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Big guide to sandy beaches in Croatia

A Guide to the Best Sandy Beaches in Croatia

Best Sandy Beaches in Croatia

The Croatian side of the world-renowned coast of the Adriatic Sea is full of pebble and even more untamed rocky beaches. However, there are many hidden gems all over the coast where you can realize your tropical, cocktail-infused dream of living it up on a sandy beach!

Apart from giving your tired feet a rest on the soft sand from all the walking you’ve probably been doing while on vacation, these beaches offer many active types of relaxation. There’s a whole array of beach sports you can play on the sand, including volleyball and the traditional Croatian ball game of picigin. And there’s always a lot of fun to be had for the kids - building sandcastles, digging up tiny “sand pools”, and playing with their sand toys. Or you can simply lay down your towel, put on some sunscreen, and bask in the sun. Most of these beaches offer deck chairs and parasols for rent, and the more frequented ones also have showers. So, you’re all covered!

This guide will help you choose the best sandy beach for you during your visit to Croatia, starting from the more southern parts, moving our way up the coast to the peninsula of Istria. So regardless of where you’re staying, you’ll find a special sandy beach where you can create some beautiful memories.

 

Southern Dalmatian Coast

Sveti Jakov Beach (near Dubrovnik)

Located right beneath the church of St. Jacob, about 1 km away from Dubrovnik, this secluded beach is located in a small bay. It might be a bit harder to reach since there are quite a few steps to go down before you reach the sand, but it’s worth it! 

Its popularity doesn’t come as a surprise since the view is fantastic! The panorama includes the entire city of Dubrovnik with its historical walls, as well as the nearby island of Lokrum.

Apart from enjoying the view, you can also have a blast riding the rental jet-skis, kayaking, and trying out other water sports. The beach starts our shallow, but since it soon gets quite deep, which is why it’s popular among divers. 

This beach is best suited for the younger crowd, including families, and couples. All in all, it’s become one of the more popular beaches in the area, and you can’t go wrong with it!

Beautiful sandy beach Sveti Jakov - Dubrovnik

Punta Rata Beach (Brela, Makarska Riviera)

To be fair, this beach is a combination of sand and very fine pebbles, but it’s well worth it since it has been voted one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world! With its natural shade thanks to the thick pine trees, and beautiful, pure azure sea, it proudly carries the Blue Flag symbol. 

It’s well-suited for anyone looking for a more active type of vacation and is equipped with a tennis court, a mini-soccer and beach volleyball area, various water sport options, as well as a restaurant, beach bar, and cafe.

Punta Rata beach - Brela, Makarska

Bačvice Beach (Split)

Perhaps best-known for the ball game of picigin (pronounced similar to pizzigeen), this sandy beach near the ancient heart of Split hosts the World Championship in Picigin every year. Even if you visit the beach out of season, you’ll be able to see some locals playing the sport despite the colder weather. And even if you’re not up for playing, you’ll have a lot of fun just watching the sport, which includes players trying to hit the ball around so it doesn’t touch the surface of the sea.

Besides picigin, you can also have a nice cup of coffee in the sun. But be sure to grab a good spot in time since it can get quite crowded, especially mid-summer.

Beautiful sandy beach Bacvice - Split

Slanica Beach (Murter)

Another beach which is extremely popular among picigin players is Slanice on the island of Murter. It’s also the main beach on the island, which makes it the most-frequented. But it’s also one of the most beautiful ones in the area of Šibenik. 

The fact that it’s rather shallow makes it excellent for playing picigin but also for kids to play in the sand.

There are also a lot of facilities to enjoy, including restaurants offering local specialties, beach bars, a volleyball and tennis area, rental jet-skis, and even a fun park complete with trampoline and toboggan for the little ones.

Besides all of this, there is also a camp nearby where you can rent a bike, scooter, or canoe. And if you’re a naturist, there’s also a nudist beach close by!

Sandy beach Slanica - MurterSource: Igor Bilic

Northern Dalmatian Coast

Zaton (Zadar)

Only about 5 minutes away from Zadar, this beach deserves to hold the prestigious Blue Flag symbol, not only because of its beauty but because of its hospitality. Since is starts out shallow and only gradually gets deeper, it’s great for children of all ages. For the slightly older children, there’s even a fun park that includes a toboggan, aquagan, iceberg, and jumping center. Easy access for the disabled is also ensured. 

You can also play a bit of volleyball, tennis, table tennis, picigin and, if you get hungry afterward, just drop by one of the beach and snack bars.

Beautiful sandy beach in Zaton - Zadar

Source: Holiday Choice

Bilotinjak Beach (near Nin)

Bilotinjak beach is actually situated half-way between Privlaka and Zaton, only about a ten-minute drive from the medieval town of Nin.

Since it’s a bit further away from any inhabited places, it can provide you with the peace and quiet you need while on vacation. It’s a natural beach and a real gem to behold. 

Sandy beach in Nin

Crvena Luka Beach (Biograd na Moru)

Situated only 3 kilometers from Biograd na Moru (Biograd on the Sea), this beach is slightly hidden away so it’s best to get there on foot or by boat (from Soline or Dražice). The sandy part of the beach is only about 150 meters long, so it might get full quickly. But the northern part of the beach is reserved for naturists. 

As with most of the beaches on this list, there are also a variety of activities to choose from, as well as the pristine, crystal-clear sea to enjoy.
 

Kvarner

Rajska plaža (Rab)

This Heavenly Beach (yes, this is the literal translation) is perfect for the active, sporty family. It’s located on the northern part of the island near the town of Lopar and is the largest sandy beach in its vicinity, almost 2 kilometers in length. This, of course, means that it offers many activities to choose from - beach volleyball, parasailing, toboggans, and so on.

One specificity of this beach is the Brewtal Craft Beer Festival that takes place on it every year, usually in June. So, this is something you might want to look into for your next vacation!

And lest we forget, this is another beach on the list that holds the Blue Flag! Thanks to both its amenities and cleanliness. Did we mention it has an area that’s pet-friendly?!

Rajska plaza - island Rab

Planjka Beach (Pag)

Planjka beach, also called Trinćel, is one of the more beautiful beaches on the island of Pag, located in the city of Old Novalja (Stara Novalja). It is easily accessible and great for people of all ages! Its fine sand, easy, gradual entrance into the sea and pristine state have all earned it a Blue Flag of its own!

To prove that it’s indeed worthy of this status, the locals take care to keep the beach clean and offer a bunch of activities to keep everyone satisfied: cafes, fast foods, toboggans, a children’s playground, and various sport-related amenities.

Novalja beach - Planjka

Crni Molo Beach (Crikvenica)

This mainly-sandy beach is located only 200 meters from the center of Crikvenica and proudly bears a Blue Flag. It’s well-known for its shallow areas which are extremely popular with children, but also among adults wanting to play a bit of picigin. Crni molo offers other active types of R&R including beach volleyball, mini golf, water skiing, a toboggan nearby and much, much more. 

And of course, if you’re just feeling like bathing in the sun, you can rent a deck chair and parasol, take a leisurely swim, and have a shower afterwards before you head off for a cup of coffee, or an ice cream cone in one of the restaurants, beach bars, or cafes nearby. 

A feature worth noting about this beach is that it’s adapted for anyone with disabilities. 

On top of that, it’s pet-friendly, so don’t forget to bring your furry friend along!

As a side note though, there is a symbolic entrance fee of 20 HRK to pay if you want access to the beach. But it’s well worth it since you get access to all the beauty and amenities on the beach, as well as the peace of mind of knowing that you will be able to really relax.

 

Istria

Bijeca (Medulin)

This sandy beach is particularly well-suited for families with little children precisely because of its accessible, shallow parts.

The locals also go the extra mile and organize beach volleyball tournaments every year which are fun for those playing and watching! In addition to all of the usual things - rental deck chairs, parasols, cafes and restaurants - there’s also an aquagan for the kids to enjoy!

In case you want to escape the hot sun, the beach is surrounded by lush greenery which is particularly popular among the older crowd and those with sensitive skin. 

 

Koversada (Vrsar)

Koversada is known as one of the oldest beaches in the area and for being a favorite among naturists. Even more so because its Blue Flag guarantees a crystal-clear sea and various amenities to enjoy. It’s worth mentioning the beautiful promenade by the beach along which you can find numerous places to have a drink or snack.

Since the beach is rather long (5 km), the terrain will vary greatly depending on where you set down your towel, but there is a beautiful sandy part for those of you who prefer this over a rockier terrain.

Vrsar - beautiful beach Koversada
 

The beaches we mentioned here are only our top picks among the many sandy beaches you can find in Croatia. So, feel free to go exploring and find some more hidden gems during your adventures. Or take you pick from one of the ones we mentioned. We are sure you’ll have a wonderful time no matter which one you choose. Don’t forget to enjoy the sun and sea while you’re there, and play some picigin if you get the chance!

 

Main Takeaways:

Even though the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea coast is known for its rocky scenery, there are plenty of sandy beaches to enjoy. Many of them bear the Blue Flag because of the unbelievably clean sea and shore, the clear air, lush greenery surrounding them, and the numerous amenities these beaches have to offer. 

The sandy beaches we have picked as our favorites all have the basics (showers, and rental deck chairs and parasols), beautiful promenades as well as cafes, beach bars, and restaurants to relax in. They also offer a variety of beach sports to take part in and endless fun activities for children. 

Now that we’ve taken you through a journey across the Croatian coast, all the way from Dubrovnik up to Istria, you are ready to choose the beach you like best! Perhaps it’s the Punta Rata beach on the Makarska Riviera, or Bačvice beach (Split). It might be one of the ones in Northern Dalmatia like Zaton (Zadar), or Bilotinjak (near Nin). Or it might be the Heavenly Beach or Planjska beach in Kvarner. Or if you’re in Istria, it might be Bijeca (Medulin) or Koversada in Vrsar. Take your pick of one of these heavenly, tropical sandy beaches! Though there really is no wrong choice.