Dugi Otok (Long Island) is the seventh largest island in the Adriatic Sea, located in Dalmatia region, west of Zadar. The name of the island derives from its shape as it is almost 50 km long and between 1 and 5 km wide. The island is sparsely inhabited, as there are only around 1500 inhabitants living in 12 villages. All the villages are clustered on the coast of the island facing the mainland and the part of the coast facing the open sea is uninhabited. The island is characterized by a dramatic landscape of great contrast, with steep slopes, thick pine forests, numerous sandy beaches, hidden bays, and coves. It is a perfect place for those in search of tranquility and relaxing holidays, swimming in the stunningly turquoise sea, enjoying sea, sun, and summer.
Although the island is principally a destination for relaxation and tranquility, there are several sites and monuments you can visit during your stay on Dugi Otok. The island was mentioned for the first time in the 10th century by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII in “De Administrando Imperio“, the Latin title of a Greek work. There are archeological finds from the Middle Stone age and numerous remains of the Illyrian settlements, some of them with fortified characteristics. During the excavations in the cave Vlakno remains of a human skeleton were found and its age was estimated at 11 000 years ago. During your stay on the island don’t forget to take a tour to the amazing cave Strašna Peć, that due to its vicinity to the cave Vlakno, was probably a home for early human populations of the island. Wandering around the island you can visit all the fabulous, picturesque villages, as there are only twelve of them and are well connected. You can admire an interesting residential architecture and churches from the Pre-Romanesque period. Also visit the imposing lighthouse, located near Veli rat, built back in 1849. It is the highest lighthouse on the Adriatic with its 49 meters. Near the lighthouse, there is a small chapel dedicated to St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors.
The nature park, Telašćica, covered in a thick forest of pine and olive trees, occupies the southern part of the island. Telašćica gained the status of a protected area in 1980, then in 1988 was proclaimed nature park, thanks to it valuable flora and fauna, geological and geomorphological phenomena and impressive beauty. Telašćica bay is surrounded by 13 islands and islets, and 6 of them are located in the bay itself. Maybe the most interesting islet is Taljurić, which resembles a flat board with a diameter of only 60 meters. In the park, you can take many organized tours like diving, cycling, climbing, safari or fishing tour. There is an amazing salt lake, called Mir (Peace) with curative mud, located at 146 meters above the sea level. Its salinity is above average and it is much warmer than the surrounding sea water. The Mir lake is also a habitat of the endemic species of eel called “Bižat” or “Kajman”.
Dugi Otok has numerous stunning bays and beaches, hidden gems where you can find peace and tranquility. The most popular one is Sakarun beach and for its exceptional beauty, it became a trademark of the island. Sakarun beach (800 meters long) is located on the northwest side of Dugi Otok, near the village of Božava. It is best known for its white sand that is not very common in Croatia, where the beaches are usually completely pebbly. The beach is located in a bay, surrounded by pine trees where you can find beautiful shady areas to relax and hide from the midday sun.
This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, but also one of the best-kept secrets. The water is calm and shallow, and that makes it a perfect place for families with children. On the beach, there are two facilities that offer food and drink, but besides that the entire western coast of the island is not settled, giving you the experience of pristine coastline unspoiled by man.
The island of Dugi Otok is also a perfect place for water sports lovers. There are many marked paths on the island for trekking and cycling, many mountain tracks, and climbing areas. Other than swimming and sunbathing on one of the islands many stunning beaches, walking, trekking, and cycling are a great way to spend warm summer afternoons. Snorkeling is for many the best way to have water sports fun while on holiday. It is absolutely fun, affordable and easy way to discover the wonders of the abundant underwater life and sites. On the island, there are four diving schools, so other than snorkeling you can explore the underwater wonders scuba diving. There is an interesting shipwreck of an Italian merchant ship, wrecked in 1984 and located near Veli Rat. Stand up paddling or kayaking are two great ways to enjoy islands stunning bays and admire the island’s coast from a different angle.