Tucked into the curve of Croatia’s northern stretch is Kvarner Bay, a group of islands littered with fishing villages, Medieval ruins, and mountains. Coastlines here are of made up of pebble rather than the soft stuff, but Rab, to the south of the archipelago, is home to more sandy spots than any other part the country. Once you’ve had your fill of beaches, explore pretty Rab Town. Houses topped with pumpkin-coloured roofs line up alongside a handful of churches, four of them adorned with a bell tower each, creating the town’s famous skyline. Weave your way through the narrow streets and in the summer, enjoy Medieval festivals and live classical music.
Easiest way to get to Rab from the mainland: Get the ferry from Stinica.
Browse our holidays to Kvarner Bay
If you’re searching for a Croatian island to let your hair down on, try Hvar. Wedged between Split and Dubrovnik, revellers from across Europe head straight for the island’s capital. Hvar Town offers all night parties, laid-back beach bars, and swanky restaurants. Marvel at the impressive assortment of yachts in the harbour, and keep your eyes peeled – you might spot a celebrity or two. When you’re not partying, this island’s got cafes and cathedrals to keep you busy, plus a Spanish fortress and a 15th-century monastery to explore. And, away from Hvar Town, the rest of the island shows off Croatia’s more traditional side. Stari Grad on the north coast was founded by the Greeks, making it one of Europe’s oldest settlements, while the island’s interior is made up of vineyards, lavender fields, and olive trees.
Easiest way to get to Hvar from the mainland: Take a catamaran from Split or fly from Dubrovnik, Split, or Brac.
Browse our holidays to Hvar
Korčula offers up Croatia at its most authentic, with tiny communities and ancient fishing villages dotted amongst pine forests and vineyards. The best bit? It’s managed to stay off the tourist radar, so head here for tranquil breaks overlooking the azure Adriatic Sea. Enjoy the peace and quiet with a glass of local wine – the sweet stuff has been made on the island for thousands of years. Over on the east coast you’ll find Korčula Town, often called ‘little Dubrovnik’ thanks to the walls that surround it. Locals believe it’s the birthplace of explorer Marco Polo, so swing by the Marco Polo Museum to learn more about his travels. After working up an appetite, refuel at one of the seafood restaurants dotted throughout the town, and pick up a few trinkets in the shops.
Easiest way to get to Korčula from the mainland: Take a catamaran from Split.
Browse our holidays to Korčula
Keen hikers and nature lovers will feel right at home on Mljet, just a two hour ferry ride from Dubrovnik. Its western coast is made up of a national park covered in pine trees, and two saltwater lakes. Legend has it, Greek hero Odysseus lived on the island. Hike to the cave named after him to spend an afternoon swimming in crystal-clear waters. Mljet is ideal for those in search of a peaceful escape, as there’s little to do here aside from exploring the trails and enjoying a picnic. But, if you fancy visiting a historical site during your trip, check out the Benedictine monastery in the national park, which is built in the style of a Renaissance villa.
Easiest way to get to Mljet from the mainland: Take a catamaran from Dubrovnik.
Browse our holidays to Mljet
The TUI BLUE Carolina feels like an exclusive hideaway. It’s perched on the shores of a tree-smothered island, with views of Kvarner Bay.
This family-friendly hotel makes the most of the Croatian scenery, with stunning views from the pools, restaurants and its three white-pebble beaches.
This adults-only hotel flaunts a large pool, a gourmet restaurant and sea views that are made for Instagram.
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