Kornati are the most indented island group in the Mediterranean with dazzling blue, crystal clear waters and numerous islands and islets while Telašćica is the safest natural harbor in the Adriatic with numerous coves, salty lake and impressive steep cliffs. Read the complete guide and do not miss the chance to discover this part of Croatia, often referred as Nautical Paradise!
Kornati National park is an archipelago situated south from Zadar, that consists of 89 islands, islets and reefs scattered across the sea. It is the most indented island group in the Mediterranean looking like labyrinth of stones surrounded by crystal clear sea. Islands of Kornati are making 12% of all the islands in Croatia and its coastline is 238 km long.
According to the legend, God made Kornati out of white rocks that were left unused after the creation of the world. He threw them into the sea, took a look, and concluded that there is nothing he should repair. It was the crown of his work.
The name of the Park comes from the Latin word “corona” which means a crown.
Due to exceptional landscape beauty, unusual geomorphology, highly indented coast and rich submarine ecosystem, Kornati were proclaimed a national park in 1980. Although at first glance those barren islands seem deserted, there is more than 850 animal species recorded in the archipelago. In the Kornati waters you may find corals, shells, crabs, fishes, dolphins and turtles.
One of the fundamental phenomena of the national park are so called “Kornati crowns” are actually high cliffs that vertically rise from the sea appearing at the outer islands that face the open sea.
First traces of human presence in Kornati islands date back to neolithic when first inhabitants were Liburnians, whose hill forts remains are being visible even today. Even Ancient Romans built rustic villas on the islands and during the Middle ages main Kornati landowners were nobility of the city of Zadar. Since the end of 19th century, due to new agrarian policy, the nobility couldn’t pay the taxes on the land, so they sold the land to the people from nearby islands (90% of the owners live on the nearby island of Murter.). Their primary economic activity was sheep breeding and shepherds used to build dry stones houses to provide the shelter and walls to mark the ownership of the pastures. In the entire territory of Kornati islands there are impressive 330 km of dry walls that even today witnesses local men hard work and skill on that modest soil.
WHAT IS TELAŠĆICA?
Telašćica is the most beautiful Adriatic bay situated at the southeast part of Dugi otok (Croatian Long island), immersed 8 km into the land and one of the safest and largest natural harbors on the Adriatic.
The bay itself is very indented, it includes 25 coves and capes and 13 small islands. The name Telašćica probably comes from the Latin word “Tilagus”, denoting the appearance of a bay which consists of three parts separated by narrow passages.
It was given the status of the protected area in 1988 thanks to its exceptionally valuable plant and animal life, geological and geomorphologic phenomena and its rich archaeological heritage.
On the external side of the Telašćica bay are situated vertical cliffs, the most prominent cliffs on the Adriatic that are 161 meters high, and they go 85 m deep into the blue sea. On the rocks under the sea, live red corals.
Lake Mir (or “Peace”) is located in the southwestern part of Nature Park Telašćica. The lake is approximately 900 meters long and 300 meters wide, and its maximum depth is 8 meters. Unusual thing is that the salinity of water in the lake is higher than in the surrounding sea. Another peculiarity is that in the summertime, the lake is warmer than the sea, while in the wintertime, the lake is colder. Also, the mud from the lake is believed to have healing properties so people put it on skin.
The cove of Mir have its rather strange inhabitants Dalmatian donkeys, an original and autochthonous Croatian breed, nowadays protected. The donkey has always been a close companion of the Dalmatian man, serving to carry a cargo through rough karst terrain in the past. These days, donkeys are more of a joy for tourists, because the locals who no longer needed donkeys for work, simply brought their animals to Telašćica.
Telašćica is a favorite gathering place for dolphins who swim in pods and those who are lucky can take a splendid photo and have an unforgettable moment. According to estimates, approximately 220 bottlenose dolphins live in the Adriatic.
There is also an unusual island that looks like a stone plate with 60 meters in diameter, and only 3 meters high. Since it looks like a plate, seafarers used to referred to it by using the word “tagliero” from the Venetian dialect and today island’s name is Taljurić (or small plate). In rough weather, this small island is completely covered by sea foam.
HOW TO GET THERE?
If you are staying in Zadar region then you will have plenty of options when it comes to visiting Kornati National park and Telašćica bay. You can rent a boat and visit the islands on your own, but if you prefer that the captain do the navigation we recommend you to take organized boat tour or hire a private boat with the skiper. Check the list of all the options available:
1. Rent a boat to visit Kornati and Telašćica
You can rent a speed boat for a day and visit Telašćica and Kornati archipelago on your own. That way you will have complete freedom to choose which locations you want to visit. The price for a speed boat rental is 420,00 EUR per a day. You will get 7 m long speedboat with 200 cc Honda engine, GPS, Electric Anchor Winch, shower, USB Radio, portable refrigerator and snorkeling equipment.
In case you don’t want to navigate the boat on your own, and you want a boat tour that offers the best for the price of 41,00 EUR, then Boat tour to Kornati and Telašćica from Zadar is the right tour for you. The boat is comfortable, with air conditioned saloon and in the price you have included the breakfast and the lunch. The only thing you need to do is to step on the boat and enjoy the rest of your day.
Another advantage is that during this tour the boat stops in Preko, on Ugljan island so if you are staying on Ugljan you can join this tour directly from the ferry port.
All those who want to enjoy small-group tour and visit as much islands as they can, then Speed boat tour to Kornati and Telašćica is the best thing to do. The boat can take up to 12 people and you will visit Telašćica and the cove of Mir, Mana island in Kornati National park, Tureta fortress, Levrnaka island with Lojena sandy lagoon and Sali, fishing village on Dugi otok. The price is 108,00 EUR per person.
If you have not enough time for an full day tour but still want to see Kornati islands then you can choose Half day tour to Kornati by speed boat. You will visit the famous cliffs in the nature park Telašćica and the island of Levrnaka and enjoy the sandy beach Lojena. The price for this half-day tour is 74.00 EUR per person.
If you want ultimate experience with the captain being at your disposal and comfortable boat just for you and group of your friends or family, then Private Full-day boat tour to Kornati islands. The prices are adjusted according to the number of people, but you can hire this boat and the captain starting from 544,00 EUR.