Soline Peninsula beach. Photo by Alex Proimos.
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.
The best time for swimming in Croatian waters is June to September.
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
They 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.
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.
The best time to go diving is September and October when the water is warmest, though the season runs from May to November.