Having just moved to the beautiful Zlarin Island Croatia, it compelled me to put together this guide on things to do in Zlarin.
Although small, the island is packed with things to do from swimming at the many Zlarin beaches to dining out in some excellent restaurants, boat trips, kayaking and hikes.
The interior of the island is packed with fruit trees including fig, lime and pomegranate. You’ll find olives growing everywhere, and there is even a vineyard making local wine.
There are plenty of things to do in Zlarin from swimming at the many small beaches to kayaking, paddle boarding, rock climbing and enjoying some incredible Dalmatian cuisine.
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Best Things to do Zlarin Island Croatia
1. Chill Out at the Zlarin Beaches
There are many wonderful yet small Zlarin beaches. Some are right in the centre of the town, and others are a little more secluded and require a short hike.
Zlarin’s beaches are small stone and pebble beaches, so it’s a good idea to bring sandals or flip-flops. There are also concrete jetties perfect for sunbathing and swimming from.
The turquoise waters around the island are exceptionally clear and clean, perfect for snorkelling and swimming. Hitting the beaches is definitely one of the best things to do in Zlarin. I have swum each day and even in mid-September, the water is warm.
2. Walk Around the Harbour
Zlarin’s picturesque harbour is the centre of the town. It’s surrounded by grey, stone houses and lush forest, and you’ll be able to see plenty of fish in the clear, deep water.
The harbour is packed with boats from small fishing vessels to luxury catamarans bobbing gently on the water. There is a footpath all around the harbour which offers fantastic views of the town.
Be sure to stop for a drink in one of the bars lining the waterfront, all with excellent harbour views. Be sure to look out for the anchor monument, and the large, yellow town clock overlooking the bay.
3. Have a go on a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)
Explore the deserted beaches, coves and headland around Zlarin with a stand-up paddleboard. Not only is this a great way to explore the island, it’s also a great way to keep fit and work off some of that Dalmatian food and drink!
If you haven’t used a paddleboard before, you can opt for a one-hour introduction to learn the essentials. Prices start at 100 HRK (€13.30) for one hour’s rental. Contact Peak and Paddle Croatia for full details.
4. Go Sea Kayaking
Just like paddleboarding, kayaking is another great way to explore and get a bit of exercise (and my favourite way of getting around on the water). Kayaking is a great option if you want to explore farther afield and you can easily reach Saint Nicolaus Fortress and Jadrija on the mainland by kayak.
Kayak rental starts at 150 HRK per hour and that includes snorkelling gear, a dry bag and a phone in case of emergencies. There is also the option of joining daily organised kayak tours (four hours and eight hours) if you are not comfortable setting off on your own. See Peak and Paddle Croatia for more info.
5. Explore the Island on Foot or by Bike
The interior of the island is crisscrossed with paths perfect for hiking and/or biking. This is a great way to reach some secluded beaches and picnic spots with fantastic views.
Pick up a map at the tourist information centre next to the harbour and set off to explore the forested paths. Wander through olive groves, and past fruit trees and discover hidden springs that have been providing islanders with fresh water for centuries.
You can rent a bike from Peak and Paddle starting at 100 HRK (€13.30) for two hours or 200 (€26.60) for a full day.
6. Go Rock Climbing
The eastern side of the island is dominated by large cliffs, and for those who aren’t afraid of heights, it’s possible to have a go at rock climbing.
This is one activity that I won’t be indulging in myself, but for adrenalin junkies, is a great way to explore the island from a unique perspective.
Peak and Paddle Croatia offer three-hour sessions which include an experienced instructor, all safety equipment, water and snacks. The session costs 260 HKN (€35.00) per person.
7. See Church of Mary’s Ascension
The baroque Church of Mary’s Ascension is a focal point of Zlarin and can be seen above the rooftops as you approach the island. The church dates to 1735 to 1740 and was built on the site of an earlier 14th Century chapel.
The church contains the body of the Roman martyry St. Fortunat, protector of islands and sailors. The body was sent from Italy by Pope Pius VI who kept it in his own home while negotiating a deal with the Croatians.
The church lies in a small square and is backed by large poplar and pine trees in the graveyard. It’s well worth a look for its impressive architecture and seven different alters located within.
8. Our Lady of Raselj Church
The 15th Century Our Lady of Raselj church is located along a small path outside of the main town. It is the oldest church on Zalrin island and legend has it that the site was chosen by a young girl who saw an apparition of Mary.
9. Enjoy Dalmatian Cuisine
Zlarin is home to a great selection of eateries from homely Croatian restaurants to pizza and even a small fast food kiosk.
Seafood is one of the most popular dishes and you can get everything from Octopus salad to calamari, seared tuna, fresh prawns and more.
Steaks and grilled meats are another island speciality and the quality is excellent. There are also pasta dishes and plenty of vegetarian options. See below restaurant section for more info.
10. Visit Saint Nicholas Fortress
Saint Nicholas Fortress lies just before the channel leading to Sibenik on the mainland. This imposing three-sided stone structure was constructed in 1525 to keep the Ottomans from entering Sibenik. The town has a total of four fortresses, but St. Nicholas is the only one at sea.
You can reach the fortress by boat trip, water taxi or kayak, and it’s well worth exploring for its impressive architecture and magnificent views of the bays and islands surrounding it.
Zlarin Bars and Restaurants
For such a small island there are a surprising number of very good bars and restaurants. I’ve checked them all out and the quality of food and service are exceptional.
Prices are higher than on the mainland, but that’s to be expected, and still quite reasonable.
This large restaurant is situated right on the harbour overlooking the bay. They specialise in seafood but have a diverse menu including pastas, salads, grilled meats and more. Prices start at 15 for a main. See on Google maps.
Just off the main harbour is Restaurant Ivana. It has a large indoor and outdoor dining area and the service is excellent. The menu is extensive and reasonably priced. Mains start at 10. See on Google maps.
This beautiful, rustic restaurant is situated behind the church and a five-minute walk from the harbour. There is a large patio area for outside dining in gorgeous surroundings.
The menu is small and slightly more expensive than the other options on the island. However, the quality and service is worth the price tag. See on Google maps.
This casual bar overlooking the harbour is the place to go for pizza on the island and is a great budget option. A whole pizza costs as little as 6 Euros. See on Google maps.
Jez Fast Foods
This bar overlooks the bay and is a great place to grab a drink and a quick bite to eat. Another great budget option with hot dogs, burgers and salads from as little as €3.
There isn’t a huge selection of drinks, mainly beer and there is no onsite toilet. However, this is a great place to sit and enjoy the sunset with a beer. See on Google maps.
How to Get to Zlarin
The only way to reach Zlarin is by the Sibenik to Zlarin Ferry, water taxi or your own boat. There are four to five sailings each day (three on Sundays). A one-way ticket costs 25 HRK or €3.00 and a return costs double.
The journey time is 30 minutes. You can buy tickets from the ticket booths at the harbour in Sibenik and Zlarin, or buy online.
Sibenik to Zlarin Ferry
|Mon – Sat||09:30||13:30||15:30||19:30|
Zlarin to Sibenik Ferry
|Mon – Sat||05:25||07:10||12:45||18:40|
Accommodation in Zlarin
There are no hotels on Zlarin, but plenty of apartments to rent. I’ve even seen people wild camping up in the forest which is another option.
Below are a selection of apartments on the island.
Ensure you have good cover for your trip to Zlarin, especially if you plan on any of the more adventurous activities. Our partners at SafetyWing offer comprehensive cover for adventurous travellers.
Below are a selection of tours that include Zlarin and some nearby attractions.
Facilities on Zlarin
There are two ATMs on the island which accept Visa and MasterCard.
There is a small supermarket selling a wide range of goods from fresh, frozen and chilled foods to alcohol, toiletries and more.
Prices are more expensive than the mainland as everything has to be shipped in, but it’s not extortionate.
If you will be spending any more than a few days on the island, then it’s best to go shopping in Sibenik on the mainland and take it back on the ferry.
Some of the bars and restaurants have free wifi for guests, but there is no island-wide wifi. There is phone reception from the mainland so data works on the island.
This car-free idyllic island in the beautiful Adriatic Sea is a must-visit for those wanting to escape the rigours of the city. With so many great things to do in Zlarin Island Croatia, you’ll not be bored for one minute!
More of the Balkans
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.
Where I am now: Turkey 🇹🇷