Visitors to Croatia's coastline are spoilt by its variety of serene islands and spectacular beaches - all overlooked by a sparse army of lighthouses. More than 100 towering beacons sit along the country’s Adriatic coast. They were all built in a flurry in the 19th century, and 50 of them still blink out their guiding lights today. A stay in one of these monolithic structures makes for an unusual holiday - although some of the eerier ones are best just seen on a day trip. Here are the best of Croatia’s lighthouses, from the crumbling and quaint to the utilitarian.
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An octagon pillar of unpainted stone, Blitvenica is the steeliest variety of lighthouse. It’s on a rocky islet of the same name, and it sits precariously close to a deep, watery abyss where razor-toothed sharks are known to lurk.
Struga Lighthouse, Lastovo Island
Lastovo is one of the more far-flung of the Dalmatian islands. It's remote, but it still houses a population of 600 people in a medieval settlement surrounded by olive trees. At the mouth of the bay of village Skrivena Luka (that’s “Hidden Harbour” in Croatian), on the edge of a cliff, is the glorious lighthouse. You can rent an apartment inside this majestic tower, and you get there by catching a ferry from coastal city Split.
Afloat between Italy and Croatia, the small rocky island is the country's southernmost point. At its pinnacle sits the rustic lighthouse, looking out over an endless expanse of ocean. A trip to the island will take three hours by motor-boat from the island of Korčula – if you do decide to visit, you’ll be in good company: Diomedes, Homer’s king of Argos, is said to be buried here.
Veli Rat on the island of Dugi Otok
At the tip of the island of Dugi Otok, off the coast of North Dalmatia, Veli Rat lighthouse is surrounded by fragrant pines. There's an array of pebble beaches nearby, and the town centre is an easy drive away.
Nobody lives on the Adriatic island of Prvić, where this solitary lighthouse dwells. Since 1974, it has functioned automatically – first by a gas powered system and then by eco-friendly solar panels. The empty tower rises out of a small (empty) house on this craggy, desolate island.
Sveti Andrija, Dubrovnik
Part of the Elaphiti archipelago in Dalmatia, Sveti Andrija (St Andrew) boasts one of the most powerful lighthouses around. This 69 metre-high stone structure can throw a beam that reaches 24 nautical miles, and it’s been calling seafarers home since 1873. The island happens to be a haven for birds, too.
Galiola (Hrid Galiola)
Some lighthouses belong in fairytales; others venture toward horror film territory. The tower on this isolated islet in the Kvarner Gulf may now be made of stone, but when it was established back in the grisly 19th century, it was 69 forbidding feet of cast iron.
Porer Lighthouse, Pula
The lighthouse on this tiny island can sleep up to eight guests – so room for plenty of company to ward off the middle-of-the-night spooks. Local seaman Captain Ivan Giotta will drop you there, and can also take you to local beauty spots such as the island of Unije’s sheltered bays.
Savudrija near Umag, Istria
The oldest lighthouse in the Adriatic, the Savudrija has been guiding sailors home since 1818. It accommodates four guests, and it’s not especially remote – Umag, a small town which boasts a wealth of delectable fish restaurants and wineries, is only 9km away.
This small square brickwork building is less imposing than its peers. You can find it at the far-east point of Dalmatian island Hvar, and though it still functions today – a beacon for sailors approaching the coastal town of Makarska – it’s become a tranquil setting for sunset watching.