Kornati islands are a cluster of 140 uninhabited islands, islets, and reefs, covering a total area of 320 km2, located in the Croatian region of Dalmatia. Often described as “nautical paradise”, this archipelago offers numerous hidden coves and secluded bays.
With no permanent residents, the islands nature has flourished, resulting in over 850 animal species present on the islands. The underwater world flourished as well, with 353 species of algae and three species of aquatic flower plants present in the area.
To preserve its natural beauty, 89 out of those 140 islands were classified as a National Park in 1980. Today, the Kornati National Park each year attracts thousands of tourists looking to explore this true gem of the Adriatic.
How to get to Kornati
Due to its location in central Dalmatia, Kornati islands are easily reachable by boat from a large number of Croatian coastal towns. Kornati National Park is located 15 NM south of Zadar and 15 NM west of Šibenik. The fastest and most direct way is flying to Zadar Airport which is 10 km outside the town of Zadar itself. Zadar and Šibenik are also easily reached by car, train or bus. There are also plenty of charter options and daily excursions from other nearby coastal towns like Sukošan, Biograd na Moru or Tisno.
Some of our favourite Kornati itinerary options
Kornati islands are some of the most popular nautical destinations in the Adriatic and a perfect setting for those looking for an unforgettable sailing holiday. There are numerous daily excursions available in most of the nearby towns, with charter options aplenty in those towns as well. Here are some itinerary options, depending on your starting location.
What to do on this route: Swimming, snorkelling, water sports and spending the evenings anchored in remote and secluded bays. Explore the natural beauty of these islands and enjoy the delicious local food.
This route is perfect for: Groups of families and friends or sailing enthusiasts seeking a quiet sailing holiday anchored in sheltered coves and bays.
Best time to go: April-September
Set sail from Zadar
Total sail distance - 50 NM
Day 1: Sali
Your first destination as you set sail from Zadar is the quaint fisherman town of Sali on the northwest part of the island of Dugi Otok. Sali is the administrative centre of the island of Dugi Otok and has a post office, several shops, restaurants and cafes. Here you can experience the quiet island life and taste some of the finest fish in the Adriatic.
Day 2: Telaščica
Telaščica bay in the southeastern part of the island of Dugi Otok. Due to its natural beauty and importance, the bay surrounded by 13 islands and islets was declared a Nature Park in 1988. Here you will find untouched nature and some of the most beautiful beaches in the Adriatic.
Day 3: Levranka
Leaving Telaščica and sailing southeast, you will find the island of Levrnaka. Anchoring in the secluded bay of Anica is the ideal spot for a day away from the crowds and other sailing enthusiasts. For those more adventurous, be sure to take a hiking trip and explore the island.
Day 4: Piškera
The island of Piškera is another small island which is a part of the Kornati National Park. Here you will find a small, yet well-equipped marina, the ACI Marina Piškera. The marina is well-protected from the northern wind and offers 118 berths. It is open from April 1 through October 31 and serves as a base for those looking to explore the National Park.
Day 5: Kornat
The island of Kornat is the largest island in the archipelago, stretching over 25 km. The name of the National Park originated from the name of the island. Visit the konoba Opat on the southern tip of the island and enjoy some delicious local cuisine right on the waterfront.
Day 6: Žut
Sitting between the islands of Kornat and Pašman is Žut. It is the second biggest island of the Kornati archipelago. This uninhabited island is filled with olive groves and fig trees, which are tended to by residents of the nearby Murter island. There is a decent selection of restaurants and taverns on the island, providing delicious food and spectacular views.
Day 7: Zadar
Sailing around the island of Pašman towards the city of Zadar will leave just enough time to explore one of the most beautiful Dalmatian cities. Whether you are exploring the historic old town, enjoying the mesmerising sunsets or experiencing the rich nightlife, Zadar will not leave you indifferent.
Departing From Biograd
Total sail distance - 45 NM
Day 1: Žižanj
The tiny island of Žižanj is the first stop as you leave Biograd. This uninhabited island off the coast of Pašman offers untouched nature and plenty of privacy. An ideal spot for a day of swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing.
Day 2: Sit
The island of Sit is one of the less known islands in the Kornati archipelago. Its landscape looks gentler than the southern islands of Kornati, and there are a couple of private residences on the island available for rent.
Day 3: Kornat
Sailing south from Sit, past the island of Žut, you will reach the island of Kornatm, the largest island in Croatia. It has no permanent settlements, and as a result, nature here runs wild. The southeast of the island is extremely rich in bays, with the most famous being Opat, Koromašnja, Ropotnica. There are plenty of restaurants on the island which offer mooring and delicious local seafood.
Day 4: Katina
The island of Katina sits at the entrance to the Telaščica bay, between the islands of Dugi Otok and Kornat. Another small, uninhabited island ideal for a short hike or a relaxing day under the sun.
Day 5: Telaščica
Telaščica Nature Park is another magical place that offers unspoiled natural beauty with crystal clear sea and intoxicating smells from local vegetation. Spend the day hiking around this beautiful place but keep in mind that there is an admission fee for entering the park.
Day 6: Iž
The island of Iž has two little settlements, Mali and Veli Iž, on the eastern part of the island. A small marina is located in Veli Iž that is open all year round. There are plenty of little coves scattered around the island where you can anchor and relax for the day.
Day 7: Pašman
Sailing back towards Biograd, make sure to stop in Ždrealc on the island of Pašman. This popular tourist destination sits on the western tip of the island, connected with the island of Ugljan via a bridge. Here you will find plenty of beaches filled with restaurants and cafes.
Leaving from Šibenik
Total sail distance - 80 NM
Day 1: Kakan
The island of Kakan is about an hour sail southwest of Šibenik. Be sure to stop at the bay of Borovnjaci, a well-protected and organised anchorage on the island. There you will find many buoys where you can stop for the night. If you get hungry, there are several restaurants for you to savour fresh seafood and traditional island dishes, along with some delicious local wine.
Day 2: Vela Smokvica
Sailing west towards the Kornati National Park, you will find the charming island of Vela Smokvica. This small island has a shoreline spanning only 6 km, but there are several restaurants located in the southern bay of Lojena. Here you will be protected from most elements and can peacefully enjoy a quality meal.
Day 3: Levrnaka
Continue your sailing adventure along the southern coast of the Kornat island before you stop at the island of Levrnaka. Head on to Levranka bay where you will find a gorgeous restaurant which offers mooring. Keep in mind that the bay is quite deep, which makes it hard to anchor.
Day 4: Dugi Otok
Spend most of the day sailing north along the southern coast of the Dugi Otok island before you reach the turquoise waters of Sakarun beach. Enjoy a day under the sun swimming and snorkelling by one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Due to its popularity, the beach can get quite busy during the high season.
Day 5: Lavdara
Loop around the northern coast of the island of Dugi Otok and stop at the small island of Lavdara. The island is a 15-minute boat ride away from the town of Sali and has several summer houses and mansions, some dating back to the end of the 17th century.
Day 6: Vrgada
As you head back towards Šibenik, the island of Vrgada is a perfect place to stop and enjoy some peace and quiet before your return. This car-free and carefree island offers lush pine forests, accessible beaches and clean sea. The Hakuna Matata beach bar on the northern shore of the island is a dream spot to enjoy some light cocktails.
Day 7: Šibenik
When you arrive back, be sure to take some time and explore the historic city of Šibenik. Whether you are seeking culture, history or fine cuisine, the city offers plenty for everyone. If you are pressed for time, a short walk through the old town centre and a visit to Šibenik Cathedral and the Old Town Hall are a must.