6 Croatian Islands you can't pronounce but will want to visit
Croatia's islands are defined by necklaces of white sandy beaches, wrapped with glittering blue waters that are ideal sailing territory, and they are almost always shaded in a brilliant emerald green that lends each island a distinctly paradisiacal aesthetic. So whether you’re searching for a slice of the simple idyllic island life as found on Kaprije, the undulating countryside of Mljet, or the medieval charm of Korčula, here we present you with 6 of our favourite Croatian Islands that you can't pronounce but will definitely want to visit.
Draped in lush forests and surrounded by beautiful azure waters, Mljet is one of our favourite of the sublime Adriatic islands. Its star attraction is the Mljet national park and the pretty Pomena village and harbour on the west of the island, while the rest of it remains almost entirely unspoiled and yet still highly explorable. If you only have a day or two then stick to the national park and the Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero lakes, especially the former, which is home to a delightful little islet that’s topped by a pretty 12th century monastery that now doubles as a cafe. In the evening, find yourself a spot in a traditional konoba (or try the excellent Saplunara on the east of the island for something a little more modern) and try some of the delicious and freshly caught local lobster.
Lošinj in the northern Adriatic, measures just 20 miles long and a petite 2 miles at its widest. Its core is covered with thick green pine forests, while its coastline is a blur of idyllic white sand beaches and coves. Dock in the natural harbour of Mali Lošinj, with its brightly painted baroque houses that have echoes of Venice’s Burano, and then travel to the nearby old town of Veli Lošinj to see the pink St. Antun Opat Pustinjak church. To get a view of the island from above, we suggest a hike up to the viewing point at Mt. St. Ivan’s, or for a more relaxing day, take a day in one of the islands’ much coveted spas, that are enhanced by Lošinj’s abundance of herbs; with 1200 therapeutic and aromatic varieties thriving on the island.
Make dock in what is arguably Kaprije’s most stunning feature: its natural harbour, which indents into the island as a large keyhole-like bay, and afterwards spend your time exploring its hills and the quaint Kaprije village. There are no cars here, making it perfect for walkers, though for those who prefer the water, there’s also the Warship Francesca da Rimini, wrecked off the north coast of the island and easily accessible for divers. You’ll find the island in the central part of the Sibenik island archipelago, and true to the legends that gave it its name, it’s covered in capers!
Though pleasingly and conveniently located between Hvar and Korčula, many visitors to Croatia don’t realise that Šćedro exists. This little island is full of secrets, from the ruins of a 16th century monastery, little bays that look out to Hvar and even ruined aircraft from WW2 still hidden on its shores and in its waters. The island is exceptionally serene, to the extent that the author Charles Arnold, once described Šćedro as the “most beautiful and peaceful of them all”, in his handbook ‘The Mediterranean Islands’, which describes some 200 Mediterranean islands… none of which he found as peaceful as this one.
Of all the Adriatic Elaphite Islands, Koločep is the most charming. Boasting rustic beaches, postcard-perfect villages perched on natural bays and bucolic hills painted with vibrant pine forests, the island is a pleasure to explore. Stay in Donje Celo to see its terracotta-roofed villas, 15th century Ascension of Mary Church and what is a surprisingly good collection of restaurants and shops, and then spend a day lazing under the sun on the pebbly beach, or kayaking around the coastline to see more of its gorgeous coves and beaches. Walkers should take a stroll to the nearby Gornje Celo village, which will take you along a scenic pathway that’s dotted with the ruins of pre-Romanesque churches, and winds through an aromatic pine forest. Be sure to pay a visit to the mesmerising Blue Cave which can only be accessed by the water, and is draped in a magical blue light that is caused by a peculiar refraction of sunlight through an opening in the cave’s roof.
Southern Dalmatia's largest island, Korčula, often reminds us of a jewellery box version of Dubrovnik, with its towering defensive walls and those same iconic red roofs that bejewel the mighty Jewel of the Adriatic. Much of Korčula's architecture is Venetian in style, with dishevelled gothic churches, and grand renaissance palaces, as well as a nice collection of piazzas that are all connected by a fairytale-like network of cobbled streets and alleyways. Take a walk along the city walls at sunset for heavenly views of the Pelješac Peninsula and then eat in a dimly lit piazza after dark with a bottle of Korčula’s much loved Grk Bijeli wine.
And now, we'll put you out your misery. Here are the pronounciations...
Mljet - mil-yet
Lošinj - losh-in
Kaprije - capri-ye
Šćedro - sh-chedro
Koločep - kolo-chep
Korčula - kor-chula