The Kornati islands are a bunch of islands in Croatia. More than a bunch, actually: over 100 islands and islets make up this archipelago which gets its name from the main island, Kornati. There are a lot of things to see and do here and we’ll talk about them in today’s article.
Did Bernard Shaw exaggerate when, after visiting the Kornati islands for the first time, he said: “On the last day of the Creation God desired to crown his work, and thus created the these islands out of tears, stars and breath“?
Probably he did! But only when you see them with your own eyes, you understand what he was talking about. These islands do have something magical about them!
You will be astonished by the contrast of sharp white rocks (similar to the moon surface) and the relaxing blueness of the sea, hiding infinite secrets of its inhabitants. Definitely a place to fall in love with!
Once you become aware of the natural surroundings, you will become conscious that you are in the middle of the heaven on earth with two unbelievable patterns perfectly matching each other.
Based on the union of these two extremities we have the Kornati National Park – the actual name of the archipelago itself. So don’t be surprised if you hear people talking about the Kornati islands and calling them the “Kornati National Park” – it’s the same thing!
A trip to the Kornati islands will definitely be a significant piece of the puzzle of your visit to Croatia, because strolling on the islands will quickly become a favorite pastime.
A view of the Kornati beauties will convince you that Mother Nature truly thought of everything. But let’s see exactly what to do and what to see in order to have the best possible experience here.
How to enjoy Kornati islands?
Sailing & boat renting
Probably the best way to experience the islands is by taking an island hopping tour. These usually start in Zadar and take you to the best islands and islets in the archipelago.
I actually recommend going with an organized tour instead of maybe renting a boat and sailing yourself: the people there know exactly where to take you, how to optimize time spent there and it’s a lot more relaxing.
Definitely fill up with a yummy fish lunch in one of the many konobas (restaurants) around the area, then burn those calories instantly by swimming in secluded locations difficult to reach from the mainland, and you’ll have a perfect day in your memory, one that you will never forget.
If you are a diving devotee, then these islands are created just for you! Whether you are an experienced diver or a beginner, the Kornati submarine life will not disappoint you.
Seven diving zones invite you to discover the underwater excitement. All you have to do is follow the lead of one of the local diving centers that are sure to point you in the right direction.
My choice is Najada Diving Club from Murter Island. But whatever club you choose, make sure that you go for one that organizes official group tours, as they need special diving permits to operate. Don’t risk it with unauthorized divers!
Expect to pay around 100 kuna for one day of diving.
Hiking & walking trails
There are two educational trails in the Kornati National Park: Trtusa and Vela Panitula. Both trails offer visitors an opportunity to discover the environmental story of Kornati, from geography, meteorology, terrestrial and marine biology to island traditions.
Keep in mind that the terrestrial part of the park is privately owned by the local inhabitants (mainly from Murter island). They are owners of the island’s land with the exception of the coastal area that is part of the maritime domain.
Hiking to numerous viewpoints is not particularly demanding, but visitors are advised to always carry enough water with them and to use the existing island paths and trails.
For those who love nature and hiking this will be a perfect experience, even though it will have to be a bit more of a DIY type of thing as there are no hiking tours that I know of in the area.
Kornati island accommodation
The whole Kornati archipelago offers a great number of private accommodation options, with the best of them being available on the Kornati island itself.
Vacation houses on Kornati Islands are the ideal choice for anyone who wants to enjoy a Robinson-style vacation or looking for a peaceful and quiet destination.
This means that accommodation is usually made in privately owned cottages and village houses which have their own charm (but sometimes lack in amenities).
I have selected two potential options for you – both on the Kornati Island: one in the National Park itself and one farther away. Both are absolutely breathtaking, with sea views and tranquil life.
They also have all the modern amenities that we so much need, the houses themselves are renovated and in a good shape and I am 100% confident that you will love them.
1. Holiday Home Uvala Suha Punta 8168
While this place doesn’t win any awards when it comes to its name, it’s really a good option for those looking to stay in the Kornati National Park.
You’ll be living in a secluded fisherman’s house, a traditional Croatian structure that has been recently renovated and updated with modern amenities.
Simple furniture and relatively small rooms, but with a lot of personality and especially with a perfect view: the house is located right by the water and you’ll definitely fall in love with those views and spend all your time outside.
2. Robinson fisherman’s home
This one is a perfect choice is you really want to be away from the world, but also get access to some modern amenities. This one is even more modern than the first and offers similarly awesome location.
You’re not in the wilderness there, though: there’s a nice restaurant nearby and ships will always be there in the bay, and you’ll be able to look at them as well as the beautiful sea from your own private terrace.
Of the two (and all accommodation options on Kornati, this one’s my favorite.
Accommodation capacities are rather limited, but visitors can arrange boat rental or delivery of supplies with landowners, in order to make their island stay more comfortable if they’re in a spot that doesn’t have shops or restaurants nearby.
You can find more info about private rentals inside the National Park itself on the Kornati National Park website.
Kornati Islands Attractions
The famous “crowns” (steep cliffs) of Kornati are a well known feature of most of the islands in this archipelago that face the open sea.
The highest ‘crown’ in the Kornati National Park can be found on the island of Klobucar (rising 82 meters above the sea).
The longest ‘crown’ (above the sea surface) is on the island of Mana (1350 meters long). Make sure to check these out as you’ll end up with some really nice, Instagram-worthy pictures!
These ancient dwellings are proof that the islands were inhabited at the time of the Illyrians. Not much is left of them, but taking a step back in time and imagining how it was living back then is always nice.
Small individual or grouped rectangular dwellings are still visible on islands of Kornat and Zut.
This is the most remarkable historical monument in the Kornati archipelago, dating from the Byzantine period.
The fortress of Tureta can be found on the island of Kornat and it is believed that it was built sometime in the 6th century. It’s amazing that even parts of those structures are still standing today!
The fortress was actually a military garrison that controlled navigation through the Kornati archipelago during those times. It’s the only monument left in the area from that period and definitely one you have to put on your “to see” list.
The salt works on the Island of Lavsa
The cove of Lavsa can be found on the island with the same name. It hides the submerged remains of the salt-works and salt storage facilities from the second half of the 14th century.
During low tide, these stone remains rise above the sea surface and can be seen. It’s definitely one of the main attractions in the area.
Church of Our Lady of Tarac
Only the apse and part of the foundations have remained from the original Church.
In the late Middle Ages, a small church dedicated to the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in the nave of the original church. This small church is also known as the Church of Our Lady of Tarac and is one of the top things to see when you visit the archipelago.
Kornati Islands dry stone walls
Dry stone walls represent one of the most impressive cultural attractions in the National Park area.
These stone walls (present on each island) were built across the entire width of the islands, connecting both sides of the islands.
The height of these walls is enough to prevent sheep from jumping over and into the pastures belonging to other owners. The total length of the dry stone walls in the area of the Kornati islands national park is 330 kilometers.
This would be my guide to the beautiful Kornati archipelago in Croatia. While this might not be the best holiday spot for most travelers since it’s a bit more secluded and wild, it’s definitely a place worth visiting as a day tour (at least).
And for those who want to spend more time here, connecting with the nature and enjoying the silence, we have two of the best options recommended above so now you have everything you need for a perfect vacation in the area.
If you still have questions or comments, I am more than happy to hear them in the comments section below.