Best Islands in Croatia | Dugi Otok Island

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The island of Dugi Otok is the seventh-largest island on the Croatian coast, located west of Zadar. With a name that literally means a long island, Dugi Otok is 45 km long and known for its vineyards and orchards, which makes it a great alternative to more populous destinations. However, just like in the case of other Adriatic islands, topography varies from one side of the island to another. While the western part is tall and rugged, the eastern part is marked by pines, fig-trees, macchia, and olives. We’ll cover things to do, beaches to visit, and where to stay on one of the best islands in Croatia, Dugi Otok. 

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Best Things To Do in Dugi Otok

With a population of just 1500 inhabitants, the main villages are Sali and Bozava. 

Sali is the main town and capital, as well as a great base for exploring the island. The city center is marked by a lovely little port surrounded by old townhouses and the ruins of Illyrian fortified settlements on the outskirts. Here you will also find a beautiful Gothic church from the 15th century with fragments of carved stone ornamentation, as well as early Renaissance alter paintings and Glagolitic inscriptions. The interesting fact is that the village was named after the saltworks which date back to the 12th century.

Bozava is a picturesque village also curled around a harbor, housing a hotel with a stone slab beach and sandy cove surrounded by a nearby pine forest.

On the other hand, let’s not forget to mention the southern side of the island where you can find Telascica, a spectacular nature park with six islets and rocks in the bay. Even though Telascica is known for its coves, small islands, and cliffs, it is also a great spot for observing flora and fauna. In other words, you may be able to see falcons that nest on the Telascica’s cliffs or dolphins swimming along the coast. Additionally, you can visit a small donkey sanctuary. Moreover, here you’ll pass a salt-water lake Mir, which is connected to the sea by underground channel. Each year, the lake is warmer than a sea during summer months and colder in winter. 

Lake Mir (Jezera Mir) – 23281, Sali, Croatia

Telascica Nature Preserve 

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Best Beaches in Dugi Otok

When it comes to beaches in Dugi Otok, Saharun Beach is the most popular one. A beautiful sandy beach secluded by pine trees offers laid-back vibes and crystal-clear water. In addition to Saharun, you can enjoy beach hopping in:

  • Veli Zal – a mix of small pebbles and fine white sand, Veli Zal shows intact nature. It also offers only one beach bar with ice cream and cold drinks.
  • Veli Rat – a mix of pebble beaches suitable for children and rocky coastline. There are plenty of parking spots under pine trees, campsites nearby, as well as various facilities.
  • Brbinjscica – a secluded beach surrounded by cliffs and coves. It is also ideal for diving and snorkeling.
  • Lojisce – a sandy beach with no facilities but with calming vibes. It makes a great place for isolation and peace.

Check out my travel vlog on Island Hopping in Croatia below!

Where to Stay in Dugi Otok

Being a somewhat rustic island, the accommodations on one of the best islands in Croatia, Dugi Otok, are quaint. Here are some of my top recommendations for hotels and accommodations in Dugi Otok:

  • Best Boutique Apartments in Dugi Otok – Apartments Bedene: Located in Sali with a sea view terrace, these apartments are a great option. Modern, comfortable, and steps to the beach.
  • Best Luxury House Rental in Dugi Otok – Grandpa Mate House: A modern and tastefully decorated two bedroom home, this accommodation could fit a group of guests. This home even comes with a story. Built by “grandpa” back in 1930 before he left for New York, and recently restored.
  • Best Budget Apartment in Dugi Otok – There are many options since this island features mostly apartment-like stays. 

Interesting fact: While on the island, you can choose to stay in a lighthouse. The Veli Rat Lighthouse has only one apartment and it is located on the southwestern cape of Dugi Otok.

Will one of the best islands in Croatia, Dugi Otok make it on your travel list? Let me know in the comments below!

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