Top islands to visit in Croatia

10 Croatian islands for every kind of traveler

With close to 1200 islands, isles and inlets, choosing where to go in Croatia can be challenging. Perhaps you want to indulge in delicious food or you’re looking for wild parties and memorable nights of fun? Or is it just that you want to chill on a sandy beach with brilliant views? Croatia’s islands are so diverse that you’ll definitely find one that matches your vibe.

Just keep in mind that, the key to a perfect holiday, according to Dalmatians, is fjaka - the 'sweetness of doing nothing'. To help you delve into the country’s laidback Mediterranean lifestyle, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best islands to visit in Croatia:

  1. Hvar
  2. Brač
  3. Korčula
  4. Krk
  5. Šipan
  6. Mljet
  7. Lošinj
  8. Lastovo
  9. Vis
  10. Rab

Find out more about the islands, pick your favorite and book cheap ferry tickets on Ferryhopper!

Hvar’s Spanish Fortress overlooking its town and port

Breathtaking view of Hvar’s town and Spanish Fortress

1. Hvar

Hvar is not only Croatia’s trendiest island, but also the longest and sunniest. Hvar’s Old Town is known for its ancient landmarks, lively beaches and legendary nightlife scene. Visit its large main square from the Venetian era and wander through the cobblestoned alleys dotted with high-end seafood restaurants, cocktail bars and shops. Stroll along the palm-lined coastal promenade and climb up to the Spanish Fortress for fabulous views of the town and Pakleni Islands.

Beyond the capital, another of Hvar’s trademarks are the lavender fields and vineyards taking over the island’s rural interior. This region is also worth exploring.

The easiest and fastest way to get here from the Croatian mainland is by taking the 1-hour ferry from Split to Hvar for around €6 to €20. Check out our dedicated blog to plan the most perfect day trip from Split to Hvar.

A beach with turquoise waters in the hidden cove of Dubovica, Hvar island

The idyllic Dubovica beach and bay on Hvar Island

2. Brač

Brač, the largest island in central Dalmatia, is mostly famous for its magnificent Zlatni Rat beach (aka Croatia’s most iconic and photographed beach) and its radiant white stone. Brač’s 2 main centers are Supetar, a lively town with a bar-and-restaurant-lined harbor, and Bol, on the south shore. Behind Bol rises Vidova Gora at 778 m which is the highest peak on the Adriatic islands - climb to the top for astounding views over Bol, Zlatni Rat and Hvar island. The Blaca Monastery, impressively built on the cliffs of Vidova Gora, is also worth checking out.

With its great water-sports facilities and well-marked hiking and cycling trails, the island attracts a lot of adventure enthusiasts. Brač is also a great place for anyone who wants to unwind and enjoy amazing food and local wine. Just hop on the 50-minute ferry from Split and get ready for your unforgettable vacation!

Tip: except for Zlatni Rat, Brač is also famous for the beaches of Murvica and Borak.

Boats anchored around Golden Horn Beach, Brač island

Aerial view of Zlatni rat, one of the most famous symbols of Croatia

3. Korčula

The island of Korcula is a spot that has hardly changed since its most well-known citizen, Marco Polo, set out on his voyages to the East. Korčula’s many treasures hide behind a tiny medieval-walled peninsula. Step through the gates and you’ll find, among others, St Mark’s Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral and several noble palaces. Add to the mix a few quiet coves and white-sand beaches (the best of which is Pupnatska Luka) sandwiched by pine forests and crystal-clear waters, and you have a little slice of paradise.

At dusk, make sure to watch a performance of the moreška sword dance, Korcula's proudest tradition. Then sample the local white, pošip, arguably the best of all Croatian whites.

The fastest and most straightforward method of transportation is by getting on the fast ferry from Split to Korčula. The ticket cost ranges from around €9 to €25.

View of the medieval walled town of Korčula and its seafront promenade

View of Korčula old town and its impressive medieval walls

4. Krk

Joined to the mainland by an impressive bridge, Krk is the largest of Croatia’s islands and draws visitors with its white-sand beaches, pretty fishing villages and lush vineyards. The island also boasts diverse landscapes, varying from dense forests in the west to mountain-like sceneries in the south, both of which make for a beautiful day’s hike. A few other must’s during a vacation in Krk include visits to the Frankopan Castle in Krk Town, to Vela Luka Bay as well as to the stalactite Biserujka Cave.

Don’t forget to dine at one of the island’s superb kanobes (taverns) serving local specialities such as šurlice (homemade pasta), Krk lamb and the traditional cakes of presnec and povitica. We also recommend heading to Vrbnik, a charming village on the east coast, and sampling Žlahtina white wine.

 View of the Frankopan Castle from the sea, Krk island

The Frankopan Castle in the old town of Krk

5. Šipan

The largest of the Elafiti Islands, Šipan is one of the best destinations in terms of ancient churches, noblemen’s villas and Roman ruins. The island also boasts some of the yummiest cuisine and best produce in Croatia - with figs and melons being the region's main crops. 

Šipan has 2 main settlements, Šipanska Luka, the largest town on the isle known for the remains of a Roman villa and a 15th-century duke’s palace and Suđurađ, a little harbor bordered with stone buildings and magnificent summer residences and palaces. For the best views on the island, hike or walk to the top of Velji Vrh! Overall, this is an ideal destination for anyone looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Croatia with a delightfully laid-back ambiance

So, if you want to escape the urban life and head to Šipan, board a ferry from Dubrovnik's Gruž port. The ferry trip from Dubrovnik to Šipan lasts about 45 minutes.

6. Mljet

It is not only Croatia's greenest island, but also among the last paradises in the Mediterranean, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. Mljet National Park, which covers Mljet's northern third, features 2 stunning interconnected saltwater lakes surrounded by a lush forest. 

Rent a bike and pedal around Veliko Jezero (Big Lake), in the middle of which rises a tiny islet capped by a Benedictine monastery. Alternatively, climb Montokuc, the tallest hill closest to the salt lakes, for an unforgettable panoramic view of Mljet and the nearby isles.

Pomena, the park’s entrance, can be reached from Dubrovnik in around 80 minutes. Check out our blog if you’re interested in planning a day trip from Dubrovnik to Mljet.

A lush islet with a medieval monastery on the island of Mljet

The beautiful salt lake in Mljet Island with the Benedictine monastery, Croatia

7. Lošinj

In the northern Adriatic Sea, Lošinj is divided from the island of Cres by the tiniest of channels and connected by a bridge. It might be smaller but it is the most populated of the twin islands. Lošinj's natural attractions include the Aromatic Garden, showcasing all the treasure of the island’s most significant scents, and its dolphin population. In fact, its waters are the first protected marine area for the friendly sea mammals in the entire Mediterranean, so keep one eye on the horizon. In addition, the Museum of Apoxyomenos displays an Ancient Greek bronze statue of a young athlete, discovered in 1997.

Lošinj's main town, Mali Lošinj, is the largest on the island and one of the main tourist centers in the Adriatic. It’s ringed by 19th-century villas with gracious gardens, boutique hotels and pine forests. If you’re traveling from Italy, your best option is to take the ferry from Trieste to Losinj.

Tip: the Lošinj Aromatic Garden has a store where you can buy homemade jams, herbal teas, natural soaps, and essential oils.

Boats at the marina of Mali Lošinj

The picturesque town of Mali Lošinj with colorful buildings

8. Lastovo

A small island with a very remote feel, Lastovo is a genuine haven for lovers of sailing, good food and wine, as well as for anyone who doesn’t want to encounter the holidaying masses. It’s also perfect for nature enthusiasts since it’s part of the Lastovo Islands Nature Park, making it the second most ‘woodiest’ Croatian island (after Mljet). Make sure to visit the main towns of Ubli and Lastovo, the latter of which is famous for its chimneys that were once status symbols of old Lastovo families. 

If you decide to stay here overnight, don’t forget to look up at the sky since Lastovo markets itself as ‘the island of bright stars.’ Alternatively, have a look at our dedicated blog to discover our travel tips for the best day trip in Lastovo. You can get here by ferry from either Dubrovnik or Korčula.

9. Vis

Croatia's most distant island was cut off from foreign visitors from the 1950s right up until 1989, keeping commercialism at bay. This isolation and lack of development has become Vis’ drawcard as a travel destination. Mostly international travelers now flock to Vis for its picture postcard Mediterranean beauty, its ancient ruins and deserted beaches, as well as its gourmet delights

After swimming at the crystal clear waters of Milna, Stoncica or Srebrna beach, feast on fresh fish and octopus. Keep in mind that the island’s top restaurants are located in Kut, Vis town. Then try the local vermouth when you stop for an aperitif at one of the cafés on the main street.

Fun fact: the movie Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which was released in 2018, was filmed on the island.

Small fishing boats at a beach in Komiza village, Vis

An idyllic beach in Komiza village, Vis island

10. Rab

Rab is the greenest island with the most diverse landscapes in the Kvarner Gulf, leading to its declaration as a geopark in 2008. The more heavily populated southwest coast features pine forests and beaches, while the island’s northeast coast is laced with high cliffs and sandy coves, which are actually rarely found in Croatia. One in particular, Lopar, is ideal for families

The enchanting Rab Town is considered by some to be one of the most important historical old towns of Croatia. Bounded by ancient city walls, it is characterized by 4 elegant bell towers rising from the ancient stone streets. Other cultural highlights include the cathedral church of Marija Velika and the Benedictine monastery of St. Andrije. It is also home to plenty of lively bars and restaurants - be sure to try rapska torta, an almond cake unique to the island.

View of Rab’s historic center with its gray-domed church towers

 A breathtaking view of Rab island with its iconic church towers

So, now that you’ve read the magic list of the top 10 Croatian islands, which one do you choose? If you can’t pick one, you can also consider going island hopping! Book your ferry tickets at the same price with the ferry companies online on Ferryhopper and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.