Ugljan Island, Croatia: A Complete Guide to Olive-Island!
Ugljan Island is a stunning paradise in Croatia and above all it is still a real insider tip for a relaxing beach vacation in the Zadar region. Especially individualists, peace seekers and nature lovers, who are looking for the very special Croatia experience, will find their personal travel happiness on the so-called Olive Island. There are so many amazing things to do in Ugljan. Fascinating is above all the natural beauty of this island pearl, the numerous romantic beaches, the rustic flair and the many possibilities of activities. On top of that, there are some interesting attractions to explore! Among the highlights are the charming coastal villages of Preko and Kukljica, the pretty monasteries and castles, and also the unique charm as well as the gentle tourism make Ugljan a real gem of the Croatian island world.
In this travel guide we give you all the important info and tips about the island of Ugljan in Croatia. We show you the best pictures, the most beautiful beaches and attractions, and where to find the best accommodations.
General information about Ugljan Island
Ugljan is a beautiful, very idyllic island in Dalmatia and still an insider tip for those who are looking for that very special Croatia feeling. It is located only a short 25-minute boat ride from the famous city of Zadar and is also connected to the neighboring island of Pasman via a bridge. With a size of only 50 km² and 6,100 inhabitants, Ugljan is relatively small and wonderfully quiet. The most stunning places as well as attractions can be comfortably explored during an island tour by car or bike. Most of the villages on the island of Ugljan are located along the east coast, the other side of the island is largely untouched. Among the most charming coastal villages are Preka, Kali, Ugljan and Kukljica.
The island of Ugljan is nicknamed “The Olive Island”, because olive trees have been shaping the fascinating landscape of this green, hilly pearl for 2,000 years. However, it is mainly the breathtaking beaches, the countless possibilities of activities such as hiking, biking and climbing, and the many historical attractions that make Ugljan Island a real highlight in Croatia. Moreover, you can enjoy there a fantastic tourist offer of good accommodation, guesthouses and campsites, which guarantee an unforgettable vacation.
Best Things to Do in Ugljan Island
On a visit to Ugljan in Croatia there are numerous worth-seeing places, natural sites and historical attractions to discover. Here we have summarized all the highlights and the best things to do in Ugljan Island for you at a glance:
One of the most beautiful places on the island of Ugljan is the enchanting Preko. This romantic fishing village is located in the center of the island on the east coast and connects, thanks to the ferry port, Ugljan with Zadar. Walking along the promenade you will be amazed by the unique flair, the charming harbor and the fascinating Dalmatian architecture. The most famous attraction is the monastery Island Galovac, which is located directly in front of Preko. Also worth seeing are the Washwomen Monument, the Romanesque church of St. John the Baptist and the fortress of St. Michael on a mountain high above the town. Moreover, the town’s beautiful beaches, which line the promenade and are perfect for a vacation, are especially popular.
Tip: The Dunatovi Dvori is an insider’s tip for a very special vacation on Ugljan. This charming heritage hotel is located by the sea and the overall ambiance is enchantingly stunning.
The island of Galovac is one of the most beautiful attractions on Ugljan. This romantic monastery island is located only 85 meters from the village of Preko and a visit is a must on every trip. During a tour of the mini-island you will be amazed by the wonderful idyll, where green pine trees together with the blue sea conjure up a Mediterranean oasis of tranquility. Also worth seeing is the monastery of St. Pavle Pustinjak from 1410, which is located on a small hill in the center of the island. However, the area around the church may not be entered with swimwear. It is also interesting to visit at Sunday mass at 9:00 am, because then this historical attraction as well as a library can also be visited from the inside.
Tip: A small rowing boat takes you from the harbor over to the monastery island for little money. However, many also take the direct way, and swim or wade through the shallow water.
The charming Kukljica is located in the southern part of the island and many consider it the most beautiful place on Ugljan. And really, this fishing town is absolutely worth seeing. The church of St. Paul from the 17th century is marvelous and together with the picturesque promenade lined with palm trees and the wonderful harbor it forms the center of Kukljica. Here you can also find numerous fabulous restaurants, ice cream parlors and cafes where you can enjoy the magical atmosphere of Kukljica. The wooded peninsula of Zelena Punta is also beautiful, and the beautiful Zelena Punta beach invites you to swim.
Tip: In Kukljica you can find a wide range of accommodation, such as Apartments Bosotina, not far from the pretty center and beaches.
Village Ugljan & Franciscan Monastery
In the northern part of Ugljan Island is the homonymous village of Ugljan, a popular place for a quiet island vacation. Beautiful and the most important place to visit is the sandy beach Mostir with the picturesque Franciscan monastery of St. Jerome. The monastery was already founded in 1430 and today it is one of the most interesting attractions of the vacation island. The Mostir beach is also a real gem and very popular especially with families with children. Absolutely charming is also the promenade of Ugljan, which connects the center with the beaches of the different parts of the village. On the way you will always find mosaic benches, which are a particularly popular photo location on Ugljan.
Tip: The Apartmani Lenka is a beautiful vacation apartment in the small town of Ugljan. Excellent is the quiet location, and the proximity to the sea and beaches.
The fishing village Kali is the largest village on Ugljan and on top of that a truly wonderful place to spend an unforgettable vacation on the island. The romantic village center of Kali was built up a hill and fascinates with Dalmatian charm at its best. Walking through the center, you will be amazed by a real jumble of alleys with stone houses and the baroque church of Sveti Lovre, which towers over the old town. The fishing tradition is still alive today, which makes the atmosphere in the town absolutely authentic. Enchanting are also the beaches of Kali, which are lined up along the idyllic promenade and offer optimal conditions for a joyful bathing vacation.
Tip: In the village you can find some beautiful accommodations for a vacation on Ugljan, such as Apartmani Kali, which are located in a prime location directly behind the beach Batalaza.
Fort St. Michael
One of the most beautiful things to do on Ugljan Island is a visit to the Fort St. Michael. The history of this imposing historical fortress is said to date back to the 6th century, with the current structure dating back to the 13th century. In the Venetian period, the fort served as a lookout post as well as a defense for the city of Zadar. Today, the Fort St. Michael is a ruin absolutely worth seeing, and a popular destination for excursions and hikes. It is located on a 265 meter high mountain above the town of Preko and enchants with the most stunning view over the island of Ugljan and the Zadar archipelago.
Tip: Many come in the evening to admire the spectacular sunsets of Ugljan from the fortress. It is a wonderful experience that will be remembered long time.
Beach Juzna Luka
The Plaza Juzna Luka Beach is a highlight of the island of Ugljan. This gorgeous sandy beach is located in the north of the island, in an extremely picturesque landscape and is surrounded by wonderful green pine forests. However, this picturesque place is famous for its outstanding sandy beach, which conjures up a fascinating backdrop with the boulders in the turquoise sea. On top of that, while bathing there, you can enjoy a wonderful tranquility and admire an interesting underwater world while snorkeling. Even in the high season, Juzna Luka beach remains idyllic and is a perfect tip for relaxing hours by the sea.
Tip: The beach Juzna Luka is accessible via a short walk from the resort Muline. Here you can also find great accommodations like Apartments Vidakovic.
A jewel of Ugljan Island is the charming fishing village of Poljana. Vacationers love the quiet, serene atmosphere of the charming village, which is a guarantee for relaxing days by the sea. The promenade leading from the center to the neighboring village of Preko is also beautiful. On the way you will be amazed by the colorful buildings and the beautiful bathing bays, which invite you to swim and relax in the summer. In the small harbor there are also rustic konobas to stay and enjoy. Even in the high season it is quiet here, and so you get to know Ugljan from one of its most beautiful sides.
Tip: For a vacation with the family or for small groups we recommend Villa Tea. The modern vacation house is situated in a charming location not far from the sea.
Fishing Harbour Prtljug
The rustic fishing harbour Prtjljug is an insider tip on Ugljan. This absolutely wild and romantic harbor is located on the unspoiled west coast of the island and can only be reached by a gravel road. Unique are especially the typical stone fishermen’s houses, which give this place an absolutely charming ambience. In the turquoise sea the boats of the fishermen are rocking, colorful nets decorate the hamlets and the quiet flair makes time stand still. The sea is also wonderfully clear on this stretch of coast and snorkeling allows you to observe an interesting underwater world with numerous fish.
A charming place and a tip for a vacation on Ugljan is Sutomiscica. This small resort is especially famous for its large marina, the so-called Olive Island Marina, which is even still family-run. Excellent is also the restaurant there, which serves culinary specialties. Right next to the marina is the romantic village center of Sutomiscica, where you can find interesting sights. Beautiful are the baroque holiday house of the Lantana family from Zadar, which dates back to the 17th century, and the town church of St. Gregory from 1402. In addition, Sutomiscica has several beaches, first of all the picturesque Plaza Sutomiscica.
Tip: The Villa Santa Eufemia is an accommodation for a very special vacation on Ugljan. Guests love the dreamlike ambience, the small pool and the great facilities.
Cycling & Hiking on Ugljan
On a vacation on Ugljan you have numerous opportunities for activities like cycling and hiking. Around the island, along the coast, through olive groves, past authentic villages and in the mountains there are numerous interesting routes for it. A network of more than 40 kilometers of paths provides optimal conditions and so it is no wonder that many active vacationers have discovered this island pearl for themselves. In many resorts you can also find mountain bike and e-bike rentals, and guided island tours are often offered. Climbers will also find great routes on the steep slopes of the west coast.
A gem on Ugljan Island is the romantic village of Lukoran, which, strictly speaking, consists of the parts Veliki Lukoran and Mali Lukoran. This lovely little village with picturesque stone houses is a guarantee for a relaxing vacation on the island. One of the most beautiful beaches is Plaza Lovre, a magnificent sandy beach with turquoise blue colors. The sea is particularly calm on this part of the coast, and the fine sand allows easy entry into the water. Nearby you will also find a beach bar and a typical Croatian konoba provides for culinary well-being.
Tip: There are only a few accommodations in quiet Lukoran. Nice is the vacation cottage Capesanta Atraktivna with whirlpool in romantic surroundings.
Excursions and Daytrips from Ugljan
During a vacation on the island of Ugljan, thanks to its optimal location in the Zadar archipelago, you have the possibility to go on unforgettable trips to the surrounding area. Here are the most stunning excursion destinations from Ugljan:
You should definitely visit the neighboring island of Pasman with its many viewpoints, bike paths and villages, which is connected to Ugljan via a bridge.
Especially recommended is a unforgettable boat trip to the Kornati Islands, a nature reserve with hundreds of islands not far from Ugljan.
Where to Stay on Ugljan Island
Ugljan offers its visitors a wide range of fantastic accommodations. From gorgeous beach hotels, cute guesthouses, fabulous apartments and top-equipped campsites, everything is represented here. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay on Ugljan Isand…It’s worth a look!
- Mobile Homes by the Sea: An insider tip are the mobile homes of Camping Ugljan Resort! Guests love the family atmosphere and the proximity to the beach.
- Beautiful Vacation Home: The Villa Tea is situated in a beautiful, quiet location in Poljana and is a great choice for families or small groups.
- Apartment on the Beach: The Apartmani Kali offers several apartments directly on the beach Batalaza in Kali. Bars and restaurants are also not far away.
- Hotel by the Sea: The Dunatovi Dvori is one of the best hotels on Ugljan. This heritage hotel is located in Preko by the sea, and the whole ambience is magical.
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