Explore the enchanting natural landscapes of the Zadar islands and archipelago

Explore the enchanting natural landscapes of the Zadar islands and archipelago

Untouched landscapes, crystal-clear sea, hidden coves and beaches, the Mediterranean way of life, favourable climate, delightful cuisine, and unforgettable scents in the air - this captivating medley presents an irresistible invitation to explore the Zadar archipelago.

The Zadar area is adorned with a tapestry of over 300 islands, cays, and islets. Many of the islands in the Zadar area remain uninhabited, bestowing upon them a distinctive and alluring charm. The larger islands seamlessly blend the beauty of land and sea, providing not only breath-taking landscapes but also a plethora of other tourist destinations that cater to everyone's preferences. Immerse yourself in tranquillity and privacy, or plunge into excitement and embrace an active getaway. The choice is yours.

Uncover the treasures of the Zadar archipelago

The Zadar archipelago allures visitors who seek an unconventional way to unwind, away from the typical tourist crowds. If you choose to reside on the car-free islands, your holiday experience will undoubtedly undergo a transformative dimension.

Dugi Otok

Dugi Otok stands as the largest island within the North Dalmatian archipelago, stretching 45 km in length and spanning between 1 and 4 km in width. Its highest peak, Vela Straža, rises to an impressive height of 338 meters. Evidently, there exists a rationale for regarding this island as a realm of contrasts. No matter which route you choose, captivating and distinctly diverse scenes will surely enchant you. The part of the island situated within Telašćica Nature Park will leave you awestruck with its remarkable steep cliffs, while the southern side offers tranquillity in its secluded bays, inviting you to revel in the crystal-clear waters and the soft sands of the renowned Sakarun beach. The north-western part of the island has been declared a monument of Croatian landscape architecture, while its south eastern part has earned recognition as a Nature Park.

A network of roads interconnects all the locations on the island, presenting splendid vistas of the surrounding countryside and neighbouring islands. Dugi Otok boasts excellent connectivity to the mainland through ferries and high-speed vessels, with a notable highlight for speed enthusiasts being the Zaglav marine petrol station. Enthusiasts of active getaways will find ample opportunities to explore cycling and hiking trails throughout the region. To enhance your experience, a paintball field and a diving school are also available, promising unforgettable moments. Embark on a journey to the mysterious depths of alluring destinations like the Brbinjšćica underwater cave or the islet of Mežanj and immerse yourself in the past by visiting archaeological sites that will transport you to another time. Engage all your senses and relish in the hedonistic pleasures that Dugi Otok bestows upon you. Bask in the fragrances of nature and savour traditional cuisine in the air, all while indulging in the melodies of local music.

Island of Ugljan

In 2016, the island of Ugljan was declared a hidden gem on the Best European Destination portal. Due to the settlements on the island that face the town, it is also commonly known as the "Garden" or the "Zadar forecourt". The island is positioned between the Zadar coast and the island of Iž, creating a picturesque setting.

Just opposite Zadar, you'll discover the charming town of Preko, which serves as both the administrative centre and ferry port of the island of Ugljan. Serving as the initial gateway to explore this exquisite island, this port marks the beginning of your journey. Yet, as you arrive, ensure not to overlook other noteworthy destinations: Kali, Kukljica, Sutomišćica, Poljana, Lukorana, and Ugljan – each offering its own unique charm.

Set foot on this island, and you'll be enveloped by the scents of the Mediterranean. You'll be captivated by the allure of charming natural stone cairns and intricate dry-stone mosaics, along with the picturesque olive groves! This island boasts more than 200 thousand olive groves. Breath-taking landscapes, majestic marine life, sandy shores, and pristine, crystal-clear sea. It's truly challenging to envision a more splendid vista of Zadar and the grandeur of the Velebit mountain massifs than this.

Be sure not to overlook the stunning vista of the Zadar archipelago, along with the islands of Iž, Sestrunj, Pašman, and Dugi Otok. Embark on a hike to the summit of St. Mihovil (263 m), where you'll encounter a grand medieval fortress, and don't forget to explore Šćah, the island's highest peak.

In addition to diving and a plethora of excursions and activities, indulge in local delicacies and make sure to savour the flavours of Dalmatian peka, whether with octopus or succulent veal paired with potatoes.

Island of Pašman

The Pašman Channel separates the island of Pašman from the towns of Zadar and Biograd. The island encompasses a total area of 63 square kilometres and boasts 65 kilometres of intricately carved coastline. Thanks to the alternating tidal currents shifting every 6 hours, the island of Pašman boasts the cleanest water in the Adriatic. And precisely for this reason, it's worth a visit. The island's favourable Mediterranean climate fosters the flourishing of its diverse flora and fauna. Here, you'll encounter an array of aromatic herbs, assorted shellfish and fish, and much more.

Settlement on the island has remained uninterrupted since prehistoric times. This encompasses Illyrian fortresses, remnants of castles, artefacts from the Roman period, pastoral villas, intricate mosaics, a 12th-century stone sculpture of St. Michael, and a multitude of other historical monuments. Among the sacred edifices, the Benedictine monastery of St. Cosmas and Damian on the Ćokovac hill near Tkon, as well as the Franciscan monastery of St. Dujam, hold significant prominence.

The rich tourist offer includes various accommodation and gastronomic facilities. Pause your island exploration and venture into the array of taverns and restaurants, where you can savor delectable seafood and dishes made from ecologically grown island ingredients.

Island of Pag

As one of Croatia's largest islands, Pag Island is famed for its artisanal Pag cheese, salt evaporation ponds, and vibrant entertainment scene.

The island's location serves as a natural barrier to the Velebit Channel and is often exposed to storm surges. The island's terrain is predominantly rocky and primarily used for sheep grazing, with a smaller portion featuring fertile soil perfect for viticulture. The unique flavor of the cheese is enriched by the aromatic herbs that nourish the sheep. The cheese is then placed in olive oil and left to mature for an extended period, enhancing its distinct character. A true culinary delight!

Within the cobblestone streets of Pag's ancient town, one can observe women meticulously crafting embroidery known as "roželica," where intertwining knots form intricate patterns of stars, roses, and various geometric shapes. Immerse yourself in the crafting of miniature masterpieces, all while enjoying a distinct experience in Novalja.

Novalja stands as a prominent tourist hub in proximity to the renowned Zrće beach. Dubbed the "Croatian Ibiza," this resort caters to young individuals in search of amusement and vibrant entertainment. This is a place where the party never ends, and where you can discover an array of cafes, bars, and restaurants tailored to every taste.

The Island of Pag offers an extensive and diverse selection of accommodation options, along with a wide array of sports and recreational activities, as well as a variety of tours and excursions.

Pag hosts two ornithological reserves, Velo and Malo blato, and is also in close proximity to several national parks: Kornati National Park, Plitvice Lakes, Krka, Paklenica, and Northern Velebit.

In close proximity to the town of Pag lies Prosika, the largest sandy beach, while the Pag bay stretches across 27 km of sandy, pebbly, and rocky shores. Among these are Zrće, Janjeće vode, Sveti Marko, Dubrava, Ručica, Slana, Malin, Bijele stijene, Veli bok, Mali bok, and others.

Island of Silba

The northernmost Dalmatian island, Silba, presents an unparalleled tranquillity and peace that is truly rare to find in today's world. Leave the car behind and embark on an exploration of the island's 15 km2 expanse. Along the way, you may come across a tractor in action, aiding in the efficient delivery of goods to the island's shops. Trailers, locally referred to as "karići," stand as an iconic feature of the island, utilized by guests and visitors to transport their belongings.

The only village of the same name is located on the southernmost part of the island and can be reached by ferry or catamaran from Zadar, Lošinj or Pula.

The island beckons visitors with its mesmerizing azure waters, pebbled shores, sandy coves, and verdant surroundings that create a serene ambiance perfect for cooling off during scorching summer days. On the southern flank of the island lies the expansive and renowned Šotorišće Beach, boasting turquoise waters and a sandy seabed, making it a prominent and idyllic destination.

Aside from its stunning natural beauty, the town's centre boasts a tall and elegant tower, featuring a circular external staircase that ascends to a plateau offering a splendid vista of the sea. The locals affectionately refer to Marinić's tower as the "Tower of Love."

Island of Vir

The island of Vir offers the finest of both land and sea. Linked by a bridge to the Privlaka peninsula, the island of Vir benefits from all the advantages of mainland living.

On this island, you'll encounter a pleasant Mediterranean climate, along with a nostalgic touch of history manifested through landmarks such as the Church of St. George at Bandira, Church of St. John the Baptist, Vir Chapel, ancient fortifications, and remnants of the Gradina settlements on the slopes of St. George and Gradina.

Among the notable attractions stands the Kaštelina fortress, dating back to the 16th century. In close proximity to the aforementioned fortress, you'll find a renowned beach abundant in peloid mud renowned for its therapeutic qualities, situated within the Spavac cove.

There are only three settlements on the island of Vir: Vir, Lozice and Torovi. Nestled along the coast, settlements are encircled by tranquil coves and inviting beaches. Nestled in the bay of Duboka Draga on the island's north-western edge, you'll find the most beautiful beach. Here, unspoiled nature waits for you, along with a crystalline sea and striking red cliffs that are sure to leave you awe-struck.

As the day draws to a close, make your way to the western side of the island and indulge in the captivating sunset view from the lighthouse.

Island of Vrgada

The enchanting island of Vrgada is situated in the south eastern expanse of the Zadar archipelago, just off the coast. Encompassing an area of 3.67 km2, this small island features lush forests gracing its north-eastern terrain, while its southwestern coastline plunges dramatically into the azure waters below. Merely 2.5 nautical miles separate it from the mainland, and it is linked to Pakoštane and Biograd through a convenient boat line.

This secluded island showcases stunning pebbly and sandy coves, along with beaches kissed by a crystal-clear sea. Because of its radiant golden sand, it is also recognized as the "golden island." The island's most exquisite beach is the sandy Podbrizi beach, embraced by breath-taking vertical cliffs.

Island of Iž

Situated between Dugi otok and Ugljan, the island of Iž is graced by its two sole settlements, Veli and Mali Iž, positioned along the coastline.

Inhabited since ancient times, the island was initially referred to as Ez. Although the settlement's name underwent a change, the tradition of pottery has persisted and remains vibrant to this day. Upon your journey back from this island, make certain to bring along a distinctive keepsake - an "iški lopiž". It is a clay vessel used to store olive oil and other products. Make sure whether the food prepared in it really carries a distinct flavour, as they say.

Immerse yourself in the ambiance of bygone times within the historic town of Veli Iž. Explore the meticulously restored 14th-century Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, a Romanesque-style edifice transformed into a school during the 19th century, and the Ethnographic Collection featuring genuine instances of ceramics and pottery tools from the island of Iž.

Mali Iž is a destination where you can encounter an 11th-century church characterized by its circular design, as well as the fortress belonging to the Zadar nobles, the island's previous proprietors.

A contemporary marina offers juxtaposition to the historical backdrop. Traversing the island, cycling and walking trails wind through its terrain, providing an ideal means to discover its natural allure. Should you opt for a leisurely stroll, make your way to the highest ridge for a rewarding experience. From Korinjak, you'll be treated to a picturesque vista of the encompassing countryside.

Adjacent to Zadar, these smaller islands boast captivating natural beauty that is sure to captivate you

In the vicinity of Zadar, there are numerous islands that are worth visiting. Lesser-known and consequently less frequented, these islands promise you an unforgettable sense of tranquillity and the pleasure of embracing stunning, uncrowded nature.

Embark on a journey to Ist, an island often likened to the form of a butterfly or two interlinked horseshoes. Make your way to Molat and engage in an exhilarating experience of swimming alongside stingrays, uncover the beauty of red coral, and delve into a deeper understanding of octopuses. For those seeking privacy, Olib offers a serene retreat, while enthusiasts of diving and nautical pursuits will find Premudi highly recommended. Rivanj's appeal lies in its proximity to a fish-abundant aquarium, making it a haven for sport fishermen, while Sestrunj holds special allure for water sports enthusiasts. Get to know Ošljak, the smallest inhabited island in Croatia, but don't miss the island of Rava or Zverinac, because they too offer peace and enjoyment of untouched nature.