Kornati islands, also called Stomorski islands are located in northern part of Dalmatia, west of the city of Šibenik and east of the city of Zadar. Kornati islands occupy a sea area of around 320 square kilometers and are divided into two main groups – Upper and Lower Kornati. There are no permanent settlements on the islands, Kornati archipelago has roughly 140 islands and 89 of them make part of the Kornati Islands National Park, declared in 1980. The area covered by the National Park principally coincides with the Upper Kornati, which include the biggest island of the archipelago Kornat and the surrounding islets. It is a perfect place for numerous activities like sailing, snorkeling, diving, swimming, hiking, observing the plant and animal wildlife and those in search of a real sense of escape and remoteness.
The Kornati National Park contains some of the most beautiful and inspiring landscapes in Croatia, marked by barren, irregular karst terrain, on the southwestern side feature spectacular cliffs, rising more than 80 meters above the sea level. Underwater landscape of Kornati islands is absolutely fascinating, making this spectacular piece of paradise a perfect destination for divers.
Other than enjoying the fantastic maritime landscapes, beautiful beaches, and crystal clear sea, there are several interesting historical sites worth visiting. The evidence that Kornati islands were inhabited in Neolithic period is a stone axe found on the island of Kornat and it can be seen in the Archaeological Museum in Zadar. You can also visit the remains of Illyrian settlements and Roman ruins on Toreta Hill and the remains of an early Christian three-nave basilica. The ruin of a Byzantine fortress, Tureta at the Kornat island is the most impressive building found on Kornati islands. Several other ruins of medieval fortifications can be found on the islands.
Kornati islands can be reached by organized tours or by your own boat. Anchoring and spending the night in the Park is allowed only at 16 locations and camping is rigorously forbidden outside the authorized campsites. If you want to relax in a hidden oasis far from the urban rush, get up close and personal with nature, then renting a small stone house on one of the islands is a perfect choice for you. There are also several restaurants and boats that cruise around the national park selling food and basic supplies during the high season. The park is managed by the town of Murter, on the island of Murter.
Interesting fact: The names of the islands Babina Guzica and Kurba Vela, which in Croatian refer to granny’s butt and Big Prostitute, are some of the vulgar names given to Kornati islands and islets when Austrian surveyors came to record the archipelago in the 19th century and their local guides mocked them by making up vulgar names for the various locations.