Rijeka

Croatia's Secret Islands

11 Jul 2016

Despite the popularity of Croatia’s coast with tourists there are still plenty of places which have remained sheltered from the tides of tourists. Here is a selection of island hideaways where you can find your own personal paradise.

SUSAK

Tiny Susak makes up for it slack of size with personality. The local dialect is a curious mix of archaic Croatian blended with vocabulary from Italian, French and German. Not even visitors from other parts of Croatia can decipher it.

In 1912 an Austrian doctor deemed Susak ideal for convalescing children. A hotel was designed by a Viennese architect and built in the Bok bay, but with the First World War tourism halted and never really picked up again. Which means that the island remains utterly unspoilt.

Susak is unusual among Croatian islands in being covered with sand which is held firmly in place by reeds planted by farmers to prevent erosion. There are no roads, only sandy paths - you can pretty much go barefoot! The island is surprisingly fertile and was once well known for its wine, an industry which is slowly being revived. With no cars and those shallow sandy bays it's a paradise for families with small children. There are no hotels, but you can rent a room or private apartment. Come summer you’ll find yourself joined by a host of Americans, returning emigrants and their offspring. Pensioners returning to live out their days on the island are lending a curious Transatlantic touch to the architecture. Other visitors include women who come to bury themselves in the sand at Bok and Spiaza bays, reputed to restore fertility.

Susak island culture includes possibly the only folk costume to feature a colourful mini ra-ra skirt. Definitely one of the more intriguing Croatian islands!

SILBA

With no cars and just one settlement, Silba is enjoyed by escapists whoneed a little culture along with their days of relaxation. Silba features six lovely churches and chapels,and romantic villas built by wealthy sea captains and ship owners. Since the island was vulnerable to pirate attacks you’ll find a 16th century castle, while a hexagonal watchtower, the Toreta, a slender edifice with a spiral staircase tracing round the outside, testifies to the enduring love of a roving sailor for his love back home.

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