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The beaches of Croatia's Adriatic Coast

The scenic shoreline on Croatia's Adriatic coast is home to some of the best beaches in Eastern Europe. White shingled coves are more commonplace than fine sandy beaches here, with plenty of sunloungers and watersports readily available.

As the scent of pine trees lingers in the air you'll find a variety of hotspots up and down the coast from secluded bays backed by ancient ruins to pebbly offerings in the centre of historic cities. Here are some of the best beaches in Croatia.

Kolocep Island

Just 25 minutes off the coast of Dubrovnik by ferry, Kolocep Island serves up unassuming strips of sand and shingle, with a seabed that gently shelves into the sapphire water.

Both villages on the island, Gornje Celo and Donje Celo benefit from their own beaches with plenty of shade, making them excellent options for families with young children. Visitors can explore the many coves and sandy bays by kayak or pedalo, with many simply swimming to The Blue Cave on the south side of the island.

Most of the island is dense forest adorned with vineyards, olive and citrus groves offering leisurely walks across the car-free island. Soak up the atmosphere along the harbour in an authentic Croatian Taverna or enjoy freshly caught seafood at one of the more upmarket restaurants along the bay.

Sveti Jakov, Dubrovnik

Nestled beneath the beautiful church and abbey of St James, Sveti Jakov is much more concealed than Dubrovnik's central Banje Beach and offers some serious respite from the summer crowds. Just a 10-minute drive south of the capital, the tranquil bay boasts stunning views of the old town and is enclosed by steep cliffs covered in rich vegetation.

Relax along the pebbled paradise on a sunlounger by the transparent, emerald ocean or enjoy a drink in the shade of the charming beach bar. When you're done topping up your tan, volleyball courts, kayaks and jet skis are on hand to keep you active.

Zlatni Rat Beach, Bol

Regularly listed as one of the top beaches in Europe, Zlatni Rat is among Croatia's finest coastal offerings along the Adriatic coast. Backed by an ancient pine forest, the unusually shaped spit of white pebbled beach on Brac Island is suitable for the whole family, offering excellent facilities, restaurants and activities from dusk til dawn.

The afternoon westerly winds have made Zlatni Beach a popular destination with windsurfers and there are several surf schools close by where you can enjoy lessons or rent out equipment and go it alone. Jet-skis and paddle boats are also available for hire, and the transparent water makes for some excellent snorkelling close to the shore.

Dubovica Bay, Hvar

Tucked away from the bustling city of Hvar, Dubovica Bay is located a mere eight kilometres from the its centre on the south coast of the island. Follow the unmarked trail down to the small, pebbled cove or take a boat directly from Hvar harbour to this picturesque cove and you'll experience the peace and tranquillity of the island's countryside. You can grab a bite to eat at the restaurant located on the beachfront or pack a picnic and spend a quiet day basking in the serene Croatian sunshine.

Punta Rata, Brela

Regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, the gorgeous stretch of pebbles at Punta Rata is surrounded by thick pine forests and clear blue seas, making it an optimum spot to catch a breathtaking sunset. Along the six-kilometre stretch of coves you'll find a selection of cosy bars and cafes, and the beach's Blue Flag status makes it a wonderful option for those travelling with smaller children. Rent a sunlounger and spend the day topping up your tan with stunning views of the Adriatic coast or take advantage of the wide variety of sports on offer from volleyball and tennis to parasailing and banana boats.

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