This archipelago includes inhabited islands with pretty fishing villages and the stunningly beautiful islands of the Kornati national park
The Zadar Archipelago is the part of the Adriatic sea surrounding the town of Zadar and includes the famous cluster of 125 uninhabited Kornati islands (a National Park). In addition to Kornati, there are many more islands, and only twenty are permanently inhabited. The largest is Dugi Otok (Long island) which has the beautiful Telascica National Park with exceptionally clear water and a lovely large sandy beach, Sakarun. The Zadar archipelago includes the quiet and sleepy islands of Pasman and Ugljan that have yet to be discovered by foreign visitors. Even less known, but cute and charming are Iz, Ist, Silba, Vir and Rava. This is such an amazing and interesting part of the Adriatic and you could write about it endlessly.
We are just mentioning the essentials. Kornati islands are adored by the sailing fraternity and by day visitors. They really are something else - like nothing you have ever seen. The islands within the National Park area are a mysterious minimalistic natural paradise
, with a barren but fascinating landscape away from it all. They are bare of trees due to lack of water, and the sea is the bluest in the world, as the astronauts have reliably reported. There are no permanent homes, just a few fishing and farming cottages which are used in the summer. Superficially barren, these islands have a varied coastline, preserved marine life, underwater Roman towns, amazing beaches where you can enjoy the best swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. On the Kornati you can eat well in one of the 20 excellent restaurants - the freshly caught fish and herb fed lamb are on the menu. To mention just a couple, Konoba Idro (Lavsa Bay) and Restoran Piccolo in Smokvica Bay. Sailing between the numerous islands and narrow channels Kornati remind you of a sort of nautical slalom. After the largest island Kornat, the second island is Piskera with developed fishing and a good marina. The wildest part is Purara island which has a 500 metre exclusion zone to allow undisrupted development of nature. You are very likely to see dolphins jumping up from the sea and following you.
Less other worldly and with habitation but equally unspoilt is Dugi Otok
, the largest island of Zadar archipelago. It is close to Zadar
on the mainland, and can be reached all year round. It is 45 km long, and 4 km wide and planted with vineyards and fruit gardens. Everyone raves about the Telascica National Park, centred around Telascica Bay. It is well known for its coves and small islands, as well is its cliffs. Lake Mir is another sight well worth visiting in the Park – this salt-water lake is connected to the sea by underground channels. You will encounter wild donkeys, falcons and dolphins and a host of marine life and reefs. One of the island’s biggest draws is the secluded Sakarun beach. This beach, surrounded by pine trees, enjoys crystal-clear waters practically as far as the eye can see.
A large and quite populated island close to Zadar
, minutes away by ferry shuttle. A few small towns and villages have beautiful beaches and are very laid back, definitely no sign of mass tourism. The best known places are Kukljica, Preko, Ugljan town and Kali while the other side of the island is mostly steep and uninhabited. The island is covered in vineyards and has a long fishing tradition and a 2000 year old tradition in olive growing. The sea is clear and the nature untouched. Mostir beach in the centre of Ugljan is a sandy beach suitable for children and non-swimmers and you can play beach volleyball. On Ugljan
there are no discotheques or night clubs but you can enjoy the local festivities like fishermen’s fete, and try some of the local specialities. During summer open-air concerts are organised, with local artists performing. Between Dugi otok and Ugljan is a small island of Iz, and its two villages – Veli Iž and Mali Iž. This island is particularly known for its traditional pottery – iški lopiž – an earthenware pot used for storing olive oil and other products and the locals say that their pottery gives food a very special taste. This small island has a 14th century church with Romanesque period elements. And a museum with a collection of authentic Iž ceramics. Although Iž Island is far away from any type of city noise and crowd, there are walking and biking trails and tennis courts plus a mountain to walk. You can also take part in Iž village fete and choose the next king of Iz!
, is a wonderful island south of Zadar
, with no hotels or nightclubs but many sandy beaches! A short trip from Zadar brings you to this island which has the largest green area in Croatia, and an incredibly clear sea. The island has about 2000 inhabitants and they make their living from olive oil, fishing and low key, healthy tourism. Beaches are mostly sandy and shallow with a few seaside cafes and bars. An amazing beach in Tkon is sandy and a natural phenomenon – constant sedimentation of sand created this breathtaking beach. This is a perfect destination for families with children. The most popular and most famous beach is the sandy beach Matlovac in Zdrelac. This beach is known for its crystal clear sea and the beautiful sandy and shallow parts. In the evening you can enjoy a few drinks in one of the bars and a great local dinner based on fresh fish, locally reared meat and plenty of vegetables. You will also enjoy the odd traditional fishermen night in the harbour. For serious partying, go to Zadar
is a small island in the Zadar archipelago, close to a much larger island of Dugi Otok. It is a safe haven for boaters. It has thirteen wonderful and sheltered bays, and over 15km of coastline. The surface area of the island is only 3.5 square km, manly planted with olive trees and pine scented woodlands. It is a great place to relax and get away from it all, surrounded by the sea and other islands, and enjoying long walks, boating and swimming in amazingly clean and clear sea. There are two small village communities on the island, called Mala Rava and Velika Rava, where you can eat perfectly fresh locally caught fish and local dishes in a few restaurants directly by the sea. Rava
can be reached by ferry from Zadar, which sails almost every day and the journey takes 2.5 hours. The small island of Ist can also be reached from Zadar. It has a small marina very popular with sailors, and sandy beaches and a few luxury villas to rent, plus a couple of good restaurants. Only 250 people live there, and the island is scattered with hills, olive farms, vineyards, sea is full of fish.