SAILING FROM SPLIT TO KORNATI ISLANDS
Choosing Split as the starting point for your sailing holidays in Croatia is never a wrong call; however, you will surely not regret choosing the Kornati islands as your main sailing destination. This stunning archipelago may consist of bare islands, but its bare beauty is what makes it so special. The archipelago is rich in sharp cliffs, crystal waters, caves, tunnels…; and for sailors, it represents a true paradise.
Here is why you will love the Kornati islands and enjoy all the way from Split on the sailing trip that offers many magical stops along the way.
National Park Kornati
DRVENIK VELI AND DRVENIK MALI
Drvenik Veli (“veli” meaning “great”) is not actually a big island, but it is called “Veli” because it is the bigger one out of the two “Drvenik” islands. It is located near the town of Trogir, and it is rather peaceful, with only about 160 inhabitants. The island prides itself with its indented coastline and many beautiful pebble and sandy beaches.
The southern side of the island is graced with the gorgeous Solinska bay, while on the eastern side is located the place well known under the name “Blue Lagoon”, but actually called “Krknjaši”. It is the place where the color of the sea hypnotizes. There is also a quality restaurant where you can try some of the best seafood dishes.
Drvenik Veli - entrance to the harbor
Drvenik Mali (“mali” meaning “small”) is, what we can already conclude from the name, a small island, also located close to the town of Trogir, near Drvenik Veli. The island is very peaceful, with only about 50 inhabitants, no traffic nor buildings/attractions that can occupy its visitors. The only attractions are the charm of the island itself, its untouched nature, and the unutterable beauty of the sea that surrounds it. On Drvenik Mali, you can find white, sandy beaches with the glistering, transparent sea, and even only for that, it is worth visiting!
In the sandy bay “Vela Rina” find a restaurant that offers a variety of typical Mediterranean meals and restore your energy after the day of swimming.
If you are sailing in Croatia from Split to Kornati Islands, Between the two stunning Dalmatian towns, Split and Šibenik, you will hardly miss the uniquely shaped Primošten peninsula.
According to some sources, Primošten was situated on a small island, and in the first half of the 16th century, it became surrounded by walls and towers for defense, with one bridge connecting it to the mainland. In the second half of the 16th century, the islet became a small peninsula thanks to the bridge being replaced by an embankment.
Aerial view of beautiful Primošten
Even though it always grew in prosperity, in its core, Primošten is a small fishing village with a typical Mediterranean atmosphere. The old town is characterized by stone houses, narrow streets, and interesting architecture with the 15th-century church and bell tower at the highest peak of the place.
Primošten is also a good and safe harbor that provides natural shelter from winds when sailing in Croatia.
Beautiful old vineyards (famous wine Babić) on the stony surrounding hills, gorgeous beaches, and clear sea are some of the additional features this little town is well known for. Velika Radunica & Mala Radunica are the two most popular beaches, but there are many others, those more crowded as well as those more hidden and tranquil.
For the best places where to eat out in Primošten, consult Tripadvisor.
Šibenik, once the capital of a king, is now the third-largest Dalmatian town that also stands for the oldest native Croatian town on the Adriatic.
Šibenik - a charming coastal town in Dalmatia
In the middle of the coast, in the dreamlike Krka River bay, stands this town of great historical value.
Filled with many cultural and historical monuments, the city is also adorned with its four fortresses each of which makes an excellent sightseeing destination. One of the four, the St. Nicholas Fortress, situated on a small island just at the entrance to Šibenik, is a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site.
However, this fortress is not the only UNESCO-protected Site of Šibenik. There is also the magnificent St. James Cathedral that had been built for more than 100 years incorporating both Gothic and Renaissance styles. The Cathedral is actually one of the most unique constructions of the European late Middle Ages, very well-known and the highlight of the city!
Stunning Cathedral of St. James - a real masterpiece and the highlight of the town
Šibenik is also a city with a number of events and concerts taking place each summer. Therefore, if you like either good fun or beautiful historic sights, Šibenik is the city you should visit when on sailing holidays in Croatia!
To find the best restaurants in Šibenik, we recommend consulting Tripadvisor.
Krka River reaches the sea in central Dalmatia right near the town of Šibenik. The Krka National Park covers a large area of majestic waterfalls and a deep canyon of running water, including beautiful flora and fauna.
Overlooking the breathtaking Krka Waterfalls
Visiting this National Park while on sailing holidays in Croatia, you can enjoy the whole day with many different paths and tours to walk, boat excursions to take (certainly recommended), attractions and archaeological remains to see, and restaurants/coffee shops where to stop for a break.
The most alluring and the most visited part of Krka Waterfalls is Skradinski Buk – literally a big natural pool with amazing high waterfalls. Roški Slap, the sixth waterfall, is also very popular, with beautiful walking and hiking trails around.
Skradinski Buk - what a beauty! Almost as if you can hear the murmur of the water.
Visovac is, as well, worth mentioning - this is a tiny island in the river adorned with an old monastery and church that can be reached by boat from Skradinski Buk.
A beautiful view over the island of Visovac in the Krka river.
Visovac - a small piece of paradise.
The most popular place in the Krka National Park, Skradinski Buk, is named after this small town. Therefore, a lot of people leave (by boat, bicycle, or on foot) for Skradinski Buk waterfalls from Skradin.
The fresh smell of early morning in Skradin.
This small settlement is located a few kilometers away from the town of Šibenik but just at the entrance to the National Park, at the top of a deep bay on the right bank of the river. The settlement has a long, rich history, and it is typically Mediterranean, characterized by narrow streets, a lot of stairs, and stone houses. Skradin has been demolished several times in the past but today, it is a protected cultural heritage and a beautiful, charming place.
Aerial view of Skradin and its marina - one of the most beautiful and well-protected ACI marinas, located right where the Krka river reaches the sea.
To find the recommendations for restaurants in Skradin, consult TripAdvisor.
Zlarin is, in general, a small island, but still, the third-largest island in the Šibenik archipelago, only 2 kilometers away from the mainland, known also as the “guardian of Šibenik”.
As is the case with a lot of smaller islands, Zlarin does not have many permanent inhabitants, only around 200; but there is a significant increase in population over summer. Many people from Šibenik have a place to stay on one of the nearby islands, Zlarin included, where they relocate to spend the summer.
The small island of Zlarin - settlement
This sunny island is also well protected from both northern and southern winds and therefore it is popular among sailors when on holidays in Croatia.
One of the highlights of the island is its highest peak from which it is possible to see all the way to mount Velebit on a nice day. Furthermore, the island is endowed with the natural beauty of its flora including fig and cypress trees around the settled area, and thick forest in its inner parts.
- Zlarin is also known as “Coral island” thanks to the beautiful red corals its sea is rich with
- On the island of Zlarin, cars are not allowed; imagine the stillness!
To find the best restaurants on the island of Zlarin, we recommend consulting TripAdvisor.
The island of Kaprije is located in the middle of the Šibenik archipelago and it is an inevitable destination for a stop when sailing from Split to the Kornati islands.
Enjoying peace and quiet on Kaprije island - a look over the port in the small settlement of Kaprije
The island was settled only in the 15th century, and today, the eponymous settlement Kaprije on the southern part is the only one on the island. The settlement’s harbor in a deep bay provides a good shelter from all winds.
The whole island is full of tiny, intertwined paths that lead to different parts, usually to olive groves and vineyards that are the main ‘working places’ of the locals. Once on the island, you can find many useful places: a clinic, a post office, ATMs, small shops and of course, restaurants/cafés.
One of the little paths on the island of Kaprije leading from the island's harbor to stunning beaches on the other side of the coast.
For those who like active holidays, there is the option to climb the island's peak at 129m above sea level and enjoy wonderful views of both Kaprije and the surrounding islands.
The island feels like an oasis and there are many beautiful coves around it where to anchor and simply enjoy.
The coastline is magical and, in some places, where the sea is literally transparent you feel like you are floating when looking down to the bottom – this is how clear the water is! And when looking from the coast at the sea, you get hypnotized by the glistering turquoise color.
Look at the transparency and the turquoise glister of the sea around Kaprije.
Same as Zlarin, Kaprije is also an island without cars, so it is a perfect escape from everyday rush and noise.
The island of Žirje is the furthest inhabited island (22 kilometers away from Šibenik), and the largest one in the Šibenik archipelago.
What the island is made of are ridges, rocky beaches, and fertile farmland in the central part. The population of the island is small and decreasing, and the locals are mainly occupied with fishing (the sea around Žirje is abundant in fish), vineyards, and olive groves (typically Mediterranean). Those who love spending time in nature can enjoy the beautiful cycle and walking paths.
The attractions of the island are also 12th and 13th-century walls and fortresses that witness the island’s past. During the Yugoslav period, some parts of Žirje were closed both for inhabitants and visitors for almost 50 years (similar to the islands of Vis and Lastovo). It is rather peaceful on Žirje since the tourism has not developed in a way as it has on other Dalmatian islands and Žirje is one of the best choices for an idyllic sailing holiday, distant from the mainland.
The island of Žirje; old ruins and sailboats.
To find the best restaurants on the island of Žirje, we recommend consulting TripAdvisor.
This breathtaking archipelago of over 100 dispersed islands, islets, and reefs is a true paradise for those sailing in Croatia. The coasts of the islands are sheer, full of sharp cliffs, and pretty unique, and 89 of the Archipelago’s islands are making a National Park.
The naked beauty of the Kornati islands.
The islands are uninhabited with the largest one being the Kornat Island that shares the name with the Archipelago. There are, however, a few private houses where the landowners come to spend the agricultural season. Also, on Kornat, there are houses that provide accommodation for visitors as well as restaurants/bars that are open during summertime.
Sailboats in the Kornati archipelago.
The highlight of the Archipelago are definitely its protected waters that are crystal clear and make swimming and snorkeling magical! The cliffs and rocks also grace the underwater areas, so diving into different caves and tunnels among the interesting underwater life is a special feeling. We recommend joining an organized diving group and having fun while exploring.
The cliffs gracing the coast of the Kornati islands.
If you are more into activities on land, rather than into the underwater ones, you can always join an organized hiking tour. On the island of Kornat, there is a tour that includes hiking all the way to the top of Metlina hill. During summer heats, the steep climbs might be demanding but this one is definitely worth it – when arriving at the top, you get to enjoy the breathtaking view over the entire Archipelago.
Note that, to sail through the Kornati National Park, you need to have a valid ticket.
You can buy a ticket:
- On the island of Murter
- in Zakan Harbor on the island of Ravni Zakan (NP Kornati)
- in Vruje bay on the island of Kornat (NP Kornati)
- in the NP Kornati at one of the boats that sail through the area and sell the tickets
For top restaurants on Kornati islands, consult TripAdvisor.
The striking contrast between the blue sea and the light grey limestone hills will leave you breathless while sailing from Žirje to Piškera island in the Kornati archipelago.
The island of Piškera with a surface of 2.66 square kilometers is one of the larger islands in the Kornati group. It is uninhabited and the only outpost of civilization on it is the ACI marina.
The islands of Kornati can also be divided into Upper Kornati (the northern part of the islands closer to the mainland) and Lower Kornati (the islands on the southwest that are mostly in the open sea).
Žut is the second-largest island of Kornati and it is part of the southwest group of islands, located between the island of Pašman and the island of Kornat. However, the island is not part of the National Park.
National Park Kornati- the view from the island of Žut.
It is separated from the largest island, Kornat, by a three kilometers wide channel. Similar to the island of Žirje, Žut is adorned with steep cliffs and an interesting, indented coastline that offers many well-protected bays where to hide from the rest of the world and enjoy.
Again, like on Žirje, on this island, there are also no permanent local inhabitants, only landowners and fishermen (usually from the island of Murter) that visit Žut during the agricultural season (vineyards, olive, and fig groves).
You can spend the night either anchored in one of the bays or safely moored in beautiful ACI marina placed in the harbor on the west end of Žut:
The marina on the island of Žut.
Telašćica is a bay and Nature Park on the southern part of the Dugi Otok island. The bay has many assets to attract visitors: wild, cliffy coastline on some parts, but also idyllic, not so steep coastline on other parts; both cultivated and barren land, interesting walking and hiking paths (Grpašćak viewpoint), spectacular beaches, various inside and surrounding islets, extremely rich flora and fauna, interesting underwater life, valuable archaeological heritage testifying of ancient times, and on top of it all, a salt lake called “Mir” (eng. Peace) in the middle of the land.
Visitors enjoy taking a bath in the lake which is always a few degrees warmer than the sea.
Apart from all of this, beautiful Telašćica is also a large and safe natural port which is another reason why sailors love it.
Dugi Otok island, beautiful Telačćica with its salt lake, and the view over the Kornati islands.
As in the Kornati National Park, diving in this Nature Park among rich sea life and near cliffs is an extraordinary experience.
Stunning cliffs in Telašćica Nature Park.
Please note that since Telašćica is a park of nature you are required to pay the entrance ticket.
To find the best restaurants near Telašćica Nature Park consult TripAdvisor.
This little island is a part of the Zadar archipelago and it is separated from the mainland by the eponymous channel.
It is one of Croatia’s green islands and its sea is one of the cleanest along Croatia’s Adriatic coast.
Beautiful remains of Roman architecture contribute to the island’s charm, and the agricultural land adorns its surface. The inhabitants live modestly, mostly from agriculture and fishing.
The island is covered in beautiful Mediterranean flora and offers interesting walking paths.
Pašman also offers a lot of beautiful sandy beaches with cafes and bars.
To find the best places where to have lunch/dinner on Pašman we recommend consulting TripAdvisor.