Top 5 Čiovo: Best Beaches on Trogir Archipelago's Biggest Island
TCN continues looking at the best beaches in Croatia on March 11, 2018.
If you’ve ever flown into Split Airport, visited the UNESCO protected town of Trogir, or traveled through the Trogir archipelago by boat, chances are, you’ve locked eyes with Čiovo.
Known as the biggest island in the Trogir archipelago, Čiovo is around 28.8 square kilometers and is inhabited by just under 6,000 people (2011). Famous today for its thriving summer tourism, beaches, and holiday homes, Čiovo may also ring a bell to those of you familiar with the building of the notorious bridge meant to connect the mainland to Čiovo island. If you’ve been to Trogir in the summer and have walked over the small and unbelievably overcrowded moving bridge connecting the two areas today, you know just how important this project is for the area. Though initially projected for completion in 2016, as of March 2018, we still have no bridge – but maybe this June?
While Čiovo is known for these things today, in the past, Čiovo was known as the island for lepers and refugees. After the Turkish invasions of the 15th and 16th centuries, the island was intensively inhabited by refugees fleeing the Turks. Noble families in the area never chose to settle on Čiovo, and the island instead was used as a fertile plain. Concurrently, Čiovo saw inhabitants spill from Trogir’s suburban areas.
Many of us today forget Čiovo’s dark history as we enjoy its sparkling blue seas and lush vegetation. The area has quickly become one of Dalmatia’s tourism hotspots, and its beaches, though sometimes crowded, act as the perfect day trip from the Dalmatian capital.
Here’s a look at the best beaches on Čiovo island.
If you take the Bura Line boat to Trogir from Split, the first stop you’ll encounter on Čiovo island is Slatine. About a 30-minute journey from the Dalmatian capital by boat, Slatine is a small village for fishers and tourists just 8 kilometers from Trogir (and yes, it is accessible by car). With only around 1000 inhabitants, the area of Slatine is lined with pebbled and stone beaches, traditional Dalmatian tavern restaurants, pinewoods, and open sports facilities for active children. A real gem of Slatine, however, is Kava Beach. Located around one kilometer from the heart of Slatine, Kava is a peaceful oasis of what feels like untouched nature. Because it’s a bit off the beaten path, Kava is just the place to go if you’re looking for a calming beach day – and if you’re looking to have lunch here, your single option is a fast food shack and cafe. Therefore, packing a picnic is encouraged.
Arbanija & Mastrinka
Located just a few kilometers from the town of Trogir you’ll find the villages of Mastrinka and Arbanija. Accessible by car, bus, and boat, the area is popular for tourists looking to have a home base away from hoards of tourists – though the last few years have seen increasing crowds in these parts as well. Pebbled beaches can be enjoyed here with easy access to the sea, making it the perfect place for families with children. Additionally, there is a variety to do if you’re looking for an active beach day, and visitors can enjoy everything from water sports to beach volleyball. Both Mastrinka and Arbanija are no stranger to restaurants and cafes, small shops and kiosks. Tourist accommodations just 200-300 meters from the sea are also flourishing in this area, so if you’re hoping for a true beach holiday, this is the place to be. The 15th-century Monastery of St.Cross (Sv. Križ Monastery) in the Arbanija village is also a popular destination for tourists.
Now, if you’re looking for a beach that has all the bells and whistles, including the crowds, then Copacabana beach in Okrug Gornji is the perfect place for a beach day with your family and friends. Complete with all the amenities from restaurants to snack shops, kiosks, cafes, bars, water sports, inflatable playgrounds, toilets, showers, massages, supermarkets, and plenty of tourist accommodations, Okrug Gornji really does have it all – but we emphasize the crowds. Because a boat runs from Trogir to Okrug Gornji every 30 minutes in the peak season, it is easily accessible for those looking to escape the heat of sightseeing in Trogir during the day. Despite the hustle and bustle at this beach, it is great for swimming and is especially good for families with children – they’ll never grow bored!
If you happen to find yourself in this area but are hoping to beat the busyness, head to the white pebble beach of Mavarštica just over the hill from Okrug Gornji; accessible only by foot with no food and drink facilities on offer.
Unlike its busy big sister, Okrug Donji is located on the west side of Čiovo and to the west of Okrug Gornji. Known as the quieter and less crowded of the two, Okrug Donji is also more residential. Okrug Donji’s cape boasts a small pebbled beached named ‘Kava’ (yes, different from the Kava beach at Slatine). The sea at Kava is calm, and pine forests provide natural shade for its visitors. Around Kava you’ll also find smaller, sandy beaches which provide even more privacy for swimmers. The area is accessible by car and even boasts free parking, though the beach itself does not give any food or drink amenities for visitors.
Duga & Duboka Bay
Because saving the best for last seems like the right thing to do, the bays of Duga and Duboka are the pearls of Čiovo island. Located on the eastern side of the Čiovo between Okrug Gornji and Donji, with a view of Fumija island, Duga is a dream for those hoping to swim in crystal clear and sparkling seas without the fuss of the crowds. Duga also boasts one of the islands gastronomic charms, Django, which is tucked up on the hill into the pines. Duboka Bay, Duga’s neighbor, is famous for Laganini Beach Club, a swanky and upscale beachside bar and restaurant that offers tasty creations, DJs, fancy cocktails, a spa, sunbeds, and cabanas. Though Laganini sounds a bit extravagant, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a swim from the rocky shores – without the advertising and loud music.
Laganini Beach Club Facebook