Croatia has become an unmissable stop on the summer festival party circuit, hosting some of Europe’s very best music festivals. Croatia’s relaxed live-and-lets-dance-under-the-stars vibe coupled with (in some cases) stunning beaches and an international roster of the latest acts is sure to make the summer of 2015 one to remember. But time to get started! Tickets are on sale now. Check out the locations on this handy map, take a look at the videos and click through to the festival websites for the full lineup.
For accommodation, I recommend using this searchbox for rooms, apartments and hostels.
MUSIC FESTIVAL MAP
Nominated for the European Festival Award, the INmusic festival is on Zagreb‘s Lake Jarun, only a few stops from the town center.
Who: Kate Tempest, Paolo Nutini, Placebo, Eagles of Death Metal, We Are Shining, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Frank Turner, Florence + the Machine.
When: 22-24 June
More Info: www.inmusicfestival.com/en
This underground electronic festival at Fort Punta Christo, Pula, boasts an exceptional sound system.
Who: Moodymann, John Talabot, Ben Klock, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Mount Kimbie, Surgeon and more.
When: 26-30 August
More Info: www.dimensionsfestival.com
Also in Fort Punta Christo, this festival showcases the best of underground dance music.
Who: Badbadnotgood, Big Narstie, Bodhi, Boy Better Know, Congo Natty Feat. Congo Dubz And Tenor Fly, Jurassic 5, Kate Tempest, Maribou State, Mount Kimbie (DJ Set), Mumdance, Pete Rock, Protoje & The Indiggnation, Roni Size Reprazent (Live), Toddla T.
When: 2-6 September
More Info: www.outlookfestival.com/
ULTRA EUROPE FESTIVAL
In Split‘s Poljud Stadium, this prestige event is an annual happening and part of the international Ultra festival series. The afterparties are legendary. Look for them this year on nearby Hvar and Vis islands.
Who: Afrojack, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Axwell /\ Ingrosso, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Tiësto Zedd, The Chemical Brothers, Carl Cox.
When: 10-12 July
More Info: www.ultraeurope.com/
FRESH ISLAND FESTIVAL
Novalja (Pag Island)
Zrce beach on Pag island is ground zero for summer parties and this festival is the one to hit for R&B and Hip-Hop.
Who: Joey Bada$$, Danny Brown, Tinashe, Maxxx, DJ Candy, Migos, MC Skepta, Shortee Blitz
When: 15-17 July
More Info: 2015.fresh-island.org/
Novalja (Pag Island)
Now in its fifth year at Zrce beach, this festival is one of Europe’s best music festivals, noted for its presentation of underground dance music.
Who: Maceo Plex, Ame, Apollonia, Bicep, Darius Syrossian, Huxley, Justin Martin, Oliver Dollar, Subb-An, Toddla T, Duke Dumont, Nina Kraviz, Ten Walls (Live), David Rodigan MBE, Sigma, BBC Radio 1’s Monki and Jungle icon Roni Size.
When: 28 June to 2 July
More Info: www.hideoutfestival.com/
Novalja (Pag Island)
Imported from world-famous Ibiza Rocks, this festival is yet another reason to spend the summer at Zrce beach.
Who: Blond, Bondax, Clean Bandit, Fatboy Slim, Gorgon City, Kate Tempest, Jungle, Lxury, Monki, Northbase, Soul Clap, Ten Story.
When: 19-23 July
More Info: www.croatiarocks.com
This electronic festival has been going strong since 2006 and its location near Zadar makes it easy to access with direct flights from LOndon
Who: Eats Everything, Nightmares on Wax (live), Jackmaster, Optimo, Talaboman, Tim Sweeney, Darshan Jesrani, Gerd Janson, Paranoid London (live), PBR Streetgang, Brawther, Leon Vynehall, Mark E, Adam Shelton, Subb-An, DJ Harvey, Bonobo, Seth Troxler, Joy Orbison, Ben UFO, Midland, Craig Richards, Greg Wilson, Crazy P (live) and Psychemagik
When: 1-8 July
More Info: thegardenfestival.eu
And consider. . .
Stop Making Sense
Croatia’s islands are legendary, bewitching everyone from Odysseus to Beyoncé. With about 1200 islands (depends on how much land constitutes an island rather than a protruding rock) Croatia has no shortage of island escapes. If you have a sailboat, you can visit them all! Or, you can take an island cruise of course.
But most people combine an island jaunt with a visit to one of Croatia’s coastal regions (there are a couple of things to see on the mainland as well!). So here are some ideas for choosing which island in each region is best to visit. We’ll start in the south and work our way northward.
Best Islands Around Dubrovnik
Why? It’s a National Park with two inland salt-water lakes and an island monastery. From June to September, it’s easy to take a catamaran that leaves in the morning and returns in the afternoon. More.
Why? Lopud, pictured above, is just a short hop from Dubrovnik by year-round Jadrolinija ferry. There are no cars, just beautiful Sunj beach and a smattering of houses scattered in the dunes, brush and pines. Also great are the islands of Kolocep and Sipan, only a little more developed. More
Why? Lokrum is a wooded isle just a quick 30-minute ride from Dubrovnik by regular passenger boat where skinny-dipping from a secluded cove is a major pleasure. It’s also where certain scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed. More.
Why? The Venetian architecture of Korcula town that protrudes into the bay creates a wonderful ambience in a wooded, hilly island that practices its ancient crafts of turning out rich-flavoured wines and olive oils. More.
Best Islands Around Split
Why? The Beyhive knows. Glamorous Hvar town is Croatia’s best spot for stargazing and the nightlife is unbeatable. Take a jaunt to the Pakleni Islands just offshore, swim or explorr the island’s lesser-known spots such as Jelsa and Vrboska. From late spring to early fall, it’s even possible as a day trip from Split. More.
Why? Zlatni Rt (above) is one of Croatia’s best beaches, lying just outside the town of Bol. Supetar is the island capital with a welcoming port near several resort hotels and the villages of Splitska, Pucisca and Milna offer a calmer experience. More.
Why? Vis’s distance from Split keeps the tourist hordes down plus it’s history dates back to the ancient Greeks. There are vineyards, a few museums, beaches and the fishing village of Komiza which is a good place to catch a boat to Bisevo, the “blue grotto”. More.
Best Islands Around Zadar
Why? This dry and rolling island hosts Telascica Nature Park at its southern end, a little-known unspoiled paradise for nature lovers. It’s not easy to plan as a day trip but an overnight on this rugged island is well worth it. More.
Why? Only a half-hour drive over the causeway from Zadar, Pag is an island divided. Pag town is small and quiet, a good atmosphere for the local ladies who work on Pag’s famous lace. Keep driving up north and you’ll come to Novalja, known for sandy Zrce beach, a major nightlife venue that attracts some of Europe’s most renowned DJs. More.
Best Islands in the Kvarner Gulf
Why? Mali Losinj, the port on the southern end of the island offers a spectacular pine-shaded beach along Cikat bay and varied architecture dating from its days as a shipbuilding center. Tiny Veli Losinj is a picture-book version of an authentic fishing village and there are numerous other coves and villages to explore. More.
Why? North of Losinj and separated by only a narrow canal, Cres island enchants with its wild, craggy coastline. Home to thousands of sheep and the famous griffon vultures, Cres has cozy swimming coves such as Valun and Venetian-influenced Cres town at the northern end. More.
Why? The gentle hills slope down to vineyards and a pine-fringed coastline punctuated by fascinating Rab town, known for its four bell towers. There’s tons to do from kayaking to diving to relaxing on the wide sandy beaches of Lopar. More.
Why? Medieval Krk town evokes the world of sword-wielding kings and bejeweled queens which is appropriate since Krk was the seat of Croatia’s Frankopan dynasty. The wind-whipped island is known for its excellent wine and wide, sandy Baska beach, a major draw for summer crowds. More.
Best Islands Around Istria
Why? Istrian islands are a short list! The Brijuni islands are the only ones. The main island is a national park where an organized tour is required. It had been former President Tito’s retreat and his house is decorated with mementos. Apart from that, the island is totally unspoiled as there was nothing built except a few hotels. The snorkelling is outstanding as its National Park status protected the fish population. More.