Last updated: 7th Apr 2016.
Originally published: 28th Jan 2015
Image: Soundwave Croatia
Croatia has become a pivotal party destination in Europe. Adored for its phenomenally lush scenery, attentive locals and of course the abundance of music festivals that take over the coasts, the country has become a firm favourite with all generations of tourists.
Compared to other festival go-to spots, Croatia is relatively untouched. You get the right mix between picturesque landscapes and production set ups that wouldn't look out of place at some of the most prestigious clubs. It’s this unrefined beauty which makes it one of the most magical places in the world for people who love to party.
One town in particular, Tisno, is worshipped by revellers. It's home to The Garden site and one of the most beautiful villages in Europe, both of which frame the Adriatic sea. If you’re lucky enough to be headed to Tisno this summer, here’s some of the stuff we’d recommend you make time for.
Located within a small bay not far from the town centre is The Garden site, the stretch of beach transformed for the summer season with top end production and a fair few disco balls.
The site features an illustrious beach stage and a main stage nestled further inland. Not to mention the festivals take advantage of their vessels and embark on daily boat parties (read our review of The Garden Festivals boat parties here).
This year features a number of newcomers to the site to make things more interesting, whilst the nearby Barbarellas is an open air discothèque praised by attendees just as much as the festivals themselves. Dance under the stars until the sun comes up, with nights hosted by some of the biggest clubbing brands and promoters.
The Garden Festival is where it all began, kick-starting our love affair with Croatian sojourns back in 2006 initially in Petrcane before relocating to Tisno in 2012, but bowed out after their tenth event last year - handing the reigns to Love International.
We took a GoPro around the festival last year and made a little video :)✨As many of you know we're a continuation of The Garden Festival's amazing 10 year legacy, so here's a little insight of what to expect this year! #LoveInternational2016
Posted by Love International Festival on Tuesday, 8 March 2016
Helmed by Bristol collective Futureboogie, they were involved with TGF for years (watch their video from last year's shindig above) and have also brought us Love Saves the Day. They kick off things in Tisno with a stunning ensemble of talent with Axel Boman, Dixon and Jackmaster among the names,a nd it certainly looks rosy for their and Tisno's future.
Now the elder statesman of the site, Electric Elephant is for the real music lovers and revellers who want to boogie until the sun comes up, and having initially been started by the Elektricks crew from Manchester is now curated by the same team behind Snowbombing and Festival No.6.
Bugged Out, 20/20 Vision and Secretsundaze are among the huge array of promoters joining the fun, with Bicep, Andrew Weatherall, Maribou State and DJ History don Bill Brewster (who we spoke to ahead of the festival) among the selectors.
The atmosphere at Suncebeat is incredibly intimate, it's a one of a kind event that welcomes the most respected selectors from across the globe, bringing the magic of the Southport Weekender to the Adriatic. This year's bill includes Black Coffee, Jazzy Jeff and Derrick Carter.
Soundwave manages to infuse the laid back surroundings into their content, with a music policy exploring jazz, reggae and hip hop whilst incorporating art and film into the experience, ultimately making it just as much a cultural trip as a party holiday.
This year Pharoahe Monch (another artist we've interviewed recently) takes centre stage, with the likes of Gentleman's Dub Club, Craig Charles and Mala joining him.
Another new name to the Garden is the presence of international house music royalty Defected, who have boldly taken a hiatus form their fourteen year dominance of Ibiza to focus on an Adriatic adventure.
They're bringing many of their iconic names with them, with disco evangelists Glitterbox and stateside house rulers Strictly Rhythm all promised.
The final soiree of the summer sees Amsterdam aficionados Dekmantel bring their Selectors festival to Croatia. Their Dutch parties are renowned for top end production allayed with the creme de la creme of electronic music, and this excursion looks set to be no different.
Already signed up are Tom Trago, Hunee, Rahaan and many more - read the full Dekmantel Selectors line up.
There's some amazing places to eat dotted around the coast, but Restoran Carmen (below) takes our top spot on the festival side of the iconic Tisno Bridge.
Their outside terrace area sits on the edge of the water looking out onto the village and the canopy lights make the set up look even more magical. It's the perfect place to drink as you watch the sun go down, or indulge in a tantalisingly fresh fish or meat platter.
Another one of our favourites is Restaurant Antonio. Also located on the other side of the bridge, they serve their own home made wine and luscious olive oil which you can purchase and take home with you so you can have a little taste of Croatia back in the UK. Equally worth indulging in is Konoba Tereła on the mainland side of Tisno, no sea view but there isexcellent fish and meat offers, the former you can get direct form the aquairum.
Things to Do
If you're travelling between Tisno village, The Garden site and Barbarellas, you might as well do it in style, you can call up a taxi boat to take you from various drop off points around the coast.
If you fancy something a touch more relaxing, Krka National Park is the perfect anecdote (above). Renowned for the breath-taking waterfalls, Krka is visited by hundreds daily, eager to get a taste of paradise.
Just as important when you get there is finding somewhere to stay. A lot of the festivals have excellent built in accommodation options which range from Villas to single rooms and even camping - although remember it gets hot out there.
Pontus is a Tisno based travel agency who specialise in helping you out, particularly if you stay on the island of Murter after the festival ends.
For more on Croatian events including full festival line ups, head to our Croatia Section.