Looking for Paradise? Dalmatian Beaches from Kornati to Cavtat
Without any pretensions to declare the BEST Dalmatian beaches, as taste and preference is not up for discussion, we bring you suggestions and useful instructions about familiar and less familiar beaches we believe are worth seeing
Choosing and recommending the most beautiful or most interesting beaches in Dalmatia is not a simple task at all, since from Pag Island in the north to Konavle in the south there are countless wonderful places to swim. From those already on postcards, such as Zlatni Rat in Bol or Punta Rata in Brela, to those hidden and not so renowned, where even in high season there is room for a towel and a peaceful moment.
Many will say there are no ideal beaches in July or August, at the time when thousands of boats and yachts cruise the Adriatic and tourism infantry relentlessly invades accommodation capacities on the coastline and islands, so it is not easy to find a deserted cove. Wonderful beaches from tourist guides are often unrecognizable due to sheer numbers of visitors and plastic beach equipment which cover even the tiniest stones.
Without any pretensions to declare the BEST Dalmatian beaches, as taste and preference is not up for discussion, we bring you suggestions and useful instructions about familiar and less familiar beaches we believe are worth seeing, and at least some cove you may not have discovered yet. Some of the locations below are accessible only by boat, some on foot or vehicle, but their common denominator is the sense of ‘unspoiled,’ fascinating us with their beauty.
We begin in the north of Dalmatia, but not Pag Island, but Dugi Otok Island, the southern areas of Kornati National Park, with hundreds of coves with wonderful untouched nature. From the coves that allow berthing, the least crowds will be found in those along the southern coastline of Kornati – Strižnji, Modri Bok and Lopatica, but our Kornati choice is Lojena beach, found on the southwestern side of Levrnak Island, covered in pearl white pebbles, while the sea bottom is covered with silvery sand. Naturally, Levrnaka can only be reached by boat – a tourist tour from Dugi Otok or on your own. The island has a total of two houses in the mid-section, but Lojena does host many boat visitors, as charter skippers are eager to show their guests that piece of Kornati heaven.
The northwestern part of Dugi Otok holds another pearl of nature – Saharun sand beach. It is 800 meters long, surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation and faces the open sea, with turquoise blue and clear waters, so swimming or diving is a true pleasure. Waters are very shallow up to a hundred meters off shore, very welcoming for children and bordered with a floating protective net, keeping the large number of ships far from shore.
Only four kilometers from Postira on Brač Island is the Lovrečina beach, where sand also stretches a hundred meters off shore and is to Brač locals what Bačvice beach is to Split locals – and ideal place for a game of picigin. Sand in Lovečina is grayish and does not look as attractive as in Saharun, but swimming is a great experience nonetheless. There are many sources of fresh water in the bay, so even in summer months the water can be quite refreshing. Lovrečina is well protected from winds, a favorite stop for sailors, with remains of an early Christian basilica and christening well and added point of interest. The evening parties there are well known, especially the one after the famed Small Night Regatta taking place in mid-August in Postira.
Vis Island has been going through a veritable tourism renaissance in the past years, and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island is Srebrna, located along Rukavac Bay. It faces the open sea so waves in winter time roll stones onto the beach and create amazing silver pebbles, which gave the beach its name. Besides pebbles, it also has large flat slabs of stone for comfortable stay, surrounded by dense vegetation and lush forest. Close to Srebrna are also many smaller, but not less attractive beaches such as Tepluša and Stari Rukavac, with plenty of hidden beaches for total privacy.
In the waters of Lastovo archipelago we suggest sailing to Lastovnjak, or Saplun Islet. Arženja Mali and Arženjak Veliki, along with Saplun, compose an attractive cove with a pebble beach, reachable only by boat. Overnights are possible in stable weather, and even then only recommended to experienced sailors. Saplun is especially forested, providing plenty of shade, and has something rare for an open sea location surrounded by islets – pearly white sand. The coastline has many rough sections and not so fine pebbles, but this does not diminish the experience. Saplun can be reached with tour boats, coming in the summer season from Zaklopatica on Lastovo.
Proizd Island is the favorite swimming and excursion site for Korčula residents, remembered as some as the scene of the first rave party in Croatia. Surrounded by crystal waters of turquoise color and adorned by wonderful pebble beaches in rocky bays. The western part of the island has very popular nudist beaches. Proizd is a half hour boat ride away from Vela Luka, and we recommend spending an entire day there.
The southeastern side of Mljet National Park is where Saplunara beach is located: a sandy beach surrounded by unspoiled Mediterranean nature, an ideal destination for those who love to bathe in slightly warmer waters, since the bay is shallow. The bay is around a kilometer long, with pine forest in the background, and legend says refuge was found there by Odysseus.
Žuljana is a bay on the south coast of Pelješac peninsula, and the spot of one of the largest, some say most beautiful, pebble beaches in the Adriatic. Due to many sources of fresh water, vegetation is almost tropical in Žuljana, with beaches fit for children, clear and shallow. The special experience in Žuljana and neighboring bays is the sun setting, disappearing into the sea.
If you are in Dubrovnik, definitely visit Lopud Island and Šunj beach, almost a kilometer long. There is not traffic on the island and locals can – if you don’t feel like walking 20 minutes from the town – take you there with small golf carts. The beach is very shallow and fit for various sports. There are two restaurants with moderate prices, so a day trip form Dubrovnik is definitely worth it.
In the very south of Croatia, in Konavle, precisely in Popovići village, is Pasjača beach, a long pebble beach accessible through long and very steep steps carved into rock. Pasjača is breathtaking with its raw beauty, with an especially fascinating view of the open sea. Pebbles are very fine and clean, and the sea is always very pure. The limited access and unfavorable berthing allows for rare crowding at Pasjača, another advantage.