2 August 2012 by Luke McCormick
With over a thousand islands offering everything from sailing and sun worshipping to culture and culinary indulgence, Croatia is a summer paradise right on the Eurozone's doorstep. Here's our pick of Croatia's best islands.
With its spectacular and secluded bays, Vis is the ideal romantic hideaway. A hippy-chic getaway popular with the yacht crowd, you can tour local vineyards and farms growing palm, pine, olive and more or discover the island's military heritage. Don't miss the local organic wines - white Vugava and red Mali Plavac are the pick of the bunch - and Dalmatian seafood dishes cooked up in informal konobe (taverns).
Hvar is Croatia's most fashionable resort, with a Venetian-era old town full of 16th-century fortifications, designer hotels and over-the-top cocktail bars. When you've had your fill of bijou boutiques and bars, try your hand at biking, sailing, sea kayaking, hiking and tours of the Hvar's vineyards and lavender fields.
Brac's Zlatni Rat may be the most photographed beach in Croatia. With high karst peaks, spectacular areas of rocky, steep coast and low areas full of sandy beaches, Brac is a wonderfully varied affair. But it's the water sports on offer here that get most people's hearts racing. Besides brilliant windsurfing at Zlatni Rat, there is great scuba diving, sea kayaking, parasailing, water skiing, jet skiing and wakeboarding. Or, there's always a slow pedal boat.
Korcula is great for culture, with a hint of Dubrovnik chic and plenty of natural and man made beauty. The ancient Greeks called Korcula Korkyra Melania, or "Black Korcula", because of its dense oak and pine forests. The medieval old town is full of narrow stone lanes that lead down to the sea from the 15th-century St Mark's Square and cathedral.
Pag is just as well known for its renowned sheeps' cheese (Paski Sir) and lamb as its fabulous lunar-like landscape. For peaceful, rocky bays head to the north of the island, or if partying is more your thing, the bars and clubs of Novalja. Visit a family-run cheese factory to find out how the salty grass from strong seas winds gives the cheese and meat its distinctive flavour or sip some local wines in the many vineyards.
Mljet may easily be the most seductive of all the Adriatic islands. Mostly covered with forests, the rest is dotted with fields, vineyards and small villages. There are some lovely emerald-green lakes and coves to enjoy and a Benedictine island monastery to discover, along with miles of sandy shoreline.