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"On the last day of the Creation God desired to crown his work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath" - wrote George Bernard Shaw. The entire region of North Dalmatia is just ideal for all kinds of water sports and recreation... and especially sailing.
If you start from the region of Northern Dalmatia, you are only a few hours away from the famous Kornati – National Park, the most indented group of islands in the Mediterranean.
A maze of hundreds of uninhabited islands, islets and reefs. It is home to the Kornati National Park, so nature is assured. The best time to sail here is from March to May or September, if you want to be assured of finding your own private little cove. Don't miss the beautiful cities Zadar and Sibenik. Both with amazing old center cores, located on the sea coast.
How to travel to Northern Dalmatia?
Highway from Zagreb and Rijeka is the best way if you are coming by car from the north. Ryan air flies to Zadar, and you can always charter a flight with us, too. You can also fly to Split airport, and then use the good bus service or, of course a car or van transfer, which we definitely recommend, and provide service for.
This region has 14 marinas, and some of them are quite big too, but only about 30 catamarans available for charter. Besides Kornati, this sailing region includes many other beautiful sailing locations formed by groups of islands spreading from north of Zadar to south by Šibenik. Silba, Olib, Premuda, Ist, Molat and the islands of Ugljan and Pasman as well as Dugi Otok (Long Island) are just some of the reasons why these waters are addictive for so many yachts. Nature preserve Telešćica on the very south of Dugi Otok. This region also has another National park – Krka Waterfalls, more south close to Šibenik. Don't miss a freshwater detour to the river Krka near Sibenik. Zadar, Sibenik & Primosten are all beautiful towns. Besides, the Kornati submarine area attracts divers from all over Europe to come and enjoy in unforgettable submarine adventures.
The region of the famous Kornati National Park - rich in fish, and cultural and historic remains. Kornati consists of 140 islands and reefs. The inlets of some islands descend steeply into the sea, a hundred meters deep in places, and dramatically razor sharp, and are truly remarkable to see.
Ruins of old Ilyrian fortress, Roman villas, the old Christian church of St. Mary and medieval fortresses and settlements add to the value of these islands.
Composed of 147 mostly uninhabited islands, islets and reefs covering 69 sq km, the Kornati Islands are the largest and densest archipelago in the Adriatic. Since there is no sources of fresh water on the islands, they are mostly barren, sometimes with a light covering of grass. Not only the land but the sea is within the protection of the National Park. Fishing is strictly limited now in order to allow the regeneration of fish shoals that had been severely over-fished. Until the 19th century the islands were owned by the Zadar aristocracy but about one hundred years ago peasant ancestors of the residents of Murter and Dugi Otok bought the islands, built many kilometers of rock walls to divide their property and used the islands to raise sheep. The islands remain privately owned. Although there are no longer any permanent inhabitants on the islands, many owners have cottages and fields which they visit from time to time to tend the land. All told, there are about 300 buildings on the Kornati Islands. The largest marina is on the island of Piskera, on the southern part of the strait between Piskera and Lavsa.
A greater part of Kornati archipelago was proclaimed National Park in 1980.
The main attraction of the Krka National Park is its seven waterfalls. The widest of these is Roski slap, although Skradinski buk is the biggest and most well known.
It is small wonder that most visitors gather around those two waterfalls for, in addition to being able to enjoy the magic and roar of the water, one can also enjoy walks through a myriad of paths which, for the most part, follow ancient trails, testified to by the numerous little bridges. All around Roski slap and Skradinski buk is any number of rest places, the most favored being in front of old stone house set in the shade of surrounding trees.
Zadar is a city of exceptional history and rich cultural heritage, a city of tourism. The city of Zadar is an easily reached destination by land, sea and air. It has a good traffic infrastructure through which it is directly connected to other bigger cities of the Republic of Croatia: Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik, with extraordinary accommodation and contemporary service of numerous marinas. Whichever way you want to reach Zadar, the natural beauty of the landscape will not leave you speechless.
The particularity of the city is irresistible for those who respect and admire historical monuments and cultural heritage, artists, tourists and its citizens. Zadar is a city monument, surrounded by historical ramparts, a treasury of the archaeological and monumental riches of ancient and medieval times, Renaissance and many contemporary architectural achievements such as the first sea organs in the world.
Air transport, even though the airport is small it is contemporary (9 km distance from the center), and connects Zadar with bigger cities of the Republic of Croatia and some European capitals. Other destinations are accessible with changes in Zagreb, the capital of the Republic of Croatia and in the network of international air traffic (Croatia Airlines - Pula, Zagreb and Zürich; Ryanair - London-Stansted, Dublin, Edinburgh, Stockholm, Bruxelles, Oslo, Frankfurt, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Pisa and Bari; Germanwings - Cologne, Stuttgart and Berlin; Lufthansa - Munich, Danubewings - Bratislava, Vienna and Prague, InterSky – Friedrichshafen).
Situated in the heart of the Adriatic, Zadar is the urban center of northern Dalmatia as administrative, economic, cultural and political center of the region with 92,000 inhabitants. The coast is particularly indented, the islands and the untouched nature allures many boaters to this regions. The archipelago counts 24 bigger and about 300 smaller islets and rocks, 3 nature parks - Telašćica, Sjeverni Velebit and Vransko jezero and 5 national parks - Paklenica, Plitvice lakes, Kornati Islands, Krka and Velebit classifying Zadar and its surroundings at the very top of the Croatian tourist offer.
Sibenik lies almost in the middle of the Croatian Adriatic Coast, in the picturesque and indented bay around the mouth of the river Krka, one of the most beautiful Karst rivers in Croatia. Today Sibenik is the administrative, political, economic, social and cultural center of a county which stretches along the 100 kilometer long belt between the Zadar and Split Rivieras, reaching up to 45 kilometers deep into the hinterland.
From Sibenik bay the open sea and the islands are reached through a narrow winding channel about 10 kilometers long and 300 - 1200 meters wide.
Suggested Sailing Routes
Heading Out from Zadar – Božava, Luka (Dugi otok), Telašćica, Vrulja (Kornat), Piškera, Žut
Alternatively: a large choice of places to berth and drop anchor; a return via the Pašman channel if your ship's mast is too high to pass via Ždrelac (16.40 m). Special moments: the hamlets and coves of the island of Dugi otok, the stone labyrinth of the Kornati islands.
We've chosen Zadar as our launch point, our goal is the Kornati and the island of Dugi otok, but you can easily adjust your cruise even if you head out from Sukošan or from Šimuna on the island of Pag. Tour Ugljan from the north side on day one of your cruise going by way of the Veli Ždrelac passage between Rivanj and Ugljan, sail around the southern capes of the islands of Sestrunj and Zverinac, small islands before them, and you'll get to peaceful and beautiful Božava (16 miles). You can make berth behind or along the waterfront before the breakwater. A short walk around the bay can take you through a nice forest and to the hotel. A little further from the hotel is another beautiful bay in which you can drop anchor when the northeasterly Bura is not blowing.
Head south along the island of Dugi otok next morning. Divide the trip to Telašcica over two days, and for your harbor on the night of the first day you have plenty of possibilities to choose from: Brbinj, Savar, Žman, Zaglav and Sali on the island of Dugi otok, the green Mala Rava or Vela Rava ("the center of the world") or even Mali Iž and Veli Iž. You'll love all of these hamlets. Here we'll choose Luka bay on the island of Dugi otok. If you are unable to find a berth on the short local waterfront, you can find safe harbor at several spots in the wide and well-protected bay that also has a sandy bottom.
On day three you will find yourself before the Kornati islands. To make your entry into the Kornati labyrinth you can choose between two passages. The first on your route will be Mala Proversa, deepened and widened some twenty years ago and now a safer and larger passage than Vela Proversa, which is farther to the south. After you make the passage, turn to the right and enter three mile long Telašcica.
Depending on the prevailing wind, you can surely find a safe berth in one of the fifteen branches of the bay. In front of the restaurant in Mir bay you will find two small jetties, and you can also weigh anchor. Its worth making the trip by foot to the saltwater lake of the same name and to the cliffs on the open sea side of the isthmus that forms part of the peninsula that closes the bay to the south.
Dive into the world of the Kornati islands on day four. Take a good map in hand and let your inspiration lead you. We suggest that you get to Vrulja by the evening of day four, a small settlement on the island of Kornat. Here you will be able to berth along a concrete quay with moorings in front of the restaurant of Ante Jerata, the best-known Kornati octopus hunter.
On day five, after having toured the entire Kornati National Park you will end up in the Piškera marina or at the quay on Žakan. There are numerous other possibilities: Kravljacica, Levrnaka, Lavsa… We will also add only that restaurants (in which potable water may run out, but fish and wine never) can be found in all of the Kornati bays where there are houses. (The Piccolo restaurant on Vela Smokvica, Beban and Darko on the island of Kornat and Mare on the island of Katina are excellent.)
And finally on day six it is time to leave the Kornati islands and head out to the marina on Žut. You can do this by sailing around the island of Kornat from the south side and passing through its southern entrance between cape Opat and Vela Smokvica or by returning towards Proversa.
In the bay of Žut harbour there are a multitude of small coves, so that you can choose one to stop in. There is also a marina here. Here too there is a good number of restaurants. After passing the night on Žut you have only, on your last day, to make the trip through the Ždrelac passage between Ugljan and Pašman and sail the remaining 16 miles to Zadar. There are several options for stops on the way: in the passage of Veli Ždrelac itself, in Kukljica, off the small island of Ošljak, in Preko or in Sutomišcica.
Heading Out From Murter Žut, Telašcica, Piškera, Žirje, Primošten, Kaprije
What to look out for: the shallows off Murter, sea currents at Proversa; careful navigation among the reefs, rocks and islets of the Kornati islands The Murter cruise idea largely overlaps with that of the previous cruise proposal (Kornati), but also covers some different points, the gentler and greener world of the Šibenik archipelago.: Vrgada; a large choice of places to berth and anchor in the Kornati islands; Primošten (Kremik), Krapanj, Zlarin, Prvic Luka, Vodice, Tribunj.
Special moments: the stone labyrinth of the Kornati islands, the subdued peace of the islands of Šibenik, the harmony of Primošten.
What to look out for: the shallows off Murter, sea currents at Proversa; careful navigation among the reefs, rocks and islets of the Kornati islands The Murter cruise idea largely overlaps with that of the previous cruise proposal (Kornati), but also covers some different points, the gentler and greener world of the Šibenik archipelago.
We suggest that from Murter, Jezero or Betina (all have marinas) you sail first west by northwest towards Žut (15 miles). Although the best-known Žut destination is the bay of Žut harbour, the small coves along the entire northeastern, gentler, side of the island and also worth beautiful. That should be enough for day one, especially if you are sailing into a strong mistral.
As far as the Kornati islands are concerned you can follow what we proposed in cruise idea number four, and we suggest that you foresee the second, third and fourth day of sailing for Telašcica, Vrulja, Piškera, Žakan and other corners of the Kornati islands. The Kornati are worth exploring for several days and only then will a true love between yourself and these stone pearls be born.
For the afternoon of day four make your way through the few miles of the Samogradska vrata and dock at Žirje. Muna is the chief port, located in the northern side of the island. The breakwater is reserved for a regular boat line and you can find your spot somewhat deeper along the western shores of the harbor. In the evening take a stroll to the center of the settlement, up on the edge of a small field, where people have lived since prehistoric times. The southwestern side of the island is prettier, and if you decide to visit it definitely stay the night in Vela Stupica or Mala Stupica on the island's southeastern promontory.
On the next day tour the northern side of the island of Kakan and weigh anchor in a small lagoon created by this island and the islands of Veli Brnjak and Mali Brnjak – this is a good spot for an afternoon swim.
The mistral probably picked up while you were swimming and by the evening it will fill your sails for the 13 miles to Primošten. In Primošten is a long breakwater behind which there is room for some dozen boats, and berths are organised just as in marinas with water, electricity and moorings. There are any restaurants, taverns and cafés along the headland of this colorful town. We recommend the excellent restaurant Dalmacija. In Kremik (port of Peleš), the first bay south of Primošten, there is a large, well-equipped marina with a gas station on the meandering shoreline on which there are terraces where grapes ripen for the famous Babic wine.
There are two days remaining for the return journey to Murter, just enough to divide the distance of 30 miles by a stoop on the evening of day six in one of the small ports of the Sibenik archipelago: green Zlarin (corals!), unique Krapanj (sea sponges!), the small stone port of Prvić Luka, picturesque Šepurine or quiet and sandy Kaprije. Spend the last nigh in Murter in on of the best restaurants on the Adriatic, Slobodan Pleslic's Tic Tac.