Explore Zadar's 'Garden' - Ugljan Island (on Foot or by Bike)
Ever wondered about those islands in the distance, the islands you see while you’re lying relaxed on a lounger on the beach at Zaton Holiday Resort? They are a few out of many of all shapes and sizes that form the Zadar archipelago and one of them is called Ugljan, also known as the ‘garden of Zadar’. Apart from being a great stop for all fans of sailing, the island has quite a few exciting facts and attractions for you to discover.
Easy to reach
It’s practically a blink of an eye to get to Ugljan from the mainland. The ferry ride takes less than half an hour from Zadar to Preko, which is roughly in the middle of the island. The ticket costs €2,5 in and the ferry operates quite frequently.
View, oh, the view
Sea and the islands, as far as the eye can see… Once in Preko, don’t miss the most spectacular viewpoint (265 m) on the island from the hill overlooking the village. It is also the place where Venetians built St Michael’s Fort in the 13th century, the remains of which are still there. In case you are a true hiking fan, you can also continue towards Ugljan’s highest point Šćah (288 m). Just note that the hike is quite challenging, without any shade and not well marked. From there, you can head back towards Preko through the village Sutomišćica.
St Michael’s Fort can also be reached by cycling along MTB route from Preko through Kali towards the top and then through Poljana back to the starting point. It’s a challenging 16km trail which gives you the opportunity to get to know Kali, one of the most famous fishing villages in Croatia. Fishermen getting reading to set sail, stone houses in narrow streets, it’s the sight of the Mediterranean culture from the history books, only it’s right here, right now in Kali.
What’s in a name?
One look at a single photo is enough to figure out why Ugljan is referred to as the ‘garden of Zadar’ - neverending greenery. Apart from Mediterranean bushes and pine trees, the island is famous for its 200 000 olive trees. It is one of the reasons why Zadar nobility once built their summer residences precisely on Ugljan. A few examples include Lantana summer home in Sutomišćica or De Ponte residence in Mali Lukoran, both from the 17th century. The two charming villages are a within one-hour walk from Preko.
Easy vs. challenging
Cycle to the north, cycle to the south, cycle all around! With surface area of 50 km2, Ugljan has a lot of cycling trails on and off-road which give you the opportunity to completely get to know the island. Families can choose lighter roads, while active holiday seekers can challenge themselves to pass more difficult trails. The same can be said for hiking, since many trails overlap. Whether you decide to visit nearby villages or hike to the top, you can expect breathtaking views as you go through generations-old olive groves and along traditional stone walls. It’s a ride or a hike to remember.