A guide to the best beaches in Croatia

Croatia beach holidays offer shores in all shapes and sizes – sheltered and quiet, alive with activity or primed with historic views. There’s even one that’s been known to hover around the top of many ‘Best Beaches in Europe’ lists. A few of Croatia’s coastlines are part-sandy, though most are pebbled. Even so, no matter where you go on the country’s western coast, you can expect blue-green waters and gold-coloured coastlines for as far as the eye can see.

Sveti Jakov, Dubrovnik

This pebbly beach is a little off the beaten path, but that means it’s treated to a blanket of quiet many other Dubrovnik beaches never see, especially in the summertime. It’s still equipped with views of Old Town Dubrovnik on the horizon, as well as ample greenery sloping along the surrounding cliffs and bordering the water. The beach itself is teeny in size, but is lined with sunloungers just along the water’s edge making it an ideal spot for cheap holidays to Croatia if you’re looking to avoid the crowds.

Banje Beach, Dubrovnik

Banje Beach is Dubrovnik’s biggie, nestled just underneath the Old Town’s ancient walls. It’s incredibly popular, not least because of its easy accessibility. There are lounge chairs and umbrellas for lazing, a beach bar for nibbles that quickly becomes a nightclub come sundown, and watersport options like jet-skis and pedalos for exploring the outer walls by sea.

Golden Cape Beach, Rovinj

Golden Cape, Rovinj, might not be privy to much sand or pebbles – it’s lined almost entirely by rocks, as are most beaches in this province – but that doesn’t mean it’s dialled down on the beauty factor. And in many places, the rocks are quite flat, making them still lounge-able and easy to navigate to get down to the shoreline. The coast is also bordered by groves of trees and a park, so you’ll have a shady respite on hand.

Bacvice Beach, Split

Bacvice is the go-to beach in Split, and is perhaps one of the most popular sets of shores in Croatia. It’s been awarded a Blue Flag for cleanliness, and is part-sand, part-pavement. Nearby are bars and restaurants, while on the sand are sunbeds and umbrellas. Bacvice is also the original home of the beach game known as picigin, which is still frequently played on the shores today. The object of the game is to keep a small ball from touching the water, but the trick is, like volleyball, players bounce the ball in their hands instead of catching it.

Dubovica Bay, Hvar

Located about eight kilometres from Hvar, Dubovica Bay is renowned for its peacefulness away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It can be tricky to reach, as the trail down to the water is unmarked, but the effort will pay off. The beach itself is a tiny little pebbled cove that’s bordered by stunning blue-green water and an old stone house used for country getaways by a wealthy family.

Nugal, Makarska Riviera

The clue to this beach’s lifestyle is in the name. It’s a nudist beach, sheltered by cliffs and accessed only by a trek through a forest. The surroundings offer supreme privacy, so if you’ve ever wanted to go au natural but have been too shy, this is the place to do it. There aren’t many facilities in the area, so it’s a good idea to pack everything you’ll need for the day, but if the going gets too warm, the grove of trees behind the waterfront make for an excellent shady shelter.

Zlatni Rat Beach, Bol

Zlatni Rat Beach is so gorgeous it’s consistently ranked among the best in the world, and is arguably the best beach in all of Croatia. Depending on the tide, the white pebbled beach will be shaped differently, but mostly the beach comes to a point extending out into the sea, and is bordered by a cluster of trees. Behind the foliage is where you’ll find the remains of an ancient Roman villa.