When you arrive in any Croatian city during the peak summer travel season, you’ll be bombarded with large posters in every corner advertising excursions to the country’s most beautiful islands and attractions. Without fail, there will be an image of the famous Zlatni Rat Beach, also known as the Golden Horn Beach, on the island of Brač. I lost count of how many times I spotted a poster or flyer with this beach! For the purpose of this article, I will use Golden Horn Beach and Zlatni Rat Beach interchangeably, as they are the same.
Golden Horn Beach is postcard-worthy, with an iconic shape resembling a slightly-curved V and the surrounding pristine Adriatic Sea. It’s no surprise that it’s a super popular destination among tourists. Billed as Croatia’s best beach, it’s often a stop for those sailing in Croatia. So I was beyond excited to visit this long, pebble beach on the Adriatic Sea. The burning question is whether Zlatni Rat lives up to its reputation. Let’s find out.
Want to read more about Croatia? You’re in luck! This post is a part of the Croatia series. Here is the complete 15-part series:
Krka National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Krka National Park, Croatia
Plitvice National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Plitvice vs Krka – Krka vs Plitvice National Park: Which One Should You Visit?
Mljet National Park – The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Mljet National Park, Croatia
Where is Golden Horn Beach located?
Golden Horn Beach is located on the southern coast of the island of Brač on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. Specifically, it is in a town called Bol on the southern side of the island. The beach is nestled in a cove surrounded by pine trees, rolling hills, and rocky cliffs that provide a perfect backdrop.
How do you get to Golden Horn Beach?
The only way to get to Golden Horn Beach is by boat. Plenty of ferry companies and sailboat charters will take you here from cities on the mainland like Split, Dubrovnik, and Rijeka and other islands like Hvar, Korčula, and Mljet.
If you’re on a sailing adventure in Croatia, chances are your sailboat will dock off the coast of Bol, and a water taxi will take you to the beach. That was my experience during my sailing adventure along the Dalmatian Coast with Girls Love Travel.
Once you’ve arrived in the town of Bol, these are the different options to get to Golden Horn Beach.
Walk: If you are staying in Bol, you can stroll along the waterfront to get to Golden Horn Beach. The walk takes around 20-30 minutes and offers beautiful views of the surrounding coastline.
Water Taxi: You can also take a water taxi from Bol Harbor directly to Golden Horn Beach. This is a great option if you want to avoid the walk and get to the beach quickly.
Car: If you decide to rent a car to drive around the island of Brac, you can take the road from Bol to the east towards the beach. There is a large parking lot near the beach, where you can park your car for a fee of 60 kuna.
Taxi: There is a taxi stand in the town center where you can hail a ride to the beach, so you don’t have to worry about parking fees.
Bicycle: For those who enjoy cycling, bike rental shops in Bol offer bikes for hire. You can cycle to the beach and park your bike in the designated area.
Now that you know how to get to Zlatni Rat Beach, let’s talk about the pros and cons of the beach before arriving at a final verdict about whether it’s worth visiting.
Golden Horn Beach enjoys an excellent reputation and huge popularity for a reason. We’ve already covered some pros, but let’s dive deeper into what makes this beach special.
The beach is breathtakingly picturesque
Upon arriving at the shores of this beach on a water taxi, I remember being in awe of the turquoise waters and the white pebbles. The beach truly resembled the images I saw in postcards and posters. The hills in the background, the pine trees, the waves crashing against the shores, and the sailboats docked at the shores made for a beautiful image.
The atmosphere is relaxing
Despite the massive crowds (which we will address later), the beach has a serene atmosphere due to the natural surroundings and the breeze from the Adriatic Sea. This is the perfect place to relax and unwind on a cabana while enjoying the views. That’s exactly what I did. I rented a cabana with my sister, ordered drinks, and chatted for hours. I have a mental picture of that moment that I sometimes escape reliving.
There are plenty of water activities to choose from
If you love water sports, you’re in luck; from jet-skiing to parasailing to windsurfing, there are plenty of them to choose from at Golden Horn Beach. The strong thermic wind called “Maestral” regularly blows around the beach, making it the perfect place for activities like windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you’re not into water sports, you can also take a boat cruise around the beach and the island of Brač.
Now let’s get to the downsides of visiting Golden Horn Beach. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, so I want to paint a complete picture so you know what to expect, especially if you visit during the summer.
The beach is overcrowded during the peak seasons
Golden Horn Beach is busy during the peak summer travel months of June to August. There were massive crowds here in July when I visited. It was even a bit difficult to find a cabana. There were lines to buy food. There were lines at the women’s bathroom. Even to take photos of a sculpture, there were lines for that, too. I can’t blame Golden Horn Beach for being popular, but if you’re looking for a secluded beach with plenty of space to frolic around, you won’t find it here.
The facilities are overpriced
Due to the popularity and high demand, you’ll pay more to visit this beach. Case in point: renting a cabana for me and my sister cost me 300 kuna ($40). After waiting a good 10 minutes in line for the women’s bathroom, I had to pay 6 kunas to use it. The bathroom was clean enough but not special enough to warrant a fee.
I went to a few Croatian beaches, including the ultra-swanky Hvar Beach Club, during my visit. Golden Horn Beach was by far the most expensive. For the price of a cabana here, I got a 45-minute massage on the beach in Makarska. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, Golden Horn Beach isn’t the place for you.
It’s a pebble beach
The postcard images of this beach are misleading. They make it look like the place has the finest white sand. It is filled with grainy, rocky pebbles that are more gray than white. It’s somewhat uncomfortable to sit or even walk on the small pebbles. I immediately observed that after stepping onto the beach from the water taxi.
Coming from California, I guess I have high standards for beaches. I appreciate a true white sand beach. Of course, Golden Horn Beach can’t help its location, which doesn’t lend to sand beaches. I wish the images I saw made this seem like a slice of the Caribbean.
The verdict: is Golden Horn Beach worth visiting?
The answer is yes! Despite the massive crowds, above-average prices, and uncomfortable pebbles, Golden Horn Beach is worth a visit on your trip to Croatia. I believe the pros slightly outweigh the cons. This is not the best beach in Croatia by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is a perfect stop on your sailing adventure in Croatia or a day trip from neighboring islands and port cities. A half-day trip will suffice. Go there and see for yourself. You might be in for a surprise.
To experience the best of Golden Horn Beach, I recommend visiting during the shoulder season to avoid the crowds and sky-high prices. Go during September or October when the sea of beach umbrellas and hordes of tourists have disappeared. You will have more time and space to appreciate the scenery.
There you have it: the verdict on whether Golden Horn Beach (Zlatni Rat) is worth visiting. Go and see for yourself, with no expectations, and comment below to let me know your experience.
Frequently asked questions
Is Zlatni Rat Beach free?
Yes, it is free to visit Zlatni Rat Beach. However, it costs money to use the facilities. You will need to pay a fee to rent a cabana, rent a beach umbrella, park your car, or use the bathroom.
How do I get to Zlatni Rat Beach?
You can get to Zlatni Rat Beach, located in the town of Bol on the island of Brač, by boat. First, you’ll have to take a sailboat, ferry, or catamaran to the island of Brač. Then, depending on your starting point, you can take a water taxi, walk, drive a car, take a taxi, or ride a bicycle to the beach. I took a water taxi from a sailboat directly to the beach.
How do I get from Bol to Zlatni Rat Beach?
You can get from Bol to Zlatni Rat Beach by walking 20-30 minutes along the waterfront, taxiing, or driving a rental car.
Is Zlatni Rat Beach a nudist beach?
No, Zlatni Rat Beach is not a nudist beach. You should be clothed at all times while visiting this beach. There’s another beach right next to Zlatni Rat to the west that is a nudist beach.
Why is it called Zlatni Rat Beach?
The name “Zlatni Rat” means Golden Horn or Golden Cape in Croatian. It refers to the shape of the beach, which resembles a horn and has a golden color from above.
Is Zlatni Rat Beach sandy?
Zlatni Rat Beach isn’t sandy, although it appears that way in photos. It is actually a pebble beach, with small, gray pebbles lined up next to the Adriatic Sea.
Does Zlatni Rat Beach change shape?
Yes, Zlatni Rat Beach changes shape based on the sea currents. The pebbles move depending on how the sea currents change, leading the shape of the beach to bend to the left, right, or straight.
Why does Zlatni Rat Beach change shape?
What’s interesting is that the pebbles move due to the sea currents. This means the whole beach constantly shifts shape and the angle at which it bends. Sometimes the horn curves to the right, sometimes to the left, and sometimes straight, all because of the sea.
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