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NATIONAL PARK KORNATI: SAILING GUIDE
Dive in a clear, clean sea that is home to fish and corals, and sunbathe in the center of the ocean. The National Park Kornati is part of the Kornati Archipelago of 150 islands, islets, and reefs.
The National park Kornati has 89 islands, islets, and reefs and is among the most beautiful national parks in Croatia. It is the third national park in the maritime world with landscapes that are best appreciated by boat.
Easily accessible either through Split or Zadar International Airport, it’s most convenient and comfortable to explore the National Park Kornati by renting a boat from our charter base in Rogoznica.
There are 4 areas of strict protection: Puara islet, Klint and Volić reefs, Mrtenjak islet, Kolobucar islet, small Obrucan and great Obrucan islets. In these zones you have to respect some rules of conduct: you cannot visit, sail, and swim.
Where is the National park Kornati ?
The Kornati islands are situated between Zadar and Sibenik, south of the island of Dugi otok – in Northern Dalmatia.
Kornat Island is the largest and most inhabited, measuring 25 kilometers in length and up to 2.5 kilometers in width. The national park was declared in 1980.
How to get to National park Kornati?
Because there is no ferry connecting of the archipelago to the mainland, the best way to explore the park is to rent a boat from our base in Rogonizica. There are many excursion boats visiting the park on a daily basis, but in order to truly admire the nature, a single day just isn’t enough.
We recommend buying your tickets online or in Murter since those are cheaper than tickets bought at the park reception. Most of our boats fall into the 11-17.99 m category and pay 1.800 HRK for 3 days in the high season. That’s approximately 240 EUR.
Some (fun) facts and figures about National park Kornati
As previously mentioned, there are 89 islands in the park. It covers an area of 217 km2 (84 square miles), 50 km2 (19 square miles) of which are the actual islands. The coastal length is 238 km (148 miles). The area “bathes” in 2.700 hours of sunshine every year. And, the average air temperature in August is 25°C (77 F).
There is around 330 km of drywall dispersed along the islands.
Where to drop the anchor and spend the night?
When you charter a boat, you really get to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the Kornati islands. Explore one island after another, drop anchor for lunch, the night or a swim. Admire the majestic sunsets and wake up each day to a spectacular and different view. These islands that have very few permanent inhabitants boast a practically untouched nature, enchanting places and landscapes. In short, it’s a nautical paradise, far from any hustle and bustle.
Anchoring and overnight are permitted in many locations. We recommend Lopatica, Modri bok, or Vrulje on the island of Kornat. In case of bad weather, the safest option is, of course, the ACI marina Piskera on Zut island. Also, the marina has the only grocery store in the area. We recommend supplying well before entering the park. In case of necessity, there are also floating “boat markets” sailing around. However, don’t expect any bargains.
Off of Kornat, dropping your anchor is nice in Lavsa, Koromašnja, Ravni Zakan or Lojena. For instance, Lavsa with wild and untouched nature is perfect for those looking for inner peace, and it is also well protected from the winds.
Historical and religious heritage
In wartime, the inhabitants of Murter had to leave their homes. They took refuge on the Kornati islands and managed to survive. The distance between Murter and Kornati had to be covered by boat. Before the invention of engines, this was a long and difficult journey. Bad weather, exhausting hours of rowing or handling sails, took a toll on their health. The life of the Kurnatars was hard and oftentimes short. On the other hand, the shepherds on the islands led mostly relaxing and slow-paced lives. Legend has it that a shepherd of the Kornati, Mate Divov, lived to be 150 years old.
It’s interesting to note that the Kornati islands have several Illyrian remnants.
On the island of Zut, in particular, you may see the ruins of some forts (gradine). The Romans left their traces, as well. For example, remains of a villa rustica, salt storage, fish pond and fishing houses.
The fortification of Tureta on the island of Kornati represents the Byzantine era (6th century). Beneath this fortress is the Basilica of St . Mary. Considering its original size, the Kornati islands were well populated in that era.
The first Sunday in July is the only mass that is held at our Lady of Tarac (a church from the middle or late medieval period). The boat procession that celebrates our Lady of Tarac is a memorable sight and quite popular with visitors, today.
Ever since fishing for sardines with lamps was introduced in the 16th century, it has become one of the most important industries in the area. The Venetians even built a fortress on Vela Panitula in order to collect taxes from the fishermen. In the 19th century, the Murterini managed to buy off the lands (islands of Zut and Kornat) from the nobility of Zadar. After centuries of being serfs, they finally became owners of the lands. Although shepherding, olive growing, and fishing on the Kornati are still present, tourism has become the number one source of income. There are about 20 restaurants, many Robinson houses (that used to be second homes for Kurnatari), and a marina within the national park that drive the business.
What to (see and) do in National park Kornati?
Apart from sailing, snorkeling is a great way to enjoy the National Park Kornati. In fact, it is one of the best snorkeling spots in Croatia. Certainly, it has something to do with its deep and transparent waters that reveal the fauna of the depths.
Have a good time kayaking, biking, or SUP-boarding in hidden coves… Hike and climb to the top of the islands for a spectacular view of the other Kornati islands. However, stay on the marked paths, since all the lands are privately owned. And, make sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, and enough water. And, some flashlights if you are coming back at nighttime.
If you encounter any animal, avoid close contact and don’t disturb them in their home. Just watch and admire them from afar.
Even though the law allows recreational fishing, the park’s regulations prohibit it. Therefore, we recommend you fish outside park limits, and, of course, with a proper license.
With a bit of luck, you may come across dolphins, so enjoy the sight and, again, do not disturb them. Read all about marine life and what to do if you meet them.
Beaches and “cliffs”
Lojena beach is one of the most popular in all of Croatia, it is located on the southwest side of Levrnaka Island. It is a pearly white pebble and sandy beach with a silvery sandy bottom.
The very name of Kornati comes probably from Encoronata (“crowned”), the first certain mention of the islands on the Vesconti maps from the 14th century. Although the islands had other names throughout history, the crowns are one of the most distinct characteristics of the archipelago. Crowns are the surface of the large tectonic fault that goes all the way from Istria down to Central Dalmatia. The global moving of the African tectonic plate towards the north and its collision with the European tectonic plate caused these “crowns”. Wind, rain, waves, and sea currents later caused the erosion, and formed the steeps that protect the islands from the open sea. Although they are often incorrectly called cliffs, they are actually steep slopes or escarpments. Erosion and weathering alone create cliffs, whereas the Kornati crowns came about through tectonic movements.
The longest “crown” above the sea is on the Mana island (1,35 kilometers), and the highest one is on the island of Klobucar – at 82 meters above sea level. The crowns continue under the sea, as well. For instance, the deepest one is just off the Piskera island (over 90 meters).
Important remark – climbing the crowns is not allowed. For one thing, because birds either nest or hunt here.
There are approximately 20 restaurants in the national park Kornati. Usually, when dining at the local restaurant, anchoring at their jetties, buoys or docks is free of charge. At other locations, park attendants (with park signs on their RIB’s) charge daily mooring fees, from 300 to 1600 HRK depending on the boat’s length.
Nature Park Telascica
And, while sailing in the national park Kornati it would be a shame not to visit the adjoining nature park Telascica. The 3-day ticket is valid for it anyway. Also, it’s one of the safest bays on the Adriatic with so many anchoring possibilities.
Located in the south-east of the island of Dugi Otok in the Adriatic Sea just north of National Park Kornati, Telascica is one of the safest bays on the Adriatic and a nature park. The bay itself is 10 km long and oscillates between 160 and 1800 m in width.
Very particular, the crown that overlooks the fringe of the island along the sea, is stunning and well worth a visit. These huge vertical rocks rise up to 160 m above sea level and burrow up to 85 m below sea level.
The lake Mir
Just behind the crown, the interior of the island shelters a lake that is about 900 m long. Located towards the south-west part of the park, this salt water lake, named Mir (peace in Croatian) abounds in fauna and flora. The salinity of the lake makes it an excellent haven for bass, snails, crabs, and shellfish.
The lighthouse on Sestrica island
On the edge of the park, you will come across Sestrica Vela, an islet that houses the magnificent Tajer lighthouse. The lighthouse is huge, and the octagonal tower is 28 meters high. The original construction from 1876 is intact and there are now two apartments available for rent here.
Some marine species are in danger. Dolphins, for example, who love to swim in the area. And corals, too. Especially the threatened red coral species.
Not to be missed!
- The island of Pasman is bordered by a fish farm, so dolphins often swim in the surroundings
- the island of Zut and its bays
- the old lighthouse on Sestrica Island
- Kornat Island with its turquoise waters, its church
- Mana Island and its crown
- Dugi Otok crown and lake Mir
Would you like to sail to National Park Kornati? Nava has you covered with the best deals, boats of unmatched quality and a team that’s always there to make your vacation unforgettable. Fill out the contact form and our charter team will get back to you as soon as possible.
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