For connoisseurs of soothingly unspoilt islands with no traffic and no hotels, kidney-shaped Silba is as perfect as they come. Not only are there no cars on the island, an unofficial ban on bicycles from mid-July to late August serves to preserve the island’s pedestrian pace. Strolling along maquis-lined country lanes in search of wild beaches is the only adrenalin sport you are likely to encounter here.

Eight kilometres in length and only 1km wide at its narrowest point, Silba probably gets its name from the Latin word silva (wood) and is still covered with trees (notably crnika or Mediterranean black oak), giving it an atmosphere quite different from that of its scrub-covered neighbours. The island’s one settlement, Silba Town, has an air of relaxed luxury, its palm-shaded stone houses and their walled gardens serving as reminders of the island’s erstwhile commercial wealth, when sailing ships from Silba dominated the carrying trade between Dalmatia and Venice – only to be put out of business by the steam-powered vessels of the nineteenth century. During the 1970s Silba attracted a significant slice of both Croatia and Slovenia’s post-hippy, pre-punk intelligentsia, who camped wild on the southern part of the island. Nowadays a permanent population of about three hundred is swelled tenfold in summer, when weekenders from Zadar and independent travellers from all over Croatia come to enjoy the island’s uniquely relaxing rural atmosphere.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Croatia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Vukovar: inland Croatia's laidback escape

Vukovar: inland Croatia's laidback escape

The fastest-emerging tourist destination in inland Croatia is not one you might expect. Twenty five years ago, the pretty Danube-hugging town of Vukovar was alm…

06 Dec 2016 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
10 great winter destinations in Central and Eastern Europe

10 great winter destinations in Central and Eastern Europe

Forget the plummeting temperatures and long dark nights, winter is a hugely rewarding season in which to visit Central and Eastern Europe. Frozen rivers, frosty…

28 Nov 2016 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
Sailing in Croatia: a first-timer’s guide

Sailing in Croatia: a first-timer’s guide

Coastlines don’t come much more idyllic than Croatia’s 2000km of ruggedly beautiful Adriatic shore. Along this magnificent stretch are ancient Roman remains…

09 Nov 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month