Tourists arriving in Croatia with their pet dogs often wonder if there are any dog-friendly beaches in Croatia, where they could take their furry friends out for a swim. While there is no simple answer to that question that would satisfy everyone’s specific needs, we’ll try and take you through the options and possible locations.
First of all, you need to know that in most places in Croatia it’s legal for dogs to go for a swim unless explicitly forbidden. That does not apply to lakes in continental Croatia, so be careful with those – it is mostly forbidden and you shouldn’t take your dogs for swims on places like Jarun lake in Zagreb or similar lakes.
At the seaside, whenever a beach is not clearly marked with a sign that says that dogs are not allowed, theoretically your dog can go for a swim there. However, as most dog-owners know, sometimes it’s not just a matter of what’s allowed, but also it’s important what’s practical and pleasant for your dog. Most dogs won’t really feel comfortable on the busy beach in the middle of the hot summer day so most owners will take their furry friends for an enjoyable (and healthy!) swim either early in the morning or later in the evening. The sun won’t be so hot, there won’t be that many people, and it will drastically reduce the chance of someone complaining that you brought your dog along – because, you know people, even if that’s something that’s well within your rights, someone will complain if at all possible.
There are, however, beaches in Croatia where no-one will complain about your dog going for a refreshing swim. There are now dozens of beaches that are designated by local authorities as “pet-friendly beaches”, throughout the Adriatic coast, although honestly, there are more of those located on the northern part of the region.
In Istria, there are several such locations, Bi Dog Beach in Fažana is one of them, beach Hidrobaza in Štinjan near Pula (there are other beaches in Pula where dogs are allowed, such as in Stoja bay, near Valovine and at Zelenica and several others.) Lone, Kuvi and Borik Bays in Rovinj are dog-friendly places, as well as some other beaches. All camps in Poreč have portions of their beaches designated for dog fun, Umag allows dogs to go to the beach on all camp-grounds and in several apartment complexes.
On Kvarner you will find many dog-friendly beaches, including the most dog-friendly beach in Croatia (and possibly even Europe). That is Podvorska beach in Crikvenica, an amazing place designed specifically for people with dogs, with a lot of infrastructure (such as doggy-showers etc) and a dog-friendly bar where your dog can get an ice-cream or a beer. No, we’re not kidding. Even New York Post was impressed. Recently, they opened a second location, in Rab town on the Rab island.
Rijeka has a few dog beaches (Brajdica, Igralište, Mikulova in Kostrena), there are a few in Opatija and each of the Kvarner island’s also has a number of beaches for their four-legged guests. You can find out more here.
As you go more to the South, the number of dog-friendly beaches goes down, unfortunately. Duilovo and Kašjuni beaches in Split are the biggest dog-friendly beaches in the town. Zaton Holiday Resort in Zadar has a section of the beach designated for dogs. Kaštela beach near Trogir also recently became full dog-friendly, with the equipment you might need for a nice day at the beach. Rogoznica’s Hotel Resort Marina Frapa has a section of their beach designated for dogs, and if you’re near Dubrovnik with your pet, you should go to Slano, as all of their beaches allow dogs. On the islands there is an amazing dog beach called Vartalac in Komiža on Vis, there’s a dog beach near Bol on Brač and a portion of Zaraće beach on Hvar is also dog-friendly.
So, it’s a good idea to ask about the proximity to a dog-friendly beach when booking accommodation. Wherever you take your dog for a swim, make sure you have enough water for the little swimmer, don’t let them drink sea-water, make sure they stay in the shade while not swimming, use doggy sunscreen if needed (if your dog has a light skin and white fur), make sure they don’t annoy other beach-goers (human or canine), take them for pee walks often and pick up after them. And if at all possible, buy your dog a beer and an ice-cream. Please.