Venice native Toto Bergamo Rossi, who has traveled to Croatia many times on restoration missions with Venetian Heritage, recommends:
Islands not to miss during a trip to Croatia:
The biggest island is less equipped and well-known than Hvar but still really fascinating. The inside part is where you can go for a walk to the hermitage Monasteries.
Like Trogir, the island resembles Venice, its beauty stemming from all the white stone buildings and streets (This white stone can be found on the whole Croatian coast). One of the biggest Dalmatian islands, Hvar has always been very important and you’ll see that in all the well-carved Gothic facades and the numerous churches. Special attractions include the beautiful Renaissance Cathedral (St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Trg Sv. Stjepana bb), the Captain Loggia with its Venetian Lions (Trg Sv. Stjepana bb), the old Arsenal, which has a little and precious wooden theatre and, of course the Franciscan Monastery (385-21-741-123). Pretty much every bay is marvelous. I suggest going to discover other little cities in the island and trying to find small churches. Some will have hidden treasures (you’ll see paintings of Veronese or Tintoretto at the Church of Stari Grad. Also, visit the little islands near Hvar. Among them, Palmisana has a beautiful coast and is a very pleasant spot for swimming.
The main town on this very big island was founded in the 13th century and it’s a little jewel, surrounded by big walls. On the narrow streets, you’ll discover ancient palaces and the beautiful Cathedral of St. Mark (Strossmayer Trg). When you continue south from Korcula, the landscape changes and becomes greener, the cypresses and orange trees become more numerous.
This green and beautiful island is now a National Park. You absolutely have to see the Monastery of St Mary (on St. Mary’s Islet). It’s located on a small island in the middle of Malo Jezero lake—an island inside the island.
Sipan & Lopud
The so-called Elafiti Islands of this “magic” archipelago were part of the Republic of Dubrovnik/Ragusa. They were outposts to defend the city with its citadel and they were also places for aristocratic vacations. Small palaces, fortified villas and 15th or 16th century churches all attest to the past. Sipan’s northern village, Sipanska, is quiet and relatively tourist-free and you can observe amazing sunsets from the bay. The Sipanska restaurant Konoba kod Marka might be the best restaurant in all of Croatia. Sudurac, the southern village, has two castle-villas, whose gardens are beautiful even if they are not well-kept. The pasture located between the two villages is a peaceful and pleasant place to walk; among the vineyards there are lots of lost houses as well as a few old churches.