The breathtakingly beautiful Kornati Islands in Croatia are a real highlight of this fantastic destination and absolutely worth seeing. They are located in Dalmatia, just off the coast of Zadar and impress as the densest group of islands in the Mediterranean Sea! Shaped like small droplets, the barren Kornati Islands are lined up next to each other and form an almost surreal backdrop in the sapphire-blue sea. Since 1980, they have been under the protection of the Kornati National Park, and accordingly, breathtaking landscapes, beautiful beaches, romantic bays, amazing hiking trails and a fantastic underwater world, a temptation for swimmers and snorkelers, await you on a Kornati Tour.
In this travel guide we give you all the important tips and information about the Kornati Islands in Croatia. We also show you fantastic pictures, the most beautiful things to see in the national park and tell you how best to organize a Kornati excursion.
General information about the Kornati Islands
The Kornati Islands, often referred to as the Kornatis, are a group of islands in Croatia that are well worth a visit. They cover an area of about 320 km2 along the Dalmatian coast, between the cities Zadar and Sibenik, and are a popular destination for excursions in these regions. Taking a Kornati tour is absolutely recommended! Consisting of over 150 islands and reefs, they form the largest and also densest island world in the Croatian Adriatic. Hardly overgrown, these drop-shaped islets are characterized by a karstic, light limestone landscape, which together with the deep blue sea create a breathtaking landscape. The largest island of Kornati is Kornat, the so-called crown, which gives the area its name.
Not all of the islands, but still a large part of this island world, has been strictly protected by the Kornati National Park since 1980. Not only 89 islands belong to the protected area, but also the sea area and the ecosystem are protected. There is a fee that allows you to pass through the Kornati National Park and a national park fee for boats must be paid either in advance or directly on site.
What to see in Kornati National Park
Some truly spectacular highlights and attractions await you on a trip through the Kornati National Park. Most impressive is the unique natural spectacle of the countless small islands that line up close together and form an almost unreal lunar landscape. Here are the most beautiful places on the Kornati Islands that you should not miss on any boat tour.
Kornat Island & Viewpoints
With a length of 24 kilometers, Kornat Island is the largest island in the archipelago. With its high hills it is also a fantastic spot to go hiking. Small marked paths lead over the mountains to spectacular viewpoints, from where you can best experience the tremendous panorama of the fantastically beautiful island world. Breathtaking and a real insider tip is the viewpoint Vrata Opata, in the very south of the island. There are hardly any shady spots on this barren island, so you should not do without sun protection during your hike. Please note that visitors are only allowed to walk on the specially marked hiking trails.
Kornat Island was inhabited as early as the Neolithic Age, with the first settlement dating back to the Illyrian period. On the island there is also the ruined fort of Tureta. It dates back to late antiquity and the remains can still be visited. Situated on a hill, you can also enjoy a fantastic view here.
Restaurants & Konobas
During a trip through the archipelago, visitors have the opportunity to take a break at the various boat moorings and on the jetties of the konabas and restaurants. Not only do these tempt with good food, fresh fish and delicious wines, but the romantic bays there also invite to swim and enjoy yourself. Many of the Kornati islands have one or more cozy restaurants that are worth stopping at. Restaurant Opat, Restaurant Jadra, Restaurant Kod Mare and Restaurant Fasta are just a few of the recommended places to have lunch or dinner.
Church of Gospa od Tarca
The Church of Gospa od Tarca, also known as the Church of Our Lady of Tarac, is another interesting attraction on the Kornati Islands. This modest single-nave church dates back to the 16th century and was built on the site of an early Christian basilica. It is said that in the past it had been a refuge for sailors seeking shelter in bad wind conditions. Today, an impressive ship procession takes place here every first Sunday in July. You should not miss it.
Another highlight that should not be missed on any excursion to the Kornati Islands are the so-called “crowns“, which are a famous natural phenomenon of the park, and which cannot be found anywhere else in the Adriatic. We are talking about the cliffs that were formed by splitting and erosion when huge parts of the island broke off into the open sea and simply disappeared. The highest cliffs are found on the islands of Klobučar, Mana and Rašip Veli.
Levrnaka Island & Lojena Beach
Otok Levrnaka is one of the most beautiful of all the Kornati islands and a visit is absolutely recommended. The main attraction here is Lojena beach, which is located on the other side of the island from the boat landing. This dream beach is a white pebble beach, but in the sea it turns into a fine white sandy beach. The water here is turquoise blue and almost reminiscent of the Caribbean. A short hike to the island’s 110-meter-high elevation is also recommended. From up here you can enjoy a magnificent view.
How to get to Kornati Islands
An excursion to the Kornati Islands is absolutely worthwhile. There are several different options in order to visit this amazing island world. Tours to the archipelago can be booked locally in the larger resorts in the region, but also in advance online. Here is a summary of the best options for an excursion at a glance:
- Private tour with skipper: Probably one of the most beautiful ways to explore the Kornati Islands individually and on your own is by booking a private boat tour. Boat rentals are also offered with a skipper.
- Guided group tour: Boat tours by excursion boat are another way to get to the Kornati Islands. These excursions mostly include drinks and food.
- Excursion by sailboat: A tour by sailboat is another romantic option to explore the Kornati Islands. Here, too, online tours by sailboat are offered.
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