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10 Best Beach Towns in Croatia for Your Bucket List

Historic walled towns with ancient churches and forts offering panoramic views? Hidden beach coves lapped by peacock blue waters? UNESCO-listed palaces?

Say hello to the best beach towns in Croatia!

With over 1,100 miles of gorgeous Adriatic coastline speckled with more than 1,200 islands, Croatia is a mosaic of charming coastal towns and cities, each with its own allure.

We’d previously visited some of these gems on small-ship Croatia cruises. This time, on a 3-week trip, our Croatia itinerary allowed us to thoroughly explore more of the top beach destinations in Croatia.

Whether you want to hike to secret beaches, feast on fabulously fresh fish, sip on seriously delicious wines or swim in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic – and ideally, experience it all – there’s a Croatian beach town calling your name!

With idyllic beaches lapped by pristine waters, Croatia's coastal towns attract travelers from around the globe.
With idyllic beaches lapped by pristine waters, Croatia’s coastal towns attract travelers from around the globe

Best beach towns in Croatia

In our list of the 10 best Croatian coastal town and cities, we cover the must-see highlights in each destination and the best places to stay. 

People sunbathing on pebble beach in Hvar Town
It’s easy to go for a quick swim when pebble beaches, like this one in Hvar Town, await in Croatia’s beautiful beach towns

1) Dubrovnik

Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful walled cities in southern Croatia.

As well as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a noteworthy “Game of Thrones” filming location, it’s also home to some stunning beaches.

Young women photographing each other while walking the Dubrovnik city walls
From sea kayaking to walking the old city walls, there’s lots to enjoy in Dubrovnik!

Spend time strolling atop the medieval Dubrovnik city walls and exploring the Old Town. Then head to the Croatian coast for a swim at one of Dubrovnik’s best beaches

The annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival takes place each summer from July to August. So you can catch a classical concert if visiting in summer.

Even though we’ve visited Dubrovnik several times, we feel as if we’ve never spent enough time here.

Dubrovnik highlights

  • Wildly popular, Banje Beach is one of the liveliest Croatia beaches and a short 5-minute walk from Old Town. A beach club is on site. 
  • Take a 15-minute ferry ride to Lokrum Island. Wander the botanical gardens, sunbathe along the coast and say hello to resident peacocks.
  • Hop on the Dubrovnik Cable Car for a birds-eye view of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea. Hike the Mt. Srd Trail back down to the Old Town.
  • Go on a day trip by boat to the Elaphiti Islands to swim in hidden sea caves and explore teeny tiny Croatia towns.
A short walk from the Old Town, Banje Beach is one of the best beaches in Dubrovnik.
A short walk from the Old Town, Banje Beach is one of the best beaches in Dubrovnik

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

As Dubrovnik is one of the best beach cities in Croatia, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to superb accommodations.

For luxury near the Old Town, the 5-star Hotel Excelsior has it all – sea view rooms, champagne breakfasts, a sunbathing terrace (from which we dove right into the sea) and a fabulous indoor pool.

Rooftop lounge of Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik
We loved our stay at Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik, just outside the Old Town (Credit: Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik)

Stay at Boutique Hotel Star Grad for a taste of rich history in the heart of Dubrovnik Old Town. The former 16th-century palace has a rooftop terrace with stunning Adriatic and city views.

Escape the crowds at Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik. Set on a cliff, this luxe 5-star getaway has a private elevator that leads to a secluded pebble beach and an elegant onsite wine bar. 

2) Hvar Town

Hvar Town is one of the most beautiful towns in Croatia. And the most glam – it’s frequented by luxury yachties and celebrities. Its nightlife is legendary.

Walk up to the City Fortress for splendid views of Hvar Town
Walk up to the City Fortress for splendid views of Hvar Town (pick up some lavender souvenirs on the way too)

It’s nestled on the sunny island of Hvar, which is renowned for its beautiful pebble beaches, fragrant lavender fields and stunning medieval architecture.

While there’s a long list of enticing things to do in Hvar, nothing beats experiencing the coast up close with an afternoon of swimming, strolling and waterfront dining. (Those Croatian desserts are scrumptious. Creamy rozata, anyone?)

Hvar highlights

  • The pebbly Pokonji Don Beach is a 25-minute walk from town, featuring gloriously clear waters perfect for taking a dip. Beachfront restaurants serve the day’s catch. 
  • Continue walking along the coastline beyond Pokonji Don Beach for another 30 minutes or so, and you’ll reach picture-perfect Robinson Crusoe Beach.
  • Hike to the top of the City Fortress for stunning views of Hvar and the Pakleni Islands.
  • Stroll the Old Town to see the 16th-century St Stephen’s Cathedral and Hvar Theater.
  • Explore the nearby Pakleni Islands by boat. Our fave is Marinkovac, home to the lovely  quiet Mlini Beach.
People enjoying the turquoise waters of Robinson Crusoe Beach, Hvar
No crowds, just peace and quiet and a perfect beach cove – that’s Robinson Crusoe Beach on Hvar

Where to stay in Hvar Town

Palace Elisabeth offers a luxury stay in Hvar Town. Rooms at this 5-star hotel offer views of the Pjaca (the largest square in Dalmatia) or Hvar Bay. It also boasts an indoor pool with a sun terrace. 

The family-run Heritage Hotel Dea Hvar (where we stayed) is highly rated and a perfect option for a comfortable stay. Best of all, it offers a quiet setting just steps from the center of Old Town.

3) Split

In terms of accessibility, Split is one of the best coastal towns in Croatia, as it’s easy to reach via its international airport. (We flew out of Split, connecting in Germany, to return home on one Croatia trip.)

Split Old Town is built around Diocletian's Palace.
Split Old Town is built around Diocletian’s Palace

With its picture-perfect views of the Adriatic Sea, the city’s wide promenade (the Riva) is a popular gathering spot.

There are plenty of things to do in Split, from exploring historic landmarks (hello Diocletian’s Palace!) to the bustling city center with its shops, restaurants and cafés. 

Three young women enjoy Split's Riva waterfront promenade
Visitors enjoy Split’s Riva seafront promenade

Split highlights

  • Explore the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace and its well-preserved Roman ruins.
  • Climb the bell tower of St. Domnius Cathedral for stunning views over the Old Town. 
  • Soak up the sunshine at Bacvice Beach. A short walk away, it boasts sunbed rentals and waterfront eateries. 
  • Take a speedboat tour to see the famous Blue Cave.
A small wooden boat takes visitors inside Croatia's famous Blue Cave.
A small wooden boat takes visitors inside the Blue Cave

Where to stay in Split

We absolutely adore Judita Palace Heritage Hotel. It’s a restored 16th-century landmark in the center of the Old Town. Luxury rooms come with elegant furnishings, marble bathrooms and chandeliers. 

For beachy accommodations, the 5-star Radisson Blu Resort & Spa overlooks the Adriatic Sea. Along with a pebbled beach area, outdoor pool and posh spa, luxe suites here have balconies with sea views.

4) Bol (on Brac)

If you’ve seen pictures of Croatia, you’ve seen pictures of Zlatni Rat.

Located on the island of Brac, it’s shaped like a triangle jutting out into the turquoise sea and is the country’s most famous beach.

Triangular-shaped Zlatni Rat Beach, jutting out into the turquoise sea
A 20-minute seaside walk from the town of Bol takes you to Zlatni Rat, one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia

Not surprisingly, one of the best Croatia towns for beach lovers – Bol – is right near Zlatni Rat.

What’s particularly wonderful is the seaside pedestrian-only promenade, a little over a mile long, that leads from Bol to Zlatni Rat.

Shaded by pine trees, it’s lined by a string of other small pebble beaches with beach bars and cafés. There are also several interesting stone sculptures along the walkway.

For us, the walk to get to Zlatni Rat was as much fun as spending time at the beach itself!

Bol highlights

  • Spend a day at Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape or Golden Horn), one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Enjoy windsurfing, sunbathing and swimming at the pebble beach.
  • Hike or drive up to Vidova Gora, the highest peak on the island, for impressive panoramic views.
  • Stroll along the marina in Bol. Stop in cafés, restaurants and shops, and soak up the views of sailboats and yachts bobbing in the water.
  • Go wine tasting at Stina Winery. Sip on delicious Posip (white) and Plavac Mali (red) Croatian wines.
  • Hike to the UNESCO-listed Blaca Hermitage to see a centuries-old monastery hidden in the mountains.
You can taste some delicious Croatian wines at Stina Winery in Bol, Brac
You can taste some delicious Croatian wines at Stina Winery

Where to stay in Bol

We stayed at the 5-star Villa Giardino Bol, right in the middle of Bol.

It’s a lovely small boutique hotel, with a pretty garden at the back and the most gracious owner-hosts. And the array of freshly-made cakes offered at breakfast made it hard to put our swimsuits on each day!

To be closer to Zlatni Rat, you can’t beat the location of Bluesun Hotel Borak, a coastal getaway with a walking path leading directly to Zlatni Rat Beach. It boasts newly renovated rooms, as well as an outdoor pool and beachfront restaurant with live music.

5) Trogir

Located along the stunning Dalmatian Coast, Trogir is one of the best beach towns near Split (see #3).

Trogir Old Town at sunset
Trogir’s Old Town is on a small island, connected by a bridge to the mainland – with several pretty pebble beaches nearby

You’ll discover a blend of well-preserved ancient architecture and beautiful beaches here. Its compact Old Town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with medieval stone work and buildings that look as if they popped right out of a fairy tale.

Trogir highlights

  • Stroll the waterfront promenade and enjoy the people-watching.
  • Visit the Cathedral of St. Lovro to see its Romanesque doorway, dating back to 1240 AD.
  • Climb to the top of the Cathedral’s 150-foot bell tower for captivating views of the harbor and the town’s picturesque red rooftops.
  • Located on Ciovo Island, Okrug Gornji Beach is known as “Copacabana Beach” with its inviting crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling. 
Cathedral of St. Lovro bell tower in Trogir
With its opulent facade and panoramic bell tower views, the Cathedral of St. Lovro is a Trogir highlight!

Where to stay in Trogir

Fancy a bit of pampering? Stay at Hotel Brown Beach House & Spa, a luxury boutique hotel on Croatia’s Adriatic coastline.

Its lavish spa features massage services, a sauna and a steam room. There’s also a beach club, outdoor pool and mountain-view restaurant. 

Hotel Brown and Beach House is the best place to stay in Trogir.
Hotel Brown and Beach House is the best place to stay in Trogir (Credit: Hotel Brown)

6) Mali Losinj

We’re torn. Should we tell you about this under-the-radar Croatian island gem, or not? (It’s a little hard to get to, which explains why it’s not overrun – yet.)

Okay, you win.

The best beach town in Croatia if you’re looking for natural beauty, lush greenery and a long list of outdoor adventures – away from the crowds – is Mali Losinj. It’s located on the island of Losinj, off the coast in north Croatia.

Sailboats moored in front of colorful houses in Mali Losinj, Croatia
Who needs a beach? We swam from a dock right in Mali Losinj (there are many docks with ladders leading into the sea)

Losinj itself falls under the Natura 2000 network and is a protected conservation area. (For example, it’s a protected area and magnet for sea turtles and bottlenose dolphins.)

Nicknamed the “island of vitality,” Losinj lured Hapsburg royalty back in the day for its health benefits. Today, the island’s spa scene still appeals to wellness travelers.

Mali Losinj is the largest town on the small idyllic island (population under 7,000), set at the end of a long natural harbor. With its sweeping coastal landscapes and 19th-century sea-captain’s houses, it’s gorgeous.

We visited Mali Losinj for one perfect day when sailing on a small Croatia cruise ship. And we’d go back in a heartbeat.

Dolphin watching on a boat trip is one of the best things to do on Losinj, Croatia.
Bottlenose dolphins frequent the waters around Losinj Island – you can go dolphin watching on a boat trip

Losinj highlights

  • Chill on the beach at Cikat Bay, where pebbled, concrete and sandy beaches sit next to a pine forested park. 
  • Go dolphin watching on a boat tour and visit the Blue World Marine Research and Conservation Center to learn more about bottlenose dolphins.
  • Stroll through the Old Town to enjoy the local atmosphere and browse the cute shops. 
  • Go for a hike in Cikat Forest Park.
  • Take a boat trip to nearby Susak Island to enjoy its wide sandy beach, water sports and historic center.

Where to stay in Mali Losinj

The 5-star Hotel Bellevue is the perfect place to enjoy one of the best beach destinations in Croatia. It has rooms and suites with terraces, an award-winning spa, an outdoor pool and a private beach. 

Housed in an Austro-Hungarian villa on Cikat Bay, the Boutique Hotel Alhambra is another top choice for a luxury stay in Mali Losinj. Dine at its Michelin-starred restaurant, swim at its private beach area and indulge in massages and body scrubs at its state-of-the-art spa.

7) Primosten

The charming small island town of Primosten, encircled by blue Adriatic waters
The charming coastal Croatian town of Primosten is known for its romantic streets and laid-back beaches

Escape the crowds at Primosten, a quiet romantic walled city, with white pebble beaches around the city walls.

It offers a small town vibe, just an hour’s drive away from Split (#3).

It’s one of the best small beach towns in Croatia if you want to get away from it all.

Primosten highlights

  • Walk through the Old Town Gate to discover a maze of narrow streets and the Church of Saint George, located on the highest point in town. 
  • Lounge in the sunshine at Velika Rudaca, a pebble beach with a beach bar and shady areas. You can rent pedal boats and SUP boards in summer. 
  • Indulge in local seafood at a waterfront restaurant or local konoba. Many of the restaurants here are more affordable than those in larger cities in Croatia.

Where to stay in Primosten

While you won’t find a huge selection of hotels compared to other top Croatian resort towns, Golden Rays Luxury Villas & Apartments is a luxury pick.

Offering a range of villas, apartments and rooms, you’ll have access to a natural rocky beach and an infinity pool. And it’s just a short walk away from the Old Town.

8) Korcula Town

Janice and George in Korcula
Who’s happy to be in Korcula? (Yep, this is us on our bicycling-and-wine-tasting tour)

Any list of the best Croatia beach towns has to include Korcula Town. It hugs the east coast of the island of Korcula.

In addition to its charming medieval architecture and narrow streets lining the waterfront, beach enthusiasts will discover both pebble and sandy beaches to bask on in the sunshine.

George at a Korcula restaurant
George at a Korcula restaurant

Korcula highlights

  • Explore the pedestrian-only Old Town and stop to admire St. Mark’s Cathedral, Town Gate and Marco Polo’s house. 
  • Take the hop-on hop-off water taxi to Badija Island, Vrnik Island and Lumbarda. (On Badija Island, we fed the local deer and found a beach cove so private we went skinny dipping!)
  • Watch the traditional Moreska sword dance.
  • Enjoy the clear waters and waterfront cafés at Vela Przina,Korcula’smain beach. 
  • Tour local wineries in Lumbarda and sample local varieties, including the famous Grk wine. (We did a wonderful bicycle and wine tour.)
The pebble beach at Vrnik Island, Croatia
The beach at Vrnik Island

Where to stay in Korcula Town

The Fabris Luxury Inn is right on the edge of the Old Town, only a few minutes’ walk from a pebble beach.

Choose from rooms (some with antique balconies) overlooking the sea or ones with vaulted ceilings and polished wood floors in the quieter Annex building (our pick). In warm weather, breakfast is served on the hotel’s outdoor terrace. 

With its Michelin-star restaurant, Lesic Diminitri Palace is a top choice if you’re a foodie at heart. In the Old Town, just steps from the stone slab of Zakrjan Beach, this boutique apartment-hotel is housed in an 18th-century palace. 

9) Rovinj

Along with Dubrovnik (#1) and Hvar (#2), Rovinj has now started to appear on many traveler’s bucket lists – including ours!

It’s set on set on the heart-shaped Istrian Peninsula in the northern Adriatic, opposite Venice. (In fact, Rovinj has a definite Italian feel.)

Cloaked with pastel-colored buildings, Rovinj is another one of the most beautiful Croatian cities by the sea and a photographer’s delight. 

Rovinj highlights

  • Wander the web of medieval streets in the Old Town and browse the local shops selling olive oil and truffles. Grisia Street is lined with art galleries. 
  • Climb to the top of St. Euphemia Church for panoramic views over the island, harbor and Old Town. 
  • Take a day trip to Punta Corrente Park (aka Golden Cape Forest Park)and enjoy this natural park and protected green space, with walking trails and quiet pebbly beaches. 
Woman standing on the edge of a yellow beach towel on a Rovinj beach, looking at the blue sea
This beach looks like a fine place to relax for a while…

Where to stay in Rovinj

Feel like royalty at Monte Mulini Adults Exclusive Hotel by Maistra Collection, a member of Leading Hotels of the World. Located a 15-minute walk from town, the luxury hotel features a private beach, sea-view rooms and a fine-dining restaurant.

The boutique Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico offers a convenient location in the heart of the Old Town. The elegant, individually designed rooms come with king-size beds, exposed ceiling beams and terraces. Amenities include an on-site wine bar.

10) Vis Town

Vis Town – on the island of Vis – is one of the best beach towns to visit in Croatia if you want to relax.

Red roofs of buildings in Vis town, Croatia
Venetian influences are evident in the buildings in Vis Town

Like Mali Losinj (#6), it’s a little hard to reach. But if you make the effort to get there, It will seduce you with its picturesque harbor, traditional seafood restaurants and easy access to beautiful beaches.

If you’re looking for a laid-back retreat in the Dalmatian Islands, be sure to add Vis Town to your Croatian itinerary. 

Vis highlights

  • Take a boat tour to see the famous Blue Cave, Green Cave and the beach where “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” was filmed. 
  • Swim at Stiniva Beach, one of the top beaches in Croatia. (Note: You have to walk down a rocky path to reach it – or you can access it by boat.)
  • Hike on Hum Mountain to Tito’s Cave. There are hidden bunkers, forts and military buildings here, but it’s also a perfect spot for sunset-gazing. 
Stiniva Beach on Vis Island
Stiniva Beach on Vis Island

Where to stay in Vis

There’s really only one great place to stay in Vis, in our view, and that’s Hotel San Giorgio.

The small family-run hotel offers one of the best restaurants on Vis Island, while other perks include ferry port pick-up, complimentary breakfast and an in-house tour guide. Upgrade to a suite for a step-out balcony with sea views.

That’s a wrap for the best beach towns and coastal cities in Croatia!

Sunshine, sparkling seas, beaches – and Mediterranean history and culture. Croatia’s most beautiful beach towns offer a vacation like no other!

You’ve got Dubrovnik. It dazzles with its ancient walls and crystal-clear waters.

Tiny Primosten, with its white pebble beaches, is the perfect place for a laid-back escape.

Then there’s Korcula Town (which whispers tales of its famous adventurer, Marco Polo) and its delightful beaches and nearby vineyards. Nor will you want to miss Hvar Town, which pulsates with lively streets and buzzy beach clubs.

Other coastal cities in Croatia also lure you to linger and explore their sights, taste the local cuisines, kick back on sun-soaked beach coves and embrace the laid-back Mediterranean ambience.  

So plan a seaside retreat to one (or a few!) of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia – and enjoy a beach town getaway combining scenic beauty, cultural charm and outdoor adventures. 

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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Best beach towns in Croatia

Photo credits: 2 to 6, 9 to 11, 13 to 15, 18, 20, 22 to 24, 29 to 33 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase

About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

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