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I can’t say the name Croatia without getting a little sad now, I love a lot of places in this world, but the part of Croatia that we travelled to near Dubrovnik has now become my favorite vacation spot. There are many wonderful things about this area, but for now we will focus on the beaches, as those are magnificent.
I was not certain what to expect when we planned our trip to the Dubrovnik area. I see gorgeous pictures on Twitter and Instagram of beaches in Croatia and have heard excellent things about the area but there was not a huge amount of information available about visiting with a family or specifics about the beaches. We learned a lot in our week there – here are some highlights from the beaches we went to in chronological order for us – not ranked, each is very nice in it’s own way.
Some overall highlights of the beaches we experienced:
All beaches have chairs and umbrellas to rent. The most we spend was 105 Kuna – about $15 for two chairs and one umbrella. You don’t need to rent them but they are nice if you prefer. Some people bring their own and just set up for the day! Most also have a drink stand or larger bar type area with juices, water and even ice cream sometimes. Some beaches do also have more full service type restaurants with sandwiches, pizza and fries available. One other of my favorite items is that all the beaches we found have bathrooms. The beaches are primarily rocky so we took water shoes with us which turned out to be perfect! One rather uninformed tourist asked me if we rented them and how he could get them… um, no…
We didn’t actually go to the beach here but visited the town three times during our stay in Mlini and saw several of them. There is a large parking lot that connects on the back end to a flat, paved walking trail around the peninsula. This is great for strollers and along the path there are several rocky areas that are run as beaches. As you continue along the trail it is quiet and the beaches were very inexpensive for the chairs and umbrellas we noticed, however in some cases it is a bit of a climb down steep rocks! There are other beaches near the larger hotels in town as well, but we ran out of time to try these.
This is a case of take the tiny turn off the main road toward the water, go past the burned out hotel, the new hotel and then park at the end of the road. We liked this beach, the water was pretty and it was a short walk from a street we could park on. It isn’t a scenic as some as it is on a sort of inlet that blocks some of the view to the right.
While having a late morning snack in Zaton itself we saw a beach across the bay that looked nice so we spotted where the road to turn on was (past the purple flowers, before the rock formation on the left) and headed towards it. There were a couple of parking spaces nearby so we hiked down a couple of flights of stairs and found a great beach! This was one of my favorites as the water was a little warmer due to the bay and there was a great view of the surrounding towns and the water. There was a great pizza restaurant with a view right there and it was nice and quiet!
This is my favorite beach in all the world. It’s as simple as that. A friend of mine from Dubrovnik had told me about this one and we figured we had to try it. It is near Old Town Dubrovnik, so you take the one way road out of the city then turn towards the water towards the large luxury hotels, then take the hairpin turn (our rental VW Golf almost didn’t make the turn) then drive the one lane road to the church and park. The parking takes Kuna change only however and you need a lot of it! Meanwhile shop keepers are always asking for a Kuna rather than give you change so stock up if you head to SV Jakov. It is only about $3 per hour to park but that’s a lot of Kuna change! Once you park, walk past the church and down the 163 steps! It is a gorgeous beach with perfectly clear water and wonderful service.
The first time we went it was very quiet, but the second time we returned it was busier as a tour group arrived by boat. If you don’t like steps this may be a better option for you because the only way back to the car is up!
You can read more about our experience with Kupari beach here so I will keep this brief. It is a somewhat sandy beach leftover from when the hotels were open, far more sandy than the others we found listed above. This is also a great beach if you don’t like to walk or hike and you can park right there and just walk a few meters to the sand.
Sunj Beach (Island of Lopud)
Sunj Beach. Wow. It is different. We hired a boat to take us to Lopud as we wanted to see one of the many islands in the area and had heard good things about this one. There is a once a day ferry but it didn’t get in until around 11am and with our 2 year old the clock starts ticking earlier than that (and we had heard it got a little crazy later in the day on the beach). We looked online and found a nice man with a boat rental business who took us to Lopud and dropped us off and came to get us later in the afternoon.
Once we were at Lopud the hike began. It is about a mile, however felt longer because it is mostly uphill on the way there and once you do come down we took the road less travelled (if you hike it do not take the first right on the downhill unless you like hiking in the jungle! go straight and take the road!) which was not fun. There are golf carts that will take you most of the way though so we opted for that on the way back. It was less than $2 per person and kids are free.
Sunj Beach itself is nice, it is really an entirely sand beach with no rocks and is very shallow for a long way out so it’s great for kids who like to play in the water. It is also quite entertaining to watch the wealthy people come in from the yachts on their tender boats to get dropped off! We arrived around 9am and found the beach nearly empty but by the time we left around 12:30 it was growing quite crowded.
We haven’t taken many beach vacations lately and this was a hit with all three of us. We are already deciding when we can go back because this is an area with a never ending supply of gorgeous beaches and places to explore!