Sailing in Zadar - Kornati Islands archipelago region
Zadar is an ancient Mediterranean city of rich history and exceptional cultural heritage, located in the heart of the Adriatic. It is the urban center of northern Dalmatia, surrounded by four National parks: Plitvice Lakes, Paklenica, Krka and Kornati. The Zadar Region is a wonderful place to enjoy a peaceful sailing vacation away from the ultra touristy parts of Dalmatia.
The coast around Zadar is particularly indented - there are more than 300 islands, islets and rocks. The Zadar Region is an attractive destination to tourists from all over the world since it is easily reachable by sea, land and air.
Why is Zadar area popular among sailors?
The town of Zadar is centrally located on the Dalmatian Coast, and it is the perfect place to embark on a sailing adventure because of its proximity to many amazing Croatian islands. The unspoiled nature, very indented coast filled with hidden bays, beaches and coves, excellent weather and pleasant winds allure many sailors to this region. A decent number of lovely marinas and moorings, charter fleets and experienced skippers will definitely satisfy any boater. Be sure to visit the region of Zadar if you want to enjoy the adventure of island-hopping and explore stunning national parks and nature parks.
Climate and best time to sail the area
The Croatian coast and its islands are affected by the Mediterranean climate, which is characterized by rainy winters and dry, warm hot summers. The sailing season in this area starts in April and finishes in October, but the most popular time to visit Zadar Region is in the summer months (June-September). Summer in the region of Zadar means you get 12 hours of sunshine per day and temperatures reaching from 25 to 30 + degrees.
If you would like to taste crowded cities, full marinas and bays full of boaters, the perfect time to visit are the months of July and August. However, we warmly recommend the months of June and September because you can avoid crowds and the weather is still nice. When it comes to winds, they are constant and strong enough for decent sailing. Sea water temperatures are high enough for a nice refreshing swim, but the bays are not completely full - which means you will find some privacy.
Winds and waves
There are eight winds that blow on the Adriatic. Each has its own characteristics that can often be recognized by clouds appearing on the sky. Adriatic Sea is, in general, very tame and will not cause you any significant troubles while sailing. Special attention has to be paid to a sudden and strong storm called neverin, which in this area occurs 3-4 times per month. Neverin usually lasts only half an hour, but it can be very powerful.
- Bura - cold and dry north or north-eastern wind that blows in very strong gusts which makes sailing challenging, can bring heavy rain and snow (during winter), but after it ends, brings clear skies and lovely weather
- Jugo - warm and humid south or south-eastern wind that brings clouds and bad weather, as well as big waves, allegedly causes people to feel disoriented and depressed or rather feeling under the weather
- Maestral - most common summer wind, brings lovely and stable weather, always blows from northwest. It is a very constant wind usually reaching speed between 15 and 20 knots, which is perfect for sailing on the Adriatic.
- Tramontana – northerly cooling wind that brings pleasant weather
- Grego – moderate or strong northeasterly wind carrying dry, clear and cold weather
- Levant – easterly wind that blows during cloudy, humid or rainy weather
- Oštro – southerly, warm and damp wind
- Lebić – southwesterly, dry and warm wind which blows in the Adriatic after the jugo, leveling the waves in shallow harbors
Waves occur due to winds blowing. On average, the waves are between 0.5 m and 1.5 m, but can get bigger with stronger winds.
Sea currents also occur because of winds, but are hardly noticeable and move at average speed of 0.5 knots.
Tides have small amplitudes, around 40 cm, but can get slightly bigger if jugo is blowing.
Gastronomy of Zadar region
- 5 Bunara Restaurant, Zadar - one of the best restaurants in Zadar, which is guided by these words - delicious food, gorgeous wines, local-seasonal-organic, great staff & a sincere and enjoyable all-around experience.
- Olive Island Marina Restaurant, Ugljan Island - located in the Olive Island Marina on Ugljan Island, this restaurant is led by two local chefs who prepare delicious local and international cuisine. The restaurant offers fresh vegetables grown on the island, and also bakes its own bread and foccacia.
- Konoba Roko, Zaglav, Dugi otok Island - located in Marina Zaglav, this restaurant offers excellent service and food at a reasonable price. High quality fresh fish, vegetables from their own eco garden and a beautiful view. Pure enjoyment for all your senses.
- Konoba Žakan, Kornati National Park - the tavern Žakan is known for traditional food preparation inherited from old Kornati fishermen and farmers. They offer fresh seafood, Kornati lamb, and a good selection of wines and homemade cakes.
- Konoba Mul, Silba Island - a tavern on the North shore of the island Silba boasts excellent food and big portions at a fair price. This tavern offers a variety of seafood dishes, as well as meat and vegetables.
- Lanterna Restaurant, Pašman Island - their specialty are Dalmatian dishes containing fish, shellfish and vegetables from their own eco garden. The restaurant offers a terrace with a sea view.
Places you don’t want to miss
- Sea organ and Sun Salutation - Zadar’s most popular attractions – are two artistic installations, which utilise the power of nature to create beautiful sounds and sights.
- Kornati National Park - a breathtaking archipelago, home to 89 islands, islets and reefs which will leave you breathless. It is a must for sailors, divers and anyone who appreciates the beauty of unspoilt nature and crystal clear sea.
- Dugi otok Island (Long Island) - the longest Croatian island, located west from Zadar. It is home to Telašćica Nature Park, which is one of the most popular places to visit among sailors. Dugi otok boasts amazing landscapes and it is an ideal spot for a quiet vacation. Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Sakarun Beach, which is located on the island, is the most popular sandy beach in the region of Zadar.
- Telašćica Nature Park - Telašćica Bay is located in the south-eastern part of the island of Dugi otok. It was proclaimed a Nature Park in 1988 and it is the safest, largest and most beautiful natural port of the Adriatic.
- The islands of Ugljan and Pašman - these unspoilt and peaceful islands, which will definitely amaze nature lovers, are connected with a bridge called Ždrelac. The passage under this 210 m long and 16, 5 m high bridge is 4,5 m deep, and only boats with max beam of 6 m are allowed to pass. Ugljan and Pašman are ideal for those who like to catch their own fresh seafood while sailing.
- The islands of Olib and Silba - islands with no traffic, no hotels and no stress. Olib was once inhabited by Romans and has many historic buildings and ruins. Silba, which is covered with Mediterranean black oak has a lot of small beaches and bays where one can swim in crystal clear water.
- Galešnjak - a heart-shaped island, also called the Island of Love. It is located in the Zadar Channel, between Zadar and the island of Pašman, which is the ideal area for sailing. This romantic island is currently a very popular destination for couples and the go-to place for wedding proposals.
- Biograd - once the town of coronation of Croatian kings, now a strong and modern tourist center which offers excellent marine tourism and sailing possibilities. This town, located 30 kilometres south of Zadar, is an ideal spot for people who prefer a dynamic and interesting vacation. It has a modern marina with 1,000 sea berths and 200 land berths. During summer, numerous manifestations and festivities are organized in Biograd.
- Lake Vrana - the largest lake in Croatia and a designated Nature park. The dominant feature of the park is a unique Ornithological Reserve. The Park offers peace and leisure to bird watchers, anglers, Bikers and hikers.
- Zrće Beach - one of today's most popular summer festival and party destinations situated in Novalja, on the rocky island of Pag, which is famous for 4 things: delicious lamb, cheese, salt pans, lace production. The hottest clubs in Adriatic region are located on Ibiza-like Zrće Beach, as well as sports, recreation and entertainment facilities and excellent restaurants.
Where to anchor and interesting marinas
Croatian coast has more than a thousand harbors, marinas and bays for anchoring and mooring, and twice as much buoys. Buoys are more accessible and more affordable than marinas.
- Dugi otok Island
- Pantera Bay - it is located on the north-western side of the island and it is one of the most popular destinations for boaters. The bay provides good shelter against all winds except for the bura wind.
- Telašćica Bay - Telašćica is one of the biggest, safest, and most beautiful Croatian natural harbors located on the SE part of Dugi Otok. It offers shelter from all winds. Due to its extreme beauty, it was declared a nature park in 1988. It is an attractive anchorage for boaters. Mooring is possible.
- Sakarun Bay - a good bay for anchoring with a sandy bottom, which boasts one of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic. Sakarun Bay is not a suitable shelter for jugo wind. You can find some restaurants and bars there.
- Kornati Islands
- Ravni Žakan Island - this uninhabited island belongs to Kornati National Park and has two bays for anchoring, on the S side and on the NW side. The NW side is exposed to the bora wind. The bottom is stony, so be careful when anchoring. Mooring is possible.
- Levrnaka Island - this small island offers two anchorages - one on the N side and the other on the SW side. They offer good shelter from N and S winds. The bay on the N side is deep and suitable for bigger boats. The bay on the SW side has sandy bottom and also offers mooring buoys.
- Ugljan Island
- Mala Lamjana Bay - it is one of the largest (5 km long) and most beautiful bays on the island of Ugljan. It is exposed to the jugo wind and the bottom is sandy. There are fish and mussel farms in the bay.
- Ždrelašćica Bay - sheltered from all winds, it is a completely enclosed bay between the islands of Ugljan and Pašman. It offers a safe anchorage and 20-ish mooring buoys. Anchorage is suitable for the vessels with the draft of up to 4 m.
- Pašman Island
- Kobiljak Bay - it is a secluded and isolated bay exposed to jugo. Anchoring is on the sandy bottom (4-10m of depth).
- Sv. Ante Bay - this bay, which lies on the SW coast of the island, is one of the best and most popular anchorages on Pašman Island. It is exposed to jugo. This bay was named after the church of Sv. Ante which is located there. The anchor holds well in sand and shingle.
- Žinčena Bay - a beautiful and quiet bay on the SW side of the island, it is exposed to jugo and sheltered from all other winds. The bottom is muddy and 4-6 m deep (some parts of the bay are only 2, m deep).
- Marina Zadar (Zadar) - in the very centre of Zadar Town, offers 300 sea-berths and a repair service, safe and well-maintained marina, holder of the Blue Flag.
- Marina D-Marin Borik (Zadar) - a boutique marina, situated on the west coast of the town of Zadar, it can accomodate 177 yachts up to 30 m.
- Marina D-Marin Dalmacija (Sukošan) - the largest marina in Croatia, situated in a naturally protected bay, 7 km south of Zadar Town, safe and fully serviced berths, experienced staff, excellent maintenance and repair services.
- Marina Kornati (Biograd) - modern nautical center, situated in the town of Biograd, offers 700 berths. www.marinakornati.com/en/
- Marina Olive Island (Ugljan Island) - a small family-type modern marina located in Sutomišćica on the Ugljan Island, in a deep and well-protected bay.
- Marina Preko (Ugljan Island) - lies in the town of Preko, offers a total of 87 berths for yachts up to 20 metres, there are also spaces for superyachts of up to 60 metres, it has excellent facilities. www.marinapreko.com/
- ACI Marina Piškera (Kornati Islands) - located between the islands of Piškera and Panitula Vela, offers 118 berths for boats up to 30 m in length, seasonal marina open from 01/04/ to 31/10/. www.aci-marinas.com/en/aci_marina/aci-piskera/
- Marina Veli Rat (Dugi otok Island) - located in the Pantera Bay, offers 200 berths and is open all year, equipped with a reception, sanitary facilities and a small food market. www.baotic-yachting.com/en/marina-en.html
Telephone numbers you might need
Emergency – 112
Police – 192
Fire department – 193
Ambulance – 194
Search and rescue at sea – 195
Road assistance – 1987
General information – 18981
Tourist information, Zadar – 023 316 166
Croatia country calling code is +385