Rich in history, both areas of Zadar and Biograd have plenty to explore and experience.
Pag Island has charisma, charm and is host to some of Croatia's music festivals.
These Islands have an abundance of unspoilt nature, providing some great places to discover off the beaten track.
The largest island in the archipelago, Dugi Otok has naturally beautiful beaches, a diverse natural landscape and a natural park. Visit Saharun beach at the northern end of the island, overlooked by a picturesque lighthouse. It is a fantastic white sand and pebble beach, and hosts 24-hour beach parties in summer. Near the southern end of the island is Nature Park Telašćica, a protected area with interesting land formations, plants and wildlife to see. Make sure you have a dip in Lake Mir, a shallow salt water lake which gets lovely and warm in summer.
The main town of Dugi Otok is Sali, an area passionate about fishing with pretty gardens and centuries-old olive groves. Božava is the island’s main tourist resort with a diving centre, beaches, coves and marina, encircled by dense forest. Dugi Otok is one of Croatia’s best diving spots. There are some beautiful sealife and submarine gardens to see, especially at neighbouring islet Mezanj. Take a fishing trip with a local to test the exotic waters and sample some freshly caught fish. There are also opportunities to hunt the local mouflon sheep which live among the rocks and plants. There are a number of tiny villages around the coast to explore, as well as little islets you can visit. You can see cute old churches, both preserved and ruined, as well as Roman relics in Telašćica. A great way to get around the island is by biking and walking along trails which criss-cross the island.
Ugljan is practically a suburb of Zadar, separated by a narrow channel and a short ferry ride. The inviting island is known for its olive oil, vineyards and fruit orchards. There are lots of great hiking trails across Ugljan, where you can see the interesting karst formations, unusual flowers and fantastic views. The biggest town is Kali, a small fishing port, flanked by pretty bays and coves. The locals are farmers, olive growers and fishermen. It has a mix of old and new buildings, with a Baroque church on the hill. Pretty Kukljica is in the southeast corner of the island, attached to neighbouring island Pašman.
There you will find sandy and rocky beaches, a well-equipped port and interesting architecture. Sabusa beach is great for families and Konstanj beach is a beautiful sandy beach surrounded by tall pine trees. For naturism there is Small Sabusa, Jelenica and the islet of Karantunic. Karantunic is also a good spot for scuba diving. Nearby beach Zelena Punta is on a natural peninsula with long tree-lined paved and pebble beaches, perfect for a swim or shady spot to relax. In Ugljan Town you can see interesting old monuments, including a 2000-year-old olive oil factory and a 15th century Franciscan monastery. Just round the corner are sandy beaches Cinta, Mostir and Luka. Other picturesque villages on the island have peaceful coves and typical Dalmatian architecture. Throughout summer Ugljan hosts lots of cultural and sporting events including poetry nights, sailing regattas, boat parades, fishing festivals, fairs and food festivals.
Pašman is a lovely quiet island connected to Ugljan by a bridge at its northern tip. It is great for relaxing and finding a secluded spot to swim, dive or simply read a book. You can easily get to Pašman via ferry from Zadar and Biograd, or charter a boat and make it one of your stops. To see wonderful views of the Pašman Channel and Kornati Islands, as well as lush green scenery, follow one of the many walking trails on the island. In Barotul you will find an abundance of fresh produce - fruit, vegetables, freshly caught fish, homemade oil and wine. The waves of the Pašman Channel are great for surfing and there are also nice diving spots. The island’s other quaint towns scattered around the coastline are mainly fishing villages with secluded sandy or rocky beaches.
The stunning Kornati archipelago of 140 islands, 89 of which are part of a national park, is a wonderful place to sail around, or you can take a day trip from nearby Dugi Otok. Most of the islands are uninhabited and home to a range of rare wildlife, both on land and underwater. The vertical cliffs which sharply jutt out of the sea are known as the Kornati Crowns, a natural phenomena caused by moving tectonic plates, with the highest crown rising 82m out of the sea, and the longest one stretching 1350m. The crowns are home to numerous rare wildlife including the pygmy cormorant and the peregrine falcon. The best way to see them is from the water - take a boat or go diving. The islands themselves are mainly rocky and scrub-covered, with some large trees and cultivated vegetation on Kornat Island. There are also numerous interesting karst land formations including caves and gullies. With protected sea life, the diving is amazing around the Kornati Islands. One of the best spots is Rasip - where you can find an underwater wall covered with colourful sea creatures. The Kornati Islands have a wealth of historical and often ruined buildings left behind by long-gone residents. See remains of pre-Roman Illyrian settlements, a Byzantine fortress and church from the 6th century on the island of Kornat.
The biggest towns in Dugi Otok, Ugljan and Pašman all have restaurants and traditional konoba taverns where you can find simple, fresh, nicely cooked food. Grilled fish and lamb are specialities, as well as locally produced olives, olive oil and wine. Bay leaves and rosemary, also locally grown, are often used as a seasoning.
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