Croatia Islands - Rab, Mljet, Hvar, Brac and Vis
There are over a thousand beautiful islands scattered around Croatia’s coastline. Whilst the large majority of these islands remain uninhabited, there are a number of islands that have been adopted by both locals and tourists. Below is a summary of what each of the main islands has to offer:
Rab is one of the most popular islands of Croatia, despite its relatively small size of just over 90 square kilometres. It is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches, charming pine forests and, thanks to the Kamenjak Mountains which protect the island from the harsh winds coming down from the mainland, it also has a glorious climate.
The old town walls within the island’s main resort of Rab Twon are still visible today, as are the scores of medieval buildings dating back as far as the 1200s. The town itself was established in Roman times, when amenities like running water, sewage systems ad street networks were developed, long before many other areas of Europe were civilised.
Renowned for its beauty, Mljet Island covers an area of 100 square kilometres, 70 kilometres of which is dominated by forest. The Mljet National Park is a real treasure, and has been visited by Prince Charles on two occasions, not to mention the supposed seven year sojourn here by the Greek mythological character, Odysseus.
Mljet is most southerly of all Croatia’s larger islands, and as such enjoys classically Mediterranean weather. Average summer temperatures are between 24C and 25C, and even the winter months are relatively warm with average temperatures of around 9C.
Despite its charm, the island has just one hotel and it is therefore probably most advisable for tourists to come here on a day trip by boat and stay in one of the larger towns on the mainland.
With an area of just under 300 square kilometres, Hvar is the fourth largest of all Croatia’s islands and one of the sunniest, too. It does however get some rain, which helps to cultivate the island’s vineyards and herb fields from where the wonderful scent of lavender, thyme and rosemary can be detected in springtime.
There are several good resorts on Havar, and each has excellent hotel and leisure facilities. The busiest tourist areas are the coastal towns of Jelsa and Hvar Town, however areas like Stari Grad, Sucuraj and Vrboska are also very popular.
Brac has a long history. It is known to have been inhabited as far back as the Bronze Age, and has since been home to the Greeks, the Romans and the Slava; each one leaving their mark on the shape and culture of the island.
The island is vast, covering almost 400 square kilometres of beaches, limestone and pine forests, making it the largest of the Dalmatian archipelago, and the third largest island of the Adriatic. Despite this it is very accessible for visitors. It has its own small airport (Bol Airport) and a good road network into the main towns of Pucisca, Bol and Supetar. There is also an excellent ferry service that runs between Supetar and Split Croatia several times a day.
Brac is also home to one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches, Zlatni Rat (The Golden Horn) at Bol, a vast, golden ‘V’-shaped strip of sand stretching 580 yards.
Although not classically renowned for its tourist appeal, Vis Island is growing in popularity. It enjoys good weather during the summer months with little rain and average temperatures of 25C, and can be reached easily from the mainland via a very efficient boat service out of Split Croatia.
Although relatively small in comparison with some of the other islands - its area is ninety square kilometres and population is just over 4,000 - Vis is the oldest town of Dalmatia.
Tourists can choose from a number of local attractions. There is a palm-tree nursery, many vineyards, a British military cemetery and a number of cliffs offering superb views across the island and the rest of the archipelago. For the less energetic of visitors, however, the island is renowned for its tranquillity and excellent cuisine, so if all you do is sit back, relax and enjoy the food and wine, then so be it!