The most beautiful seaside destinations in Croatia to visit this summer
Croatia offers over 1,100 miles of winding mainland coastline backed by rugged limestone mountains, as well as hundreds of scattered islands and islets, of which 47 are inhabited. It is also dotted with historic and beautifully preserved port towns, vestiges of the four centuries between 1420 and 1797 when it was occupied by the Venetians. This combination makes it the perfect option for those who like to combine cultural sightseeing with lazing on the beach.
In addition, Croatia, although a member of the EU since 2013, does not use the euro. So expect your book to stretch a lot more here than in other Mediterranean favorites such as France and Italy.
But where to go? Below is our guide to Croatia’s five coastal regions: South Dalmatia, Central Dalmatia, North Dalmatia, Kvarner and Istria. In each region, a notable beach and two towns were highlighted, along with a nearby must-see indoor attraction, food and wine suggestions, and hotel recommendations. Remember that there is very little sand in Croatia – almost all beaches are pebbles and rocks, or in some cases you are swimming from man-made concrete bathing platforms with steps into the sea .
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Normally you can fly direct to Dubrovnik, the largest city in South Dalmatia, from various UK airports, with British Airways, EasyJet and Jet2.com.
Dubrovnik, formerly known as Ragusa, was for centuries a wealthy independent city-republic, which slowly developed to include part of the coast and the small Elafiti islets.
From Dubrovnik’s Gruž port you can take day trips by boat to the Elafiti, as well as to the island of Mljet, where Mljet National Park includes two stunning turquoise lakes, fringed with dense forests – rent ride a bike and tour the lakes, or rent a kayak and paddle through.
Northwest of the coast, little Ston (renowned for its excellent oysters and fresh mussels) is the gateway to the rugged Pelješac peninsula, which produces some of Croatia’s finest red wines, including Dingač. Opposite Peljesac, the verdant Korčula is the largest island in southern Dalmatia.