Yachting in Croatia is one of the most popular types of recreation. It allows you to fully experience all the delights of sea travel and explore the most unique places. National Park Kornati includes 89 picturesque Islands of the archipelago. This area is called the "pearl of the Adriatic" for a reason – picturesque rocks and cliffs, rich underwater world and fascinating routes attract travelers from all over the world every year.
General information about the Kornati archipelago
Kornati Croatia archipelago is 147 harsh, almost uninhabited Islands and reefs scattered over an area of 220 sq. km. Kornati or "Stomorsk Islands" are located in the Northern part of Dalmatia, South of Zadar and West of Sibenik. Stretching for 35 kilometers in length, they are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The coast of the Islands on the South-West side is broken by steep cliffs, which give the coastline a unique and dramatic appearance.
Kornati national Park is the pride and natural wealth of the country. Travelers to Croatia are attracted to the Islands near Croatia, reviews of which tell about the incredible beauty of these places. Many Islands are private, and their owners are residents of the Murter Islands and Dugi-Otok Island. A yacht holidays Croatia is unthinkable without visiting this Park. Rocky Islands abound with karst phenomena, cavities, caves, ravines and crevices.
Very close is another national Park – Telascica Nature Park, which occupies the entire island of Dugi Otok Croatia and several nearby rocky formations.
How to get
There are no ferries between the Kornati Islands and the mainland. Tickets to the national Park can be purchased online. You can rent a yacht Croatia for long trips to the archipelago in split and Zadar. Ports and yachting sites are located in the cities of Split, Trogir, Kastela, Sibenik, Sukosan, Biograd and Primosten.
If you don't have your own yacht, you can book a tour from Zadar, which is the nearest major city to the national Park. Several travel agencies are located in the city of Murter and the villages of Dugi-Otok: Veli Rat and Bozava. Here you can rent a yacht or a bareboat yacht charter in Croatia with a captain for short routes around the archipelago.
Renting a yacht in Croatia without a crew for traveling between the Kornati Islands is recommended for more experienced travelers. There are many narrow Straits, shallow places, and obstacles in the form of underwater reefs. A permit is required to travel through the waters of the national Park.
The largest island of the archipelago (32 square km) is Kornat. Although it is uninhabited, there are several dozen homes available for rent and several restaurants open in the summer. They are located in the Bay of Vrulje – the main settlement of the island, Cravatica, Lavsa and others. The owners use the houses as temporary housing. Here there is a well-equipped yacht is moored.
Yachtsmen find shelter in the protected bays of the archipelago, the main yacht Marina is located on the island of Piskera, and it has 120 berths, a small amount of fuel and water.
Zut Island is the second largest island in the archipelago, located two miles from Kornat Island. On the West coast of the Gulf of Zut, you will find the Marina Zut. There are 4 berths in the area of Hiljaca Bay.
Levrnaka Island is famous for its Konoba restaurant. It has 100 seats and two floating pontoons that can accommodate up to 20 vessels. Equipped berths can be found on Islands such as KurbaVela and Vrgada.
What to do
There are many architectural monuments and archaeological sites in the Kornati archipelago. Don't miss the sixth-century Tureta Fort, located at the very top of Tureta hill, as well as the Taj lighthouse on Sister island. Traces of Neolithic settlements and fortifications have been found on some of the Kornati Islands. The Illyrians settled the Islands during the Iron Age. During World War II, Tito's partisans built a boat repair shop here.
Clean and transparent water has an extraordinary visibility. The protected Bay on the island of Levrnaka can be called one of the most popular places for swimming after the resort island of Ravni-Zhakan. Almost every island in the archipelago has convenient places for swimming. Their main feature is the small number of tourists, unspoiled beaches and secluded corners of nature.
Diving and snorkeling
The protected area of the National Park includes the waters around the Islands, so you can find many places for diving. Especially a lot of dive sites located around the island of Rasip. Rocks submerged in the sea create a seascape of caves, tunnels that contain an incredible variety of sponges and colorful fish. The rocks descend to a depth of 70 m. It is very important to dive as part of a group that has received a diving permit. Permits for fishing and scuba diving are not required in the area of Zut Island, but you must have your equipment with you.
Mezanj Island can offer a place of exceptional beauty. The South-Eastern side of this island has a beach and access to a unique sea area: at a depth of 12 meters, you will pass through a small hole to find yourself in a beautiful cave with sponges and walls encrusted with nature itself.
Most of the territory of the Kornati Islands is privately owned, this should be taken into account and do not deviate from the paved paths and trails. On the Islands of Trtusa and Panitula offers two routes that explain the unique history and Geology of the region. A more challenging route will take you to the top of Metlin (237 m) on the island of Kornat, where you can get a stunning view of the entire archipelago. Try climbing Opat peak on Kornat island, visit Litnji Vrj on Vela Smokvica island and Otocevac on Piskera island.
What to see in the archipelago area
If you are traveling by boat to the Islands of the Kornati archipelago, start your tour with a visit to Dugi-Otok. Here you can find a place to stay for the night in numerous villages and towns. It will be interesting to admire the karst caves. The most famous among them is the Terrible Oven with a gloomy atmosphere. The largest lighthouse in the Adriatic is Veli Rat, 42 meters high. It was built almost 200 years ago and still works.
In the village of Sali you will find the magnificent Cathedral of the ascension of the Virgin Mary of the XV century, the oldest building on the island is the Church of St. Pelegrin in the town of Savar. Archaeologists believe that this building was built before the IX century. The island's beach is called one of the most beautiful in the country – Saharun (Naturist Beach Saharun). It is famous for its white sand, cleanliness and excellent infrastructure. Not far from it is another popular resort - Veli Rat (Veli Rat), where families with children, lovers of sport fishing and diving like to relax.
There are no natural sources of water on Kornati, and the amount of precipitation is extremely unfavorable for the local vegetation. Water collected in karst holes is used for drinking and watering. The steep cliffs are home to various species of birds, peregrine falcons, Swifts and many others. Such places are adored by photography lovers. Of the total surface area of the archipelago, 85% is occupied by stony soil, and only 5% of the land is developed by humans.
Be sure to include visits to places such as:
- the island Gangarol, Vrgada, Mana, Piskera, Panitula, Smokvica, Samograd
- Spinut, Stevin and Lavsa Bay
- Opat Peninsula
Convenient areas for yachting are the shallow channel of Mala Proversa, the oval island of Taljuric, Tarats with numerous rocks and caves, and the unique Pura nature reserve.
National characteristics of the region
Kornati once belonged to the municipality of Zadar, but in the XVI century, Venice took possession of the land and leased the Islands to several families of Zadar. They are now divided between private owners in Murter and Dugi Otok. The lack of regular ferry services hinders the development of the Islands. Those who own land on the Islands tend sheep and cultivate the land. Olives, figs, grapes and citrus are grown on the Islands.
In the heart of the Kornati National Park is the Konoba Levrnaka restaurant, where you will find not only fish delicacies, but also a real old dish: lamb Kornat prepared in the traditional way.
Worth a try:
- Chorbu-light sour-milk soup
- Manestra-meat or fish soup with vegetables and dumplings
- Spicy soups with lots of tomatoes
- Prosciutto – cured ham made of pork, served with olives, feta cheese and onions
- Pasticada – beef braised in wine
Lamb or ram meat is no less popular among local residents, it is used for cooking solyanka, stew, it is baked, fried and stewed. Pay attention to the barabulka, the devil fish, and the sea tongue. A masterpiece of fish cuisine is considered one of the many varieties of fish – brodet, which is served with corn polenta.
Fruit, almonds and honey are used in desserts. A delicious dessert made from chestnuts, cheese cake with many fillings (of Medimurska gibanica), almond cakes zucarini and brushwood of fritula.
Wine is served with all dishes not only in Central Croatia, but also here, in the area of the Kornati archipelago and Dugi-Otok. The local wine is famous for its excellent taste and is worth taking a couple of bottles with you as a souvenir. Especially well-known varieties of Traminac, the Hamish, Pinot, Merlot, Spritzer, Teran. Please note the Plum brandy and Raki, brandy and beer Vinayak Ozujsko and Karlovacko. Tinctures on the herbs Biske and Komovitsa are famous far beyond the region. They are great for cocktails.
The office of the Kornati national Park is located in Murter, where tickets to the national Park are sold and additional information about organizing trips to the Islands is provided. On the Islands of the Kornati archipelago, you will not find fashionable hotels, but there are excellent offers for renting houses. Most of them are located in Vrulje (Kornat) and on the island of Zut. Since most of the archipelago belongs to the territory of the national Park, you can only anchor in places equipped with buoys. Parking spaces are paid, usually around 30 euros for a 40-foot yacht.
The main feature of Zut Island is that it does not belong to a national Park, so you do not need a permit to enter its waters. In the Bay you can find several convenient yacht stops – in the Bay of Zesnja, Babin Bok, Strunac, Hiljaca1 and Hiljaca2, which can offer not only Parking, but also several restaurants on the shore.
Passage between Islands can be dangerous, especially for sailing yachts. Numerous underwater rocks and reefs complicate the skipper's work. The locals speak a little English and Italian, but we recommend that you learn a few words in Croatian – it will be appreciated.
The Kornati Islands between Sibenik and Zadar are a beautiful archipelago that includes uninhabited Islands and rock formations scattered like precious stones on the water. The Islands are designed for outdoor activities, Hiking and unity with nature. These places were very much loved by George Bernard Shaw, who wrote: "On the last day of creation, God wished to crown his work, and thus created the Islands of Kornati out of tears, stars, and breath."