Since we were on holidays on Dugi Otok this year, we were very much looking forward to visit Kornati islands after a very long time again! Well, it was the first time for Gin and the second time for me ;). And the best way to do it is to book a day boat trip and cruise around the islands! Unless you have your own boat of course ;).
HOW TO GET THERE
The easiest way to reach Kornati NP is to take a guided boat trip from ZADAR which is a wonderful town on the north Dalmatian mainland (also elected European Best Destination 2016 and really worth visiting!). You can also attend a boat tour from MURTER or DUGI OTOK and possibly also other islands in between. There is a highway from Zagreb to Zadar (around 3 hrs), you can also cross the sea on a ferry from Italy or by plane as Zadar has good connections to many European cities nowadays.
It is also possible to stay at one of the islands for a couple of days, but have in mind this is usually very basic accommodation. Nonetheless I´m sure it´s a great experience as you have the place more to yourselves as soon as all the day tourists return to the mainland. If you google “FISHERMAN HOUSES KORNATI” you will get some more info about remote, traditionally built stone houses you can stay at.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
All together there are 140 ISLANDS, 89 OF WHICH WERE DECLARED TO BE A PART OF KORNATI NP. Some islands are bigger, some smaller, but they all have one thing in common – they are extremely barren and stony. Only 5% of the altogether surface is cultivated, which makes the islands look very unique. You will need to buy a pass if you wish to sail here through – if you are visiting on a day tour this is already included into the price. Besides cruising the islands, you can of course also SWIM and explore a couple of RUINS, walk up some of the CLIFFS, have nice SEAFOOD and go around the islands with a KAYAK (this seems to be a very popular way to see the NP right now).
DAY TRIP FROM DUGI OTOK
We booked our day trip at a local tourist agency in Bozava (Dugi Otok) and paid about 45€ each for the whole day, lunch, pass for the NP, fish snack and drinks on the boat included. The best thing about taking the trip from here was that we had a smaller boat and there were only 10 of us on it. The boats leaving from Zadar are much much bigger – it also takes more time to reach the islands from the mainland. Our boat left Sali town on Dugi Otok at 9:30, we came back around 18:00.
Shortly after we started we crossed a narrow straight and entered TELASCICA NP, which is located on the southern tip of Dugi Otok island. It already looks much like Kornati NP, but it is still quite greener. There were many sailing boats on the way as this has been a popular spot for years! We did not go deep into the bay, just enough to get to the other side, where we could admire the famous cliffs.
We visited Telascica NP with our car a couple of day later and walked around the salty lake and bays – so we saw the cliffs from the sea and from “upstairs”. From the boat, this is what you see!
We have been on the boat for some time now and after seeing the cliffs we threw the anchor in a beautiful bay with the most clear water – I´m always amazed how beautiful the Croatian sea is, even though the beaches are often rocky or stony, but the sea is soooo clear! In less than a minute we were all jumping into the sea and swimming towards the sandy beach in this case! After SWIMMING we had some WHITE WINE and home made PICKLED ANCHOVIES on board mmmmm, yummy!
And off we were again, now we were already more south into the NP and we passed some amazing cliffs from up close – at one of them there was a SMALL CRACK (see the third picture below) and we were told we should jump into the sea and swim into it! We gave it a go and it was really spectacular. Once inside there was a beautiful blueish light and even though it was a bit claustrophobic I´m glad we did it ;). Apparently it can only be done on a day when the sea is calm, otherwise it´s too dangerous because of the waves.
On the way we spotted ruins on top of one island and were explained they were used as a MOVIE SET. We´ve seen other NP visitors climbing up the hill to see it from up close.
Our next SWIMMING stop was up and this time we had visitors – fish! I´ve never seen so many beautiful blue FISH in Croatian sea while snorkelling, they were really jumping out around us and seemed to be used to swimmers :). Awesome!
On the way to our stop for lunch we passed this amazing site, a small CHAPEL from the 17th century, located on one of the islands. We know a couple who got married here and recognised it immediately ;).
Lunch time! We were also getting hungry so it was good timing :). We docked at a small pier which was there only to serve 2 houses. One was a RESTAURANT and the other one offered rooms to stay over the night. We could choose between meat or seafood lunch, we chose fish. Each got 2 fresh ones, accompanied by a good portion of potato salad, some local white wine with it and we were satisfied.
Time to turn the boat around and head back in the direction of Sali – but we did have enough time to take one last swim in one of the BEAUTIFUL BAYS…
It was a very relaxed day with marvellous views all time, nice company on the boat, good food and fantastic swimming stops – we highly recommend taking a daily trip to the islands if you are in the area, you won´t regret it! It might not be easy to book it from Dugi Otok (depends on where you are staying at, as not every town has a tourist agency), so if anyone wants a direct contact I can provide a mobile phone number of our SKIPPER :).
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