Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) beach, Brac Island, Croatia, Europe
Croatia Guide | Croatia
Map | Europe
Croatia's most photographed and popular beach is Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn), near Bol town on Brac Island, with its small, smooth white pebbles, azur sea and strangely exciting crescent shape. It does, of course, get busy in the summer, with windsurfers as well as swimmers.
Baska Voda beach is sizeable, comfortably layered with shingle and perfectly framed by pink Biokovo mountain. It's adjacent to the attractive, lively old fishing town, well-known for romantic strolling.
Brela Beach near Makarska, south of Split, is a spacious 6 km ( 3.75 miles) long stretch of crytal water and slightly stony beige sand.
One of the Adriatic sea's most outstanding beaches is Lopar (Paradise) on Rab Island, a gorgeous greenery-backed white crescent of unusually fine sand, with shallow turquoise waters.
Trstenica Beach, a 1km length of shallow water and pebbles or sand - depending on where you choose to park your butt - is fantastic for families; it's a 10 minute walk from the town of Orebic on the Peljesac peninsula.
Banje Beach outside Dubrovnik (picture below) has location, location, location, with easy access and a great view of the old city.
Elegant Hvar Island has a few sandy beaches and Mlaska is the best.
Pag island sports several sandy beaches such as Sveti Duh or long, stony Zrce beach (near Novalja) with its three 24/7 beach clubs that turn the place into a mini Ibiza during the summer.
Kukljica on Ugljan island has a few pretty, sandy beaches including Sabusa and Kostanj.
One of Croatia's best hidden beaches can be found on Kolocep Island (the Elafiti group) across from Dubrovnik.
Croatia attracts many naturist/nudists from north Europe, particularly Germany and the Netherlands. Some of the most popular nudist beaches are long-established Jerolim and Stipanska on Hvar Island or Kandalora beach (English Beach) on Rab Island.
The best time for swimming is June to September.
Banje Beach, Dubrovnik's city beach
In addition to swimming, Croatia's Adriatic coast and islands offer most water sports enjoyed by beach bums everywhere, such as scuba diving and snorkelling off kaleidoscopic reefs, windsurfing, dinghy sailing and yachting in steady wind off craggy coasts and more.
Windsurfing: Brac, one of Croatia's largest islands, has arguably the country's best water sports facilities as well as an efficient tourist infrastructure such as ferries and an airport.
Brac is home to the country's most photographed beach, Zlatni Rat, on the south coast, which is also one of Croatia's best windsurfing sites.
Krk Island also has excellent windsurfing sites at Baska (for skilled surfers) and Punat Bay (for beginners).
Sailing and yacht island hopping are an excellent way to explore the scattered delights of Croatia, since it has no fewer than 500 harbours and 50 fully serviced marinas, all with reasonable facilities.
Try Murter Island for sailing instruction at the Adriatic Nautical Academy.
Cruising around the Kornati archipelago with 140 islands - most of them uninhabited - is a wonderful experience but more challenging.
The best time for sailing or windsurfing is late May to early August, when a steady breeze blows.
Scuba Diving: Croatia has over 120 dive centres on the Adriatic Sea. Some of the best dive sites are:
Baron Gautsch, near Rovinj and Pula, is known for its 85m passenger ferry wreck dive; Rasip and Zirje in the Kornati National Park, are superb for for marine life, with a 70m drop cliff and visibility up to 40 metres.
Modra Spilja (Blue Grotto), off Bisevo Island, near Vis Island, is a stunning sea cave illuminated in shimmering blue by sun-beams.
Sv Andrija (St. Andrew) Wall in the Elafiti islands is an underwater wall famed for its red coral.
Margarina Reef, Susak Island, harbors a reef and underwater canyon.
The Cathedral, Premuda Island, is a spectacular reef with a cave system.
best time to go diving is September and October when the water is warmest, though the season runs from May to November.
Croatia Guide | Croatia
Map | Europe