If you know anything about Croatia’s island gems, you’ve probably heard about Hvar or Brač. These islands are magnets to party people and all those who love to mix their vacations with plenty of luxury. However, if you wish to relax and enjoy intact nature and blue seas in peace, it’s best to hit some of these hidden Croatian islands accessible only by boat.
Rab might not be totally anonymous, especially since it’s a royal and yachting favourite, but it still offers plenty of privacy. This island used to be one of the many Venetian outposts, but it really gained popularity after newly-crowned King Edward VIII landed his superyacht Nahlin to Rab. Edward and his wife Wallis also enjoyed Kvarner beach (and reportedly skinny-dipped in the Adriatic Sea) which is one of the best destinations in Croatia today. Rab also offers over 150 kilometres of biking and hiking trails, so if you want to take a break from boat life, you can get out and get active.
This island is almost completely off the radar for most tourists, so it offers perfect isolation. Palagruža is content in its little bubble on the Adriatic Sea surrounded by deep-blue seas located practically as far as you can get from the continent. The lonely lighthouse keeper will welcome you into his tower and explain all about the island’s perks. Since this island is Croatia’s southernmost point, is has a pretty unique climate with very little rain and capricious winds. The wind changes direction quickly, so you need to be an experienced sailor in order to sail around this isolated speck of land.
Now, Lopud… this is a real hidden gem of Croatia! Even though it’s only a one hour ride from Dubrovnik (by ferry), it feels worlds away from city noises and pollution. If you have a good yacht, you can get there in no time and travel in much better conditions. Models from Yacht IN are great for Croatia yachting since they offer all the luxury you can imagine and allow you to freely explore the islands—that’s what yachting in Croatia is all about! Once you touch Lopud, you can enjoy breathtaking mountain views and blue seas. And the island is 100% car-free, so you can enjoy it totally immersed in nature. When you get tired of strolling on seafront promenades, you can grab a meal in waterside restaurants or enjoy ice-cream at the beach. If you’re up for a hike, you can cross the hills and visit Šunj Bay and its silky sands.
This archipelago was off-limits to foreigners up until the 1980s, but it’s still satisfyingly private today. Since it used to be a Yugoslav submarine base, Lastovo will allow you to drop anchor and explore the remaining concrete structures and even go snorkelling with underwater torches. If your boat has space for paddleboards, make sure to bring them on board so you can stretch your sea legs. And don’t forget to get outside once the darkness falls—Lastovo offers some of the best stargazing in the whole of Europe!
This island is pretty anonymous to regular peeps, but it’s more than hip among the aristocracy and Hollywood giants. It’s just five minutes away from Hvar (if you have a good yacht) so you can have a perfect day way from the city’s hustle and bustle. Sveti Klement is crisscrossed by hiking paths trimmed with aloe and agave plants and the entire island is car-free! If you’re a fan of good dining, make sure to check out Laganini, a gourmet beach bar where you can try one of the best swordfish carpaccios and roasted octopuses in the world.
This collection of islands is just so amazing that 100 years ago, a super-rich Viennese business magnate funded the first Croatian beach club right at Brijuni. Covered in fragrant pines, Brijuni of today got transformed into a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since it used to serve as Yugoslav president’s Josip Broz Tito’s private residence, he obviously received plenty of gifts over the years, so the island is still home to an elephant, an antelope and mountain zebras!
In the 1920s, George Bernard Shaw called the Kornati Islands God’s crown work made of tears, stars and breath. Thankfully, in the last 100 years, the Kornati are still equally magical. Cruising between 140 Kornatis and their 300 square kilometres of the blue sea is a treat for all sea lovers. And many islands are completely deserted save for butterflies, so you can play explorers with your travel companions. The similar situation also exists under the sea, since the Kornati offer over 60 species of coral, 200 species of fish and many playful turtles.
If you want to take out your boat for a ride or if you just want to enjoy intact nature in peace and quiet, Croatia’s islands will always offer just what you need. So, just weigh your anchor and start your Adriatic Sea adventure today!