The Summer Season is arriving in South Europe, and most people here in Mostar do seem to be venturing out to the nearby Adriatic Sea more and more for the weekends, until the real summer vacations start. I thought that it was time to talk about some of Croatia's finest islands. While you will find most people in Croatia's bigger cities, like Dubrovnik and Split as well as the coastal towns like Makarksa, Trogir, Zadar, Rijeka and so on, there is a lot of Mediterranean charm lost when you skip the islands. So for this post, let me show you 5 Islands in Croatia you absolutely must visit.
Above: A look at the houses in the core of the old city of Hvar; Below: A prominent beach in Hvar
The island Hvar, with the same named biggest city on it, has become a very popular place over the years. When I visited a couple of years back, you could already see that the island would become a place for beach parties and high profile visitors. But regardless of all of that, the island holds many historic and natural wonders, that luckily deflect from any shallowness that might arise from the carefree day life. The main place to visit is the city Hvar, located on the far west end of the island. The road through the island is not that great, you have two major options for arrival: by taking a ferry from Split to Stari Grad (which is on the island), and then taking a bus or taxi from Stari Grad to Hvar. You can also take a ferry from Drvenik to Sucuraj (which is on the east end of the island), and then drive through the island to Hvar. Places of interest are the huge fortress above the city Hvar, the "Pakleni otoci" (Fiery islands), that are small islands where you can escape the busy city beaches, and the old town of Hvar. I have written about this island a bit more in detail previously on this blog, you read that post here.
Brac is much more easily accesible then Hvar, since it's closer to the main port of Split, and regularly ferry boats take you from Split to Supetar, which is the biggest town on the island. But for most, Brac is synonymous with the "Zlatni Rat" beach, located next to the town Bol on the south side of the island. It's a beach that changes in size as the currents shift the sea level. This is a calmer island, life is slow here, perfect for relaxing and daydreaming.
Above: A relaxing beach scene in Lokrum; Below: Gazing into the open sea
The island is located in the Adriatic Sea, about half a mile from the city of Dubrovnik. For a small fee, you can take a ferry boat from the harbor in the old town of Dubrovnik. The journey to the island lasts only 10 minutes, and you arrive on a small dock. The island has a small dead sea lake in the center, and also houses a Botanical Garden, which offers up an relaxing walk down the olive trees. If you want to read more about this interesting place, click here, for my full post.
Above: The outer walls of the old town of Korcula; Below: Entrance into one of two city harbors.
Korcula is a beautiful island. The journey to this island is very interesting and surely as memorable as the place itself. So much happens on your way to Korcula, that I really love the travel. You take a ferry in the city Ploce, which leads you to Trpanj. From Trpanj you drive 20 minutes to Orebic. Another way to get to Orebic is to drive down Peljesac peninsula. One ferry ride less, and the drive is a bit monotone, but if time is of the essence, then maybe this will be better. In Orebic you take another ferry, that brings you in 15 minutes to the town Korcula (actually the ferry harbor is 5 minutes drive away from the town). From there you can explore the island, or stay in the most prominent part: the old town Korcula. There you can explore the old town, narrow streets, eat in one of the many restaurants, visit the gelateria Kiwi or discover the birth house of Marco Polo. Other places of interest on the island is the nearby town Lumbarda (which has a great harbor and walking lane), and Vela Luka, which is a bit further away, on the west side of the island. You can read more about Korcula in my three-part travel series.
5. Dugi Otok
Above: The Lighthouse on the "Veli Rat"; Below: The most beautiful beach of the island called "Sakarun"
Dugi Otok (translated: Long Island) is the seventh largest island in the Adriatic Sea. It is located off the Dalmatian coast, west of the city Zadar. The village of Veli Rat is also home to the Veli Rat lighthouse, another spectacular sight. The beautiful island of Dugi Otok, with a Mediterranean climate and ancient Croatian culture, receives very few visitors. Definitively worth a visit. After the lighthouse make sure to drive to the wonderful, sand beach in Sakarun for the most tranquil experience.
What Island is drawing you in the most?