7 Undiscovered Croatian Islands You Should Visit This Summer

When it comes to Mediterranean getaways, Croatia is often celebrated for its stunning coastline and popular islands like Hvar and Korčula.

However, the Adriatic Sea hides many lesser-known treasures waiting to be explored. Here are seven undiscovered Croatian islands that promise serene landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and unique experiences this summer.

Aerial view of green Croatian island of VisVis Island

1. Vis

Vis, the furthest inhabited island from Croatia's mainland, is a hidden gem with rich history and pristine nature. Once a strategic military base, its isolation preserved its charm and prevented overdevelopment. This island offers a blend of natural beauty, history, and culture that remains largely untouched by mass tourism.

What to Do:

  • Explore the Blue Cave: Located on the nearby island of Biševo, the Blue Cave is a must-see. The sunlight reflects through the water, creating a mesmerizing blue glow inside the cave.
  • Visit Stiniva Cove: Accessible by boat or a hike, this secluded cove is known for its unique entrance and crystal-clear waters.
  • Wine Tasting: Vis is renowned for its vineyards, particularly those producing Vugava and Plavac Mali wines. Visit local wineries in the quaint villages of Komiža and Vis Town to sample these local specialties.
  • Historical Sites: Discover remnants of the island's military history, including the old British fort George and various underground tunnels.

2. Lastovo

Known for its untouched beauty, Lastovo is part of a protected nature park. Its remote location makes it the perfect choice for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility.

Village on Lastovo Island, Croatia

What to Do:

  • Hiking: Lastovo's dense forests and rolling hills offer numerous hiking trails with stunning views. The island's highest peak, Hum, provides panoramic views of the archipelago.
  • Beach Hopping: Explore the island's many secluded beaches and coves, such as Saplun, known for its sandy shores.
  • Stargazing: Lastovo has some of the clearest skies in Europe, making it ideal for stargazing. The island is part of the International Dark Sky Park network.
  • Lastovo Carnival: If you visit in February, experience the island’s famous "Lastovo Carnival," a unique and colourful event with centuries-old traditions.

3. Mljet

Mljet is often called Croatia's greenest island due to its lush forests. A large part of the island is a national park, featuring two saltwater lakes – Veliko and Malo Jezero. Visitors can explore the Benedictine monastery on the islet of St. Mary, kayak on the lakes, or hike through the scenic trails.

Boat floating in the Adriatic Sea with coastline and landscape of Mljet island in Croatia in the backgroundMljet Island

What to Do:

  • National Park: The Mljet National Park is a natural wonder with its pristine lakes and rich biodiversity. Rent a bike or kayak to explore the area.
  • Benedictine Monastery: Visit the island of St. Mary, located in the middle of Veliko Jezero, to see the ancient Benedictine monastery and church.
  • Odysseus Cave: Legend has it that the Greek hero Odysseus was shipwrecked here. The cave is a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling.

4. Šipan

The largest of the Elaphiti Islands, Šipan is known for its olive groves, vineyards, and historical sites. Despite its proximity to Dubrovnik, it remains a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city during the summer months.

What to Do:

  • Historical Sites: Visit the 16th-century Skočibuha Palace and numerous old churches and monasteries scattered across the island.
  • Local Cuisine: Enjoy fresh seafood and local dishes at the island's konobas (taverns). Don’t miss trying the local olive oil, known for its excellent quality.
  • Beaches: Relax on the tranquil beaches, such as the sandy beach at Šunj Bay.

5. Kornati Islands

The Kornati archipelago is a sailor's paradise with its 140 uninhabited islands and islets. The Kornati National Park offers rugged landscapes, clear blue waters, and rich marine life.

View of the island of Kornati, CroatiaKornati Archipelago

What to Do:

  • Sailing: The best way to explore the Kornati Islands is by boat. Sail through the archipelago, discovering hidden coves and secluded beaches.
  • Snorkeling and Diving: The clear waters and rich underwater life make it a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving.
  • Hiking: While many of the islands are barren, they offer unique hiking experiences with dramatic views of the Adriatic Sea.
  • Historical Sites: Discover ancient ruins and stone structures that date back to Roman times.

6. Silba

Silba is a car-free island known for its peaceful ambiance and natural beauty. It's perfect for those looking to unwind. Walk or bike along its scenic paths, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and visit the Toreta, a unique tower with an external spiral staircase offering panoramic views of the island.

What to Do:

  • Walking and Biking: With no cars allowed, Silba is ideal for walking and biking. Explore its scenic paths lined with Mediterranean vegetation.
  • Swimming: The island boasts numerous beaches with crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • Toreta Tower: Visit the Toreta, a unique tower with an external spiral staircase. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the island.
  • Local Arts and Crafts: Silba has a small but vibrant community of artists and craftspeople. Visit local galleries and shops to see their work.

7. Zlarin

Zlarin, known as the "Golden Island," is famed for its coral tradition. The island boasts beautiful beaches, lush pine forests, and charming villages.

View of a beach on the Croatian island of ZlarinZlarin Island

What to Do:

  • Coral Museum: Learn about Zlarin's rich history of coral harvesting and jewelry making at the Coral Museum.
  • Beaches: Relax on the island's secluded beaches, such as the sandy beach at Velo Zlato.
  • Hiking: Numerous trails wind through the island's pine forests and olive groves, offering stunning views of the coastline.
  • Local Festivals: Experience traditional Dalmatian culture through various local festivals and events, especially during the summer months.

Exploring these undiscovered Croatian islands offers a unique opportunity to experience the country's natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant local culture away from the crowds.

Each island has its own charm and distinct character, promising a blend of adventure, relaxation, and authentic experiences.

So pack your bags, and begin your Croatian adventure!

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