Sitting here and writing about beaches and hot weather in Croatia is so difficult when it’s 12 degrees outside and very gloomy looking!
There are hundreds of beaches in Croatia, and over 1100 islands. We were fortunate to visit a few of these on our recent trip.
Some people might think, a beach is a beach, or once you’ve seen one island, you’ve seen them all. But I beg to differ- each beach we visited had its own characteristics. Each island has its own personality, its own vibe.
There are beaches in Croatia suited to young travellers looking for a party, while other beaches in Croatia are fantastic for exploring marine life through snorkelling. Some beaches are packed with tourists while others are hidden treasures waiting to be explored.
I’ve written a guide to the islands and beaches in Croatia that we visited, to give you a better idea of what to expect:
Golden Cape, Rovinj
Golden Cape Beach
Pros: Not as touristy as other beaches in Croatia. The beaches are pebbly but after a metre or so, it becomes sandy.
Can hire bikes and ride along the path through the forest.
A great beach for snorkelling.
Cons: The beach is about a 20 minute walk from the city centre.
Kids can step on a sharp rock, so make sure they wear aqua shoes. We saw quite a few crabs which may scare some kids.
VERDICT: A lovely beach worth visiting if you are staying in the area. The forest gives a lovely backdrop and being able to walk or bike ride along the track is fantastic.
Paradise Beach in Lopar, Croatia
Rajska Plaza (Paradise Beach)
Pros: A very family-friendly beach, the water is knee-deep for about 500 metres.
This is a sandy beach- no pebbles at all (very typical in Croatia!).
There is a nearby waterslide and outdoor restaurant if the kids get hungry.
There is a family-friendly camp ground right on the beach with different accommodation options.
You can hire a paddle boat with a mini water slide, and go out to where the water is deeper. There is a small island nearby that you can reach by paddle boat. Adults can, and do, swim to the island.
Unlike most other beaches in Croatia, there are no sea creatures here at all (except for small fish), so there is no need to wear aqua shoes.
The beach is a short walk to the main shops/cafes/restaurants. Very convenient!
Cons: Is extremely busy during peak season in Croatia (July-August), and the beach can look like it’s been invaded by sardines.
VERDICT: This is a beach that the kids will love. And when the kids are happy, mum and dad are happy too. If you don’t have kids, I wouldn’t bother coming.
Pros: This is a sandy beach.
Water is about waist deep so better for kids who like swimming.
People walk around the beach selling Croatian donuts from the local bakery.
Cons: This beach gets ridiculously crowded. We were there towards the end of June and we could barely find a patch of sand on a weekday evening.
The sand was littered with cigarette butts.
This beach is very popular with younger people- teens and those in their early 20s. Lots of people play ball games in the water.
The beach is a fair walk from the Split town centre- about 20 minutes.
Although many people rave about this beach and my kids enjoyed it, I didn’t like it. A local Split resident advised that the beaches on the other side of the Marjan forest are a lot cleaner and more secluded, and so I think that would have been a better option for the family.
VERDICT: An overrated beach more suited to late teens/early twenty somethings.
Uvala Banj Beach
Uvala Banj, Supetar
Pros: A very clean beach which is shallow for a few metres before getting deeper, but not too deep.
A family friendly beach, with nearby waterslides and also an inflatable obstacle course which is more suited to teenagers.
You could easily visit here on a day trip from Split- the ferry leaves every hour and in the summertime the last ferry leaves at 9.45pm.
There is a footpath right along the beach, and it’s about 10 metres from the water’s edge. If you’re a family with a stroller or wheelchair, you could leave these on the footpath and not have to walk too far.
There are a couple of outdoor eateries along the beach which are family friendly and serve food such as calamari, cevape, pizza, hot chips etc…
There are two bank ATMs not far from the outdoor eateries should you require cash.
There are also two outdoor bars along the beach which are fantastic! One is right next door to the waterslides. We let our kids go on the waterslides while the adults enjoyed a cocktail and listened to some chilled out tunes.
Further along there is another outdoor bar that also has a swimming pool and massage table! I think this is a fantastic idea if you want to chill out and enjoy a drink without the kids complaining of boredom.
Cons: Miss 11 and Miss 7 had a go at this obstacle course without us helping them but I DO NOT RECOMMEND this for young kids. You have to swim from the pier to the obstacle course in water that is very deep. It is then a challenge to climb onto the inflatable structure. Miss 11 and Miss 7 are very good swimmers but for them it was a bit too much. We were lucky that another parent was able to assist them a couple of times. Miss 7 was then too scared to swim back to the pier. The staff who man this structure do not assist, they simply sit by the pier and collect the money, which is a bit disappointing.
Again, there is a long walk from town to the beach as with most places but we found the walk quite pleasant as there are a number of art and craft stalls along the way.
VERDICT: This was our family’s favourite beach in Croatia- there was something for all ages and the setting was beautiful. The water was crystal clear, the atmosphere was not as crowded as other beaches, and the facilities were excellent. We will definitely return here again someday.
Zlatni Rat, Bol
Pros: The most famous beach in Croatia is very clean with beautiful crystal clear water.
The shape of the cape beach changes when the wind changes direction, and the view of the beach from nearby cliffs is amazing.
There is a nearby inflatable obstacle course, however better suited to teenagers.
There is a nice outdoor restaurant near the beach, and outdoor bars.
Cons: It’s a long walk from Bol, probably too long for young kids (make sure you take a stroller). Fortunately there are shady trees all along the path that takes you from Bol to Zlatni Rat.
The water is very deep. A couple of metres and the water was up to my shoulders. Not much fun if you have toddlers who like playing in the water.
Not a great beach for snorkelling due to the depth. Probably better for diving.
There is no ferry from Split to Bol- one must travel by ferry from Split to Supetar, then get a bus or taxi from Supetar to Bol.
VERDICT: Although this beach is more family-friendly than it was 10 years ago (when Bol was a party town), it is more suited to families with older children or teenagers. It also requires some effort to get to- travelling over an hour by bus and then having to walk for at least 20 minutes. If you do have the time and patience, then I would recommend visiting Zlatni Rat.
Have you visited any islands or beaches in Croatia? Are there any other beaches you would add to my list that are worth visiting? Let me know!
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