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Kornati Islands National park

Like uncut gems, which have been dropped just before North Dalmatia by a giant hand into the sea- this is the impression that Kornati gives. The largest and densest archipelago in the Adriatic Sea accounts for about 12 percent of the local islands. Of them, 89 islands together with individual reefs and boulders were all founded as the Kornati National Park in 1980. Despite strict regulations, visitors are invited to the archipelago all year round and it is definitely an extraordinary attraction for visitors from near and far. Not only because of the labyrinthine structure of the unique island world, but also because of the Kornati islands' extraordinarily beautiful underwater world. It is no wonder that every year thousands of yachtsmen and divers choose the islands as a holiday destination with its many, little inhabited islands and numerous hidden bays which are only accessible from the water inlets.

Today, the once densely forested Kornati National Park is now predominantly characterized by karst. The park is invariably car-free and can only be explored by boat. On the one hand, it is possible to explore the numerous islands and islets with your own boat- but not without paying an access fee which depends on the size of the boat (min 300 Kuna, and a maximum of 6,400 Kuna per day). The entry fees must be paid no later than at the entrance to the national park and better still, you can even pay in advance in the National Park Service offices in the city of Murter on its namesake island. On the other hand, there are numerous tour providers who offer single or multi-day trips into the national park and its surroundings with a wide variety of boats. Most tours start in Murter, Zadar, Primosten and Biograd, but some also start from the resorts, such as Sibenik, Vodice, or Split. A day trip usually starts around 9 clock in the morning and ends around 6:00 PM. The deal you get can't be beat and prices start from around 200-300 Kuna depending on the service provider. Extra charges may apply for special tours, such as for organized diving tours.

 

Nature and Culture in Kornati National Park

“On the last day of Creation God desired to crown His work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath.” Whether the magical islands today leave visitors with the same lasting impression they once gave George Bernard Shaw, can only be assumed. It is certain, however that from the water the island labyrinth have their own special charm. Behind every headland, every cliff, and every bay there is a new isle just waiting- simply a small world of discovery. The numerous pebbled and sandy bays invite you to relax, dream and enjoy at one of the total of 16 places in the park where one can anchor overnight. In the late evening, when the night sky is illuminated by the light of the stars and the Milky Way, and nothing is heard except for the slow splash of the waves pushing up against the side of your vessel, it finally becomes clear to every visitor that this is a paradise on earth: A natural, unspoiled treasure, seemingly far from civilization that is particularly impressive with its boorish charm and naturalness. Whether steep cliffs - known locally as crowns - or hidden caves, whether mini-lakes, karst trails or the remains of the first Illyrian settlers - nearly every island invites you to come and hear its story. Slowly, as you listen to the islands, the sparseness you see at first glance wanes and you desire to go exploring on foot or bike. When it comes to the underwater world, you will be amazed at its significantly rich species variety: Even if you can not dive, guests are fascinated by the islands' underwater plants and animals that have thrived undisturbed for decades. Waiting for divers here are  not only 185 fish species, but also 61 coral species that animate the clear water with their bright colors and varied shapes. Even with a snorkel and diving mask you can discover numerous submarine species and- with a little luck- it is even possible to swim with turtles and dolphins.

 

Leisure Activities in Kornati National Park 

Due to its unique location and structure, Kornati National Park is especially popular with boaters and divers. Note, however, that there are strict rules that, if neglected, can quickly become expensive and unpleasant. Throughout the park, it is strictly prohibited to go diving on your own for nature conservation reasons. Divers are required to dive with a licensed guide from a diving center and are only allowed to explore the species and colorful underwater world of Kornati in nine designated diving zones. Sailors in the national park are given more freedom despite being required to only anchor at designated campsites and some islands are off limits for them. The rules in the park may seem strict, but have secured the survival of numerous rare animal and plant species for decades and will continue to do so. With a little luck, you can discover how wonderful nature in the park is by going for a walk, for example on the main island of Kornati. By the way: Spring and autumn are the times when the bird migration takes place. At this time, the partially deserted, remote islands and islets are a welcoming stopover for migrating birds from all over Europe - and for bird watchers, who can hardly believe their luck to observe such a large number and variety of animals. Those who want to watch the flocks of birds at dawn or in the last moments of daylight can either stay on their own boat or rent a room at one of the few guest residences on the island of Kornati.

 

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