5 Incredible Northern Croatia Islands You Have to See

Nothing Familiar Island Hopping Croatia's Northern Islands

Most travelers have heard of popular destinations like Hvar, Brac, and Korcula. While these are all worth experiencing, don’t overlook the northern Croatia islands! North Croatia is far less touristic, but just as beautiful as the south. Here’s a fun North Croatia islands itinerary, and great tips for traveling from Pula!

North Croatia Islands Ferry & Catamaran

Croatia Ferry: When talking about a ferry on the Croatian islands it is referred to as a car ferry. If you are traveling through Croatia with a car this will be your only option to get from island to island.

However, you can also buy a walk on passenger ticket if you don’t have a car. For traveling without a car the ferry is often cheaper than a Catamaran, but doesn’t run as often and takes longer.

Croatia Catamaran: A Catamaran is specifically for passengers, meaning no cars. This is important to note because if you get the two confused you will be in for a much longer trip through Croatia’s northern islands!

As it’s faster and slightly more expensive than the ferry, the catamarans typically have more sailing days and is the way to travel throughout the islands with no car.

Why is it Important in Northern Croatia? 

We walked into a ticket office and asked to buy a ticket for the “ferry” that was leaving the next day. We were quite alarmed when we were told that there wouldn’t be a ferry for several days.

Quickly, the confusion settled when they realized we were talking about the catamaran and not the North Croatia islands ferry. Most of the time you actually buy the tickets at separate places.

This means if you’re looking to buy a Catamaran, but are asking where to get ferry tickets you’ll end up at the wrong place! 

→ 5 Best Islands in Southern Croatia: Ferry Info, Tips, & Route Guide

Northern Croatia Ferry

North Croatia Islands Route & Schedule  

Well, now for the most essential question. How do you get to the Croatian islands? If you’re leaving from Zadar, we recommend taking a catamaran past all the islands and working your way back.

Pula is a great seaside city to use as your jump off point as well. From here, you can get to some of the most beautiful Northern Croatia islands, and even Venice Italy!

In the summer months the Catamaran runs between the islands near Pula very often, but this isn’t the case in shoulder season. Also, the Croatia ferry system (where passengers can also walk on) runs on opposite days.

Croatia Ferry Schedules & Info  

Croatian Islands Route and Schedule  

Northern Croatia Weather Warning

Unfortunately, if the weather is bad the ferries and catamarans will stop running. For example, on the island of Mali Losinj we went to buy our tickets for the next morning.

However, the women selling them said it wouldn’t be possible. There was a storm coming, and it wouldn’t be until the morning when they’d decide if the boat would run.

As you can see, this is one the possible hurdles with a Northern Croatia itinerary in the shoulder season. With no set plans, we could easily spend more time on Mali Losinj.

Yet, if we had hotels booked or even a flight out, this could have been seriously bad. Just something to be aware of when traveling through the islands near Pula.

Croatia’s Northern Islands Weather

Northern Croatia Itinerary 

This route is based on the catamaran service that we used running from Zadar to Pula. There are other islands to visit so use this as a loose guide to the North Croatia islands.

Most travelers will likely make a round trip journey to Zadar. Nevertheless, we highly recommend continuing north from Pula and into Slovenia. We explored Piran, Lake Bled, and Ljubljana easily using the bus system, and fell in love with the country.

Keep in mind that traveling one way on the catamaran system can be expensive. So if you travel round trip and plan to spend some money on ferries.

As we mentioned before, Croatia’s ferries are slightly cheaper. With that comes longer journey times between the Northern Croatia islands.

Balkans

Starting in Zadar Croatia 

As the gateway to the northern Croatian islands, your trip will likely begin in the port city of Zadar. Full of life and culture, this popular Croatian city is more than just a way to get to the islands.

Make sure to plan at least a night or two before or after the islands to see all that Zadar has to offer. Get lost in the romantic streets of the old town, swim from the steps of the Sea Organ, hike the bell tower, and taste all the food specialties of Croatia.   

Zadar

Northern Croatia Islands Itinerary

1. Silba 

This island is quickly gaining popularity for its relaxed lifestyle and simple charm. As an island of pedestrians you wont find any cars, and even bikes are rare.

The entire island spans just 15 square kilometers, and is a must visit for anyone looking to relax. So what’s the best part about Silba? Of course the beaches, coves, and clear glass water that surround it!

Island Hopping Croatia's Northern Islands

2. Ilovik 

It won’t take very long to circle Ilovik as it’s just under 10 miles around. Due to it’s distance from the mainland, this spot is for any travelers looking to get away from the more touristic Croatia.

Less than 100 residents reside on Ilovik year round to give you an idea of how truly small it is. Stock up at the one market or dine at the small handful of island restaurants if you’re looking for some interaction. Otherwise, spend your days exploring the small coves and getting lost in the Mediterranean nature!

Island Hopping Croatia's Northen Isalnds

3. Losinj 

Arriving into the main town of Mali Losinj, you’ll quickly realize that this island is different from the others. Bright buildings paint the small hillside that make up the town, and restaurants line the water promenade.

The dark green trees that fill the island give off a more tropical feel than others, and the countless beaches allow you to find complete seclusion no matter the time of year.

With more life and resources, this island in northern Croatia is great for a short or extended visit. We even rented a scooter here to explore!

16 Fun Tips for Visiting the Island of Mali Losinj Croatia

Losinj - Island hopping Croatia's Northern Islands

4. Susak 

If you’re looking for a small romantic island to spend lazy days soaking in the sun and relaxing in the water, then Susak is for you. The smell of oregano fills the air as it can be found growing freely all over the island. As soon as you step off the Croatia ferry, you will feel the world slow down and island life set in.  

Susak Island

5. Unije 

The complete island escape can be found on Unije. When pulling into the port, only a small number of people disembark wander into the colorful town.

This is a place in Northern Croatia where you’ll likely be one of the only tourists. Unjie is the perfect place to disconnect and spend a few days.   

Unije Croatia's Northen Islands

Pula From the North Croatia Islands

Pula is a large port city to visit in Northern Croatia. It’s fun spot to spend a day or two in as part of your Northern Croatia itinerary. 

Pula is home to one of the oldest Roman amphitheaters, and features much more history and architecture for you to take in. It’s also part of the Istrian Peninsula which is worth seeing in itself!

Pula Roman Amphitheater

Have any questions on this article or want to share your own Northern Croatia itinerary? Leave us a comment below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

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Island Hopping Croatia

Croatia Travel Planning 

Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a blue cave 5 islands tour from Split, go sea kayaking in Dubrovnik, or take a day trip to the famous Krka National Park

 Flights: We always find great flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Croatia, you can even take your car on the ferries so you have wheels for the different islands! 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Croatia Travel

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2 Comments

  1. Daniel Bacic
    November 25, 2022 / 7:56 am

    The North has Losinj which is stunning but the other bigger island drawcards are Rab Island, Cres Island and Krk Island and also Pag Island. Paradise Beach is gorgeous . Be sure to visit these as they all have beautiful old towns much like Hvar etc

    • Brigitte & Jake
      November 25, 2022 / 7:29 pm

      Thank you for all the tips and information. We hope to visit Croatia again soon!

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