The time has come. After months of clocking long hours, getting too little sleep, and feasting exclusively on kale salad and rice cakes, your long-awaited holiday is here. It’s time to pull out the Bermuda shorts, pack the sunscreen, and gorge on gourmet eats from around the globe. You’re smiles all the way there, until you landed in a glorified tourist-trap, where it feels like everyone else showed up to your getaway.
Often, the best places are also the most crowded. Naturally, when something is good, word travels back, and people come in flocks. Especially during peak season. Fortunately, if you can use a few simple tweaks to get the experience you long for, and feel a bit like Christopher Columbus, discovering your little piece of paradise long before the masses.
Croatia might just be the answer to your wanderlust woes. When people think about traveling to this European destination, three popular locations typically come to mind. Destination literature tends to revolve around Dubrovnik, Split, & Hvar. Translation: This is where you’ll find the bulk of tourists flocking. However, there is so much more to this country than these three locations. We’ve identified 7 lesser-known (though equally as impressive) islands to love. Here they are, in no particular order: (Although we can agree you should check them out for yourself, of course.)
- Solta: This foodie-destination draws culinarians far and wide. What started as a fishing village, proudly boasts island-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, locally crafted wine, and wildflower honey.
- Lopud: This place is marked by its auto-free existence. It has the best of both worlds, with deliciously blue waters, and mountainous landscapes. The locals will welcome you, the boutiques will charm you, and the Island-made ice-cream will delight you.
- Bisevo: Despite being furthest from the mainland, it’s certainly worth the trip. Bisevo is home to the Blue Cave (Modra Spilja), a landmark known for its translucent blue waters, limestone walls, and accessible only by boat through a tiny sea entrance. And this isn’t to take away from the viewing of the Monastic Ruins.
- Silba: If you need to take a deep breath and a major slow down from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Silba is the place for you. You’re forced to live like locals here, as you don’t have the convenience of cars or hotels on this island. If long-lazy walks along an ethereal coastline sound like your kind of good time, this just might be your happy place!
- Sveti Nikola: Visit a 14th Century castle, explore the pine forest, or snorkel in the surrounding sea. The interests are varied, and options will keep you wanting to come back, if the Blue Flag pebbled beaches don’t.
- Sveti Klement: Only 5 minutes by boat from Hvar, this is perhaps the most easily accessible island. In fact, it’s almost less island, and more like a magical garden. And if you’d like to really get close to nature, 20 of its coves are clothing-optional.
- Proizd: If you’re looking for complete remote isolation, Proizd is your place. Completely uninhabited, what it lacks in people, it makes up for in nature trails, white-pebble beaches, and sea life. It’s where the wi-fi is weak and you can truly unplug. Yes, please.
Now, if these seven sights don’t convince you why Croatia should be on your short-list, we don’t know what will. Maybe the fact that it’s home to the world’s smallest town. Or that Game of Thrones was filmed here. Or even that wine created here was inspired from the Greeks over 2,000 years ago. Or then again, it could be the 2,715 hours of sunshine the locals can lap up each year. To us, that translates to 2,715 reasons to book!