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The Best Beaches in Croatia

The Best Beaches in Croatia

There is a reason why the coastlines, islands, and beaches of Croatia were featured so predominantly in Game of Thrones. With its variety of photogenic, coastal hotspots that dot up and down its Adriatic coastline, Croatia served as a backdrop to make the world of Westeros real to millions of viewers the world over.

Resulting from the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the region’s balkanization, and period of inter-regional wars for independence, Croatia (as a country) emerged after a brutal “civil war” in 1995 with its economy in ruins. Since then, the newly founded country endured a period of rebuilding and integration with the rest of Europe and the world. However, Croatia now possessed an Adriatic coastline that was something of an untouched gem in the wake of war.

Since 2000, Croatia has seen tourism become a fast-growing sector of the economy and since joining the EU in 2013, the country’s sparsely populated coastline has seen an influx of both European tourists and tourists the world over looking for something a bit out of the ordinary.

Unlike other tourist hotspots, Croatia’s relatively recent rise to world prominence (due in no small part to Game of Thrones) has allowed its coastline to remain relatively free of unsightly tourist traps, luxury hotels, and the sprawl of real estate development that comes along with the industry.

While from July to August usually sees the country’s coastline as a hotbed for summer vacation travelers, September and October still offer plenty of warm weather to enjoy and even better way to beat the crowds by being able to soak in the sites of Dubrovnik, Hvar Island, and more. To help you discover the best places to discover, the TeenyB gang rounded up some of the best beaches in Croatia to explore, swim, and catch a great tan at. Just be sure to watch out for dragons!

Dubrovnik

This coastal Medieval city is the pearl of the Adriatic and served most notably at the setting of King’s Landing in Games of Thrones with its distinctive “Wall of Dubrovnik” and “Old City” with their medieval stone walls serving as the various backdrops to creating the fictional center of Westeros. It is a mix of medieval majesty and Mediterranean-styled red roofs that create an air of the familiar, yet slightly different that creates an awesome experience.

Given the city’s location at the southern end of the country, the city is surrounded by various islands and beaches and the tourists that Dubrovnik draws has created a city that is both modern yet charmingly frozen time. With modern, luxury resort hotels that lay around the perimeter of the city act as perfect spots to rest up before heading out to the many surrounding beaches of the city.

Copacabana Beach

One of the city’s best beaches is interestingly called Copacabana (which draws inspiration from the balneario Brazilian beach famous for its bikini styles) and serves the locals of the city more so than the wealthy and celebrities that visit the city’s more well-known beach-side attractions. The small, pebble beach is perfect for families with children where you can relax in peace and have a fun-filled family afternoon of scenic vistas.

Hotels Near Copacabana

Banje Beach

This beach is blessed be within walking distance of the Old City, yet possesses all the accoutrements of modern sophistication and luxury with a private dock to anchor your yacht at and an open-air seaside restaurant that turns into something close to a nightclub when the sun sets and the moon starts to rise. Just be sure to cover up with a sarong and some TeenyB apparel before you go grab some grub at the restaurant! With all the glam, this beach is perfect for rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous while being surrounded by gorgeous views.

Hotels Near Banje Beach

Betina Cove

Like Banje Beach, Betina Cove is located near the Old City, however, to get to this secluded natural wonder, you will have to take a short boat ride. If that is not your style, get sporty by renting a kayak and paddle over to this centuries-old swimming spot.

Surrounded by a natural cliff face, this cove is southeast facing, making afternoon trips there shaded and cool. However, as the evening draws closer Betina Cove becomes more active with people looking for a secluded hang out, away from the city’s nightlife.

Hotels Near Betina Cove

Pasjaca Beach

Laying just outside the city of Dubrovnik by way of a car near the town of Popovici, the isolated and quiet Pasjaca beach, like Betina Cove, is a wonder of the Adriatic Sea. Ironically, the beach itself is not a natural one, but rather a product of WWII. It was created due to rocks excavated during tunnel construction from the surrounding villages and towns were put there.

As the years passed on, the water naturally eroded the rock pile, creating Pasjaca Beach as we know it today. However, even with this history, Pasjaca Beach seems like it was naturally created, with a steep rock face creating a natural buffer. To get to the beach itself, one must take a winding and steep stone steps, so keep that in mind if you decide you want to bring an umbrella, a cooler, and small children.

Hotels Near Popovici


Hvar Island

The island of Hvar lays about 90 miles north of the city of Dubrovnik along the Adriatic Sea, so to reach the island you’ll have to fly into Dubrovnik and then take a ferry. The island itself has been inhabited since Neolithic times and is blessed with a fertile coastal plain and fresh water springs, allowing the interior of the island to have large pine forests, olive groves, vineyards, and fruit orchards.

Blessed with over 2,000 hours of sun a year, this island has benefited from its natural beauty and its many beaches, becoming a tourist mecca over the years. While frequently topping Conde Nast Travel Magazine in the top island category since 2009, organized tourism has existed on the island since 1868 with the creation of the Hygienic Association of Hvar marketed the island, in an early example health tourism, as a place for foreign visitors to recoup from their ailments due to Hvar’s Mediterranean climate.

While its climate may have helped those with ailments, Hvar’s beaches, and blend of old-world mingling with the new are really the draw for tourists. With plenty of options for hotels for all budgets, Hvar welcomes everyone with open arms to bask in its sun-drenched beaches and explore its streets of old cities.

Dubovica Beach

Dubovica beach seems ripped straight from and movie and yet is just a quick 10 to 15-minute jaunt by car from Hvar, making this a perfect little spot if you want to stay close to the main city, while still avoiding the hustle and bustle.
After parking, you will follow a goat path that leads directly downhill to this small, white pebble beach. With a 17th century church and a small bar / café, Dubovica is a picturesque first stop to check out after making your way to the island. Just a heads up though, be sure to get there early as the beach’s small size tends to get crowded as the day drags on.

Hotels Near Dubovica

Grebišće Beach

Going farther north to outside the city of Jelsa, Grebišće Beach is a sandy cove that is located within a campground, perfect for those travelers that are not interested in old cities but rather the surrounding old forests with a beachfront view!
Even if you plan on staying at Jelsa, Grebišće Beach is just a short 20-minute walk from the city, perfect for exploring the city and the beach at your own pace and leisure. However, if you plan on staying a bit longer, the beach is located on a campground, allowing you to stay right on the waterfront and saving a bit on lodging if you prefer camping to the more expensive hotels in Jelsa.

The beach itself is large, which is a plus for families, and its shallow depths can allow the kids to safely play and splash in the waters while you get your bronze on at the beach. If you do plan on camping on the grounds rather than stay in Jelsa, be sure to make your reservations before ensuring your spot or bungalow.

Hotels Near Grebišće

Pakleni Island Beaches

Located just outside the harbor at Hvar, the Pakleni islands are a ferry ride away from the city, or if you’re more adventurous, you can rent a boat of your own and explore the island’s beaches at your leisure. The coves and bays feature pristine turquoise waters and are a perfect place to snorkel at, away from the crowds of Hvar and its clamor.

There are small tourist-oriented towns that dot the islands if you feel like venturing on land, but if you ask us, the islands are best left to explore by boat for the day, as you can find a nice secluded area to anchor and swim around at. After that, you can boat back to Hvar and enjoy the rest of your evening in the city.

Hotels Near Hvar


Makarska

This town is something of a halfway point between Split and Dubrovnik and is blessed by a captivating horseshoe-like bay that is just stunningly beautiful during sunset. This jewel of the Adriatic features all the amenities that you could ask for; quaint, stone-paved roads, a palm-tree lined-promenade where decadent cafes, bars, boutiques cater to your wants, and gorgeous church architecture that is both scenic and awe-inspiring.

While not as big as Split, Dubrovnik, or Hvar, Makarska is the center of what is called the Makarska Riviera which stretches for 60 miles and runs alongside the Biokovo Mountains. This tourist destination is another feather in the cap of Croatia’s tourism industry that offers a nice respite from the busier locals of Croatia while still offering sights and delights that make the Riviera a destination that you should not want to miss.

Nugal Beach

This secluded, pebble beach is for the faint of heart in more ways than one. Firstly, it is a 30-minute hike from the town center to this beach and follows a sloping downhill path that is rocky and slippery, flip-flops are a no-go. Also, be sure to pack water and other food (if you plan on making a day there) as there are no stalls or cafes during the trek there or at the beach itself!

Secondly, 80% of Nugal beach is reserved for nudist beachgoers, whereas the remaining 20% is for “clothed” beachgoers, so be prepared! That being said, it’s a perfect opportunity to show a bit more skin in our micro bikinis if you don’t want to be swimming in your birthday suit.

If you conquer the hike and the nudity, Nugal beach offers an awesome, sequestered beach with a picturesque white cliff face while the Biokovo Mountains loom large behind them that gets you away from Makarska and perhaps out of your comfort zone as well!

Hotels Near Nugal

Podrače Beach

Part of the Makarska Riviera, Podrače beach lays near the city of Brela (just a six-minute car ride) as well as laying right “next door” to its more famous beach, Punta Rata. However, Podrače beach is nothing to turn your nose up at.

Accessible by either a coastal walking trail or by boat, Podrače is surrounded by mountain cliffs and a beautiful rock outcropping that creates a naturally enclosed and quaint beach that would make for some great Instagram photos. The cerulean cove is a naturally gorgeous snorkeling spot that has the creature comforts like a shower and a small café that allow you to stay the day.

Hotels Near Brela

Tučepi Beach

If Brela’s more tourist-oriented bustle is not your style, the 25-minute drive southward to the town of Tučepi is a bit more relaxed. Blessed with the longest beach on the Makarska Riveria, Tučepi beach lays at the foot of the Biokovo Mountains and with lots of pine trees, this pebbly beach is perfectly suited for families to bring the kids. However, be sure to wear sea shoes, as there can sea urchins in the water!

While the beach itself can get pretty hectic during peak seasons as families bask on the beach or check out the town’s beach-side promenade with its numerous curio-shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes, Tučepi is best enjoyed during the off-season, allowing you the peace and quiet of more secluded beaches, while still having access to family-oriented or couple-oriented offerings.

Hotels Near Tučepi


Brač Island

Located just off the coast of the Makarska Riviera and near Hvar Island, Brač Island. Reachable by airport or ferry, the island itself is the third-largest in the Adriatic Sea and was particularly hit hard as the Croatian War for Independence greatly affected the tourism industry of the area. After a decade of rebuilding, the island has begun to attract tourists the world over once again.

While its largest city is Supetar lays in the north, it is the mountainous southern coastline, along with the highest peak in all of the Adriatic, draws people towards the island. Situated directly across from Makarska, the island can be easily reached by ferry daily. If you plan on staying in either Brela or Tučepi, you’ll have to travel to Makarska for the ferry as well.

Zlatni Rat

Laying just outside the city of Bol, Zlatni Rat, which translates to Golden Horn in the local dialect, often is listed in numerous travel magazines as being one of the best beaches in all of Europe, and it is easy to see why. The beach itself is what is called a “spit”. A spit or sandspit is formed when wave currents meet and change direction near an inland shore, allowing sediment to be deposited and form about the water. Zlanti Rat is the beautiful by-product of this geological trick.

While the exact size and shape of Zlanti Rat are not known as it constantly shifts and warps due to the current and wind, the sandspit is an extremely photogenic white pebble beach and azure water creates a truly unforgettable experience.

Holding the remnants of an ancient Roman villa nearby and a Mistral wind that creates a steady constant wind that windsurfers positively adore, Zlanti Rat sees its fair share of vacation action during the peak season.

Additionally, like Nugal Beach in Makarska, Zlatni Rat’s westernmost edge is clothing-optional, so feel free to show off a bit more skin than you usually would in one of our Brazilian bikinis. However, because of this, it may not be super ideal for families, but it is a perfect spot for couples to stretch out, swim, windsurf, and more. Just get there early enough to secure your spot at this paradise!

Hotels Near Bol

Lovrečina Bay

If the tourist trap and nudity of Zlatni Rat is not something you are interested in, we suggest heading north for the more family-friendly, Lovrečina Bay. This gorgeous bay is just a 25-minute drive from Supetar near the town of Postira, making it a great little getaway from the city for a day for families.

Luckily, this place is especially accessible for everyone, with rented parking spots and a short, little pathway to traverse to reach the beach. It also has plenty of shaded areas to escape the sun and a café to grab lunch at. Its shallow waters also allow the kids to splash around while still being safe.

It also has some interesting archaeological sites to check out if you have time; the most notable being 6th-century Christian basilica that still has remnants of walls, sarcophagi, and a baptismal font still intact after all these years. While it may not interest the children as much, its proximity to the Bay makes for an interesting little detour on the way!

Hotels Near Supetar


Split

Just north of Brač Island, the intraregional hub of Split is the second-largest city in all of Croatia. Like Brač, Split suffered heavily during the Croatian War of Independence as warring factions vied for the control of the city during the “civil war”, the most notable when a ship fired rounds into the city center and airport. Having faced the destruction wrought during the war, the city weather the proceeding economic recession and fallout from the war.

It was not until 2000, that Split began to rebuild itself as a regional tourist hub that caters to both the country’s inhabitants from the interior as well as visitors the world over. Since then, the city has witnessed a renaissance of sorts (like much of the country) and become an intraregional hub that acts as a mid-way point between the southern and northern halves of its coastline and the interior of the country as well.

Bačvice Beach

Popular with locals and tourists alike, Bačvice beach is a 24/7 party hotspot with its many bars, nightclubs, and restaurants with the city holding the Split Beach Festival as well as being the last stop on Yacht Week. The beach itself is pretty tied to Split’s identity so expect it to be swamped.

That being said, there is plenty of room to spread out with many amenities for solo, couples, families. Surprisingly, Bačvice beach, unlike Croatia’s many pebble beaches, Bačvice is a sandy beach so no keep the swim shoes at your hotel and break out the flip-flops!

Hotels Near Bačvice

Bene Beach

If the party and nightlife atmosphere of Bačvice sounds unappealing, Bene beach may be more your speed. Tucked away from outside the city with a quick 20-minute drive and located in Marjan Park, this beach is a quiet and secluded beach that features plenty of wooden areas that has a workout park, a café, and a recreation center, making this spot a perfect place for families that are looking for fewer crowds and calmer waters.

The water of the beach its quiet calm as well due to its location in a national park leads to Bene being a place where you enjoy not only the beach itself, but the park itself which is quite beautiful and relaxing after bustling around Split.

Hotels Near Bene


Vis Island

A 3-hour ferry ride from Split, Vis Island is the farthest island from Croatia’s coastline and possesses an authentic Adriatic sense of self that other places within the country tend to lack. This sparsely populated island, however, became its calling card, as tourists began to be drawn to the island’s quiet seclusion.

Being featured in the 2018 movie, Momma Mia! Here We Go Again has drawn more attention to the island, and Vis is now a must-see stop for those looking for the quieter, out of the way locales that still want a taste of Adriatic class and sophistication.

Additionally, the island serves as a stop during Yacht Week with a sumptuous dinner at the old British colonial fort of Fort George, a perfect place to party down in our reflective mesh bikini Sirens collection. Guaranteed to turn heads at the electronic music festival later in the evening!

Stiniva Beach

Perhaps of the most stunning and jaw-droppingly gorgeous beaches in all of Croatia, Stiniva beach is surrounded by two white cliffs that forms a natural enclosure and at their closest point form a “door” of sorts for boaters to anchor right outside of.

Located on the southern end of the Vis, you will need to rent a taxi or Uber from where the ferry lands and then proceed to the town of Plisko Polje then to Žužeca hamlet. Once to Žužeca, there is a drop-off point/parking lot and, finally, from there, it is a 20-minute walk on a narrow (and sometimes) demanding path to the beach. Because of this, we recommend that those with small children or older people should steer clear, however, Stiniva would be perfectly suited for couples or solo travelers alike.

Hotels Near Stiniva

Milna Beach

If you have the kids in tow, or just are not as spry in your step as you once were, Milna and its beach may be more your speed. The town itself is a small holiday town that features all the usual amenities afforded to visitors, high-end restaurants and beach bars, gift shops, and luxury hotels. This due to its location as a coastal town that is blessed with untainted beauty, crystal clear waters, and undisturbed inlets and beaches.

The most notable is the town’s beach. This sandy-beach is located just a stones throw away from the town it shares its name with and is primarily visited by the locals (even during the peak summer months) which make this spot perfect for those looking for quieter moments to catch some rays and do some beach reading!

Hotels Near Milna

Zadar

Moving northward along the coast from Split, the city of Zadar is about a 2-hour drive and holds the unique record of being the oldest continuously inhabited city within Croatia with the earliest signs of human settlement dating to around the late Stone Age. Zadar also happens to be the fifth-largest city in the country as well, and like many of Croatia’s Adriatic cities, Zadar is blessed with amazing beaches to scope out.

Comprised not only of the main city itself, but Zadar also includes outlying islands as well which feature gorgeous blue waters and are a hotspot for any visitor to rent a boat or ride the ferry to. With such a wide-encompassing city when compared to other cities, Zadar is a perfect stop for families, solo travelers, couples, and even older couples as the city has something that everyone would be interested in checking out. However, we are here for the beaches!

Nin Beach

The first beach to check out while staying in Zadar is Nin Beach. Nin is more like a lagoon than a traditional beach, as its shallow waters make serious splashing all but impossible (so it’s nice for very young children and families), but with its generally relaxed vibe with locals playing on the beach and soaking in the water to cool off, Nin makes a great place to either start off your Zadar vacation or end the day watching the sunset over the city.

Hotels Near Nin

Kolovare Beach

Another option to explore, if you do not want to get out of the city immediately, is to walk to Kolovare beach. This is a popular spot for locals as well who live directly in the city and thus is a bit more crowded that Nin or other spots outside Zadar proper.

With beach-side cafes and other amenities areas as well as waters perfect for boating and windsurfing Kolovare beach is an action-packed beach, so be sure to arrive earlier during peak months. Plus, it is close enough to the city, where you can easily visit for a few hours, head by to your hotel, change, then check out the rest of Zadar during the evening!

Hotels Near Kolovare

Sararun Beach on Dugi Island

Dugi Island, or more commonly known as Dugi Otok, is a 2-hour ferry ride outside the city of Zadar, but Sararun Beach consistently tops lists of the best beaches not only within Croatia but all of Europe as well, making this spot an absolutely must see!

With pillowy, white sand that is uncommon for the area, sapphire waters, and plenty of amenities, Sararun beach is a no-brainer and is more like a Caribbean beach getaway. Obviously, it’s a bit packed with visitors and tourists alike, which creates a bit of chaos when trying to get there, but luckily the beach is long enough to accommodate all comers, so you should have no problem finding a spot to set-up at. Be sure to say to take in the gorgeous sunset and that atmosphere it creates!

Hotels Near Sararun


Cres Island

While it’s a nearly-four hour drive north from Zadar which is then proceeded by a ferry ride (though its easier to fly into the city of Pula then ferry over), Cres Island is another absolutely stunning island along Croatia’s sprawling Adriatic coastline.

During the country’s time as part of Yugoslavia, Cres saw its agricultural production downturn, which led many inhabitants to move towards the interior in search of jobs and more economic opportunities, but since the country’s emergence out of the Balkanization period of the early ‘90s, many retirees have begun to move back to Cres Island to live out their golden years.

Due in part to its relative low-population density, in recent years, the island has now become a tourist hotspot for this very reason; its distance away from larger areas such as Krk Island or the city of Pula creates a rustic-Mediterranean infused charm that’s relatively devoid of the tourist traps and the outrageous prices they bring.

And like all of the country’s coastline, Cres Island is no different when it comes to possessing some utterly must-see beaches that you (or anyone for that matter) should go to splash in the water and soak up the sun.

Mali Bok Beach

This small, hidden gem of a spot of a beach is a short 20-minute drive from Cres’s most populous town, the aptly named Cres Town. Featuring a parking lot for easy access and relatively easy walk to get to the beach, Mali Bok is a stone beach that lays at the foot of the island that possesses crystal clear waters and some Instagram-worthy photos.

Unlike most beaches on our list, Mali Bok lacks other amenities such as cafes or umbrellas, so when heading there, be prepared with all the standard beach accoutrements or face the choice to head home early. Additionally, it should be noted that Mali Bok is very small so be sure to either get there super early or during off-peak seasons to fully be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach.

Hotels Near Mali Bok

Lubenice Beach

Lubenice beach is another quick jaunt from Cres Town by way of car and in comparison to Mali Bok, Lubenice is a much wider beach that’s more able to accommodate more visitors, but here’s the rub, it’s just as beautiful as Mali Bok. If you ask us, visit both!

And like Mali Bok, Lubenice beach lays at the foot of a large hill which leads down to the outcropping, so again be prepared with adequate footwear and all the standard beach gear. If you’re more of a history buff, the town which lends the beach its name is a UNESCO heritage site that is filled with buildings over 4,000 years old, some of which date back to the Romans.

The town itself is more of a tourist destination rather than an actual town, so it would be wise to find lodging elsewhere or at least near Lubenice so the trek to the beach isn’t as time-consuming.

Hotels Near Lubenice


Other Places of Note

While it is nearly impossible to include all the Croatian spots that are worthy of inclusion, we figured that it is still more than necessary to include a few more honorable mentions. Ranging from the city of Pula, beaches, and even a national park, each spot holds its own unmatched vibe in a country already blessed with some amazing seascapes, cities, and natural wonders.

Pula

Just a hop, skip, and a jump by ferry (kind of) from Cres Island, Pula is the eighth largest city in Croatia and boasts fantastic examples of Roman architecture. The best of which is the Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheater in the world.

While ancient buildings may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the city boasts some of its own beaches such as Lungo Mare and Ambrela beach; both are gorgeous but there are many more around and nearby the city to check out as well.

Hotels Near Pula

The Pelješac Peninsula

Jumping back down to the southern end of the Adriatic sea is Pelješac. Somewhat of a trek at an hour and change by car north of Dubrovnik, the Pelješac Peninsula and its accompanying locales are unbeatable spots in Croatia to visit.

Far away enough from Dubrovnik to get away from the tourist traps, yet close enough to still check out for the day, Pelješac holds a little bit of something for any type of traveler. Whether that is its beaches, ancient Roman architecture, or great selection of restaurants, Pelješac has a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere similar to the island of Cres for those looking for a place that isn’t swarmed with tourists yet still captures the magic and charm of the country itself.

Hotels Near Pelješac

Krk Island

If you are busy exploring Cres Island, you might as well explore Krk Island (pronounced like “Kirk”). A short ferry ride from Cres, Krk Island is an hour and a half by car and makes for a great pit stop either go to Cres or coming back from Cres.

Filled with ancient pre-historic, Roman, and Medieval ruins that dot the landscape, Krk is sure to delight the history buff of the family. If looking at old buildings does not excite you, check out the quaint, but bustling, sea-side towns of Baska and Vrbnik. Both lay right next to the Adriatic which creates a truly beautiful experience to enjoy the sunset after hanging out at their respective beaches.

Outside of beaches, be sure to check out the Biserujka Cave, which features awesome wonders of geology as well as animal remains such as bears that lay at rest within. Perfect for if the beaches are too cold, and you’re looking for a neat little spot to check out.

Hotels Near Krk

Kamenjak National Park, Premantura

The last place to check out on our Croatia list is the beautiful Kamenjak National Park in Premantura. This national park’s untouched and untamed beauty encapsulates everything that is to love about Croatia; beautiful beaches, jagged and daunting rock cliffs, even dinosaur prints!

Luckily, if you’re hanging around Pula and want to escape to the great outdoors, Kamenjak is just a quick 6-mile drive southward. Easily accessible with plenty of parking, Kamenjak National Park has something for everyone; from water-sports to cliff diving, biking or hiking trails, and a few beaches to rival any other on our list, you’ll be hard-pressed to try and be bored during your time at Kamenjak National Park.

Hotels Near Premantura


While there may not be any real dragons in Croatia, Game of Thrones introduced a larger audience to the untamed beauty of Croatia. For a country to emerge from a devasting civil war in the 1990s to a bustling international tourist hotspot in the span of a decade is truly remarkable.

With its long and winding Adriatic coastline with crystal clear waters, pebble beaches, and a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere that rivals Italy or Greece, Croatia holds many places to go and seek an adventure at. Hopefully, we introduced to some of the best Croatian beaches, while introducing you to a few that you did not know about.

So, for your next vacation adventure, try exploring the wild majesty of Croatia, her beaches, and her towns for a vacation that is something straight out of a fantasy novel.

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