Croatia is known as a country with breathtaking views, amazing sights, and interesting culture and history. But one of the most fascinating beauties about the country is that it has more than 1000 islands! You read it right, there are over 1000 Croatian Islands waiting for you!
The Croatian coast is one of the most indented coasts in the world. It has 1244 islands, islets, cliffs, and reefs along the coast so no wonder it is quite a popular vacation destination during the hot summer months. And with so many places to visit in Croatia, one question that always comes up: which are the best Croatian Islands to visit?
Besides the natural beauty and stunning beaches that all those islands hide, each of them has its own unique tradition, culture, and history. In order to truly enjoy the Croatian Islands you must enjoy them with all your senses – and that includes your palate and taste buds.
To answer the question above, we are going beyond the usual list of the best islands in Croatia. Our suggestions include islands where natural beauty, pristine beaches and food go hand to hand.
Croatian cuisine is often referred to as heterogeneous and regional. Other countries, civilizations and cultures left their influences in the country, making the Croatian food diverse and delicious. Croatian cuisine of the continental parts of the country combines the best of ancient, Illyrian, Austro-Hungarian, and Turkish cuisines. While the Croatian Islands’ dishes are known for the roots based on the Mediterranean, Italian, Hungarian, Austrian, and French cuisines. Yummy!
In honor of the amazing Croatian cuisine and hot summer days, today we’re going to talk about the best Croatian islands that every food lover should visit once in a lifetime! You will find below 6 places to go in Croatia to try local and traditional food. Beyond things to do and beaches to enjoy, our list of Croatian Islands is focused on food, local recipes and what you must taste while there.
One thing is for sure, a trip to these islands in Croatia will be a journey of flavors and natural wonders. Are you ready?
The best Croatian Islands for food lovers
The Croatian island of Krk is often referred to as the golden island. It belongs to the Kvarner group of islands and it is located in the Northern Adriatic. The island is connected to the mainland by a concrete bridge, but you can also get to it by flying to Omišalj airport or by ferry from the islands of Cres and Rab.
The most visited places on the island are Krk, Punat, and Baška. These towns offer stunning nature and well-preserved historic and cultural monuments, but besides that, Krk has amazing traditional cuisine too, which makes it a must-visit island in Croatia for all foodies!
Krk’s cuisine is based on simple, everyday local ingredients. Krčki sir is an autochthonous cheese of the island, and it is a hard, full-fat cheese produced from raw sheep’s milk.
Prosciutto from Krk has really unique and specific flavors and aromas, and it is the first Croatian product protected in the European Union. The Krk’s prosciutto is so unique because it is salted with wild herbs from the island, and it is not smoked. Oh, and it is amazing in the combination with krčki sir!
Šurlice and makaruni are homemade pasta nurtured on the island since ancient times and served with zucchini sauce, wild asparagus, prosciutto, shrimps, mussels, and more. The island’s pasta is quite delicious in all the combinations!
Krk’s lamb, sea bass in salt, octopus under peka, Kvarner shrimps, presnec and povitica (cakes made from lamb and cheese), and Gelati d’Oro (the delicious icecream of from Krk!) are just a couple of traditional Croatian dishes of this island which will completely seduce you with their amazing flavors, beautifully combined aromas, and fantastic nuances!
What to do on Krk Island?
Now that you already know what to eat at Krk Island, here is a list of the main things to in Krk Island, Croatia, and the recommended tours.
And below are a few attractions tickets that you can buy online and in advance to save and time, and in some cases, skip the line.
Where to stay on Krk Island?
For a perfect visit to the Croatian Islands, you must stay in a nice and comfy hotel or apartment. Even better if it’s close to the beach. So here are a few options of accommodation in Krk fro you:
Rab or how it is often described, “the happy island”, is located on the Eastern side of the Adriatic Sea – south of the island of Krk. Rab, along with the nearby islets, forms the Rab archipelago. The island has incredible geological and climatic diversity, as well as a beautiful richness of flora.
Rab has 30 sandy beaches and many small, picturesque bays, and due to that, it has been one of the favorite tourist destinations for 125 years. Thanks to its crystal-clear and warm sea with shallow beaches, the island is perfect for family vacations.
Rab’s cuisine is rich in flavors and aromas, and it is based on fresh fish and seafood, as well as fruits and vegetables such as figs, grapes, tomatoes, and olives. The fish is prepared in numerous ways – as a soup, brodetto, grilled, or as a salad.
Kvarner shrimps are often referred to as the best shrimps in the world, while fish under peka is an amazing specialty combined with vegetables and herbs like laurel, rosemary, and basil.
Rapsko sočivo is a traditional stew made of corn, chickpeas, wheat, beans, and bacon. The beans are quite special – they are called rapski zelenčić and they are grown only on Rab. Oh, and every place on the island has its own version and recipe for sočivo, lentils.
One of the most famous Croatian recipes on this island is Rab’s cake. The recipe dates from 1177. It’s an extravagant cake in the shape of a snail made with beautifully combined almonds, sugar, lemons, and cherry maraschino liqueur. Quite an amazing dessert! This interesting Croatian cuisine awaits you on the island of Rab!
What to do on Rab Island?
Local food and beach hopping are main attractions in Rab but don’t be fooled, despite the small size of the island it can take days to see, do and eat all it has to offer.
- Visit Paradise Beach and Pudarica Beach
- Go for a picnic at Komrčar Park
- Visit St Justine Church where the Museum of Sacred Art and the skull of St Christopher are located.
- Climb the Great Bell Tower
Where to stay on Rab Island?
Here are our suggestion to where to stay in Rab are:
Pag is an island located in the Northern Adriatic Sea and it is one of the most popular summer destinations in Croatia. The island is the fifth biggest island in the country, but it has the longest coast – 269.2 kilometers.
Pag has many small towns and villages which are perfect for relaxation and enjoying yourself, while its town Novalja is known for its beach called Zrće which is the synonym for the best beach parties, as well as one of the best beach festivals in Croatia.
The basics of this Croatian island’s cuisine are Mediterranean ingredients such as vegetables, fish, and seafood. Pag is famous for its Paški sir (local cheese), a true delicacy, and a must-try.
Locally grown asparagus is harvested around the island during the entire year, and it is prepared in numerous interesting, traditional, and innovative recipes.
Saur is a traditional fish stew dish. The fish is firstly fried with onion and then it is combined with garlic, parsley, pepper, and vinegar. Between each fish, chefs place a few sprigs of rosemary. The dish is delicious, especially after it is left to rest for a day.
Speaking of the stews, Novalja’s brodetto with polenta is a must-try! Some of the other traditional dishes that deserve your attention are classic Mediterranean recipes like risotto, fish platter, and octopus under peka.
When it comes to the desserts, your palate will indulge in paške štrike (traditional almonds and walnuts cake) and paški baškotin. Paški baškotin is one of the oldest desserts – it has a hard sweet toast made according to a special monastery recipe. Trust me, you will genuinely enjoy Pag and its delicious cuisine!
What to do on Pag Island?
After partying, eating all the cheese you can, and swimming in the crystal clear waters, there are still a couple of things to do in Pag. Here are our suggestions:
Where to stay on Pag Island?
Here are the top places to stay in Pag for food lovers, beach bums and party-goers.
Brač is the biggest Croatian island in the Dalmatia region, and it is the third biggest island of the Adriatic Sea. The island is covered with forests of pines and cypresses, while its magical coves and bays are truly breathtaking.
The island is known for its amazing beach Zlatni rat in Bol. The beach is included in the list of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The beach has a triangular shape with a protruding tip that rotates depending on the sea currents.
Life on Brač was quite hard in the past – it is often said that the man and the stone have lived and fought since the beginning of the time. The land has been cultivated in a traditional and ecological way and thanks to that, the basics of the island’s cuisine are fresh and local ingredients.
Dried figs, carob, and almonds are some of the trademarks of the island and besides those classic Dalmatian dishes such as fish, seafood, pasta, fresh fruits and vegetables, Brač has some really specific traditional dishes which provide a true ecstasy of flavors.
Brački vitalac is lamb entrails placed on a thin skewer, wrapped in a lamb sheath, and then cooked on the fire. Butalac is stuffed lamb leg rubbed with aromatic herbs, and then coated with wine, while lamb tingul is classic stewed meat. Brač’s lamb is well-known in the gastronomy world, that’s why it’s the main ingredient of numerous dishes on the island.
Besides all the mentioned, brački sir, the island cheese, is extremely appreciated due to its amazing top-quality.
The most popular cake from Brač is called hrapoćuša (known as Dol’s cake too). This dessert is often referred to as sweet aphrodisiac and the main ingredient is walnuts. The cake has been declared a protected cultural asset of Croatia. Besides this cake, some of the must-try recipes are hroštule, paradižet, and fritule. Brač will surely seduce you with its unique cuisine!
What to do on Brač Island?
Brač got the title one of the best Croatian islands because of its food, nature, and beaches. So let’s start our list of things to do in Brač with island hopping tours:
Where to stay on Brač Island?
Now it’s time to list the best places to stay in Brač Island.
Vis is a simply breathtaking island. It is located 45 kilometers away from the mainland, making it the most remote inhabited island. Vis has authentic old and traditional architecture and beautiful untouched nature. Thanks to that, it is a perfect place for a getaway and relaxation.
The island has two bigger towns, Vis and Komiža, as well as numerous small villages which keep the old ancient beauty of the island. You can almost feel and see those old ancient spirits running through the small, narrow streets. Quite an amazing place to be!
The delicious traditional Croatian cuisine of this island will certainly seduce all foodies. Viška and Komiška pogača are the trademark dishes. Komiška pogača presents a tasty homemade bread with a filling made of salted anchovies, tomato juice, oregano, parsley, and olives, while Viška pogača combines those ingredients too but minus the tomato sauce. The people of the island will prepare fresh fish and seafood in order to show you the best of the island.
Vis has numerous dishes based on figs – Viški hib is a delicacy made of figs, fennel, almonds, orange peel, and herb liqueur. Cviti are dry crispy biscuits that have been made since ancient times, while hroštule are traditional fried pastries. All those dishes (and many more!), along with the untouched nature of the island, will seduce all your senses!
What to do on Vis Island?
Relax and enjoy life is some of the best things to do in Vis, but if you are craving for more, here are a few suggestions:
Where to stay on Vis Island?
There aren’t much hotels in Vis like on the other famous Croatian islands, but we manage to find the best ones, from luxury rooms and apartments to budget accommodation. Check them out:
As one of the most beautiful Croatian islands with a mild climate, clean sea, and rich historical and cultural heritage, Korčula is a place to be, enjoy, and relax. The island is located in the Southern parts of Dalmatia, and it is the sixth biggest Adriatic Island.
The island has 182 kilometers long coast and 96 bays and capes, and it is surrounded by 48 islets. Korčula is known for its lush Mediterranean vegetation, crystal-clear sea, peace, and fjaka (a state of mind when you are striving for nothing, often described as a gift of God).
Life on the island was always modest, the people used simple, every day and accessible ingredients to create rich-in-flavors dishes that please everyone’s palate. Some of the most traditional dishes from Korčula are grilled fish, brodetto, mussels on buzara, and risotto.
Žrnovski makaruni is a traditional pasta of a small place called Žrnovo and it is prepared by the old recipe kept by the island’s housewives. Korčula’s pašticada is stewed beef with prosecco and prunes sauce, served with potato gnocchi.
Lumblija is an aromatic sweet bread prepared only in Blato and Vela Luka. Korčula has a lot of delicious desserts such as blatski utopljenici, cukarini, prikle, krokanti, hroštule, kotonjata, and more. You’ll truly have an amazing gastronomy experience on this Croatian island!
And don’t forget to pair everything with wine.
What to do on Korčula Island?
Korčula, like all the best islands in Croatia, has many things to do and see, but the most important one is to enjoy nature. That’s why our list of recommended activities in Korčula has hop-on-hop-off catamaran, kayaking experiences and of course, wine:
Where to stay on Korčula Island?
Accommodation in Korčula tends to be a bit expensive, but the hotels are gorgeous. Here is a list of the best hotels in Korčula for luxury, budget travelers and families.
These best Croatian islands are a true paradise for food lovers – they hide amazing traditional cuisines and ancient recipes cooked with a modern touch and innovative nuances. Quite versatile, delicious, and rich-in-flavors dishes!
Now, there are a lot of other islands, small villages, and hidden bays which have their own unique and special recipes. And those are for you to discover! Explore, wander, and indulge yourself in new flavors and beautiful aromas. You will have an extraordinary gastronomy adventure through the best Croatian islands this summer!
For travel tips and how to plan the perfect holiday head to our Travel Planning Page. You will find there all the websites and companies we use to book flights, ferries and trains, where to search for the best hotels, travel insurance and more. And don’t forget to check out our Accommodation Guide.
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Author: Ana Cerovski
Ana is an experienced writer for restaurants and wineries at KitchenToast. She loves photography and travel, especially to Korčula, which is her second home and one of the best islands in Croatia. The island is her best inspiration for new articles, recipes, and flavors. You can follow her culinary adventures on her Instagram and Twitter.