is lined with forests, restaurants and hotels. Dugi rat, one of Brela’s beaches, was named by Forbes in 2004 as Europe’s most beautiful beach. Many of Brela’s beaches, including Dugi Rat, are recipients of the coveted Blue Flag, a prestigious recognition given to some of the best beaches in the world.
Bacvice, Split: Located in the tourist hotspot of Split, Bacvice is walking distance from the heart of the old city, the Palace of Diocletian (a UNESCO site). This sandy beach is popular and often packed by midday. Lounge in the sun, dip your feet in the cool water (or wade until you can float in the salt-rich sea) or head over to one of the restaurants for some food. At night, the area comes alive when the nightclubs lining the beach open up to holiday-goers. Like Dugi rat, Bacvice is the recipient of a Blue Flag.
Jezinac, Split: At the bottom of the pine-covered Marjan Hill is the gravel beach, Jezinac, in Split. A favorite among locals, this area offers more than just a beach. Nearby is the Zoo, as well as a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy. Hike up the hill for one of the most spectacular views of Split, go rock climbing, or simply bask in the beauty of the Adriatic.
Palmizana, Hvar: While not technically a part of the gorgeous island of Hvar, Palmizana beach is a quick (and beautiful) boat ride from this popular island. Rent a boat or hire a boat taxi and motor off to this secluded spot. This area features small sandy beaches, large rocks to work on the tan, a little marina to dock and a restaurant. For some added romance, pack a picnic and take in the sites of this little Adriatic gem.
Banje Beach, Dubrovnik: Situated just outside the Old Town is Banje Beach. The beach isn’t private, it isn’t sandy … but it is the hottest beach in Dubrovnik. Here, the beautiful people from all over the world sun and swim. From celebs to athletes and everyone in between, this beach is where it’s at. The view is amazing – gaze out towards the walls of the Old Town or out into the blue sea. It’s also got amenities – restaurants, cafes, bars, lounge chairs and a beach club to enjoy.
Diana Edelman is a travel blogger who resides in Las Vegas. In 2010, she decided to take a career-break and quit her job, put her life in storage and headed across the Atlantic for seven months of solo backpacking through Europe and Africa. You can follow her on Twitter or check out her blog, where she documented her backpacking experiences and continues to provide readers with tips and travel notes on her popular site, The Adventures of D. When she isn’t traveling, or planning to travel, she works in PR for a restaurant group in Las Vegas.