Are you planning a trip to Croatia and wondering where the best beaches near Zagreb are?
You came to the right place!
I lived in Zagreb for 5 years while studying, and let me tell you, summers in Zagreb get very hot! As soon as June comes around, you’ll be looking for the first beach to cool off.
However, Zagreb is inland, so there are no beaches in Zagreb. At least no sea beaches.
But don’t despair if you took advantage of cheap flights to Zagreb! The city has two lake beaches and is situated less than a 2-hour drive from the sea in the Kvarner region.
A day on the beach makes for a perfect addition to your Zagreb itinerary, so let’s find the best beaches close to Zagreb!
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Best Beaches Near Zagreb
Whether you’re looking for one-day trips to the beach from Zagreb or planning a summer weekend getaway from Zagreb, these seaside towns with beautiful beaches should be on your list.
Jadranovo is a small coastal town between Rijeka and Crikvenica. In recent years, this quaint town has become a popular beach day trip from Zagreb.
The beach in Jadranovo is a long cove with tiny pebbles, and it almost feels like a sandy beach. It is wide, with plenty of space to put on your towel, and the soft entrance makes it fantastic for those who are not great swimmers.
As you lay on the beach, you’ll have a view of the nearby islands. There is also a very Instagrammable wooden swing in the sea for photos!
The beach is in the city center, but it is a tiny town, so it doesn’t feel too urbanized. Also, you’re close to several restaurants and bars if you don’t pack snacks.
Jadranovo is a great alternative to the more popular beach destinations like Crikvenica or Novi Vinodolski.
- Distance from Zagreb: 160 km
Rijeka is the third largest city in Croatia. This is where you’ll find the nearest beach to Zagreb.
If you’re going to Croatia for beaches, Rijeka is probably not at the top of your wishlist. The city is very industrialized with a shipyard and a port in the city center.
However, when you get outside the city, you’ll find quite a few lovely beaches in Rijeka.
Kantrida Beach is the most popular beach in Rijeka. It is a large pebbled cove and a good option for nonswimmers with a soft entrance.
Other pebbled beaches around Rijeka to consider include Ploče Beach in the north of the city and Sablićevo Beach in the south.
You can easily reach all of these beaches by public transport if you’re coming to Rijeka by bus.
- Distance from Zagreb: 161 km
Opatija has been a resort town for decades, even centuries. During Habsburg times, the socialites had summer residences and villas in the city. You can still see the beautiful villas to this day!
There are many upscale resorts and hotels in Opatija to this day, but you can also visit on a day trip.
The beaches are in the city center, so they are easy to reach. The main city beach is a concrete beach with a flat surface to put your towel on and a ladder to get into the water.
Tomasevac Beach is a pebbled cove with impressive period villas in the background. The entrance is soft, with pebbles that mix with sand.
If you have time, it is worth going to Istria further down the coastline too!
- Distance from Zagreb: 174 km
4. Krk Island
If you’re dreaming of spending a day on one of the Croatian islands, Krk is the best day trip option from Zagreb. I love how diverse this island is, and you’ll find some incredible beaches here!
Krk is one of the easiest Croatian islands to reach thanks to the bridge connecting it to continental Croatia. You won’t even notice that you’re going to an island!
Krk is a large island, the largest island in Croatia to be exact. So if you’re short on time, you should go to one of the towns closest to the bridge.
Malinska is a popular beach vacation destination, and so is Njivice. The beaches are in the city center, so you’re close to all the facilities you’d need throughout the day.
However, beaches in the south of the island are superior when it comes to natural beauty.
Oprna Bay is the most beautiful beach on the island, and it could easily be the best beach near Zagreb. It looks like a tropical beach, and it is well worth the drive. Golden Bay is another excellent option.
When I visited Krk, I wasn’t expecting to stumble upon that many nudist beaches. There is even a naturist camp close to Punat, so be warned.
- Distance from Zagreb: About 170 km
Crikvenica is a Croatian coastal town that is far from a hidden gem. It is easily the most popular beach day trip from Zagreb, and the city is known as a beach day destination.
There aren’t any particular tourist attractions in the city, so the best thing to do in Crikvenica is to go to the beach.
You can choose from several beaches along the coastline. All beaches in Crikvenica are pebbled beaches with soft entrances that are good for non-swimmers too. There is some shade from the trees along the promenade.
Crikvenica is a touristy town, so you’ll find many attractions and activities geared towards tourists.
Beaches get very crowded in the summer. If you’re dreaming of a calm beach day, and you have a car, I would skip the city beach and look for more remote beaches along the coastline.
- Distance from Zagreb: 168 km
6. Novi Vinodolski
Novi Vinodolski is one of the largest towns on the Kvarner coast, and a place where you can spend time strolling the streets between visits to the beach.
The beach in the city center of Novi Vinodolski is another pebbled beach lined with lush green pine trees.
The trees make for a perfect refuge during the peak hours when you want to put on SPF 50 and avoid the sun.
As a popular tourist destination, Novi Vinodolski offers many activities and water sports to try out. You can rent a paddle boat or play on the aquapark.
There are many shops and restaurants to stop by for a meal, so you don’t have to worry about packing snacks.
- Distance from Zagreb: 176 km
The final idea for a beach day from Zagreb is the coastal town of Selce. The town only has one beach, but it is a great option for a day trip.
Many people come to Selce for a sandy beach, but the beach is not sandy. Sure, the gravel is tiny, but it is not sand.
Nonetheless, Poli Mora beach is beautiful and it is comfortable to walk in the water as there are no sharp rocks.
You can rent a sunbed and parasol, or bring your own. If you’re spending a whole day on the beach, be aware there’s no shade.
Come early if you’re coming by car, as the parking is quite small and fills up quickly.
- Distance from Zagreb: 168 km
Beaches In Zagreb
If you don’t have time to drive to the coast, but just want to cool off in the city, here are 2 Zagreb beaches to consider.
Going to the lakes is one of the most popular things to do in Zagreb in the summer.
8. Jarun Lake
If somebody tells you they’re going to Zagreb beach, they’re probably talking about Jarun Lake.
The lake is a great alternative to the Adriatic on a hot summer day when you just want to enjoy the sun and water.
My Zagreb friends call Jarun Lake the Zagreb Sea. As a girl from Istria who is used to beaches around Pula, I’d say it’s far from the sea.
The swimming lake is supervised, and dogs are not allowed in the water.
You can grab a drink in several cafe bars around the lake, even if you’re not swimming.
To get to Jarun Lake, take a tram 17 or 5 from the city center towards Precko.
9. Bundek Lake
The second option for Zagreb beaches is Bundek Lake. The lake is in Novi Zagreb, close to the Avenue Mall shopping center.
It is a good option for a quick swim if you’re staying nearby. There is a cafe bar by the lake to grab a drink.
However, Bundek Beach is smaller than Jarun, and there aren’t as many facilities available. If you only have time to visit one, I’d go for Jarun.
Getting From Zagreb To The Coast
Zagreb is not a coastal city, but it is just about a two-hour drive from the coast. On days when you want to enjoy the sea breeze, you can drive to the coast or take public transport.
The best way to get from Zagreb to the beach is by car.
With a car, you have the flexibility o choose which beach you want to go to, and you’re not limited to the beaches in the city center or losing too much time on transportation.
I suggest you take a highway from Zagreb to the coast, and then you can take a local road back if you’re traveling on a budget.
The highway is much faster, so you’ll have more time to enjoy the sun. When coming back, simply set Google Maps to show no toll roads. However, be prepared for traffic jams, especially on Sunday nights.
If you don’t have a car, I suggest booking a car through this website, as they compare the prices of all rental companies in Zagreb and sometimes offer promos.
🚗 Do you want to rent a car? Check the rental car prices here!
Taking a bus is the most common way to get to the beach from Zagreb without a car.
There are many daily bus lines from Zagreb to the coast, so you can browse the bus schedule and pick the one that works best for you.
You can buy tickets online or directly at the bus station. Unless you’re taking Flixbus, bus tickets in Croatia are cheaper if you go for a return ticket option.
I suggest you book your ticket a couple of days in advance, especially if you’re traveling on the weekend.
Taking the train is not the best choice for a beach day trip from Zagreb.
While there is a train line from Zagreb to Rijeka and Split, the journey is way too long for a day trip.
A trip from Zagreb to Rijeka by train will take you about 4 hours and 30 minutes, while a trip from Zagreb to Split is 6-9 hours!
However, it is a cheap way to get to the beach so it is an option if you’re spending a night at your destination.
FAQ: Zagreb Beaches
Zagreb is inland, so there are no sea beaches in Zagreb. The closest beaches are in the Kvarner Region, with Rijeka and Crikvenica as the most popular choice. However, Zagreb has two swimming lakes, Jarun and Bundek, which are referred to as Zagreb beaches by the locals.
It takes about 2 hours of driving from Zagreb to the nearest beach on the Adriatic coast. If you’re taking public transport it is closer to 3 hours.
The closest beaches to Zagreb are the beaches in the Kvarner region, with Opatija, Rijeka, and Crikvenica as the most popular choice.
Zagreb is about a 2h drive away from the beach. The closest beaches to Zagreb are in Rijeka, about 170km away.
No, Zagreb is not on the coast. The capital of Croatia is very much inland, about 170km and a 2-hour drive from the sea.
Summary: Best Beaches Near Zagreb, Croatia
The capital of Croatia is inland and there are no real beaches in Zagreb Croatia. However, you can easily reach some of the best Croatian beaches on a day trip from Zagreb.
From two lakes in the city center to beautiful beaches along the coastline, you’ll have plenty of options on a hot summer day in Zagreb.
Many locals also take guided tours to the beach, so that might be something to look into if you’re staying in Zagreb long-term.
If you’re not convinced by traveling to the beach, consider staying in coastal towns like Pula or Zadar. Both have airports served by budget airlines and plenty of beaches nearby!