If you haven’t been to Croatia, you’re missing out on one of Europe’s most picturesque, historic and authentic holiday destinations. Lose yourself in dreamy coves, visit architectural delights, bathe under waterfalls, tuck into freshly caught fish and uncover a country that’s proving a huge hit with holidaymakers around the globe.
The mainland is most definitely worth a visit, but Croatia’s true hidden beauty lies in its islands, which offer a tranquil and absolutely stunning escape. There are more than 1,000 islands off the coast of Croatia, from small rocks in the sea to larger inhabited islands, so you certainly won’t be short of spots to choose from. Croatia is an island hopper’s dream because it offers so much choice, and the geography of the islands means you can easily hop from one island to another.
Here is a handy guide to island hopping Croatia.
Which airport to fly into?
First things first, you need to pick a base to start from. There are four main airports you can fly into. Split is probably the most popular, it gives you access to islands such as Hvar, Brac, Korcula and Vis.
Another option is Dubrovnik, a good choice if you want to see the city (where Game of Thrones was shot) before going to the islands. From here you can access Lastovo, Korcula and Hvar via catamaran. The other airports are Zadar and Rijeka. In terms of physically getting to each island, there are car ferries or faster catamarans (passenger only).
Before you decide where you want to go, you need to choose what mode of transport to go for. For ease, book onto an organised tour which takes you from island to island. Or, if you’ve got the budget, consider renting your own boat or yacht.
If you can get a group together, this will help to bring the cost down. And lastly, you can simply hop on board the local ferries and catamarans that run shuttles to the islands, but this takes more advanced planning.
A popular route that showcases the best of the Dalmatian coast includes going from Split to Dubrovnik stopping off at Brac, Hvar and Korcula. Although this route is absolutely breathtaking and these popular islands will not disappoint, there are quieter, more quaint islands just begging to be recognised. Some hidden gems include Solta, which is the closest island to Split; Losinj, a chic up and coming island; and, Vis which offers rugged scenery and a chilled-out atmosphere.
Practical things to consider
- Tickets can be booked a day in advance.
- Not all ferries take cars, this will limit your options so plan ahead.
- Most journeys are around £10 each way for foot passengers, and around £30 for cars.
- Ferries from island to island are not as frequent as those from the islands to the mainland.
- Make sure you bring some jelly shoes or crocs as the Croatian shores are notoriously filled with sea urchins!
With the vast choice of stunning Croatian islands to visit, an island-hopping trip will allow you to experience an array of attractions in one holiday. After your first trip, you might just find you want to go back for more!