Discover the Kornati archipelago and sail in one of nature’s most perfect settings
Published: April 19, 2014
The Kornati islands, located off northern Dalmatia’s coast, are an unique natural and cultural phenomenon with many particularities that allowed them to be enlisted among Croatia’s national parks. One of this particularities is that it is only possible to visit the Kornati by boat. In fact, there are no roads on any of the 89 islands, making them the perfect sailing destination and a true nautical paradise. But lets see what else makes this archipelago so special!
Koranti’s unique landscapes and heritage
Stretching off the coast from Zadar to Šibenik, covering an area of approximately 320 square km, the Kornati islands formed by the rising of sediments from the sea. The karst limestone they are made of is rich in fossils and easily carved by the sea and the elements, giving shape to some unique features such as caves, cliffs and areas with strangely shaped rocks.
Kornati are mostly covered with mediterranean macchia, while cultivation of olives is the most prominent agricultural activity, together with vines, figs and some vegetables cultivation.
Flocks of seagulls populate the islands as their most numerous inhabitants, but over the centuries men brought goats and sheep, that together with extensive deforestation created the barren landscapes that are visible today. Some of the most interesting floral and faunal features of the Kornati lie hidden underwater, creating an unique marine ecosystem populated by some rare and peculiar species.
One of the few signs of man’s presence are the endless drystone walls that stretch on many of the islands, delimiting ancient boundaries and reminding the visitor of long gone intensive agricultural exploitation. The houses, still kept on the islands, are owned by Murter island’s residents, and traditionally built as “second houses” aimed for agricultural needs. But traces of human activities on the islands go far back to prehistoric times, while already the Romans recognised this area as highly suitable for economic activities. The byzantine fort Toreta, on the island of Kornat, is among the must-see sites of the park.
Sailing and visiting the Kornati
Due to their unique geographical features, presenting endless islands and islets, secluded coves and narrow passages, the Kornati are one of the top Croatian sailing destinations. To sail through the archipelago you will need to purchase a ticket, which can be done at one of the marinas in northern Dalmatia. Sailing along the Kornati channel is one of the best routes to fully enjoy all the park’s features, but you can detour to discover hidden gems or your perfect swimming spot.
Within the Kornati park’s area operate two ACI Marinas: Marina Žut, located in its northwestern side, providing 120 berths and Marina Piškera, located at the center of the archipelago, providing 118 berth. While at Žut all facilities are provided at all times, at Piškera the power and water supply are limited. The marinas are open from April 1st to October 31st. Outside of the marinas, anchoring overnight within the park’s bays is allowed at 16 locations: Stiniva, Statival, Lupeška, Tomasovac – Suha punta, Šipnate, Lučica, Kravljačica, Strižnja, Vruje, Gujak, Opat, Smokica, Ravni Žakan, Lavsa, Piškera – Vela Panitula, Anica on Levrnaka, Podbižanj, and Koromašna.
If you choose to sail to Kornati, remember to purchase a ticket and, if you’ll need it, a diving permit. Also, remember that the area of the park is closely guarded and has its own set of rules that help maintain it as pristine as it is.