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The secret beaches in continental Croatia worth discovering

Exploring the Drava River (Photo: Željko Šelimber)

If you thought all the most beautiful sandy and pebble beaches are on the sea, you have not been on the banks of the Drava River or on Lake Orahovac on the slopes of Papuk in eastern Croatia.

Only a few know about Križnica, a beautiful, mysterious island on the Drava and the last in the former Pannonian Sea. You can only reach Križnica in Croatia’s eastern Virovitica-Podravina County two ways, by an old ferry or via a 250 metre-long suspension footbridge built-in 1968. 

Križnica (Photo credit: Kristijan Toplak)

Križnica is loved by fishermen, recreationists, lovers, travel writers, bloggers, bird watchers, and swimmers. After cooling off in the river, which in this small area creates fairy-tale meanders like no other from Austria to the confluence with the Danube, you can lie on the sandy beach or play beach volleyball.

During the low water levels, when the Drava recedes, beautiful reefs remain, and the most beautiful are those made of fine sand near Sopje, a favorite swimming spot of the locals and those from nearby towns of Slatina and Virovitica. If there is no rain, the Drava is mostly shallow in the summer months, so you can reach the sandy islands through the water, which is not deeper than 70 centimeters. 

Drava (Photo credit: Kristijan Toplak)

Perfect spot to cool your drink in the river, have a barbecue, smell the cut grass and relax with a few sundowners. 

Little Switzerland 

One of the most popular Slavonian beaches, Lake Orahovac, is located in ‘Little Switzerland’. Due to its position on the slopes of Papuk mountain, it is called Orahovica, a small town in the heart of Slavonia. 

Lake Orahovac (Photo: Luka Sabo)

Below the medieval town of Ružica with a view of the Papuk forests, more than 250,000 swimmers from all over Slavonia enjoy themselves there in summer.

Lake Liman (Photo: Ivan Krstić)

Noskovci (Photo credit: TZ Virovitičko-podravske županije)

It is ideal for those who are looking for landscaped beaches, enjoy recreation and an all-day vacation. There you can camp, grill or dine at a restaurant. Although it is an artificial lake created in the middle of the last century by the construction of an embankment, due to the constant inflow of freshwater from its own sources, it is extremely clean, and on tests, the water is regularly assessed as excellent.

(Photo credit: Kristijan Toplak)

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