Croatia's islands offer something for everyone — from party animals and sailors, to walkers and families. But which to choose? To help you out, Jonathan Bousfield, author of The Rough Guide to Croatia, has picked the top 10 best islands in Croatia for getaways — a stunning country you voted one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
For more inspiration while you plan your trip, discover our list of the best things to do in Croatia, and read our practical guide to island-hopping in Croatia.
Alternatively, to free yourself from all the hassle of planning, browse our customisable tailor-made Croatia trips.
Susak is one for true connoisseurs of Mediterranean getaways. A small, sandy island that sits off the coast of larger Lošinj, Susak's beaches are superb. In fact, Susak's Spiaza beach is one of our best beaches in Croatia.
Susak is also characterised by crumbly, ochre-coloured cliffs covered in ferns, wild fennel and soaring grasses. With footpaths criss-crossing the island, exploring the great outdoors here is effortless and sublimely rewarding.
Top tip: don't leave it too late to book somewhere to stay — browse Susak accommodation.
Known for being the island with the most sandy beaches in the Adriatic, Rab is indeed blessed with dozens of stone-and-pebble free coves that'll please even the fussiest beach-lover.
Rab's best known beach is Rajska Plaža (Paradise Beach). Located in Lopar to the north of the town of Rab, its long stretch of soft sand, shallow waters, and plentful amenities make it a top choice for families.
Though the beach is rocky, for scenery that evokes The Bahamas — pine forests and turquoise waters — head to Suha Punta on the wooded Kalifront peninsula.
Keen to avoid tan lines? Kandarola beach is one of the world's oldest naturist beaches, with right royal connections — Edward and Wallis Simpson used to get back to nature here, which is why it's known locally as English Beach.
Top tip: book early to bag beachfront Apartment Katica 2.
Car-free with no hotels, Silba is a paradise for peace-lovers year-round. Come mid-July, a bike ban comes into play until the end of August, further adding to the island's addictively laidback vibe.
To get a sense of Silba's blissfully slow pace, strolling maquis-lined lanes to unspoiled beaches pretty much counts as an adrenaline sport here.
Top tip: explore Silba accommodation well in advance to secure your spot in paradise.
While the legendary summer Garden Festival danced its last crazy steps in 2015, Murter is still one of the best Croatian islands for summer parties, festivals and concerts.
Running in late July, SuncéBeat is a carnivalesque festival with a welcoming family vibe — an event that favours fun over pretension.
Amazingly, the island’s easy-going side isn’t ruffled by the festivities. Party-seekers co-exist with more sedate visitors who are drawn to Murter’s natural beauty — think olive groves, cute ports and sublime coves.
If you're into alternative culture and are planning a longer trip to Croatia, read up on unexpected highlights of Croatia.
Top tip: research places to stay in Murter well ahead of party season.
Unspoiled Šolta happens to offer many of the reasons Croatia made it into our round-up of the world's best adventure holiday destinations, with a host of lesser-travelled hiking and biking trails to enjoy.
Despite being the closest island to Split, Šolta has a decidedly remote feel. Small and compact, lovers of the stunning outdoors will want to take to the unspoiled interior for trails that pass through secret stone villages.
Meanwhile, the picturesque harbour of Maslinica offers an alluring mix of old time charm and yacht club chic.
Top tip: if you're after the likes of hiking and cycling, take a look at our customisable Ultimate Croatian Adventure trip.
When it comes to architectural grandeur and glamour, Hvar Town rivals Dubrovnik. Long a favourite summer haunt of celebrities, the island boasts stacks of glossy bars and top-notch restaurants.
As insiders know, the best parties happen on Hvar's offshore islands after hours, so keep to your ear to the ground while you sup your sundowner.
Hvar also features in our overview of Croatia's best honeymoon destinations, with water taxis waiting to whisk couples off to secluded coves in style.
Top tip: if that wasn't enough, Hvar is a also great place to include on a sailing trip. If you fancy taking to the Adriatic Sea, read our first-timers guide to Croatian sailing holidays, and check-out our customisable tailor-made Dalmatia sailing trip.
It's fair to say that there are two sides to Hvar. Though it has a reputation for buzzy night-life, beyond town the island has a chilled and charming vibe that makes it popular with families.
There are dozens of calm coves for kids to swim in safely, while towns like Stari Grad and Vrboska retain an unhurried, fishing village feel, with plenty of family-oriented places to eat.
Top tip: find your perfect family-friendly place to stay in Hvar.
The furthest flung of the Southern Dalmatian Islands, Vis is something of a magnet for independent travellers, especially those who are fond of good grub. If you are travelling independently, you might be interested in our run-down of the best beachside camping spots in Croatia.
Moving back to Vis — the island is surrounded by jaw-droppingly clear waters that are known for offering some of the Adriatic’s finest seafood. The lobster is outstanding, with hearty roasts and stews being another Vis specialty.
Don't miss any opportunity to try the island's signature snack — pogača od srdele, a flavoursome anchovy pasty. For more on Croatian food you have to try, read our guide to Croatia's top foodie experiences.
Top tip: if food's the thing that floats your travel boat, take a look at our customisable Feel and Taste Dalmatia trip.
More of an islet than an island, Proizd is reached by water taxi from Vela Luka on Korčula. Visitors are drawn here by the sloping-rock beaches — stone plates that shelve down into the impossibly clear sea.
Especially beautiful as the day wears on, you'll want to stay for the sunset that sees the rocks shift from grey to gold. Magic.
If you happen to visit between mid-July and August, time your trip to experience Vela Luka’s Kumpanjija, a traditional slow sword dance. It takes place on Tuesday evenings — the din of bagpipes and drums make it pretty easy to track down.
Top tip: take your time exploring Korcula's accommodation options — the island isn't short of options for all budgets and tastes.
While you can visit Mljet on a day trip from Dubrovnik, this National Park island really justifies a longer stay.
One of the largest islands of Southern Dalmatia, Mljet offers exceptional nature walks, and beautiful bays and lakes. It's also known for fine wine, juicy olives, and incredible goat's cheese — best enjoyed in a local restaurant after all those Dubrovnik day-trippers have left.
If Mljet's natural beauty has got you going, read up on Croatia's National Parks.
Top tip: if you can, stay on Mljet for (at least) a few nights. Most Mljet accommodation comes with truly mindblowing views.
Keen to discover more? Read the Rough Guide to Croatia, with a handy pocket guide also available. Newbies would also do well to read our Croatia travel tips for first-timers.
Looking for practical guidance? Read up on getting to Croatia, and getting around.
Alternatively, if you like the sound of leaving the hassle of planning to someone else (namely, a local expert), explore our customisable tailor-made Croatia trips — from sailing trips and island-hopping, to food-focussed tours and adventure breaks. And that's only the half of it.
We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.