Kornati National Park
Kornati, the largest archipelago in the Adriatic, never fails to astound thousands of visitors with its secrets and splendor. Those who come to Kornati National Park once are sure to return here time and time again.
Once a part of the mainland, Kornati became an archipelago in the late Ice age, when just the peaks of hills were left due to ice melting. There are traces of human presence from the Neolithic period. Illyrians and Romans also lived there but the remains of their settlements including old houses, forts, and walls are mainly under the sea. The most valuable construction of Byzantine era is fort Tureta with the basilica of St.Mary in its bottom. The archipelago was settled by the Croats in the 13th c. In the 16th c. the Venetians, who dominated the Adriatic coast, built a fort on Vela Panitula for collecting fishing taxes. During the same period the settlement Sali located on island Dugi Otok became the major fishing center in the region. During WWII, a workshop for mending boats was built here by Tito's Partisans . Once owned by Zadar families, now these islands are the private property Murter and Dugi Otok residents. Most of the Kornati islands have enjoyed the status of a national park since 1980. At present the park's area includes 109 islands, the majority of which are less than 1ha in size.
Those who want a daily dose of nirvana on the Kornati National Park can get there by a sea vessel from Murter (7Nm), Zadar or Sibenik (about 15Nm). Note than no regular ferries can be found between the Kornati islands and the mainland. Most visitors take one of the organised tours offered by numerous touristic agencies and don't arrange the transportation themselves. The yacht owners can find shelter in some safe coves, but their best choice would be the marina on the island Piskera, which has as many as 120 berths. The short ride to the Kornati is a treat in itself, with beautiful views of the sea.
The main tourist attractions of Kornati islands are "krunas", vertical cliffs turned towards open sea. The longest, the highest and the deepest ones can be found on the islands of Mana, Klobucar, and Piskera. The sea around the islands is seeped in rich marine biodiversity, with 352 species of sea flora. The outstanding feature of Kornati is their rugged shores with a great number of caves and coves of various sizes. The fragrances of rosemary, juniper, lavender, thyme, myrtle and sage which cover the landscape are sure to totally captivate you. The species of terrestrial plants and animals are not numerous though, with the only carnivore species being the beech marten. However, you can hear a symphony of birdsongs in this place since as many as 79 of species have been registered there. The park has four strictly protected zones, where the nature is alive, well and thriving in spite of the human presence.
Kornati is a real Mecca for active travelers who enjoy cycling, diving, hiking, kayaking, and rafting. The diving is particularly great, with the best sites near Rasip and Dugi Otok. Hiking is permitted only by paths specified for it. As for fishing, visitors can enjoy this soul-healing activity in almost all areas provided they get a special fishing licence in advance.
After a visit to this fabulous place you will feel clean and fresh again, unable to forget its serene and peaceful atmosphere. You may also wonder how can anything be wrong with this planet if there is so much beauty on it, like the beauty of the Kornati National Park.