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Eight Hidden Destinations in Croatia

Whilst Croatia boasts an abundance of popular islands and cities, there are many hidden destinations that are also worth visiting on a vacation here. On a small ship cruise, head off the beaten track and discover destinations that larger ships can’t quite reach, from secluded bays to quaint historic towns. On our exclusive island hopping guided tours, be immersed in the local Croatian culture and discover beautiful natural scenery.


View of Stiniva Cove with pebble beach, turquoise water and steep cliffs
Komiza Vis Island

The farthest inhabited island in Croatia, Vis is known for its Venetian architecture, fresh seafood dishes, and unspoiled natural beauty. Its remote location makes it less crowded than other islands on the Dalmatian Coast. Although Vis was once off limits due to its usage as a naval base in WWII, visitors have been steadily growing in recent years, in part due to the hit movie Mamma Mia 2 which saw Vis being refashioned as a Greek isle. The highlight of the island is undoubtedly Stiniva Cove, characterized by its crystal clear water and sheltered beach.


View of Cikat Bay with boats floating on turquoise water on Losinj Island
Pretty street in Mali Losinj with Mediterranean plants and white buildings

Situated in the northern Adriatic Sea, Losinj is often considered to be Croatia’s best-kept secret, its landscape consisting of secluded bays and centuries-old pine trees. Renowned for its healing properties and purifying air, the island has long been viewed as the place to go for a wellness escape, now home to some of the best luxury spas in the region. Aside from rejuvenation, travelers to Losinj can enjoy a wealth of watersports in Cikat Bay, explore the historic streets of Mali Losinj, or hike the island’s many lush trails.


View of Rab Town
Anchored yacht in beautiful turquoise water off an island with trees

Home to some of the best sandy beaches in Croatia, Rab is very much a hidden gem, known for its unspoiled natural beauty and commitment to preserving its cultural heritage. Situated off the coast of northern Croatia, Rab is a well-preserved medieval town distinguished by four elegant bell towers that grace its skyline. The island’s cobbled streets wind through a labyrinth of ancient architecture, including Romanesque churches and charming squares. Beyond its cultural richness, Rab’s pristine beaches and azure waters offer a serene escape, complemented by lush landscapes that remain largely undiscovered by mass tourism.


Mljet Island saltwater lake
Aerial view of the monastery in Mljet National Park

Mljet, the greenest island in Croatia, is classed as one of the last Mediterranean paradises by the World Wildlife Fund, its expansive national park home to a wealth of endemic species. With clear trails, the best way to explore the national park is by hiking or cycling, with there being many opportunities to stop en route and swim at the two saltwater lakes: Veliko and Malo Jezero. Whilst here, travelers can explore the church and Benedictine monastery on the small island of St Mary, as well as discover ancient ruins in Polace, including the remains of a Roman palace.


Skradin town and harbour at evening
Skradin Old Town with bicycle door

Skradin, a picturesque town situated on the banks of the Krka River in Croatia, is often considered the gateway to Krka National Park; the park’s cascading waterfalls are accessible by a scenic boat ride up the river. Yet, Skradin is very much a destination in its own right, characterized by its well-preserved architecture, including the impressive medieval fortress of Turina, and quaint streets which lead to lively squares adorned with traditional stone houses and welcoming cafes. The town also champions traditional Dalmatian cuisine, with its restaurants offering travelers the chance to try aromatic local flavors.


View of Ston and its famous walls
Walls of Ston

While neighboring Dubrovnik may draw larger crowds, the well-preserved town of Ston remains relatively undiscovered, providing an immersive escape for those seeking history, gastronomy, and scenic beauty in a more secluded setting. Located in the heart of the Peljesac Peninsula, Ston is surrounded by ancient stone walls that are often referred to as the “European Great Wall of China”, boasting the second-longest defensive fortifications in the world. Additionally, the town is famed for its traditional salt works and locally harvested seafood, where travelers can enjoy fresh dishes of oysters and mussels. 

Stari Grad, Hvar

Stari Grad Old Town
Aerial view of Stari Grad

Away from the hustle and bustle of Hvar Town is Stari Grad, originally founded by the ancient Greeks and one of Europe’s oldest towns. Steeped in antiquity, this charming pedestrian-only town was once the island’s capital and features a stunning protected bay. Here, there are no crowded beaches or streets; instead, wander through the cobblestone pathways of the well-preserved Old Town and experience Croatia at its most authentic, discovering centuries of cultural heritage including Tvrdalj, a fortified palace and residence of the renowned Croatian poet Petar Hektorović.


View of Sibenik City from above
Sibenik street

Founded over 1000 years ago, Sibenik is affectionately known as the gateway to the Kornati Islands, and the national parks of Krka and Kornati. Situated on Croatia’s Adriatic coast between the busier cities of Zadar and Split, Sibenik is characterized by its narrow medieval streets, charming squares, and historic churches; the city’s UNESCO-listed St. James Cathedral, a masterpiece of Renaissance and Gothic architecture, stands as a testament to Sibenik’s rich heritage. Being situated on the coast, Sibenik boasts a delightful waterfront adorned with cafes and restaurants, creating a perfect setting to enjoy local cuisine and fresh seafood.

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