The Best Islands near Split – A Travel Guide for Croatia

This is a travel guide for the best islands near Split.

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To make this guide complete we included a rough guide to the ancient town of Split.

We explored all the islands on a sailing trip in summer 2019 with Sail Croatia and one can say:
This was a once in a lifetime experience we’ll never forget!
We were absolutely blown away by the turquoise water and the beauty of islands near Split!

Drone photo of the beach Zlatni Rat or the Golden Horn at Brâc in Croatia
Zlatni Rat on Brâc Island

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Already excited? We wrote a full blog post about sailing in Croatia with Sail Croatia.

Let’s get started with our sailing guide for Split!

Split and islands nearby

Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and a starting point for amazing sailing and boat trips in the Adriatic Sea. Scenic ports and marinas, rocky coasts and world-class stone beaches make this region one of the most popular destinations in Europe.

Riva Promenade in Split Croatia
The promenade of Split, called “Riva”

Highlights of Split town

ACI Marina of Split from birds eye view
The ACI Marina of Split from the bird’s eye view
Marko Marulic Statue in the old town of Split in Croatia
The Marco Marulic Statue in the old town of Split

The best sailing destinations around Split

Boats in the Blue Lagoon near Hvar from the bird's eye view
The Blue Lagoon near Hvar is a popular destination

One day in Split – The best things-to-do

Start your day at Diocletian’s Palace. The World Heritage Site is the main attraction in the vibrant old Roman town. You’ll be impressed by the old stone buildings lining in the narrow streets and the picturesque cafés, where you can enjoy a fantastic espresso.

Try not to get lost in the Veli Varos west of the Diocletian’s Palace and visit the seaside promenade, called “Riva“. Especially in the morning and evening, it is the perfect place for having a walk, going out for dinner or licking delicious italian ice cream!

The promenade passes the trail up the Marjan Hill (best viewpoint of Split) until you reach the sailing marina, where the sailing trips start.

Only a few more minutes to the west, there are some nice places for a jump in the crystal clear water of the Adriatic Sea. Especially advisable after a long day of sightseeing in Split for a golden sunset.

Tower of the Cathedral of Saint Dominus in Split in golden hour sunlight
The Tower of the Cathedral of Saint Dominus in Split
Peristil or Peristyle of the Diocletians Palace under construction
The Peristil of the Diocletians Palace
Costumed legionnaires in an alley in Split Croatia
Costumed legionnaires in an alley in Split

The best islands near Split

The coastal region of split offers world-class sailing destinations with ancient towns, stunning harbors, and super clear waters.

Šolta Island

Šolta is one of the closest sailing destinations to Split. Therefore it is also perfect for a half-day or day trip from the mainland of Croatia. Because of all the other popular and touristy islands near Split, Šolta is less touristy and has a more intimate flair.

The picturesque bay of Necujam is a nice place to anchor for the night. The bay is a perfect place for swimming, water activities like canyoning and SUP, and even has a super shallow wrack which is great for snorkeling.

Anchoring boats in the bay Mala Maslinica at Solta
Anchoring boats in the bay Mala Maslinica at Solta

Brač Island

Brač Island is about the same distance away from Split as Šolta. It is most famous for its unique shaped stone beach, called “Zlatni Rat” or “The Golden Horn” next to Bol.

If you are using Instagram you’ve probably seen some dope drone shots of this place already. The shape of the Zlatni Rat beach changes all the time, depending on the currents.

Like almost every of the few beaches in Croatia, Zlatni Rat is very crowded and on top of that a favored place for party people.

Tip: go to Zlatni Rat for sunrise and experience this place only with a handful of other early birds.

Other places worth to visit on Brač:

  • Vidova Gora
  • Supetar
  • Splitska
  • Škrip
  • Milna
  • Pucisca
  • Bay Lučice, Slavinjina
Drone photo of the beach Zlatni Rat on Brâc in Croatia
Zlatni Rat or “The Golden Horn” on Brâc
Drone photo of the beach Zlatni Rat The Golden Horn at Brâc in Croatia
The iconic beach of Zlatni Rat from the bird’s eye view

Hvar Island

Croatia’s most popular island Hvar (not so easy to pronounce) is one of the absolute highlights.
The town of Hvar is seen as the “New St. Tropez” the noumerous restaurants, bars and clubs. But it’s not only for party people worth a visit.

The old habor of Hvar and the promenade with palm trees
The old harbor of Hvar

Although it’s very crowded during the peak tourist time, it didn’t feel hectic or overcrowded.
We moored in the harbor of Palmižana, which is close by and has a frequent water taxi running all day long.

Once you’re in Hvar town, take the stairs from the St. Stephen Square up to Fortica (Spanjola) and enjoy the spectacular view over the old town and close islands near Hvar.

Empty restaurant 'Hanibal' on the main plaza of ancient Hvar
Restaurant on the main plaza of Hvar

For close beach options, stroll the seaside promenade to the West and choose between several public spots with much space for towels on the rocks and water access.

Hvar also offers multiple options for day beds and cocktails. For example the Bonj ‘Les Bains’ Beach Club, the famous Hula-Hula Bar (about 2km walk from the center of Hvar), or even more exclusive, the Carpe Diem Beach Club and Bar on Stipanska Island. You can reach the island by a short boat ride from Hvar.

Picturesque view from the hilltop of Spanish Fortess on Hvar town
Picturesque view from the hilltop of the Spanish Fortess on Hvar

Vis Island

Despite its good appeal, Vis Island attracts way fewer tourists than the other islands near Split. Perhaps, due to its long distance from Split, most tourists rather choose the other islands.

Sailing yachts line up on the coast of Vis Island in the Adriatic Sea captured from the bird's eye perspective
Sailing yachts at Vis Island
komiza town from above with blue water bay in the front and morning sunlight
Komiza town in the morning sunlight


This is why Vis is highly recommendable for tranquil and rural experience and more laid back vibes.
We sailed all the way to the beautiful marina of Komiža, which is a good place to organize trips to nearby attractions like the Blue Cave or Budikovac island.

drone perspective of Komiza town and harbour red roofs, green hills and blue water
Komiza town and harbor on Vis Island
Budikovac Island beach with tourists swimming in crystal clear water
Beautiful bay at Budikovac Island

Last but not least there is one more island we haven’t visited but in order to make this a guide complete we don’t want to miss out on it:

Korčula

Korcula is located a bit more in the South and way bigger than the other islands near Split. Make sure you check out the old city of Korčula and the Pupnatska Luca Beach.

Summary

Sailing to the islands near Split has been one of the most amazing trips we have EVER done! The water is absolutely insanely clear, the ancient towns are gorgeous and the food is super delicious!

We can highly recommend you reading our full blog post about our sailing experience with Sail Croatia.

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[…] TIP: If you are interested in sailing vacation as well then read our blog posts about sailing in Croatia and the best islands near Split. […]

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