Over the past few years, Croatia went from being Europe’s hidden gem to a Mecca for tourists. Whether you’re looking for a sun-soaked vacation, a vibrant party scene, natural beauty, or historical landmarks part of the World Heritage Site list, Croatia has it all. The growing number of summer festivals, nightclubs, and beach parties are attracting an international crowd to cities like Zagreb, Split, Pula, Rovinj and the islands of Hvar, Pag, and Murter. Check out the best party destinations on the Croatian coast, from the Istrian peninsula to Dalmatia.
1. Pag Island
Pag Island, Croatia’s top spot for summer beach parties and festivals, is in the northern Adriatic, close to the city of Zadar. Up until recently, the island has been most famous for its sheep milk cheese but now it’s becoming a well-known party destination and has even acquired the moniker “Croatian Ibiza”. Many clubs and beach bars are centered around Zrće, a Blue Flag beach that attracts a considerable crowd year after year. Several music festivals take place at Zrce Beach in June, July and August such as Hideout, Fresh Island, Sonus, Croatia Rocks, and Electrobeach.
The island has a beautiful landscape defined by karstic rock forms and two mountain ridges, Velebit and Biokovo. Pag is often called “The Island of Rock ” or “The Lunar Island” due to the fact that more than 80% of the terrain is made of white stone. The main resorts are Pag Town and Novalja, with long pebbly beaches bathed by the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic.
During your stay on Pag island we recommend mooring your boat at ACI Marina Šimuni, in the immediate vicinity of Zrće beach.
2. Murter Island
Murter Island is located northwest of Šibenik, easy to reach due to the short bridge that connects it to the mainland. The island belongs to the North Dalmatian group of islands, the densest archipelago in both the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. Murter is famous for its nightlife and festival scene, with great clubs around Tisno, one of the island’s four towns.
Barbarella’s Discotheque, an open-air after-hours club is located on a small peninsula and was named one of the 25 best in the world by the Guardian in 2015. Every August Tisno hosts the eclectic Soundwave festival – music, light shows, and street art – taking place in The Garden, a natural amphitheater with its own bay, sandy beach and crystal clear waters. Other festivals are SunceBeat and Electric Elephant.
Nearby beaches include Jazine, Sv. Andrija, Lojena on Levrnaka island, Slanica, Kosirina Podvršak, and Lovišća. Most of them have a pebbly coastline with concrete terraces for sunbathing. On the northeastern coast is the beautiful Betina village, one of the oldest settlements on Murter.
Feel great at ACI Marina Jezera, located in a horseshoe-shaped bay surrounded by picturesque hills. The marina is on the north-eastern side of Murter island, separated from the mainland by a narrow strait.
3. Hvar Island
Often called the sunniest Croatian island, Hvar is a popular party destination due to a large number of clubs and bars opened over the past few years. The largest town on the island is also called Hvar, with a vibrant nightlife and a reputation for being a posh destination. Hvar sits in a protected bay overlooked by a hill with a Venetian fortress on top. The old town, called Stari Grad, is the oldest settlement in Croatia, founded in 384 BCE by Greeks from the island of Paros.
Some of the most popular party venues Hvar are Carpe Diem, perhaps the best known club in town; Carpe Diem Beach, a summer beach club in Stipanska bay; Veneranda, a bar situated within the walls of an old monastery, with a pool and dance floor; and Hula Hula, a rustic wooden beach bar with fantastic sunset view and chill-out music.
Vrboska, the smallest town on the island, is hidden in a bay and surrounded by pine forests, being the ideal location for a getaway. In the middle of the bay there’s a small island connected to Vrboska by bridges, giving it the “Little Venice” name. For a more relaxed atmosphere, the town of Jelsa offers a wide range of bars and terraces open long into the night.
We recommend ACI Marina Palmižana or Port of Palmižana, located in its namesake bay on the northeastern coast of Sv. Klement (St. Clement), the largest of the Pakleni Islands.
4. Brač Island
Brač is the largest island in Dalmatia and the third largest in the Adriatic, famous for its white stone that was used to build Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the White House in Washington DC. Zlatni Rat, or Golde Cape, is a long pebbly beach at Bol, on the southern part of the island. It’s arguably Croatia’s most famous beach, featured in all the tourist guides and lists of must see places. You’ll find many nightclubs and cocktail bars in Bol, along with some great beach parties. A popular stopping point for yacht fleets around the Adriatic, Bol’s nightlife is laid-back and budget friendly.
The largest town in Brač is Supetar, located on the northern coast, surrounded by countryside with vineyards, olive groves and orchards. The coast is lined with pine woods and bays with sandy beaches.
Our recommendation is ACI Marina Milna, on the island’s west coast, in a sheltered bay facing the Splitska Vrata strait. Milna is a lovely Baroque town located 18 km from the island capital of Supetar. Its deep natural harbor is one of the best in Croatia – even Emperor Diocletian’s fleet used to dock here when he was building his palace in Split.
5. Rab Island
Rab Island lies directly to the north of Pag and it’s the next big thing on Croatia’s party scene. Pudarica Beach is the place to be after sunset, when the best parties on the island start. The clubs often feature live performances international DJs. The options vary from small bars, pubs to nightclubs and cocktails bars. The pebble beaches near Barbat are good place to spend the day while waiting for the next parties.
Rab Town, the capital, is a medieval gem with red-roofed buildings, arcaded squares and narrow cobblestone streets. Its skyline is dominated by four bell towers built during the Venetian rule. Every July the town hosts the Medieval Festival, a three-day event with craft shops, a fishing village on the beach, torch-lit processions, and a knightly tournament. There’s a long pebbly beach around Rab Town and the island also has sandy beaches around its western and northern shores. Many sports and recreational activities are available, including mountain biking, trekking, diving, and water sports.
We recommend mooring your boat at ACI Marina Rab or Port of Rab, a touristic port that is appreciated for its natural beauty and its cultural heritage dating back to the Romans; or at ACI Marina Supetarska Draga in a natural bay with a large surface where boats and yachts can moor.
Check out the 2nd part of this article to discover the best party destinations on the Croatian Coast.