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Queer Eye For The Croatian Island-Hopping Guy… Or Girl!

Queer Eye For The Croatian Island-Hopping Guy… Or Girl!

Croatia may not rank as one of the top gay-friendly countries in Europe, thanks to its largely conservative Catholic nature, but don’t let this deter you from seeing this from a spot of Croatian Gay Travel and experiencing this beautiful nation with pride. 

You’ll find that most of the big tourist cities and popular islands in Croatia are quite welcoming of the LGBTQIA+ community. There are actually now two pride parades held during the summer, one in Zagreb and one in Split.

Croatian gay travel often begins in Split since it puts you in a prime position to do some incredible island-hopping, where you’ll discover many gay-friendly spots to enjoy some trendy summer fun. Here are a few of the top islands in Croatia to put on your fabulous itinerary. 

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Hvar makes an easy first island to hit, with the roughly 1-hour ferry from Split to Hvar being one of Croatia’s most popular ferry routes with numerous daily sailings during summer. Many say Hvar was the first Croatian island to be labeled “Gay Friendly”.

This rather small island is easy to get around, and the nightlife is exceptional. Whether you like to dance or simply hold a cocktail in your hands, you’ll find the main area of town packed with bars and clubs, and while there are sadly not yet any dedicated gay bars, the energy and atmosphere are still excellent. 

One of the best daytime beach bars can be found at Hula Hula Hvar Beach Club, which offers up VIP tables, an open-air massage pavilion, and plenty of sun loungers to work on your tan. You can also grab a bite from one of the many cafes or restaurants in St. Stephen’s Square.

Take a quiet walk with your partner through the side streets, or make your way to the Spanish Fortress, aka Tvrdava Fortica, for some killer views over the city. The fort dates back to the early 16th century and even has cannons. There is also an old prison you can tour at the fort, just don’t drop the soap, or maybe do!

Visiting during summer also means you can walk through the local lavender fields, and you can always take a water taxi to explore one of the nearby Pakleni Islands, like Jerolim, where there is a popular nude beach. 

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Nestled in-between Split and Hvar is the island of Brač. Here, you’ll find one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches, which is known locally as Zlatni Rat Beach or by many tourists as Golden Horn Beach. Known for its famous shape that is constantly changing, it’s not only a great place to relax but also for water sports such as jet skiing and windsurfing.

Brač is perfect if you love being active outdoors and working up a sweat. There are a number of great hiking trails on the island, including one that will take you to the summit of Vidova Gora, which is not only the highest point of the island but of all the Adriatic Islands. You’ll find the trailhead in the town of Bol, and the hike will take up about half a day. 

Another interesting hike which can only be accessed via a guided tour, takes you to the intriguing 15th-century Dragon’s Cave with its carvings of dragons and angels. If you prefer two wheels instead of lacing up hiking boots, there are also a number of challenging mountain bike trails to tackle.

Visit one of the local wineries, which produce both red and white varieties, to relax after a long day of outdoor recreation or continue to burn calories while also embracing your inner child at the local inflatable water park. 

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Moving down the coast to Dubrovnik, we then have Lokrum Island, which is just a short 15-minute ferry ride offshore. The island is home to the most popular, mostly male, gay beach in Croatia, which can be found just beyond the end of the main nude beach. It’s a beautiful secluded spot surrounded by nature and a highlight of any Croatian gay travel. 

There are no cars on Lokrum, nor are there any accommodation options. It’s just a day-visit island which is probably all you’ll need. After working on your head-to-toe and everything in-between tan on the nude beach, head inland to cool down as you float in the shallow salt lake known as the Dead Sea. 

Scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed on Lokrum, you may recognize parts of fictional Qarth, and you can even sit in a replica of the Iron Throne, which is set in the local Benedictine Monastery.

There is also a lovely botanic garden where you can challenge the resident colorful peacocks to a strut-off. The gardens and peacocks are from a time when Austrian Archduke Maximilian, brother to Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, had a holiday home on the island. 

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It will take you a few hours to reach Vis from Split since it’s the most remote inhabited island off Croatia’s mainland. Less touristy and more exclusive in feel, the island showcases many remnants of the various empires that have ruled it over the centuries. 

There are a number of great beaches here, the most notable being Stiniva beach which is popular with both lazy sunbathers and adventurous cliff jumpers. The island has largely escaped mass tourism to date thanks to only having been open to tourism for the last 30 years. 

Life on Vis is a relaxing affair, where you can check out the local wineries or seek out filming locations from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Many of the highlights of a trip to Vis are actually found offshore though.

The best way to visit the many top sites around Vis is via a full-day boat tour that will take you to various nearby islands. You can, of course, choose to do just simple trips to individual islands as well if you’d prefer. 

The main natural sites to see include the magical Blue Cave of Biševo Island, and Ravnik Island, which offers up a Green Cave where, unlike the Blue Cave, you can swim and snorkel. 

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