Croatia is a glorious confluence of cultural marvels and natural splendor that attracts thousands of tourists to its shores each year. Although every corner of the country is rich in spectacular sights, the islands that dot the Adriatic Sea hold some of the most precious gems of Croatia. These beautiful specks of land are abundant in majestic monuments, mesmerizing beaches, and pristine greenery. Each island narrates its intriguing history in the form of its rustic landscapes and the museums and churches from the bygone era. Following are some of the most amazing islands on the coast of Croatia that display the colorful personality of this magical kingdom.
Brac Island is one of the most picturesque Adriatic islands, owing to the unique shape of the white pebbled beach of Zlatni Rat. This horn-shaped strip of land pierces the turquoise waters of the sea and is separated from the rest of the island by dense vegetation. Not only does the beach adorn a majority of the Croatian postcards, it is also one of the best sites for windsurfing in the country. A short hike from the beach will take you to the Dragon’s Cave which is famous for its wall carvings of mythical symbols. For a taste of the local culture, head over to Skrip, the oldest settlement of Brac that holds quaint churches and intriguing museums.
If you desire a break from the urban clamor, then Korcula Island is the perfect retreat for you. This island does not experience as huge a flow of tourists as some of the other popular Croatian islands, which makes it perfect for a serene vacation. A large area of this island is occupied by pine forests, vineyards, and olive plantations. In fact, the dark cover of pine trees is why the ancient Greeks referred to Korcula as the Black Island. Korcula has managed to retain its natural beauty over the years and has also preserved various historical artifacts that are displayed at the museums in Korcula Town. The Vela Przina Beach is yet another place worth a visit, just to watch the sun disappear below the horizon.
Hvar Island is a party goer’s paradise, with clubs and restaurants along its golden beaches that buzz with activity till the wee hours of the night. There are plenty of activities for the daytime as well, such as a walk through the fragrant lavender fields or a meal at one of the several cafes that line the St. Stephen’s Square. This square is the best place to soak in the lively spirit of the island and to admire the intricate design of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. You can also hike up to the Fortica, a medieval castle that offers a stupendous view of the island and the Adriatic Sea. Ports of Hvar are yacht charter paradise, as many vessels from all around the world seek dock here in order to enjoy the wonder of the island. Lastly, be sure not to forget to taste the olive oil and the wines that are a specialty of this region.
The island of Cres stands out from the rest of the Croatian islands due to the untamed wilderness of its primeval forests. The terrain is dotted with caves and cliffs, and hills with rustic settlements on the slopes. The ancient architecture of the region is displayed by the medieval churches, such as the St. Mary’s Church and the Church of the Assumption, to name a few. Close to the harbor is the main town square called Trg Frane Petrica, which was once the venue for local celebrations but is now adorned by vibrant fruit and vegetable markets. A visit to the arts center of Ruta is also highly recommended, to purchase the traditional handicrafts made out of wool.
These enchanting islands are the shining stars of Croatian tourism and represent the best of what this country has to offer. A visit to these surreal locations is the perfect way to experience the true beauty of this fascinating nation.