The 15 Best Beaches in Croatia

Sea caves, hidden coves, and medieval architecture are just some of the highlights Croatia's pristine beaches have to offer.

Croatia, Dalmatia, Brac Island, Zlatni rat beach
Photo: Tuul and Bruno Morandi

There's a reason why Game of Thrones — which is just as well-known for its epic backdrops as it is for its complicated plot lines — chose to use Croatia as a major filming location, particularly Dubrovnik, which doubles as the fictional Kings Landing (for more places, see our ultimate GOT travel guide). While the country has all the medieval charm that other temperate European hotspots such as Spain have to offer, the real appeal is its remarkable beaches: long coastlines, hidden coves, and islands surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. With so many strikingly beautiful beaches, how does one choose which ones to visit? We've done the work for you — here's our list of the best beaches to visit on your next trip to this enchanting Adriatic gem of a country.

Zlatni Rat, Brač

Croatia, Dalmatia, Brac, Bol, Zlatni Rat beach
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This spit of land on the Croatian island of Brač is often referred to as the Golden Cape or the Golden Horn and essentially forms one large beach with a lush pine grove in the middle. Inside this grove, you'll find the remains of a Roman rustic villa, which makes a nice, shady excursion. Regularly named as one of the top beaches in the world, Zlatni Rat forms a unique V shape and extends into the Adriatic Sea's Hvar Channel. Nude sunbathing is allowed, so it's a great option for those looking to get a taste of the real European style of beaching — or those who want to avoid tan lines. How to get there? Opt for a scenic ferry ride, which depart from many oft-frequented cities, such as Split. While the island of Brač may sound remote, you can actually rent beach beds and umbrellas, and there are plenty of eateries and showers nearby. In case you needed another reason to go, there are a variety of water sports offered, including jet skiing, windsurfing, and kayaking.

Kamenjak National Park, Premantura

Adriatic landscape
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Just south of the popular beachfront city of Pula on the southernmost section of Ístria lies the stunning Kamenjak National Park, which features a multitude of gorgeous beaches that make up this coastal playground. The idyllic park is home to an 18-mile shoreline full of hidden caves, coves, islands, and inlets, all of which possess their own distinct charm. Most of the beaches are a short walk from one another and are unnamed, making it feel like it's all one giant beach. The real appeal here, however, is the rocky cliffs that overlook the crystal clear waters, which are perfect for cliff jumping, a favored pastime for visitors and locals alike. Engage in other water activities such as kayaking and windsurfing, or just sit back, bathe in the sun, and see if you can spot some otters. There are great places to eat nearby, too; start with the bohemian Safari Bar, where you'll find other visitors enjoying fresh seafood and cold drinks.

Banje Beach, Dubrovnik

Best Beaches in Croatia
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Dubrovnik's most popular beach, which draws in so many tourists due to its proximity to the Old Town, made it onto our list thanks to its scenic views of the city's walls, its variety of water sports and beach activities, and its sheer abundance of available dining and drinking options. At some point, most visitors are likely to wind up at Banje Beach Restaurant, Lounge, and Club, which can get quite touristy and even turns into a nightclub after dark. Nevertheless, it remains a consistent option for good food, tasty cocktails, and killer views.

Sveti Ivan Beach, Lubenice

Best Beaches in Croatia
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On the island of Cres — one of the largest isles that makes up the Kvarner Gulf — lies an ancient, fortified city called Lubenice. Home to some of the oldest standing structures in Croatia, it was founded approximately 3,000 years ago and was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. While the medieval towers, churches, and stone houses perched upon the city's famous hilltop are the primary factors that draw in visitors, Lubenice's beach, Sveti Ivan, is just as picturesque. Like most of Croatia's beaches, it boasts pristine white shores and aqua waters, but the real highlight here is the nearby Blue Cave, reachable by swimming along the beach's half-moon bay. To get there, take a water taxi from nearby Cres or Valun—otherwise, Sveti Ivan Beach is only reachable by taking a 40-minute walk down the hill.

Betina Cave Beach, Dubrovnik

Best Beaches in Croatia
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This seaside access-only beach, which is set under a natural cave, offers privacy, serenity, and shelter from the sun. You can rent kayaks or take water taxis to reach this secluded oasis, which has no dining options but makes the perfect setting for a sandy picnic. Stop by Dubrovnik's popular Gruž Market along the way to stock up on fruit, meat, and fresh goat cheese before enjoying the crystal clear waters and (hopefully) unoccupied surroundings.

Bay Dubovica, Hvar

Best Beaches in Croatia
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Located in a tranquil, secluded cove that's only accessible by an unmarked trail Bay Dubovica, is the perfect escape for solo travelers and couples looking for some peace and isolation. While there won't be any noisy bars or eateries here, you will find stunning views of Villa Benedeta, a private 19th-century home that belongs to the Kolumbić family. The Villa is available for group rentals of up to 10 people and is within walking distance of Bay Dubovica — so go ahead, bring the whole family and make this your basecamp for all that the stunning island of Hvar has to offer.

Sakarun Beach, Dugi Otok

EHFC1R Sakarun beach on island Dugi otok, Croatia

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You may have never seen clearer waters than those that lie along the shores of Sakarun Beach on Croatia's Dugi Otok island. This family-friendly beach is enshrouded by pine trees, which provide a welcome relief from the glaring sun, and features calm, shallow waters so the little ones can wade in as far as they want. The beach does offer eating and drinking options, but most are seasonal, so be sure to check the hours online before you go. As for where to stay? We recommend renting one of many beachside Airbnbs, which are plentiful on the island of Dugi Otok.

Divna Beach, Dalmatia

Best Beaches in Croatia

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If you're looking to get a taste of the true, laid-back Croatian spirit and witness some of the most exquisite natural scenery of your life — think royal blue waters, rolling green valleys, and secluded coves — head to the peninsula of Pelješac, located in Southern Dalmatia. Here, you'll want to go straight to Divna Beach, located in the town of Trpanj. Divna, which literally translates to "beautiful," is just that. While the shore is mostly made up of small, white pebbles, past visitors have noted that they're extremely soft and feel more like sand — but be careful. Due to the reflection of the white pebbles, the sun at this beach is extremely strong, so be sure to bring your best sunscreen. There are no eating, drinking, or shopping spots at this remote beach (hence, the tranquility), so pack a picnic. While many visitors opt to camp out at the nearby auto camp facility, Pelješac is home to a variety of gorgeous lodging options, such as Hotel Indijan, a charming property perched right on the beach with sweeping views of the Adriatic.

Mali Bok Beach, Cres

Best Beaches in Croatia

This hidden beach, like some of the others on this list, is only accessible by boat or by walking down a very rocky hilltop — you can, however, park your car at the top. The incredible view from above makes the walk worth it and once you've made it down to the shore, you'll find yourself in paradise: think jade-colored waters, a cove surrounded by rugged cliffs, and quite often, a completely deserted spot of sand. A few must-pack items? An umbrella, beach towels, a picnic, and a durable pair of shoes for the rocky walk.

Šunj Beach, Lopud

An aerial view of Sunj Beach in Lopud in Croatia

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Šunj Beach, located on the Croatian island of Lopud, makes a great day trip from Dubrovnik, as you can hop on a ferry and reach the beach after a scenic 20-minute walk from the dock on the northern side of the island. Once you arrive at this stunning sandy beach — known for being family-friendly because of its shallow, clear waters — the rest is up to you. Sunbathe the day away in a lounge chair, indulge in beachside massage services, or if you're feeling particularly adventurous, rent a jet ski. Afterward, swing by Rajski kutak – Bindo, a family-run restaurant serving fresh dishes with organic veggies straight from their garden. Open seasonally during the warmer months, the eatery also has a garden full of hammocks so you can embrace the serenity of the island around you.

Oprna Bay, Krk

Oprna Bay on the Island of Krk in Croatia

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On the island of Krk, just a five-minute drive from Stara Baška (or a 20-minute drive from the town of Krk), Oprna Beach is a beautiful place to spend the day snorkeling and swimming — tucked away in a cove, its gentle waters are great for beginner-level swimmers or little ones if you're traveling with the family. Due to its remote location, the beach is accessible by boat or by hiking 10-15 minutes down one of several steep and often slippery paths from the parking areas along the road on the hillside above it. Once you reach the sand, sun beds and umbrellas can be rented from the Oprna Beach Bar, which also serves food and drinks.

Punta Rata Beach, Brela

Kamen Brela rock near Brela Beach in Croatia

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Back on the mainland, Punta Rata Beach is just an hour's drive from Split in Brela, offering beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea's stunning blue waters as well as a protected pine forest that leads up to the beach. The famous Brela Stone, pictured above and on most postcards you'll find in the area, sits just offshore and can be seen from the western side of the white-pebbled beach. Snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, pedal boating, parasailing, and jet skiing, are popular activities here, as is strolling or running along the scenic waterfront promenade, home to many beach bars and restaurants should you work up an appetite.

Mlini Beach, Otok Marinkovac

An aerial view of Mlini Beach on Pakleni Otoci Islands in Croatia

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Mlini Beach, located on Otok Marinkovac (Marinkovac island) just off the coast of Hvar among Croatia's Pakleni Islands, is a gorgeous slightly-off-the-beaten-path spot where locals and visitors alike can go to just kick back and relax. It's only about a 15-minute ride from Hvar via water taxi, too, making it an excellent day trip option after a few days of sightseeing in busier locales like Split or Dubrovnik. The promenade sports a number of beach bars and restaurants serving traditional Croatian food, while Mamato Cafe, Bar, and Restaurant, is a perennial favorite, open seasonally during the warmer months. A number of guided tours and activities are also available from Hvar if you're short on time, such as half-day kayaking trips to Mlini Beach or private party boat tours for those seeking more of a party scene.

Prirovo Beach, Vis

Vis in Croatia

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The most popular spot of sand on the island of Vis, Prirovo Beach is easily reachable by ferry from Split — if you're staying on Vis, it's just a short walk from the dock in Vis town. Unlike many Croatian beaches, this one offers a ton of shade from its surrounding Tamarisk trees, and you'll be able to park your car and walk about five-minutes to reach it. There's also a promenade nearby full of places to find snacks and drinks, as well as soccer fields and volleyball courts in case you're in a sporty mood. Snorkeling fans can also take advantage of its cool, clear waters, perfect for viewing the old medieval port city's underwater ruins.

Lokrum Main Beach, Otok Lokrum

An empty sea cave at Lokrum Island in Croatia
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Lokrum Main Beach is located on Otok Lokrum (Lokrum Island) just off the coast of Dubrovnik, and is a protected UNESCO nature reserve, so you'll have plenty of beautiful scenery to look at as you explore the island on foot (there's no public transportation on the island once you arrive by ferry). Bring along any food or drinks you'll need for the beach, and keep an eye out for peacocks, bunnies, and other wildlife. Take a hike up to the highest point of the island at Fort Royal or have a gander at the Lokrum Island Monastery, which has been there since the 11th century, then end your day with a refreshing dip in the water — you might even spot some of the local cliff divers doing their thing.

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