Croatia is truly a land of islands as it has more than a thousand of them and each one is different. Many of them are inhabited, but each and every one is exceptional, with its own story and destiny. To have a soft spot is human and the connoisseurs of Croatian islands have thousands of them. To be more precise, 1185 of them. That's how many islands, islets and cliffs are located in front of 1777 kilometres of the Adriatic coast. The first trip to the Adriatic coast and its islands is a journey into the unknown. Every other trip will be a journey to the already familiar beauty of this country, always different, but equally breathtaking.
We will begin the story about the islands with the Brijuni islands. This fourteen island archipelago is situated along seven kilometres of coastline between Pula and Rovinj. With a little help, nature has created a small paradise here, true harmony of flora and fauna, historical monuments and modern hotels. Brijuni offer shade in the rich evergreen vegetation, pheasants, deer and doe that roam freely all over the island and the peace and quiet of the holm oak and hundred- year old olive groves.
The golden or green Krk is and isn't an island. It is one, if we look at the idyllic nature and peaceful oasis far away from the everyday world, but as far as traffic connections are concerned, it isn't. Krk, which also has a small airport, is divided from the mainland by the sea but is connected to it by a bridge.
If you are looking for your own special island, you'll find it on Krk because the islands Plavnik, Kormat, Galun, Prvić and Zec are special tourist destinations, offering nature untouched by man. If you are interested in exciting town bustle and great hospitality, then the island towns Baška, Malinska, Omišalj, Njivice, Krk and Punat, which has the largest marina on the Croatian Adriatic, are the places you need to visit.
Cres and Lošinj. One island or two? They were once connected, but a channel, which was dug by the Romans, separates these two islands. The northern part of Cres is hidden away in the Rijeka bay and is exposed to strong gusts of gale, so that sometimes its peaks are white from the foam of the sea. The southern part is protected from the gale so its climate is typically Mediterranean. The town of Cres is the centre of the island. You can enter its nucleus through three doors and history rears its head at every corner. There are many monuments that testify to this. What testifies about the people, their statuses and professions are the family crests on the house portals or the engraved tools: the blacksmith's or carpenter's on the houses of craftsmen and a fish on the houses of fishermen. The climate of Lošinj is pleasant, what's more it has lots of woods, so it is both a holiday and health resort.
Out of the 1185 islands and islets, scattered along the Adriatic coast, consisting of hard, sharp rocks and a fist full of soil, Susak is one of the rare islands that nature created from sand. There are 20 million cubic meters of sand, which gives a specific flavour to the wine produced on Susak.
The next island in the Kvarner is Rab. In 1889, the local council proclaimed it a bathing-place and health resort. The British King Edward VIII especially encouraged tourism on Rab, when he stayed there with his great love, the American Wallis Simpson. They say that he was the first to go swimming without any clothes. This is how nudism was founded on Rab. Rab is one of the islands richest in forests with as many as three hundred springs of water.
Pag is an island full of mythical olive groves, rich in sea salt, famous for its lace, cheese a world known delicacy, sheep's milk, olive oil and what more do you need? Perhaps this: a part of Pag with its specific relief resembles the surface of the moon.
Moving along to the middle-Adriatic islands like: Olib, Silba, Premuda, Vir, Dugi Otok and Pašman, you notice immediately that you have left the everyday problems and bounds of society far behind you. In front of you lies the untouched nature. These islands will bewitch you, energize you and enrich you. They will become your dream, the kind you dream with your eyes wide open.
Silba is an island of ship owners and captains and old captain's houses, as well as a harbour protected from the gushes of wind. It’s an island of fishermen and navigators and is well known to sailors as a safe haven from the storm.
The island Ugljan is the 'suburban area' and a garden that lies in front of Zadar and it got its name because of its richness in oil. There are in fact more than 100.000 olive trees on this island.
The nearby Pašman island 'grew into' Ugljan. They are actually twins, only Pašman is a bit more peaceful. They are equally beautiful and covered with silvery green olive groves. These two pearls can be seen from the coastal town of Biograd, the geographical centre of the Adriatic.
Iž is an island situated between Ugljan and Dugi Otok. It is just as famous for what it does and doesn't have. It has rich Mediterranean vegetation and it doesn't have any cars.
Dugi Otok offers rest in preserved nature of an area of 114 square kilometres. There are fishermen there, farmers, beautiful secluded beaches and tourist facilities. The bay of Telaščica is located there, which is the biggest natural harbour of all the Adriatic islands, a nature park and a mouflon habitat.
According to the legend, Kornati labyrinth of sea passages and islands was created from the many rock cliffs that God had left after he had finished making the World. He threw them into the sea, turned around and concluded that no other interventions were necessary.
The infamous George Bernard Shaw said of this Adriatic’s most indented archipelago which consists of 140 islands, islets and reefs: 'The Gods wanted to crown their work, so on the last day, from their tears, the stars and their breath they created Kornati.
There are many fishermen’s villages which are periodically inhabited on the islands and because they are rich in fish they are often the destination of sport fishermen.
Kornati are especially interesting for sailors and that’s why there are two nautical enters there: Žut and Piškera.
Among the islands, another picturesque one is Murter, which has an area of 18 square kilometres. It is connected to the mainland by a bridge, spanning a channel only 12 metres wide. This is an island of fishermen, olive growers and ship builders with the towns: Tisno, Murter, Betina and Jezera.
The island Prvić near the tourist pearl Vodice, it's an oasis of Mediterranean flora and fauna and has two adorable little towns: Prvić Luka and Šepurine of which the first one has a well-protected harbour. The island Zlarin is southwest of Šibenik. In the 15th century it was famous for coral and sponge harvesting and there is a museum that exhibits this.
West of Zlarin is the island of Obonjan, known as the Island of Youth. Not far is the island Kaprije, which got its name from the Mediterranean plant caper, whose buds serve as spice. Many yachts visit Kaprije due to its many coves and beautiful beaches.
Žirje is the most distant inhabited island of the Šibenik Archipelago with great fishing-grounds and many coves for sailors. Krapanj is the smallest and lowest inhabited island of the archipelago with an area of only 0.36 kilometres and only seven meters high.
"Across from" Split, a city harmonious in structure with cultural and historical values, with an airport and a harbour, lies the island of Brač, the highest and by size the third largest island in the Adriatic. It is covered with pine woods, vineyards and olive groves and the world famous stone from Brač that’s been used in the construction of many important buildings such as The White House in Washington DC. The beautiful beach Zlatni rat is located in Bol, which is the biggest tourist town on the southern part of the island. The beach is located on a cape covered in pebbles, which moves, depending on the wind and waves from one side to another. You'll have to admit that this is the only beach that you've heard of that changes its shape from day to day. There are many bathing-places and resorts on Brač: Postire, Milna, Supetar...
South of Brač is Hvar, the longest island of the Adriatic. This is an island of vineyards, olive groves and lavender. The island is surrounded by crystal blue sea, many springs of water and the largest number of sunny hours in a year. The many stone houses along both coasts, which are connected by small bridges, achieve the harmonious unity of Stari Grad on Hvar, the fishermen’s museum is in Vrbovska, which is unique on the Adriatic... Hvar is, no doubt, an exceptional island, a pleasant winter and summer resort, with a mild climate and exuberant subtropical vegetation.
Paklinski otoci are an especially interesting group of islands with pebbly, sandy beaches that are mostly occupied by nudists and a rocky sea bottom, perfect for spearfishing. It is also a well-known destination for sailors.
Opposite Split is the island of Šolta with poor vegetation, a steep and well indented coast with Maslenica - the main harbour and anchorage for small boats.
Far from the mainland and its worries is the island of Vis, rich in palm trees, known for its fishermen, sailors, beautiful nature and diverse tourist offer.
Southwest is the island Biševo, an area of 6 square kilometres. There are many caves 'chiselled' into the steep coastline, among which 'Modra špilja' the Blue Cave is the most famous. When the sea is calm the light rays that shine in the cave break in such a way against the cave walls, the objects and people inside it are covered in blue and those in the water a silvery colour. The Vis archipelago includes the islands of Svetac (Sveti Andrija), Jabuka, Brusnik and the island of Palagruža.
Although it's formally a peninsula, Pelješac is indeed like an island. The Island of Korčula is very near as it is separated by a narrow channel.
Ston and Mali Ston are picturesque towns that were the second and the third most important town in the Dubrovnik Republic. Oysters and wines: Postup and Dingač from the Mali Ston bay are widely famous.
They say that Korčula is an island with the most legends and monuments and, along with Lokrum and Mljet, the Croatian island most covered with forests. Towards the end of the 13th century near Korčula there was a naval battle between Venice and Genoa. Marco Polo, the famous traveller and travel book writer, who is believed to have been born on Korčula, was on the side of the Venetians. This is an island with many known towns: Korčula, Lumbarda and Vela Luka. Korčula is the home of thee knight dance 'moreška' from the end of the 15th century, famous stone-cutters, sailors and ship builders.
Far away, out in the open sea is the island Lastovo with an area of 50 square kilometres, with an indented pebble coast with sandy beaches and a few islands on the west and east coast. The houses in the town of Lastovo are built one above the other: each one entitled to its own share in the sun, air and the view.
Alongside Pelješac is the green island of Mljet with an area of 100 square kilometres. Because of its thick pine forests, karst caves, two picturesque lakes connected with the sea, many sandy and pebble beaches, many fishing-grounds rich in fish and lobsters, the western part of the island has been proclaimed a national park.
Not many people can determine the colour of the Adriatic Sea. Sometimes it is dark blue, sometimes greenish-blue. The fact is that the sea, depending on the time of day and the angle of the sun's rays, overflows into a thousand nuances. However, it is always beautiful and unique. Out of the 1185 islands and islets, you are sure to find one that is perfect for you. Come and find it.