Guide to National Parks in Wider Zadar Region: Kornati Islands
Shining bright in the clear blue Adriatic Sea! Kornati islands were declared a national park in 1980 due to their stunning beauty, fascinating geomorphological shapes and rich marine ecosystem.
They were famously admired by George Bernard Shaw, who referred to them as divine creation, made out of ‘tears, stars and breath’. Today the islands are a true paradise for sailing and diving enthusiasts as well as fans of the breathtaking untouched landscapes of the Adriatic Sea.
There are 150 islands within the archipelago, which is more than 10% of all the islands in the Adriatic Sea. Still, not all but rather 89 of them form the national park, mostly islets and rocks. Namely, the surface area of the largest island Kornat is 32 km2 and that alone makes up 65% of the entire land surface in the national park.
Bow before the beauty of nature! The steep cliffs facing the open sea and known as ‘crowns’ are a special feature of the southwestern Kornati islands. The highest cliff is 82m on the island of Klobučar, while the longest one (more than 1 km) is on the island of Mana.
Enjoy the spectacular views of the islands scattered around in the magnificent sea! While the highest peak of all the islands is Metlina (237 m) on Kornat, there are other lookouts worth reaching as well: Litnji vrh (Vela Smokvica island), Otočevac (Piškera island), Levrnaka island, Mana island.
Visiting the national park, you also learn about a harsh way of life on the islands. The cultural-historical heritage includes traditional houses, dry-stone walls, and the remains of the 6th century Tureta fort (Kornat).
Take in the breathtaking beauty and tranquility of the mostly uninhabited pristine islands! Go for a swim and snorkel in the crystal clear sea in a secluded cove, e.g. on Levrnaka island. Dive deeper to get to know the underwater world in all its glory in the following 9 zones: Kornat, Samograd, Oključ, Mala Panitula, Vela Panitula, Rašip, Kasela, Mana, Borovnik.
Go hiking for stunning views! In addition to amazing lookouts mentioned above, there are 3 educational trails in the national park - Trtuša and Kravjačica (Kornat island) and the short one Vela Panitula on the island of the same name.
Set off into your sailing adventure round the Kornati islands! With total annual sunshine between 2600 and 2700 hours, they are among the sunniest areas on the Croatian seaside. The mild weather with as many as 270 warm days promises a lovely experience almost all year round.
How to get there. The simplest way to appreciate the most fascinating features of the national park is to take an organized trip by an excursion boat (available at Zaton Holiday Resort). Similarly, you can go on your own boating adventure. In that case, remember to stop by the visitor centre on Žakan Ravni island or Vruje Bay (Kornat island). Also, why not consider a panoramic flight to grasp the number of islands, their diversity of shapes and sizes?
Prices. The excursion prices vary around €50 per person with entrance ticket included. Prices for individual trips depend on the season and the size of the boat you plan to take. Also note that you need to pay extra for a diving permit in case that is your primary reason for a visit.
Equipment. Bring light clothes with extra swimwear, plenty of fluids, sunscreen and hats. Don’t forget snorkeling gear and towels.
Other. Note that the islands are private property. In other words, if you go hiking, keep to the marked trails and don’t wander off.
Crown your stay in Zadar region with a sailing adventure around the Kornati islands set in the beautiful blue sea!