With so many places to see and often too little time, it’s hard to know which Croatian cities and islands to put on your itinerary. If you’re looking for a little taste of island life to add to your travel plans, we’ve narrowed down three great island escapes to consider.
Silba is a small island in the Zadar region with an area of 15km2. It is located southeast of the island of Mali Lošinj. The highest peak on the island is Varh (80m).
There are boats and ferries that sail every day to the island and it takes about 1.5 hours to arrive by catamaran from Zadar.
Silba has Mediterranean vegetation and many aromatic herbs, a perfect location to spend a vacation in untouched nature with a peaceful vibe.
There are no roads for motorcycles or cars on the island; in fact, there is only one small car on the island that is used by the locals to transport things. If you after peace and quiet it doesn’t get much better than this!
What to Do on Silba
Spend a day on one of many beautiful small beaches and bays, including pebble and sand beaches. Beaches to check out are Pocukmarak (the biggest beach on the south side, which also happens to contain a stone sarcophagus and two covers in the water that are around 1500 years old), Tratica, Carpusina and Sotorisce (the biggest and the most popular beach on Silba).
Explore the Bays
Visit interesting bays, such as, Pernastica bay, which is the most beautiful Silba bay, Porat of Sv. Ante bay, the bay of Dobre Vode and the Nozdre bay.
Sports and Recreation
There are many sport and recreation activities, including running in the woods, walking along the bays, and team sports such as volleyball, basketball, soccer or handball on Sotorišce beach. Additionally, visit the complex Mirta to try out table tennis or rent a small boat.
For the more adventurous type, Silba is a great place for windsurfing.
Day Trip into Nature
Take a day trip to Kornati National Park or the Telašćica Bay.
Gallery of Marija Ujević-Galetović
Visit the gallery of Marija Ujević-Galetović located in the center of Silba, designed as a park consisting of open original sculptures from different periods.
View the History
Visit many historical monuments and churches, including the impressing 19th century Toreta tower, which is known as the tower of love. When you climb up the tower you will be able to observe stunning views of the sea and the nearby islands of Olib and Premuda.
Where to Stay on Silba
Silba has no hotels but private accommodation can be found in houses and apartments.
What Makes Silba Special
It is an island with no cars at all, making it very peaceful and unspoilt. This is a true escape from life.
Vela Luka, Korcula
Vela Luka is small town located in a wide bay on the island of Korčula
The town is rich with many coves to discover, vineyards, olive groves, fig trees and pine trees. Vela Luka is the biggest village on the island and has one of the largest nautical harbors in the area. It also has some of the best stone beaches in Croatia!
What to Do in Vela Luka
Visit the Vela Špilja
Visit the Vela Špilja – the Large Cave). This cave is an important prehistoric archaeological site in Europe.
The findings in this cave prove the existence of several pre historic communities from the early Stone Age (about 20 000 BC), Iron Age and Copper Age. The findings indicate long cultural, social, spiritual and economic history of the relations between the inhabitants of Vela Špilja and other parts of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean.
Bike, Hike, Trek
Adventure seekers will enjoy the many cycling routes in the area (there are 4 circular cities in Vela Luka, which stretch along the island). There are also four trekking and hiking routes.
Vist Local Monuments
En-route visit local monuments, such as the chapel of Sv. Juraj, an old fortress called Hum and an abandoned village called Dub. All the trails are very well marked.
Town Centre Museum
Visit the Museum in the town center of Vela Luka, it has many archaeological and art collections, including two Henry Moores, works of contemporary Croatian Artists, and finds from the Vela Špilja.
Islets of Proizd and Ošjak
Visit the islets of Proizd (a famous beach in the area) and Ošjak – two of the most visited destinations in the area. Proizd is a small island that can be reached by a small excursion boat featuring three beautiful beaches with turquoise waters, several walking trails and a small restaurant and cafe. A day trip to this island is highly recommended.
Ošjak is known as the Love island because of its beautiful nature, peaceful surrounding, and tranquillity. Enjoy swimming in unspoilt waters, walking through a dense pine forest and exploring an interesting cave.
Take a Day Trip
While in Vela Luka you can enjoy many day trips and excursions to Dubrovnik, Hvar, Town of Korčula, Split and other bays, coves, and islets located within the vicinity.
Where to Stay on Vela Luka
Private accommodation, tourist apartments, and bungalows are all available for those looking for a more home-like experience.
Hotel Korkyra 4*, Hotel Adria, Hotel Posejdon 3* and Camp Mindel are also great options.
What Makes Vela Luka Special
Vela Luka is the largest town on the island of Korčula. It has a deep sheltered bay with tranquil inlets and tiny islets. Vela Luka has 2.671 sunshine hours, which is the highest for the whole of the Adriatic and the warmest temperature on the Mediterranean – even higher than Hvar, Dubrovnik, Nice and Naples.
And if all that great beach friendly environment doesn’t lure you in, maybe the history will – the life and culture of the Mediterranean region can be traced through archaeological finds from Vela Špilja.
Island of Šolta
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.
What to Do on Šolta
Take a hike from the coastal villages of Maslinica, Stomorska, Nečujem or Rogač. Explore the inland villages of Grohote, Gornje Selo, Srednje Selo or Donje Selo.
Visit the highest peak on the island Vela Straža. Enjoy the sights of old stone houses, olive groves, lively town centers, old churches. Oh, and don’t forget to visit the local taverns and treat yourself to some great local cuisine and excellent Dalmatian wine.
There are numerous bike paths on the island to explore. The mapped paths (asphalt and unpaved trails) connect the island towns and villages.
Try sea kayaking. Kayak rental is available in the towns of Nečujam and Maslinica.
For the adventurous types explore the deep waters of the island by scuba diving. Visit sites of sunken ships, hidden caves, and unique species.
See the Island by Scooter
If you are just visiting for a day, rent a scooter and visit many beaches, taverns, and cafes on the island.
Local Tip: from the main port make Stomorska your first spot and visit a cafe called Africa, enjoy refreshing cocktails and swimming in the crystal clear waters in front of the cafe.
Where to Stay on Šolta
Private villas, houses or apartments, ranging from 3 to 5-Star along with campsites are popular accommodation on the island.
For a hotel, treat yourself to Martinis Marchi Heritage Hotel – a 5-Star Castle Hotel with a marina for luxury yachts.
What Makes Šolta Special
Šolta is the closest island to Split. It is a sailing paradise with marinas in Rogač, Stomorska and Maslinica.
The island has beautiful beaches and 24 bays to explore by sailboat. The best bays (south side of the island) can only be reached by boat, including Senjska, Stračinska, and Tatinja.
Catch amazing sunsets on the islands in front of Maslinica bay which can be reached by boat, kayak, and diving.
The island boasts some pretty cool history too. Old tales say that Emperor Diocletian had built his own fish pond in the small bay of Nečejem. Remains of the old Roman wall are still seen under the sea. It is also known that Šolta was once the leading center for lime production. Hence many houses on the island are made with limestone.
So tell us, what island escape will you go on this year?
Pinterest Photo Credit: Alexander Russy