In today’s article, we’re going to talk about a very popular destination in Croatia: Dugi Otok. We’re going to learn everything about this beautiful island, what to do once you get there and everything you need to know for a perfect stay here.
The name of Dugi Otok translated in English means Long Island. It’s not long enough to be the longest island in Croatia – it’s Hvar who manages this – but it’s still called “Long Island”.
So, where is Dugi Otok located in Croatia? In a broader geographical concept, it makes part of Northern Dalmatia region while in the narrower geographical position, it belongs to Zadar’s archipelago.
It’s the biggest island of the archipelago: 50 kilometers long and about 5 km wide. It is quite distant from the mainland and you will usually spend around one hour and a half to get there from Zadar. But it’s totally worth the wait!
Check it out on the map below:
Why is Dugi Otok so special? What to do there?
We all know that most – if not all – islands along Croatia’s coastline have some particularities that make the great destinations, even if just for a day. But Dugi Otok is very special: being a larger island, there are even more things than usually to lure you in.
I’ll start by listing some of the things that make Dugi Otok so special – these are some of the things to see on the island, as soon as you get there:
- It remains one of those few places where you can enjoy tranquillity even during the high season, making it the ideal destination for tourists that will appreciate the peace and the natural beauty of the island itself.
- Dugi Otok is the closest island to the Telascica park as well as the Kornati National Park islands paradise. Visit Croatia’s landscape page to learn more about these truly magical places in the country!
- Salt lake ‘Mir’ (Peace) is located in the south-western part of the Nature Park Telascica. It is one of the most beautiful things you can see and a truly unique attraction in the world!
- On the open-sea side of the Telascica bay, you can see the vertical cliffs, the famous ‘Stene’ of Long Island, reaching a height of up to 200 meters – a mountain coming out of the sea and it’s pretty spectacular!
- Dugi Otok is home to the tallest lighthouse on the Adriatic (42 meters), Veli Rat. The place also offers accommodation there, if you want a truly unforgettable experience.
How to get to Dugi Otok
I have to admit that finding the car ferry connections from Zadar to Dugi Otok can be quite confusing if you don’t know the right place to go on the island. There are two companies that keep connections between Zadar to Dugi Otok at the moment.
Jadrolinija company – Croatia’s state company offers online booking and runs one car ferry line from Zadar to the island, as well as a fast catamaran line.
- Car ferry line N° 434 from Zadar (Gazenica port) to Brbinj (Dugi Otok). It sails daily and it takes one hour and forty minutes. It transport cars and passengers.
- Catamaran line N° 9404 leaves from Zadar to Rivanj – Sestrunj – Zverinac – Bozava – Brbinj (Only last two ports are on Dugi Otok). Make sure not to mix this number with 9404a, which will take you to different destinations!
For all the details and destination – as well as booking – you can check the official Jadrolinija page here. It’s available in English as well.
The second company that runs ferries and/or catamarans to Dugi Otok is G&V Line. Here are the details about the lines that are currently heading that way:
- High speed line N° 9406 Zadar – Sali (Dugi Otok) – Zaglav (Dugi Otok) – Brsanj (Iz) and backward.
- Ship Line N° 405 Zadar – Iz – Rava. It leaves from Zadar’s city port.
You can get the latest details, schedule and the chance to book your ferry from the company’s official website here.
Dugi Otok Beaches
Once you get there, probably the main thing that you’ll want to do is hit the beaches. The island offers many of them – some very remote and rarely crowded.
You can reach some of the most beautiful beaches on Dugi Otok by motor boat only, or with sailing boats – which can be found available for rent on the island itself.
If you prefer some less remote and very popular beaches – very high quality beaches, as well, my favorite is by far the Saharun (Sakarun) beach: a sandy beach that you will fall in love with instantly, for sure!
It’s situated on the wooden northwest coast of Dugi Otok, south of Soline village and near Bozava village and Veli Rat. It can be easily reached by car and it’s a bit more touristy, without getting overcrowded.
The Saharun beach is a long beach facing the open sea. It is a beautiful cove of white sand, with the water getting brilliant turquoise colors and being shaded by pine trees.
The water is really shallow and beginner friendly: even 200 meters away from the coast, the sea will still be shallow and only up to your waist. This means that the water is also really warm generally – a pleasure to take a swim there!
In the past few years, this beach became more and more popular and nowadays it can be the host of some summer beach parties and larger crowds, but it still remains a must visit on the island.
Sali Village in Dugi Otok
This is the biggest village on the island, with its name coming from the medieval term for salt production.
This is the one you should mark on your map and visit, mainly due to its proximity to Croatia’s beautiful National Parks – Kornati and Telascica.
This is a place ideal for a family holiday, ideal for visiting Kornati islands taking one of day tours or renting your own fast speed boat.
It’s even better if you manage to get to the village in August, as that’s when the famous Saljske Uzance fiesta takes place – it’s a local celebration that lasts for 3-4 days. It always takes place in the first weekend of August.
If you happen to be there, make sure to check out the famous donkey races on Sundays, taking place at the Sali harbor. The traditional donkey races are called “Trke tovarov” and are a spectacular event for tourists.
And these would be things you’d need to know to make your stay in Dugi Otok, Croatia, a delightful experience.
Enjoy your stay and if you have any other questions or recommendations to make, don’t hesitate to do so by commenting below!