27 Dalmatian Islands In Croatia To Vist This Year: Dalmatian Coast Guide

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Want to know all about the best Dalmatian Islands to visit? Here you go; here is my Dalmatian Coast travel guide with a list of favorites after seeing them all in the last decade of living in Dalmatia

When most people think of Dalmatia in Croatia, four main places come to mind

  • Dubrovnik
  • Hvar
  • Korčula
  • Split

While these four are well known for good reason, there are many more places in Dalmatia you should add to your list. Let’s start with the Dalmatian Islands, which you should add to your Croatian travel plans.

LIST OF DALMATIAN ISLANDS

This is a list of islands in Dalmatia that are both inhabited and have amenities ready for your visit:

Beach Lovers’ Paradise

  • Brač
  • Pag
  • Vir

Yacht & Cruise Favorites

  • Hvar
  • Pakleni Islands
  • Elafiti Islands

Vineyards & Gastronomy

  • Korčula
  • Vis

Nature & Adventure

  • Mljet
  • Kornati Islands
  • Lastovo

Tranquil Retreats

  • Dugi Otok
  • Iž – Mali
  • Sestrunj

Historic & Cultural Explorations

  • Korčula
  • Trogir and Čiovo
  • Šolta

Off-the-Beaten-Path Islands

  • Bisevo
  • Drvenik Veli
  • Žirje

Best Dalmatian Islands & Places To Visit

Croatia Travel Blog_Guide To The Dalmatian Islands

Despite having lived in Dalmatia for the last nine years, we still have not been to all of the Dalmatian islands – they are on our list, but we need more time. Here are the islands we’ve been to and can recommend.

Beach Lovers’ Paradise Islands To Visit

1. Brač

Best Beaches In Croatia: Zlatni Rat - Travel Reviews - Croatia Travel Blog
Zlatni Rat Beach, Brač

Brač is known for the white-pebble beach Zlatni Rat, also called Golden Cape. This island in Dalmatia is a top windsurfing site with a huge quarry where the island’s famous “Brački Kamen” (white limestone) is extracted and exported worldwide.

One of the island’s less famous spots, but one that you should not miss, is the jaw-dropping Blaca Hermitage located in the town of Bol on Brač.

One of several hermitages on the island, the Blaca monastery is located on the southern side of Brač Island. It began in a stone cave where a couple of monks of the Croatian Glagolitic Order used it as a place of solitude to dedicate themselves to God.

The monastery in Blaca was, in 2007, thankfully added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. For one, I can see why; I can’t see how it hadn’t made a list sooner! It’s a real inspiration; no words on a page can give you a real sense of this cultural attraction.

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2. Pag

Pag Island - Sail Croatia

Zrce Beach on the island of Pag is undoubtedly one of the best Croatian party islands. Over the summer, numerous festivals such as Hideout, Spring Break Europe, and Sonus attract tens of thousands of people from around the world to see the world’s best DJs perform.

Of course, the island is not all about Zrce. Pag Town has a more cultural, slow vibe and is worth exploring. Be sure to try the award-winning Paški cheese while visiting the island. You can easily reach Pag from Zadar, as a bridge connects it.

3. Vir

Villa Lanterna Vir Island Croatia
Photo: Villa Lanterna Vir Island Croatia

Vir is connected to the mainland by a bridge, making it easily accessible for visitors. It’s known for its lively atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and a wide range of accommodations.

The island features historical landmarks like the Kaštelina fortress and numerous pebble and sand beaches ideal for families and groups of friends. Vir’s vibrant nightlife and cultural events during the summer make it a hit with younger travelers and anyone looking for a fun, active holiday by the sea.

Yacht And Cruise Croatia Favorites On The Dalmatian Coast

4. Hvar

Croatian Villages - Main square of Jelsa town, Hvar, Croatia.

Hvar Island is blessed with it all. Beaches, sunshine, heritage (including UNESCO heritage!), history, gastronomy, and nature are all packed together on a small island off the Dalmatian coast. With such a variety going on, it can be no surprise that there are plenty of things to do on Hvar, no matter your interests (even for sports fans!).

A bright spot in the Adriatic Sea, the island of Hvar offers a luxurious island lifestyle that most people can only dream about. Its history dates back to around 6,000 BC. The island has become a favorite and treasured vacation spot among Croatians and foreign tourists throughout the centuries.

Hvar’s long history has developed into posh holiday destinations mixed with a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, topped with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Oh, and let’s not forget its popularity with nature lovers.

Hvar Island is known for its excellent climate. It enjoys no fewer than 2,800+ hours of sunshine each year. With warm summers and mild winters, rich culture, and beautiful views overlooking the Adriatic Sea, it’s no wonder that Hvar Island attracts so many holidaymakers.

5. Pakleni Islands

Aerial panoramic view of Palmizana
Palmizana, sailing cove

The Pakleni islands (Paklinski islands) are located in the Pakleni archipelago and are easily reachable by boat from Hvar’s Old Town. During the season, you can take a water taxi from Hvar to the Pakleni islands or join a day tour. 

6. Elafiti Islands

Elafitit-Islands_Island-Kolocep-at-Elaphites-near-Dubrovnik

During any summer break, you might want to get away from the regular tourist destinations and venture somewhere a little quieter. Aren’t islands the perfect answer to that?

If you visit Croatia, you can easily see the gorgeous Elafiti Islands during your stay—they’re also spelled as Elaphatiti Islands or the Elaphites.

This can be for just a day, or maybe you’ll want to spend the night or a few days and explore the island you choose a little more.

The Elafiti Islands are located just northwest of Dubrovnik. The main three islands you can visit are Kolocep, Sipan, and Lopud.

These islands are the perfect escape from the crowds in Dubrovnik, especially between July and September. You can choose your island or book an island tour that will allow you to see a snapshot of all three during a one-day tour. The choice is yours!

Lopud and Kolocep are islands with zero traffic and are free of cars. So, they’re ideal options if you want to get away from it all. But read on to find out more about the Elaphatiti Islands in general and choose which one you might like to visit.

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Guide To The Dalmatian Vineyards & Gastronomy Islands

7. Korčula

Best Things To Do In Lumbarda, Croatia
Lumbarda

Korčula Island (pronounced kor-chu-la), also known as the Emerald Isle, is one of Croatia’s many islands. Located in Southern Dalmatia, this small, 279-square-kilometer island is a favorite among travelers.

A place of culture, history, beauty, and charm, the island of Korcula offers a variety of activities and unique traditions. It is set in the stunning Adriatic and blessed by excellent Korcula weather.

Ferries and buses from Dubrovnik and Split on Croatia’s mainland, along with private sailboats and catamarans, bring visitors to Korcula Island. Whether you plan a day trip or stay for several weeks, come to the island to enjoy the hidden beaches, pebbly and sandy shores, various water sports, and picturesque views from all directions.

8. Vis

Things to do in Croatia - VIS ISLAND_CROATIA

The island of Vis is the perfect place to slow down. Wild and untouched, it’s the ideal place for solo travelers looking for quiet rejuvenation, couples wanting a romantic holiday, or families looking for a nature-based getaway. You won’t find any big resorts or packaged hotel deals on this picture-perfect island. You will find crystal-clear beaches, scenic fishing villages, sprawling vineyards, and delectable cuisine.

It’s no wonder that Mamma Mia’s producers decided to film the second installment on Vis, opting for this charming island over Greece.

Discover The Dalmatian Islands For Nature & Adventure

9. Mljet – Mljet National Park

THINGS TO DO IN CROATIA - mljet national park

The island of Mljet is relaxing and stunningly beautiful, making it ideal for a romantic break for two! This gorgeous island is easily reached from Dubrovnik, perhaps as a day trip, and has numerous walk and cycle trails that lead to romantic bays.

About a third of Mljet is a national park, and here, you can find two saltwater lakes. One of them has a little islet with a former Benedictine Monastery, which is now a cafe. Rent a kayak and spend the afternoon on the islet Melita.

10. Kornati Islands

Kornati Islands National Park | Croatia Travel Blog Chasing the Donkey

The Kornati Islands National Park consists of 89 islands, islets, and reefs spread over 217 square km.

The Kornati Islands are a dense cluster of islands, meaning there are numerous small coves, beaches, and bays where you can stop and swim and take in the pristine environment, all close to each other. Kornati National Park is perfect for those looking to experience unique natural landscapes, soaring cliffs, and barren, rocky, mostly uninhabited islands; it has to be seen to be believed. 

The Adriatic is at its glorious best in the National Park, and with the backdrop of the Kornati Islands, you will be stunned at the area’s natural beauty. If you’re in Croatia, this is an experience not to be missed.

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11. Lastovo

The coral reef from Lastovo island, Adriatic Sea in Croatia

An island municipality in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Lastovo consists of no fewer than 46 islands and islets and is home to almost 800 people. Its namesake island, Lastovo, is also the largest in the archipelago. This is where virtually all of the permanent residents live.

Lastovo is renowned for its annual carnival, a celebration in which all residents participate by wearing elaborate folk costumes. Another notable attraction on the island is the unique cylindrical Lastovo chimneys, which look like mini-minarets (although no Turkish or Arab influences have ever reached the islands).

Visit The Dalmatian Coast For Tranquil Retreats

12. Dugi Otok

Sakarun Beach_Dugi Otok_Kayaking Zadar

Dugi Otok is one of Croatia’s best-kept secrets—a place of true peace and tranquility. Its name translates to ‘Long Island.’ It is known as an island where you can let go, embrace nature, and experience relaxation for your body and soul.

Dugi Otok is a part of the Zadar archipelago on the Dalmatian coast. It is not, however, the longest island in Croatia. It is 45 km long and is the seventh-largest island in Croatia. There are many, twelve to be exact, small villages on the islands, each with its charms and peaceful ambiance.

Dugi Otok has many fun attractions that the whole family will enjoy. There are many accommodation options, so find a place that suits your needs and spend a few days (at least) exploring all the things the island offers. When you visit Dugi Otok, do stay awhile.

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13. Iž – Mali 

A part of Iz’s Island, Mali Iz, lies on the island’s lower northeastern side, facing Zadar. Since Antiquity, people have lived in the area where there were once many fishermen and an industry making hand-painted ceramics. There are five small villages in Mali Iz—Komoševa and Knež on the coast and Porovac, Makovac, and Muće, a short walk inland. This is an outstanding destination for those looking for a quiet island retreat, far away from northern Dalmatia’s tourist-saturated coast.

Spend some time wandering around the area, keeping your eyes open for remnants of ancient Croatian architecture, or go fishing, scuba diving, or snorkeling. There are some excellent reefs just off the coast. Iz is also a good starting point for visiting the gorgeous Kornati National Park. In terms of accommodation, you’ll find several apartments all over Mali Iz, but many of them are in the coastal village of Makovac.

14. Sestrunj

Sestrunj is another gem in the Zadar archipelago, known for its rugged beauty and sparse population. This island is all about simplicity and immersion in nature. With few tourist facilities, it offers an authentic experience of island life.

Hiking and biking across its hilly terrain reveal stunning views of the surrounding sea and islands. Sestrunj is perfect for the intrepid traveler looking to go off the grid and for those who find happiness in the quiet and solitude of nature.

Visit Dalmatia For Historic & Cultural Explorations

Korčula Island, highlighted previously, is fantastic for historical and cultural explorations.

In addition, consider these islands:

15. Trogir & Čiovo

Clock tower in Trogir Croatia, Unesco heritage

Čiovo is an island connected by a bridge to the historic city of Trogir, part of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. It’s an excellent spot for beach lovers and those looking to explore historic sites without straying too far from the comforts of the mainland.

On Čiovo, you can enjoy beautiful pebble beaches, clear waters, and a range of watersports. The island is also home to several old churches and monasteries worth a visit. It’s ideal for families looking for a beach holiday with a touch of history and culture or anyone wanting to combine relaxation by the sea with some light exploring.

16. Šolta

Solta Island Croatia

Šolta is an island in the Split region. It is located south of Split and west of Brač Island. The economy is based on tourism, fishing, olive growing, and vineyard cultivation. The settlement of Rogač has the main port, while the main tourist centers are Nečujam and Maslinica.

There are lots to do in a small place, such as a hike from the coastal villages of Maslinica to visit the highest peak on the island, Vela Straža. Or perhaps, enjoy the sights of old stone houses, olive groves, lively town centers, and old churches. For the adventurous types, explore the deep waters of the island by scuba diving. Visit sites of sunken ships, hidden caves, and unique species.

Off-The-Beaten-Path Islands

17. Bisevo

Best Things To Do In Vis Croatia - Cave

On the Croatian Island of Bisevo, in a bay called Balun, lies the Blue Grotto sea cave, also known as the Blue Cave. It’s one of 26 caves on the tiny island and is without question one of the best caves in Croatia.

Bisevo Island is composed of limestone rock and is inhabited by just a handful of people all year round. The cave, formed by erosion from the Adriatic Sea, is best visited around 11 am and 2 pm each day, depending on the time of year you visit, to fully appreciate its beauty.

Once at the cave, you’ll be struck by its piercing blue hues, caused by sunlight reflecting through the water and bouncing off the white limestone bottom.

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18. Drvenik Veli

Drvenik Veli is perfect for the start of your trip. A small island northwest of Šolta, it is well-indented with numerous inlets and anchorages with enchanting sand and pebble beaches for you to enjoy. In addition to this natural wealth, you can also explore the island’s traditional stone architecture. These stone buildings of Drvenik are protected as cultural monuments and often attract architecture enthusiasts.

19. Žirje

Žirje is the furthest inhabited island from the mainland in the Šibenik archipelago, known for its unspoiled nature, clear waters, and excellent spots for diving and fishing.

The island’s coastline is a mix of rocky shores and secluded coves, perfect for private swims and sunbathing. With historical fortifications and walking trails, Žirje appeals to history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. It’s ideal for those seeking tranquility away from the tourist crowds, with a touch of adventure.

Other Notable Islands In Croatia

20. Kaprije

RaftTrek Sunset

Don’t let the small size of this island fool you – the color of the water will take your breath away. We stopped here late in the day on a catamaran, and after a day on the open water, we went swimming and SUPing. 

I can recommend Konoba Kunjka. The food is authentic without question, but the views overlooking the Adriatic make for a memorable experience.

21. Molat

View from the Croatian island Molat to the Adriatic Sea
View from the Croatian island Molat to the Adriatic Sea

This car-free island in Croatia is located in north Dalmatia, Molat. This is the perfect choice for those who enjoy wildlife nature and want to walk to their heart’s content. There are many hiking treks throughout the island and plenty of flora and fauna to explore.

There are small beaches in isolated coves, and due to the island’s small nature, you will feel like you’re a million miles away from everything – the island is only 23 square km in length.

Molat also has some history, as it is said that King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson landed on the island in 1939. Throughout history, the island has been owned by several wealthy families from Zadar but was under Venice’s rule during the 15th century.

Best of all, You can get to Molat by ferry from Zadar annually.

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22. Murter

Best Islands In Croatia - Murter Bay

Tisno, on the island of Murter, is one of Croatia’s two major electronic music festival locations. Over the summer months, people flock to Tisno to attend festivals like Suncebeat, Electric Elephant, and Love International. Besides music, Murter is strikingly beautiful, and you can easily make a day trip to the Kornati Islands from Murter.

23. Pašman

Pašman is another island in the beautiful Zadar archipelago, separated from the mainland by the Pašman Channel. About a dozen villages and settlements dot the island, while expansive forests cover the hinterland and beaches line its coastline.

This is a fantastic place to spend a few days quietly contemplating and reading a good book. The main attractions include a 14th-century Franciscan monastery and a 12th-century Benedictine monastery, and the beautiful seawater is said to be the cleanest in the Adriatic. You can get there incredibly quickly by ferry.

Remember to stay up-to-date with water safety when traveling on the water and listen to the captain’s announcements.

24. Ugljan

TZ_Ugljan_bay_south-940x580
Photo: Zadar TZ

Across the Zadar Channel lies Ugljan, the nearest one of these family-friendly islands in Zadar. This lush island is called the Zadar Garden because of its olive groves, pine forests, vineyards, and fig orchards.

This is your most convenient option if you want to take the kids on an easy island trip from Zadar. There is a direct ferry service between the port of Zadar and the island. The ferry ride takes less than 30 minutes.

In addition to lush landscapes, Ugljan boasts a wealth of history. You can visit the 13th-century St. Michael Fortress, which offers a stunning panoramic view, or explore old churches and monasteries. Hiking and cycling trails crisscross the island, offering opportunities to explore it at your own pace.

Beaches are available for those looking to soak up some Mediterranean sunshine away from Zadar’s busy Old Town. Additionally, wandering around local villages such as Preko, Ugljan, Poljana, and Kali is a popular thing to do, too.

25. Zlarin

Where To Go In Croatia - Zlarin

If you want to do your bit for the environment (as we all should), then visiting Zlarin is ideal. Not only are there no cars, but the island is free from plastic, too. Zlarin banned single-use plastic in 2019, hoping that others will follow suit.

Zlarin is perfect for a walking holiday, with several trails that go around and over the 19km island. You can kayak, explore the beaches, head to the top of Klepac, and check out the stunning view over the Adriatic. You can stay overnight as there is one hotel on the island, and you should check out the coral museum to learn about the particular type of red coral found on the island.

26. Drvenik Mali

Drvenik Mali is a small island located near Trogir, close to the mainland. Known for its untouched nature, olive groves, and crystal-clear waters, it’s the perfect getaway for those seeking peace and quiet. The island’s standout feature is the Vela Rina beach, a broad sandy bay, unlike many others in the region. Drvenik Mali is best suited for adventurers and nature lovers who appreciate the simpler things in life, like a good swim or a walk through Mediterranean flora.

27. Ist

Ist is a tiny, tranquil island in the Zadar archipelago, ideal for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. With no cars allowed, it promises a genuinely peaceful retreat.

The island is dotted with picturesque coves, and its clear waters are perfect for snorkeling and diving. It is best appreciated by those who love to be outdoors, whether it’s hiking, fishing, or just lounging by the sea. It’s a great pick for couples or families seeking a quiet vacation.

I hope that my guide to the Dalmatian Islands of Croatia has shown you some smaller islands you perhaps did not know about. No matter which of these Adriatic Islands you choose to go island hoping, I know that you will have a ball. Especialling if you travel outside July and August. Wink. Wink.

 

Comments (8)

  1. I wanted to express my appreciation for the beautiful photography on your travel blog. Each image tells a story and evokes a sense of wanderlust within me. The way you capture the colors, textures, and emotions of your journeys is truly remarkable. Thank you for sharing these visual delights and allowing us to travel vicariously through your lens!

  2. Hi,
    I will be travelling to Croatia for the month of December 2023. I would love to visit a few islands : Split to Hvar, Split to Brac, Dubrovnik to Mljet. However it is impossible to find any ferries travelling to those places mentioned in December. Is there no ferry services at all ? Mljet Nat Park is open all year round right? I’m really desperate and hoping you can advice as I need to confirm my itineraries before I can book the accommodations.

    Thank you

  3. Hi, I am planning an 8 day trip to Croatia for the end of May. First, do you think we will avoid some of the summer crowds at that time? Second, I am renting a car in Dubronik and returning in Split so my question is about what to do about the islands. I was thinking I want to spend more time in Hvar than a tour allows (maybe spending the night). Do you suggest I do that and take an island tour from Hvar to see the surrounding islands or do you have a better idea? Thanks:)

    1. End of May is a great time for your Croatia trip. You’ll likely avoid the peak summer crowds, making for a more relaxed experience.

      Renting a car in Dubrovnik and returning it in Split is a solid plan. As for the islands, spending more time in Hvar is a good idea. It’s a beautiful spot, and staying a few night will give you a fuller experience. From Hvar, you can easily take a tour to explore the nearby islands. This approach lets you enjoy Hvar at your own pace and still see the surrounding beauty. Safe travels and enjoy Croatia!

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