Having taken a great liking to the beach clubs in Ibiza, we went in search of their Croatian counterparts. Surely, we thought, there must be some along the country’s Adriatic Coast?
“Tl;dr” *: Croatia still has some catching up as far as beach clubs are concerned. Lots of potential, though, and there’s already much to like here!
Since no less than two of our insiders, Jasna and Sandra, plus many other acquaintances kept singing Croatia’s praises, we organized a road trip to get to know the country. But, that wasn’t all…
…with much anticipation, we decided to check out the beach clubs also while we were there.
Fascinating as Ibiza was in this respect, would we find more of the same in Croatia?
Yes, Croatia has beach clubs, but, …
As it turned out, we did come across hot spots here and there! However, overall, the beach clubs here have a way to go if they want to catch up with Ibiza.
Could it be because of the lack of sandy beaches? Situated as they are on Croatia’s ubiquitous gravel beaches, these seaside clubs somehow miss weaving a comparable magic spell.
Also, because of how wildly the profiles of Croatia’s beach clubs vary, I found that ranking them was very difficult.
Here, for our scrolling-averse friends, are direct links to the individual insider reviews and scoops on our beach club sampler:
- Hula hula Beach & Bar — the rough one
- Bonj ‘les Bains’ Beach Club — the vintage one
- Opatija — the luxurious ones
- Brown Hotel — the chic one
- Around Trogir — the unpretentious ones
Hula hula Beach & Bar in Hvar
Insider scoop: roughing it, on the rocks
Address: Ul. Vlade Avelinija 10, Hvar, Croatia
Phone: +385 95 911 1871
Walk along the Hvar harbor promenade and a bit farther outside town and soon you come upon the Hula hula Beach Club.
It is a bit on the rough side, with wooden platforms for the chaise lounges placed rather precariously among the coastal rocks.
The restaurant, too, does not come across as particularly classy, but then, right next door you can feast your eyes on the local “muscle beach” where the boys with the bulging arms strut their stuff.
Bonj ‘les Bains’ Beach Club by Hvar
Insider scoop: vintage, vast, and romantic
Address: Ul. Dinka Kovačevića 10, 21450, Hvar, Croatia
Phone: +385 91 452 4719
Keep walking a bit farther and you will pass the vast Bonj les Bains. The stress here is on “pass right by,” because both times we went past it, the club was closed for a private wedding party.
But, it is easy to see what makes it a popular venue for celebrations: both the location and facilities are beguiling. Yes, you can quote me on that…
Best wishes to the young and beautiful newlyweds!
Radisson Blu Beach Club in Trstenik
Insider scoop: (missed this one, but has a good rep)
Address: Trstenik 19, 21000, Split, Croatia
Phone: +385 21 303 030
Half an hour’s drive down the road at Split’s Bacvice Beach, this club is said to hold its own. Unfortunately, we did not get to visit it this time. But, perhaps someone has the scoop on this one?
Insider scoop: miles of luxury, elegance, and quaint
Istria not only offers picturesque fishing hamlets, but in Opatija it also has a veritable seaside spa town, where beach club after beach club line the shore promenade.
The clubs right by Opatija are all done in high style. Keep walking and you will arrive at the Bevanda Hotel by Relais & Châteaux, a fittingly elegant exclamation point at the end of Opatija’s beach club row.
Address: Zert ul. 8, 51410, Opatija, Croatia
Phone: +385 51 493 888
But, this is just the end of the beginning: after the Bevanda, the beach promenade goes on for quite some distance, except that now it skirts one tiny, quaint fishing village after the other, with opulent villas scattered in between.
The Mulini Beach Club in Rovinj is said to be worth a visit, this one is located between the Monte Mulini and Lone hotels and sports a minimalist design in white and stone.
Carpe Diem Cocktail Lounge on Stipanska Island
Insider scoop: down-to-earth by the sea
Address: Stipanska, Hvar, Croatia
Phone: +385 95 906 2067
Stipanska island lies just offshore from Hvar, and in the Carpe Diem Cocktail Lounge you can take your ease between the sea and a pine forest. With its straw beach umbrellas, this beach club comes across as rather unpretentious.
Brown Hotel in Trogir
Insider scoop: Ibiza-quality chic
Address: Put Gradine 66, Trogir 21220, Croatia
Phone: +385 21 355 450
Not only does the Brown Beach House Boutique Hotel sport a designer pool, just steps across the road it also calls a beach club its own. And this one punches in a different weight class; it could go head to head anytime with the elegant prototypes on Ibiza.
Here, you can lounge in posh white wicker chairs as you slurp your espresso and watch the muscular pool attendant drag the chaise lounges from left to right.
With all the appropriate sounds. Natch.
“Beach clubs” around Trogir
Insider scoop: unpretentious, with a bevy of beach restaurants
Medieval Trogir itself has quite a lot to offer; to begin with, there is a plethora of restaurants with outdoor patios.
But, just east of town is the added attraction of the “Castle Coast,” where 7 small chateaus line up along the seashore. They go by snug names like Kaštel Štafilić, Kaštel Novi, Kaštel Stari, Kaštel Lukšić, Kaštel Kambelovac, Kaštel Gomilica and Kaštel Sućurac.
And every one of the little castles comes with its own little town and the obligatory beach restaurants. Strictly speaking, as far as I’m concerned, they don’t qualify as beach clubs – yet, the mood in them is relaxed enough and the stretch of coast they populate is worth a visit.
The beverage of choice here is the popular Pan beer. That, at least, is what they bring me when I ask for a “good beer” ;-)
West of Trogir, by the Ola Hotel cluster some rather small “beach clubs”: they have lounge chairs on the beach, but have a rather low-key design in common. Their groove falls somewhere between campground ambiance and beach club light.
By way of example, here is the Medeni Restaurant and, right next door, the Cocos Restaurant.
Many of the restaurants, such as Bistro Zule, not to mention the nameless pop up bars, also come with a simple “beach annex.”
People in the know also rave about the Banje Beach Club and Coral Beach Club, which are located farther south near Dubrovnik.
However, we’re saving that part for our next Croatia trip …
Ibiza – birthplace of the beach club?
Whether beach clubs were invented in Apulia, Mykonos, or in St. Tropez I was not able to pin down definitively in my researches. But, Ibiza probably has the highest density of spectacular locales.
Here you will find our Guide to the 6 best beach clubs on Ibiza.
* “Tl;dr” here’s something else I had to google. It’s web shorthand for “Too long, didn’t read” ;-) i.e., “here’s the bottom line.”