Beautiful beaches, glistening water, sunny weather and big open-air clubs – what more could you want from a summer party holiday? Nicknamed the "Croatian Ibiza," Zrće Beach is the beachfront party strip just south of the city of Novalja, now regarded as one of Europe's hottest party destinations. And, it's home to some of the continent's most famous music festivals.
Sonus, Hideout, and Fresh Island are just three festivals that now call the beach their home, taking over its four illustrious clubs: Papaya, Kalypso, Aquarius and Noa.
All were included in the upper echelons of DJ Mag's Top 100 clubs for 2021, which will be no surprise to anyone who's partied all night in any of them.
Here's our lowdown on each, as well as the best festivals to hit up if you're thinking of making the trip over.
Holding almost 5,000 ravers, Papaya is arguably the most famous of Zrće's clubs and currently sits at number eight in DJ Mag's Top 100 Clubs list. It has two pools, even more dance-floors and some of the best views out over the Adriatic. So esteemed is it that it's become the hub of festivals such as Hideout, Sonus and Black Sheep.
If you're not hitting a festival, the club organises two parties per day throughout the summer months: an after beach party which runs from 3pm until 8pm, and a night party that goes from 10pm all the way till 6am.
Nestled into a cove at the end of the beach is Club Kalypso. Having opened more than 30 years ago, Kalypso can lay claim to being one of the pioneers in the surge of Novalja into becoming the "Croatian Ibiza."
You'll find huge international DJs behind the decks at all these clubs, but Kalypso likes to keep things local too, which means you'll just as likely find a great local DJ getting the vibe going early in the night or when there's no major event on.
Complete with cabanas, day beds, pools, beach volleyball/football, and a music policy that steers towards the side of house and urban, Kalypso is perfect if you fancy something a little different to straight-up partying.
Noa Beach Club
Possibly the most immediately aesthetically-minded of the four clubs due to its long, stretching platform that reaches out into the Adriatic, Noa is always jam-packed.
Holding 4,000 party-goers, the club has 11 bars, a spa, food court, and an after beach party area. Venture along the platform and you'll find yachts docked, 3D projections, and a kicking sound system. There's even some ladders down to the sea if you fancy a cool down in the water.
Beach bar and restaurant by day, exhilarating club by night, Aquarius has become renowned for its after beach parties that take over the club's two floors.
Not compromising on standards, Aquarius prides itself on its VIP experience. However, even if you're not looking to break the bank you can still enjoy the club's great selection of food and drink on its terraces during the day.
House and EDM rules the beach, with festivals such as Zrće Spring Break, Spring Break Island, Black Sheep and Area 4 all raising the energy levels to the maximum. Beyond those, techno havens Sonus and Barrakud keep the four-to-the-floor crew going, while the infamous Hideout mixes sunshine house music with sprinkles of drum and bass, garage and grime.
For pure urban and hip-hop, look no further than Fresh Island, a personal favourite of Snoop Dogg and Madcon. At the other end of the spectrum, hardstyle fans should head to Hard Island to see artists embracing the highest rates of BPM inside Kalypso and Aquarius.
View all our Croatian music festivals here.