5 Secret Croatian Islands You Should Know About

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With over a thousand sapphire-shored islands to choose from, Croatia’s coastline is the riviera of central Europe. Fringed by the crystal waters of the Adriatic, its rugged coast is made up of pebble beaches and sandy coves, its islands rich in romantic dalmatian architecture with their pretty walled towns and ancient stone villages with their green shuttered windows. Add fantastic local wine and a bounty of fresh-caught seafood, and it’s little wonder these islands are so popular with visitors. Yet despite numbers growing year on year, this expanse of coastline still boasts some islands that remain relatively under-the-radar – here are #teamcoco’s favourites.

1. Vis

The furthest island from the mainland, Vis has its remote location to thank for preserving its authentic dalmatian charm. A key outpost in the Adriatic, a strategic location meant that it was off-limits to all foreigners until 1991, as it was used as a Yugoslavian naval base. While the tourism industry has admittedly blossomed since then, this pretty island still has a sense of being caught in time, escaping the over-development that has consumed other destinations. It was this old-world feel that made Vis the ideal setting for Mamma Mia 2, filmed here in  2017. The historic tumbledown old town of Kut, with its creamy stone, cobbled streets and bursts of bougainvillaea and the fishing boat filled harbour making a picture-perfect backdrop.

2. Brač

Brač (pronounced brach) boasts a more rugged beauty than other islands. With its soaring rocky outcrops and carpets of green olive groves clinging to the slopes, it is home to the highest peak on the Adriatic islands – Vidova Gora. Despite its proximity to Split, the island tends to be often overlooked in favour of the glitz of Hvar. Yet this less well-trodden island offers an insight into authentic Croatia – from the sleepy capital of Supetar, to the villages and vineyards that dot its interior and the traditional white stone towns and rocky beaches that scatter the coast. The most visited site on the island is Zlatni Rat or Golden Beach, a spit of sand that sticks out into the Adriatic, considered by many to be one of Croatia’s best beaches – it is very crowded in the summer months. 

3. Dugi Otok 

Translated as ‘Long Island’ this stretch of land is located off the Dalmatian coast, to the West of Zadar. Arguably one of Croatia’s best-kept secrets, the island makes for a more mellow alternative to its more famous sister islands to the south. One side of the island is green with small hamlets scattered along the coast, while the seaward side is made up of rugged cliffs that descend into the ocean below. But the island’s main draw, besides its tranquil nature, is the Telascica Park on its southern tip, with its saltwater swimming lake, pretty wildflowers and walking trails. 

4. Šolta

While the island of Šolta might be one of the closest to Split, tourism on the island has been slower to develop than elsewhere. Although it is developing, the island still revolves predominantly around the historic production of olive oil and its famous honey. With pretty little villages, charming beaches, family-run agriturismo’s where visitors can sample the local olive oil, honey and grappa. With a host of bays accessible only by boat, it’s a paradise for yachties and both its beauty and proximity to the mainland have attracted many second-home owners from Split.  

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5. Kolocep Island

At just 20 minutes by boat, Kolocep Island makes for an easy day trip from the city of Dubrovnik. Covered in a forest of dense pine, citrus and olive trees, with only two historic settlements and no cars allowed on the island – an island getaway to this smallest of the Elafiti Islands is like taking a step back in time. 

For more information on Croatia visit: https://croatia.hr/en-GB/trip-ideas/Full-life

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