Dugi Otok, Croatia: Things to Do & Best Beaches!
Dugi Otok is a beautiful island in Croatia and moreover a real insider’s tip for a vacation off the beaten track. Especially peace seekers, individualists and nature lovers will find their personal travel paradise on this Croatian island pearl. Absolutely charming are the dreamlike natural sceneries as well as the breathtaking, idyllic beaches, which count to the most stunning of the country. As highlights, countless spectacular things to do await you on Dugi Otok, such as a visit to the Telascica Nature Park and the famous sandy Sakarun Beach. In addition, along the picturesque coast you will discover many small dreamy fishing villages and secluded bays, which invite you to stay and relax.
In this travel guide, we give you all the important information and tips about Dugi Otok Island in Croatia. Furthermore, we show you great pictures, the best things to do in Dugi Otok, the most stunning beaches and where to find recommended accommodation.
General information about Dugi Otok
Dugi Otok is located in the Zadar archipelago in Croatia and is the largest island in Northern Dalmatia. With a proud length of 45 kilometers, it also has the nickname “the Long Island” in Croatia. It is well-known for the dream beach Sakarun in the north, but also for the impressive Telascica Nature Park with the high cliffs in the south. In addition, Dugi Otok borders the breathtaking Kornati National Park, where you can take spectacular boat trips. Thanks to the many magnificent beaches and the countless possibilities of activities such as hiking, cycling, climbing, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing, you are guaranteed not to get bored on this island.
On Dugi Otok there are 12 quiet villages with a total of about 1,500 inhabitants. Especially interesting and worth seeing is the coastal town of Sali on the southern side of the island, and Bozava and Veli Rat with the lighthouse in the north of Dugi Otok. In these places, you will also find a wide range of accommodation for your visit. There are also several small restaurants, konobas and pizzerias on the island, although you will certainly find the most places in the harbor town of Sali. A real insider tip among connoisseurs is the Konoba Regula in Zman.
Best Things to Do in Dugi Otok
On a vacation on Dugi Otok in Croatia there are many worth seeing places, natural sites and attractions to discover. Here we have summarized all the highlights, the best beaches and things to do in Dugi Otok at a glance:
Telascica Nature Park
At the southern end of the island is the Telascica Nature Park, one of the absolute best attractions on Dugi Otok. The nature park is a real tourist magnet and many excursion boats head for this natural jewel. Gigantic cliffs, picturesque bays, olive trees, breathtaking Mediterranean ambience and an intact underwater world make the park a true natural treasure. If you prefer a quieter time, it is better to visit the park in the late afternoon. Then it is the best time for a visit to Telascica Nature Park and the atmosphere is the most beautiful.
Among the most beautiful sights of the nature park are its high cliffs, the “Stene” and the salt lake “Mir”. Both attractions can be reached by a short 30-minute hike from the parking lot. Especially the path along the cliffs is amazing because there are many fantastic viewpoints here!
One of the best things to do on Dugi Otok is a visit to the beautiful Sakarun Beach. Visitors are overwhelmed at first sight. With turquoise crystal-clear waters, the white sand and surrounded by Mediterranean pine trees, thissandy beach is like no other. It is definitely one of the most popular beaches in Croatia and therefore a popular spot for day trippers from the Zadar mainland. Especially families with small children love this shallowly sloping paradisiacal sandy beach, where the little ones can also go into the water without bathing shoes. A beautiful bay that should not be missed on any vacation on Dugi Otok!
Tip: There are no accommodations directly on Sakarun Beach. Highly recommended are the Apartments Sabina, which are just a 3-minute drive from Dugi Otok’s dream beach.
Punta Bjanca Lighthouse & Veli Rat Beach
The picturesque lighthouse Punta Bjanca in Veli Rat is one of the top places to see on Dugi Otok island. It was built in 1849 and with a height of 42 meters it is the highest lighthouse in all Croatia. During a visit you can also take your bathing suit with you because to the left and right of Punta Bjanca are two gorgeous beaches for swimming. All the scenery there is really breathtaking and that’s why this is also a popular place for romantic weddings. Near the lighthouse, surrounded by fragrant pine forests, you will find the Veli Rat beach. This dream beach is not only perfect for swimming, but also gives a wonderful photo motif with the lighthouse in the background.
Veli Zal Beach
Veli Zal is an absolute insider tip which is besides to the Sakarun, one of the most beautiful beaches of Dugi Otok. The pristine bay is a mix of sandy beach and pebble beach, and with its unique turquoise blue colors a real eye-catcher. Few tourists stray to this jewel, and with a little luck, you can enjoy the dreamlike atmosphere all by yourself. The beach is somewhat hidden, and so you have to walk away from the parking lot again about 100 meters to the right along the beach.
Fort Grpascak Viewpoint
Especially recommended and one of the best things to do in Dugi Otok is a visit to Fort Grpascak. It is located in the Telascica Nature Park and offers the best view over the picturesque landscape of Dugi Otok, the imposing cliffs and the beautiful Kornati Islands in the distance. You can reach this viewpoint either by car, or by hiking along a rocky path, from the salt lakes. A visit towards evening is recommended to admire the spectacular sunsets. An experience that you will not forget so quickly.
Sali, the largest village on the island, is located at the southern end of Dugi Otok. In this resort you will find great restaurants, a supermarket, stores, ATM, bakery, some beautiful beaches and a wide selection of apartments. Especially worth seeing is the harbor with the colorful little houses and the small promenade along the sparkling sea. The pretty town of Sali is one of the most attractive places on the island and is a great place to spend a vacation due to its proximity to many attractions, such as the Telascica Nature Park and the Kornati Islands.
Moreover, the beach of Sali is also really idyllic. This well-kept, idyllic stone slab beach is perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Beautiful is also the promenade along the coast, where you can take a long walk and enjoy the unique tranquility of the island.
Tip: The Sali Modern Seaview Apartment is a really nice accommodation overlooking the picturesque harbor and a great starting point for exploring the island.
Beach Brbiscica & Blue Cave
Another outstanding attraction on Dugi Otok are the Blue Cave, the Golubinka Sea Cave, and the secluded Brbiscica Beach. The natural beauties are located on the west coast between Brbinj and Savar, where a step narrow road leads down to the coast. From the first parking, the road continues towards the beach, which is a real highlight. On the right, you can take a small footpath through the bushes down to the sea, where you first reach a natural pool, the so-called Dragons Eye Sea cave. The entrance to the cave is at the right of the pool, just a bit along the cliffs. From up there you have a great view to the entrance of the cave. The blue grotto is best to be visited by kayak or a small boat.
Tip: Meanwhile, the Golubinka Sea Cave has become a popular excursion destination from Zadar. These tours can also be booked online on Getyourguide.
Fishing Village Savar
The fishing village of Savar enchants its visitors with a picturesque little island and the crystal clear, deep blue sea bay at the little harbor. The pretty islet is connected to the town by a causeway, and during a walk there you can visit the small church of St. Peregrine and the shipwrights’ cemetery. The atmosphere there is especially beautiful in the morning, when the village of Savar is still asleep and the island shines in the morning sun.
Tip: The large apartment Anita is a charming, new accommodation and perfect for a quiet vacation. Guests love the terrace and the beautiful sea view.
Cuscica Beach & Villa Rusticae
One of the best things to do on Dugi Otok is a visit to Cuscica Beach and Villa Rusticae. These attractions are hidden in the second entrance of the Telascica Nature Park near the village Sali and only a few travelers find these dreamlike natural attractions. A gravel road leads through the park, along picturesque landscapes, down to the Cuscica beach. Here you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Kornati Islands and also snorkeling can be done in this beach area. Another must see is Villa Rusticae, a Roman ruin separated from the Kornati Islands only by a tiny channel.
Villages Bozava, Zman and Luca
On Dugi Otok there are several smalls, pretty villages to discover, such as Bozava, Zman and Luca. The charming town Bozava, which is the ideal starting point for visiting the Sakarun beach, offers tourists many small restaurants and nice cafés. And, the island’s only 4-star hotel is situated in Bozava. We also recommend a visit to the enchanting fishing village Zman, where the Konoba Regula serves delicious and inexpensive food in a wonderful atmosphere.
Kornati Islands Excursion
If you are planning a holiday to Dugi Otok, a tour to the Kornati islands is highly recommended. The National Park comprises a whopping 89 islands and reefs, stretching from Dugi Otok to the island of Zirje. A fabulously beautiful island world, which can be explored with a boat trip from Sali or Zadar. Popular tours to the unique Kornati islands can be found here.
Day trips from Zadar to Dugi Otok
If you don’t want to explore Dugi Otok self organized, you still have the possibility to join a guided tour from Zadar. Especially recommended are kayak tours, where you can paddle the most beautiful spots of the island and visit the famous Blue Cave, as well as Sakarun Beach.
Where to Stay on Dugi Otok
Dugi Otok offers its visitors a small but fine range of fantastic accommodations. From gorgeous beach hotels, cute guesthouses, fabulous apartments and top-equipped vacation homes, everything is represented here. The most popular resorts are Sali, Bozava, Soline and Zman. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Dugi Otok…It’s worth a look!
- Apartment in Sali: The Sali Modern Seaview offers beautiful, very clean apartments in Sali. Also great is the balcony and the view of the beautiful harbor.
- 4-Star Hotel: The Hotel Maxim is one of the few hotels on the island of Dugi Otok. It is located in the pretty village of Bozava, nahedes famous Sakarun Beach.
- Luxury Hotel: The luxurious Hotel Villa Nai 3.3 is a brand new 5-star hotel on Dugi Otok. Guests love the ambience, quiet location and delicious breakfast.
- Vacation Home: The Kuća za odmor LAVANDA is an absolute insider tip for Dugi Otok. Especially for families, this new, spacious and top-equipped house is worthwhile.
Find the best Accommodation at Dugi Otok: