5 Unique Croatian Islands You’ve Never Heard Of
Croatia is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world – and for good reason! With crystal clear waters, sparsely inhabited islands and an opportunity to get well and truly off the beaten track, it’s no wonder ocean lovers seek the opportunity to sail Croatia.
While most tourists flock to mainland Croatia, with a variety of natural landscapes to explore, it’s the lesser-known destinations only accessible by boat that we want to share with you.
Because we like to take the path less travelled, all of these destinations lie off the Croatian coastline north of Split. While most sailing tours and guidebooks focus on the area between Dubrovnik and Split, we’re going to let you into a well-kept secret of ours about the Adriatic wonderland. You’ll be sure to find fewer crowds, unearth a wealth of natural beauty and discover destinations that haven’t been splashed endlessly across the ‘gram with these five Croatian islands you’ve never heard of.
#1 Dugi Otok
Literally translated, Dugi Otok means ‘long island’ and at 45km long and between 1km and 4km wide it’s easy to see why. With a population of just 1,500 people, it’s no wonder that this remote island has been dubbed an oasis of peace. Known for its vineyards and orchards, Dugi Otok is largely bypassed by the tourist crowd. Meaning that not only is tranquillity a given, but the aromatic wild herbs dotted around the island – including fennel and lavender – are sure to fill all your senses and send you into a state of relaxation and rest.
We’d recommend doing one thing only here; float around in shallow turquoise bays, lined by brilliant white pebble and pine forests and enjoy unspoilt nature at its finest.
#2 Kornati National Park
With six islets and cliffs inside the bay, and 25 small coves, Kornati National Park offers the opportunity to discover a rich underwater world and secret caves. Telašćica Bay sits at the southern tip of Dugi Otok and makes for the go-to anchor spot for local exploration. There are no towns, settlements or roads here so needless to say you’re unlikely to run into other tourists besides fellow yachties. And with sheltered azure waters and stark white limestone, this is one of the largest, most beautiful, photogenic and least spoilt natural harbours in the Adriatic. Tick, tick, tick and TICK. Savour fresh seafood in local restaurants lining the bay and roam among the remains of Roman villages dotted around in the locality before drifting to sleep under the stars.
Travel back in time and get a taste of bygone Croatia in Kaprije. As one of the largest islands of the Sibenik archipelago, the island seems to be suspended in a time that’s far from today’s modern world. It’s car-free so you can say goodbye to noise and exhaust pollution, the perfect escape from city life and an opportunity to fill your lungs with fresh air all while exploring coves, bays and beaches. There’s a small local shop and post office in the only village on the island – aptly named Kaprije village – if you need anything, but we’d recommend spending the rest of your time kicking back with a book or a snorkel mask and exploring this untouched oasis.
Remote islands are awesome, but sometimes a little hustle and bustle and local culture is much-needed. And the island of Šolta offers just that. Situated near Split, and with only nine nautical miles and six ferry lines per day separating the two destinations during the season, this island has practically become a suburb of Split. Along with taking some time out to dive into crystal clear waters, Šolta offers a unique opportunity to experience the ambience of the local konobas, along with savouring the flavours of locally made wine, olive oil and honey. If you love to explore a destination via your tastebuds, you’ll love Šolta.
Rogoznika is made up of a small part of the mainland along with another couple of unique small islets. It’s a geographically significant area known as the spot where the famous Bura and Jugo winds meet, but besides the meeting of the winds, the old stone buildings and town centre of Rogoznica extends far into the Adriatic. Meaning this is the perfect place to get a feel for local heritage before mooring up in another patch of unspoilt turquoise waters to explore via paddleboard, snorkel or swimming.
If you’re eager to explore a route less travelled, the islands that lie northeast of Split are a truly unique perspective on a Croatia sailing holiday.
Escape for 7 nights with Yacht Getaways on the Croatia Northern Explorer.