Kornati Islands, Croatia: Travel Guide to Kornati NP
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 an incredible 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 breathtaking pictures, the most beautiful things to see in the national park and tell you how best to organize a Kornati excursion.
Good to know!
The best starting points for a trip to the Kornati Islands are the resorts in the Zadar region, Murter Island and Sibenik. You can either rent a boat with a skipper or book a guided tour.
On a day trip to the Kornati Islands, you can also plan a visit to the nearby Telascica Nature Park. Here, you will explore the famous Silver Lake Mir and marvel at the gigantic cliffs of the rocky coast.
The Kornati National Park is famous for its beautiful underwater world. However, diving is only allowed in organized groups and dives are only conducted by verified diving schools.
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 highly recommended! Consisting of over 150 islands and reefs, they form the largest and also the 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 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 swimming 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.
A real 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 truly 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 outstanding 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.
- Guided Group Tours: 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.
Read more about Croatia :
The 15 Best Beaches in Croatia
15 Unique Things to do in Split, Croatia
Makarska, Croatia: The Complete Travel Guide!
15 Unique Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
15 Best Places to Visit in Istria, Croatia
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Wow amazing place and pictures are awesome !!!
Never thought about visiting Croatia. From the looks of all your photos it is a beautiful place to visit. That water looks so clean and beautiful.
Beautiful photos. There is so much blue in the skies and water. Kornati looks like a desert little paradise. Good thing it wasn’t featured in GOT or it would be overrun with gaukers now.
The place looks so pristine and peaceful, I’ve not been to Croatia, but we have been talking about heading there. I will surely include Kornati Island into our itinerary if we do
Those views are breathtaking. Kornati Islands truly look beautiful you are really lucky to get to see those views first hand. It sounds like you had a great trip.
Ah Croatia. It has been on my list for many many years now. I really do want to go before it gets ‘too’ touristy. These islands do look fantastic too. Maybe this year. I deserve it after spending winter in Russia and Siberia!
I live on a sailboat full time and the Med is a very popular place for cruising. I hope we get there someday so I can explore these islands from my boat! I hear Croatia is a great place to get out of Schengen.
OMG this place is heaven! Your photos are gorgeous and looks like those wallpaper in my screen. Time to sort my schedule and insert Croatia to my travel bucket list.
Places like this makes me appreciate so much how wonderfully God created the earth. If only I could travel the world and visit all of them.
Oh, that blue water. What a beautiful sight. I can understand why George Bernard Shaw made such a statement about Kornati Islands. Great suggestion to hire a skipper to take you to the islands.
All of the water shots are so tempting … I’m in need of a vacation, so this is perfect timing to learn about a new spot!
Croatia is one of my dream destinations. Your pictures are so beautiful, I would like to get on the plane right away ..
Thank you, Susanne