Plan your Travels to Kornati National Park
Kornati National Park is called a “nautical paradise” thanks to its incomparable and unique beauty. Nacionalni park Kornati is an archipelago of 89 gorgeous islands, islets, and reefs in the northern part of Dalmatia, near Dugi Otok, Pašman, Murter, Zadar, and Šibenik.
Trip to Kornati National Park FAQs
Speckling the coast between Zadar and Šibenik, this trail of islands, islets, and reefs is split into two distinct halves: the Upper or Gornji Kornati and the Lower or Dornji Kornati, including the largest island of Kornat, from which the archipelago takes its name, the administrative island of Murter, connected to the mainland by bridge.
Some of them are eerily beautiful, desolate places, with a karst terrain full of caves, grottos, and cracks to explore, while others are home to vineyards, olive groves, and orchards that bring in a seasonal population of farmers to tend to them. What’s more, the long coastline of the island of Kornat creates a protected body of water for boats to sail in, allowing them to slalom through narrow channels between islands without heavy sea waves. The tranquil island waters have also created their own micro-climate underwater, as Adriatic marine life yields to rare species of algae, coral, and mollusks that makes for a unique swimming or snorkeling adventure.
What is the best time to visit Kornati National Park
The park is open all year round but summer is the most popular time to visit. A lot of places like the small restaurants inside the park are not open during the off season. During the winter season, you will also not be able to do some of the activities like diving.
Matilda Your Croatia Expert
Is Kornati Island worth visiting?
Taking a Kornati tour is highly recommended! Consisting of over 150 islands and reefs, they form the largest and also the densest island world in the Croatian Adriatic.
How do I get to National Park Kornati?
You can get to Kornati Islands by:
Any sea-going vessel including your own boat.
Transport service of one of many local boatmen from the mainland.
Organized tour from Murter, Šibenik, Zadar or some other place on the Adriatic coast, as many agencies offer this trip.
What are the essential sights to see in Kornati National Park?
A national park like no other, Kornati is an archipelago just off the Dalmatian Coast. With few year-round residents, they offer a rugged landscape and breezy beaches with sparkling waters. They may not be a breeze to get to, but they’ve charmed visitors for centuries with their remote “desert island” feel. Thanks to Croatia’s newfound popularity, taking a tour through the 140 islands (89 of which belong to Kornati National Park) is easier than ever.
If you’re renting your own private boat, it means you’ll have the freedom to access the islands in any order you wish and even drop anchor and spend the night in one of the many bays and coves. If you plan on joining a tour, most last a full day (including lunch) and will take in several different islands. Your options may also be limited by your embarkation point (whether you’re setting off from Zadar, Šibenik, or somewhere along the coast in between).
In the high season (July and August), there are multiple tours per day, most of them in small boats that can accommodate groups. The high season will mean a greater number of people, though, so best to book in advance, especially if you have a few days along the coast and can choose the day you visit. Slightly fewer tours take place in the shoulder season (April to June, September to October) but you’ll also have fewer tourists to contend with.
What to See and Do
The way you experience the Kornati Islands will largely depend on the kind of tour you take, but visitors to this archipelago can expect a mix of land and sea activities, taking advantage of the unique limestone-karst terrain and underwater eco-system.
A good first hike to try, thanks to its epic views over the entire archipelago, is up to the top of the Metlina or Opat peaks on the main island of Kornat. The islands’ sparse terrain means there is very little shelter, so start early in the morning, bring hats, water, and sunblock, and stop frequently for rests if it’s getting hot. On Mana and Klobučar, you can skirt along dramatic cliffs that rise directly from the ocean, taking in sharp, rugged terrain that was formed millions of years ago. If you’re especially into geology, two easy educational trails on the islands of Trtusa and Panitula will tell you about the natural and human history of the region.
There’s plenty of wildlife to see in the Kornati archipelago, but a lot of it is hard to spot. This includes reptiles (snakes and lizards) and birds (eagle owls, buzzards, peregrine falcons, kestrels). But the true attraction here is what goes on under the water, where brightly colored fish, moray eels, and crustaceans dart in and out of caves and grottos, among coral and sponges.
Speaking of beaches, the Kornati islands are an ideal swimming destination, with a mix of sandy beaches on tranquil bays, and dramatic cliffs that are just low enough to be safe to jump off of, just high enough that you’ll still look like a daredevil when you do it. Better yet, thanks to the seclusion of the archipelago, you’ll never have to share your swimming spot with more than a handful of people. For the best swimming spots, check out Telascica and Saharun, pristine bays on the island of Dugi Otok, Lojena beach on the island of Levrnaka, or Opat, a large bay on Kornati with a restaurant and a boat dock.