Croatia’s Adriatic coast glistens with natural jewels, from the crystal-clear jade and turquoise sea to the beautiful island-speckled landscape, blessed with luscious green rolling hills and stark white pebbles. The variety of island scenery is incredible. There are lavender scented interiors, world heritage towns and lively harbours framed with plush terraces and champagne glamour. Even the most well-heeled traveller cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer amount of un-spoilt luxury found along Dalmatia’s stunning coastline. Here are 4 spectacular islands you must visit.
Hvar is the glitziest of all the islands and its capital, Hvar Town, has the most captivating super-yacht lined harbour on the entire Croatian coast. Prepare to be amazed by the shiny marble promenade, beautifully preserved 15th century historical square and stunning medieval walled fortress that sweeps over the entire scene. Comparisons can easily be drawn to that of Dubrovnik, including the Venetian architecture, gothic cathedral and restaurant filled old town, yet it’s most famous for the lavish clubs and non-stop parties. Hvar boasts the sunniest climate – and the best nightlife in all of Croatia. A winning combination for an early sun downer cocktail along the curvy waters’ edge or short speedboat ride to magical Palmizana, where there are cool coves with crisp white day beds balanced against giant rocks and sofas perched high on tree tops – perfect for celeb-spotting opportunities while listening to the DJ mix Balearic beats in the background.
Marco Polo was the first to leave his stamp on this fascinating and wonderfully romantic island. Even now his name forms a part of ancient cultural sights as well as integrated on the signs above doorways leading to cafés and restaurants found along the winding streets of the old town. The romance continues through to the outer fort walls and grand southern gated entrance with alluring stone carved steps, archway and imposing tower. The views from the towers and cathedrals are some of the best in Croatia as is the wine from the olive groves and rolling vineyards, seen from the lookout points. A wine tasting trip either organised or self-directed is one of the main luxuries of visiting this island and taking a speedboat to a peaceful sun-soaked cove to sleep off the after effects is the other.
Mljet has the good fortune of being both beautiful seductive island and one of Croatia’s most treasured national parks. Rich pine forest covers more than half of the island and running through the tranquil green interior are two pristine salt water lakes. The larger lake contains a small picturesque island featuring a former monastery, that’s now a very lovely and much appreciated terraced restaurant, serving Italian-inspired ice cream among other delights. A full day is needed to meander around via slow boat and stroll along the narrow paths that circle the shoreline, were there are plenty of secluded natural bays for a private swim in the exceptionally clear water. Other charming sights can be found on the wilder routes taking you up to the scattered hilltop villages, renowned for their grilled seafood and rewarding views.
Mysterious far-away Vis attracts the fast island hopping yachts spilling over from the likes of Brac and Hvar aiming to explore some of the best cove scenery along this stretch of the Dalmatia coast. There are two stand-out beauty spots, each with its own unique appearance that gather the most attention. Stiniva cove is set back against high craggy cliffs and has irresistible ‘secret lagoon’ qualities with smooth chalky white pebbles and a cute bar offering mostly crowd pleasing bottled beer, while nearby Bisevo ‘blue grotto’ is a small cave, famous for the blue light that shines through its core from the sun’s rays at noon – and getting your feet wet in such a glimmering spectacle is most definitely the thing to do when visiting the region. Elsewhere, Vis remains relatively untouched from the Greek and Roman era, were stone houses, fisherman’s villages and traditions are still very much intact.
Chartering a private yacht or speedboat is the way to go for finding heavenly coves, fancy isolated restaurants, wine bars and spectacular view points. If all the jumping around gets too much there are plenty of other relaxing luxuries to be had. The favourite is snapping up the best positioned sunbed draped with unblemished white sheets along the swanky beach bar front and do nothing other than watch the beautiful bustling ocean.