Islands are pearls of Croatia tourism. All of them share Mediterranean culture and lifestyle, yet each of them has something unique.
I will list the most famous ones.
Brac is the closest island to Split and an integral part of Split's tourist offer. Located just 45 minutes of ferry ride from Split, it's a great destination for a day visit or longer.
Brac features an interesting history. The first inhabitants arrived at the island in Roman age or before. In the early Middle Ages Brac was a shelter for residents of the Split who fled from the barbarian navies.
Brac features one of the most beautiful Croatian beaches, Zlatni Rat, located at the south part of the island near the place called Bol.
The island is also famous for stone mines. Brac's stone has been used as a construction material for many monumental buildings in Dalmatia, including Sibenik Cathedral. You will notice that houses on the island have a special aesthetic value which they own to the unique appearance of the stone.
If you are a biker, you will find Brac even more valuable. The entire island is covered by cycling trails.
The island located in north Dalmatia is famous among locals for its cheese and lamb meat. But even more important, Pag features lots of tourist attractions. Nature on the island is perfectly preserved. I enjoyed fabulous views while I was driving over the island.
Pag is connected to the mainland via the bridge and all the roads on the island are in great condition. That makes it one of the most accessible islands in Croatia.
Two most prominent towns on Pag are Pag city and Novalja. Both feature amazing beaches and interesting cultural attractions to visit. Especially Novalja has been featured for its beaches. Zrće is the beach in Novalja famous among the party animals (although many people don't like drunk crowds which are common for Zrće). Alternatives to Zrće are other more quiet beaches in or near Novalja.
Hvar is sometimes called the island of the sun because it features the biggest number of sunny hours during year among all the islands in Croatia. But Hvar is not all about the sun. During the summer season, you will notice thousands of visitors having a great time, enjoying a walk on beautiful Hvar's Riva, or climbing monumental fortress Spanjola in Hvar town. You will also notice crowded beaches, that's why it would be a good idea to visit this amazing island outside the high season, to experience its beauty at fullest.
Hvar is also known as one of the oldest settlements in Croatia. It is known that the old Greeks settled the island and called it Pharos. Their settlement was located at today's location of a town called Stari Grad. That's why there are many interesting historical attractions from ancient times to visit there.
Hvar is easily reached by ferry from Split. The ride takes approximately two hours.