If you want to explore the Northern Adriatic islands, the best place to start your sailing vacation is Zadar or its nearby charter bases like Sukosan or Biograd na Moru. When chartering a boat from here, you get better access to the islets Premuda, Ugljan, Kornati National Park or Dugi Otok, the home of Telaščica Nature Park.
Zadar was settled by Illyrians, although it was the Romans who gave the city its layout, which remains until today. Later, it was ruled by various powers, including the Venetians, the Austrians, and the French, leaving a mix of architectural styles throughout the city.
One of the most popular attractions in Zadar is the Sea Organ, a unique architectural structure that creates music from the movement of the waves. Visitors can also enjoy the nearby Sun Salutation, a series of solar panels that produce a light show at sunset. Another must-see attraction in Zadar is the Roman Forum, the largest forum of its kind in Croatia. The forum dates back to the 1st century AD and is a testament to the city's rich history. In addition to its historical and natural attractions, Zadar is also known for its lively nightlife.
In Zadar and its surroundings, there are numerous berthing options, such as Tankerkomerc Marina Zadar, D-Marin Borik, D-Marin Dalmacija and, further in Biograd na Moru there is Marina Kornati.
With 140 uninhabited islands, islets and reefs, covering the area of 320 km², the Kornati Islands are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It's a true paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, allowing visitors to explore the rich marine life and colorful coral reefs. Visitors can also explore the many historical sites, such as the ancient Roman ruins, Byzantine forts, and traditional fishing villages that dot the islands.
The National Park Kornati comprising of 89 islands of the 140 in total is the main attraction in the Northern Adriatic and considered one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the Mediterranean known for their natural beauty and clear waters. The island of Kornat is the largest in the park.
There are no permanent settlements on the islands, and vegetation appears to be sparse, but flora and fauna are rich here. Fishing is prohibited throughout the entire Kornati National Park, and scuba diving is limited to a few sites. The best way to find a berth is on the small island Piskera which is 2,66 km² big, there is a small marina with 120 berths, which is open from April until October. Fresh water and electricity are rationed. Although once you pay the entrance fee, you can anchor in almost every bay, some of which are small, with only space for two-three boats, and some of which are big with space for 20 yachts or more. The ticket for the National Park you can buy online or in several marinas and ports along the way.
Covering the area of 115 km², Dugi Otok is the largest island in the Zadar archipelago. The magic of this island, the deep bays at each end, raw cliffs and picturesque village facing inland will leave you breathless. Due to its close proximity to Zadar, it was popular as a summer residence for nobles in the Roman times and later, particularly in Sali. This is the largest town and port on the island. The fishing village Božava, at the island's northernmost point, is also a popular marina with the remains of a roman settlement. The island's rugged terrain, lush vegetation and diverse wildlife make it an ideal destination for nature lovers.
One of the main attractions of Dugi Otok is its stunning beaches. The island boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, with crystal clear waters and white sandy shores.
Sakarun, located on the northwest coast of the island, which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Adriatic. It is an unforgettable place, the only thing which spoils the beauty, that it is mostly crowded.
Further beautiful anchorages are Brbinj, Lučina, Pantera, Čuna, and Solišćica.
The island Dugi Otok is also home to the Telašćica Nature Park, a protected area that is home to an interesting nature. Located south of Sali, this is without a doubt one of the best-known anchorage in the Adriatic.
The island Ugljan is situated just across the bay from the city of Zadar. This lush, green island covers an area of 50 km² and is known for its scenic beauty, rich history and vibrant local culture. The island is home to several charming towns and bays. Ugljan is the main village and home to the Franciscan Monastery of St. Jerome, built in the 15th century. The more popular village is Preko, which is dominated by the large Venetian fortress of St. Michael. The island is connected to the island Pasman by a bridge.
There are several bays on the northwest shore of Ugljan. The most popular are Muline and Prtljug.
Further to the south there is a „Mala Lamjana“ bay, where you can stay on anchor or take a mooring buoy.
Between the islands of Ugljan and Dugi Otok is one of Croatia's least visited islands, Iž island. Although it's not famous like the neighboring islands Dugi Otok and Ugljan, Iž has some great anchorages, like Vodenjak bay, which is a very pleasant spot for a swim, completely sheltered from the NW-Maestral and NE-Bura winds. Another famous spot is Knež bay, and in front of the bay is the Knežak islet. This islet boasts smooth rocks, overshadowed by evergreens which come down almost to the sea.
The island Pašman is quite close to the shore and lies in front of the popular town Biograd na Moru. The eastern side is much more interesting for sailors. The islands Ugljan and Pašman are connected by a bridge at the passage Ždrelac, which is used by sailors with a mast height of up to 16.5 metres above sea level. If you sail out from Zadar or Biograd and your mast allows you to sail under the bridge at Ždrelac, sailing along the eastern shore of Pašman, there are some smaller bays like Čelinja, Vržišće and Kobiljak.
These bays are exposed to wind, but offer some privacy. The most popular one is the bay Sveti Ante, which provides good shelter from NE, W and S winds. There are about 20 mooring buoys in the bay. You can also anchor in the bay at a depth between 5 and 8 metres in the middle of the bay.
Another popular bay is the Soline bay, which is separated by a narrow Mali Zaglav Point from Sveti Ante bay. Soline also provides good shelter from W and NW winds. Like Sveti Ante, it is one of the best shelters on Pašman. There are also about 30 mooring buoys in the bay of Soline.
The island is located around 22km southwest of Šibenik and it is the most remote inhabited island of the Sibenik island group (Tijat, Zlarin, Kaprije, Kakan). One of the key features that makes Žirje Island so popular among sailors is its numerous anchorages. The most popular bays are Tratinska and Vela Stupica. Tratinska extends half a mile inland on the southwest shore of Žirje and is very popular. The bay is exposed to SE wind, there are around 30 mooring buoys.
Vela Stupica bay is on the southern part of the island. It tends to be busier than the Tratinska bay. Its western arm is around 11 metres deep and has always been a safe anchorage. There are around 20 mooring buoys, but you can also anchor in the bay. The bay offers good shelter from all winds, except S and SE. In that case, even on a mooring buoy, it’s not recommended to stay here.
Skradin is a locality with a port on the right bank of the river Krka, about 16 km north of Šibenik. Upstream, not far from Skradin, there is a bridge over the river Krka with ACI Marina Skradin. Skradin is the central point of the National Park Krka being one of the oldest Croatian localities with city status (since the 2nd century AD).
The beautiful waterfalls of Krka are kindly recommended for daily trips. Tourist boats leave from Skradin for trips to the National Park Krka. The national park is specatular and covers an area of 109 km² and further comprises scenic monasteries and rugged Roman ruins.