Friday, 27 July 2012 3:13 PM
Croatia is rapidly becoming one of Europe's top holiday destinations, thanks to fascinating cities such as Dubrovnik and its stunning Adriatic coastline. If you are looking for somewhere slightly off the beaten track in the country for your break, you should try its islands.
There are 79 islands in Croatian waters - together with more than 900 islets and rocky outcrops - and many of them are ideal locations for a relaxing getaway. They enjoy the same warm climate as the mainland during the summer months and have deserted beaches on which to enjoy it.
Unless you know you will be happy to experience a fortnight of complete solitude during your break, it makes sense to choose one of the larger isles with good transport links to the mainland and other islands for day trips. However, with so many high-quality holiday villas in Croatia's islands, you should have no trouble finding somewhere that is peaceful without being too remote.
Located off the Dalmatian coast, Korcula is famed for its beaches. There are numerous sheltered coves where you will find deserted stretches of sand to relax on, together with more popular spots, such as the beaches in Korcula Town.
The island's main settlement also has some fascinating sights to visit, including the 14th century Cathedral of St Mark and the Municipal Museum, which has a collection of archaeological finds from the Greek era. As you tour the narrow streets of the old town, you will discover restaurants serving locally-caught seafood, traditional cakes and wine made on the island.
If you wish to get even further off the usual tourist trail, you can hire a boat to explore the archipelago of 20 uninhabited islands just off the coast of Korcula. Many of them are covered in pine trees and thickets, but have accessible beaches where your afternoon in the sun will not be disturbed.
Part of the Zadar island group, Pasman is renowned for the clear blue water off its idyllic beaches. These are the ideal place to relax, as not only will you catch the sun, you will also take in the scent of the many aromatic plants that grow here.
Although the island is one of the largest in the area, the population is just 2,000, as most of the land is covered in forests. The lack of people means the pace of life is wonderfully slow, although you will find some good traditional restaurants in the villages.
The largest island in the Adriatic, Krk is packed with historic attractions. Head to the main town - also called Krk - and you can see the 12th century Frankopan Castle and the beautiful Krk Cathedral. The small town of Baska also has some fine examples of religious architecture and a fascinating museum dedicated to local customs.
Krk is renowned for its environmental projects and, as a result, boasts lush vegetation and clean beaches. The quiet stretches of sand close to Njivice are perhaps the best places for an afternoon in the sun, but there are also excellent beaches at Silo and Krk Town.
Brac is the island to choose if you like to be active while on holiday. Like many of the other isles, it has great beaches, but it also has sailing clubs and dive centres if you want to do more than just laze in the sun. The hills inland are perfect for walking and you can look forward to some wonderful views from the cliff tops.