An Introduction to the Croatian Islands – Paradise Found

Croatian Island Tour Review Viator

Ahhh Croatia, the secret is well and truly out!  Gorgeous islands, pristine beaches, lush national parks; there isn’t much you could want in a summer holiday destination that this ex-Yugoslavian nation doesn’t already offer.

Having heard many friends tout the beauty of the Croatian islands, we excitedly booked our spots on a boat tour around the islands with Viator.  We were finally off to explore the beauty of the Dalmatian Coast!

Tour Itinerary and Review

On the morning of the tour we arrived at the port meeting spot in Split bright and early.  In all there were eleven of us on the speed boat that was organised by Tripster and though there was space for everyone, I would recommend taking plenty of sun protection incase you end up sitting in the area that doesn’t have shelter.  The boat itself was comfortable with plenty of storage – let’s face it though, we weren’t there for the boat, we were there to check out the beautiful Croatian islands!

With everyone aboard we made a move for our first stop of the day, the Green Cave.  This beautiful spot, located on the islet of Ravnik, reflects the water a stunning shade of green due to a hole made in the roof of the cave during the Second World War.  After ducking the boat into the cave opening we made our way over to our next destination, Stiniva.

Stiniva was recently awarded ‘the best beach in Europe‘ which is high praise but well deserved for this little piece of paradise.  The bay is tucked away from the main tourist trail on the island of Vis (which in itself is relatively free of tourists thanks to it’s tactical use in WWII) and is accessible only by hiking track or by sea.

Our ride for the day set anchor approximately 150m back from the beach, allowing us to dive in and make our way over to the pebbly beach.  What was once a full-formed cave is now a sheltered bay – the collapse of the cave’s ceiling leaving an entrance to the bay of less than 5m.

We relaxed there for an hour or so, swimming and soaking up the sun, before swimming back to the boat in the hopes of there being good news about the tour’s namesake activity.

Unfortunately for us, the Blue Cave on Bisevo was closed for the day.  Due to the small opening to this natural cave, it is easily closed in rough seas and although the water looked calm where we were, the cave operators weren’t having a bar of it.  Though it would have been amazing to see it, we weren’t too disappointed – the rest of the day was more than amazing enough to make up for it, plus we were lucky enough to visit the Blue Cave on Capri.  With the decision made for us to move on, off we set again.

The small fishing town of Komiža was the perfect point to stop for lunch.  Given about one and a half hours, we chilled out in a nice little port-side restaurant and wandered the main street enjoying gelato (as we did on most of our trip!)

Next up was one of the surprise highlights of the day, a visit to the old submarine tunnel.  Used during WWII, this massive tunnel was eerily quiet and surprisingly long – an awesome quick stop on our tour.

The afternoon saw enjoy our last swim (and also a snorkel) at a beach on Devil’s Island – though it was a beautiful spot to stop off at, I must admit, the snorkelling wasn’t particularly impressive.  Beautiful water, a nice bar to sit for a drink should you choose, but absolutely no fish there on the day we visited.  It didn’t bother us as we weren’t there to snorkel, but it’s worth saying so you don’t pin you hopes on it!

The last port of the day was the buzzing town of Hvar.  Rimmed with super yachts, sitting around a cove, this beautiful old town is a must-see in Croatia.  At night the bars and yachts come alive but during the day, the island is a relaxed place to explore.  After a quick wander around the township, we headed for the 16th century fortress that overlooks the town.  With the most incredible views back over the port, be sure not to miss it!

Throughout the day our skipper, Franjo checked in with us, always making sure we were happy and comfortable.  He was incredibly safety conscious and worked with us to help craft an itinerary that suited us all – we had plenty of choice in regards to how long we spent in each location and he had no shortage of recommendations for us.  At the end of the day, he even let us all stay on longer on Hvar to make the most of the late afternoon sun; you can’t ask for more than that.

Is a Day Tour enough to really get a feel for the Croatian Islands?

Initially we had planned to spend five or so nights on the islands around the coast of the Croatian mainland but with a desire to add more time to our Bosnian itinerary we decided to head out on this ‘five island’ tour in the hopes that it would give us the taste of the islands we desired without the time commitment that we’d initially planned.  So, the million dollar question; did this tour tick all the right boxes for us?  It sure did!  So much so that we moved on from the islands having only seen them on this tour and enjoyed other parts of the country before moving onto Montenegro (which we had initially dropped from our itinerary due to time constraints).

Let me finish by saying, the islands we visited were everything we wanted them to be and more – it’s not that we wouldn’t have loved more time on the islands but with visits to the Greek Islands, Capri and Ibiza earlier in the summer we were looking to explore a different side of Eastern Europe – fair to say we were pretty spoilt with the amazing destinations we had the pleasure of visiting!

Whether you spend a day ducking in and out of the Croatian islands or intend on spending more time basing yourself on one or two, each island offers its own unique beauty.  They’re all worth seeing, and I don’t doubt this day trip is the best way to do it if you’re on a limited timeframe!


Love what you see?  Pin this post so it’s ready for your Croatian island adventure!

Croatian island hopping tour review

Thank you to our friends at Viator for organising this tour for us.  Though we were guests on this trip, all thoughts are, of course, our own.  If you’re in Croatia, we highly recommend the five island tour as a way to check out the Croatian Island highlights!


4 thoughts on “An Introduction to the Croatian Islands – Paradise Found

  1. Jacky says:

    Looks like you guys had a lot of fun. We prefer exploring without organized tours, but hey, to each their own. Lovely pictures. The last time I’ve been to Croatia was 10 years ago. It’s certainly time to go back 🙂


    • Sarah - Exploring Kiwis says:

      Hey Jacky, lovely to hear from you! We tend to prefer to do things independently when it comes to getting from one place to another but for something like this, where you fit so much into a day, it would be much more expensive and time restrictive to do it alone – I think your only option would be a water taxi which would be much more expensive. This tour was good from the point of view that we really did get to decide how long we wanted in each place and then we were independent when we got off the boat which suited us perfectly 🙂 Isn’t it beautiful there! Which islands did you visit?

  2. Kiara Gallop says:

    Like you, I do take tours when I have a limited amount of time in which to see a place, public transport is unsafe or unreliable, or I’m after a specific experience that would be incredibly difficult to organise independently. And it sounds like you got a great introduction to the Croatian islands! I’ve been to Croatia three times now, and have managed to explore Hvar, Korcula, Lokrum and Mljet, as well as quite a few towns and cities on the mainland. It’s an amazing country I’d happily return to 🙂

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