Whoever travels by yacht in Zadar County (Zadarska županija) in the northernmost part of Dalmatia around the city of Zadar(1), a visit to the port city and the seaside resort of Zadar is usually on the agenda. But directly in front of the former fortress town, whose predominant part of the old town is characterized by Venetian architectural style, the islands Pasman(2), Uglijan(3), Dugi Otok(4), Kornat(5) and Zut(6) stretching long from the southeast to the northwest entice to day trips. Tip of the SeaHelp editors for a peaceful and successful week cruise from Sukosan.
If you want to explore the northern part of Dalmatia around the city of Zadar(1) with your own or charter yacht, you should reserve one – or better two – days for the city, which owes its name to the county. Zadar(1), situated on a narrow promontory on the Adriatic Sea and the Zadar Channel, is separated from the mainland by a moat.
A fortress until 1873, the beautiful white city has a large harbor, four gates (including the Marine Gate with an inset piece of a Roman triumphal arch and the Porta di Terraferma(7) built to Sanmicheli’s design), and the vast majority of Zadar’s old town is Venetian in style.
Zadar attracts with a historical old town in Venetian architectural style
Among the squares, the Men’s Square(8) with the Main Guard Building and Gradska Straža(9) (with the City Library) and the Fountain Square(10) with an ancient Corinthian column are worth mentioning. One such also adorns Simeonsplatz(11).
Besides historically important churches such as the Cathedral Church of St. Anastasia (Croat. Sveti Stošija(12)), the church of Saint Donatus (Crkva svetoga Donata, 9th cent. (13)), the First Church of St. Mary (Sveti Marija(14)), the former Church of the Holy Trinity, the Franciscan Church, the Church of Simeon and the Orthodox Church of St. Elias invite the Land Gate (Porta Terraferma(7)) with a Venetian St. Mark’s Lion, the Roman Forum, the former Palace of the Priors, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Arsenal, as well as the “five fountains” and the adjacent “Tower of the City Commander” invite visitors.
In Sukosan there are several charter bases – only ten kilometers from the airport
From Zadar airport it is only about ten kilometers by cab to Sukosan(15), where several charter bases are represented. If you take over your boat here for a week (and have already visited the old town of Zadar), you will find a fantastic choice of destinations on the offshore islands to the west. If you want, you can sail (counterclockwise) like us via Uglian(3) and Zverinac(16) to Dugi Otok(4), from there on to Piskera(17), Zut(6) or Pasman(2), finally after a detour in Biograd(18) after six days to moor again safe and sound in the starting base Sukosan(15).
Day 1: Sukosan – Olive Island/Uglijan – Zverinac/Zverinac
We take over our charter yacht in Sukosan(15) in Marina Dalmacija(19) in the northern part of Zlatna Luka (Gold Bay). Other marinas like (in the northern direction) Bibinje(20) with a few guest places, Marina Zadar(21) (year-round customs port and harbor office) and Marina Borik(22) and south of Sukosan(15) Marina Kornati(23)/Marina Sangulin(24) in Biograd are also excellent places to start your cruise.
From Sukosan(15) we set our course to the northwest, to port is the long island of Uglijan(3), to starboard we pass Zadar on the mainland side. After a few hours of sailing, the well protected Olive Island Marina(25) – if you want, stop here for a freshly prepared lunch at the Olive Garden Restaurant.
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Fresh fish and meat from the charcoal grill: cruise stop at Olive Garden Marina for lunch
Fresh fish and meat from the charcoal grill, pasta with different flavors, cold appetizers made with local products and a top selection of desserts are just some of the specialties offered at the beautifully located restaurant. However, the latest highlight of the Olive Garden Restaurant’s kitchen team are Asian-inspired dishes, freshly prepared in a wok by chef Anto Loncar and ingeniously combined with Croatian cuisine.
We first pass the northern tip of Uglijan(3) (fairway buoy) as well as Rivanj(26) and Sestrunj(27), take the passage between Molat(28) in the north and Tun Veli(29) in the south on a westerly course and finally round the northern tip of Zverinac(16) counterclockwise.
We moor for the night in the marina of the same name with new port facilities and guest murings. Worth seeing: the baroque palace Fanfonga from the year 1746, otherwise Zverinac is a rather contemplative place, well geiget for peace seekers. If you like it a bit more lively, just sail a bit further and moor for the night in Marina Veli Rat(30) on Dugi Otok(4).
Day 2: Zverinac/Zverinac – Luka/Dugi Otok
On the second day of the cruise we leave the small marina Zverinac towards the southeast and sail along the elongated island of Dugi Otok(4) – lying to starboard. We first pass Brbinj(31), later Savar(32), and then continue sailing between the island of Rava(33) (to port) and Dugi Otok(4) (to starboard), heading for the small port of Luka(34). If you come like us from northwest, approach and water depths on Luka are unproblematic.
You can moor directly in front of a restaurant on the south shore, but the water depth here is only about 1.5 meters. If this is not enough for you, you can moor at the quay on the northeastern shore in front of an old house; here the water depth is at least between two and three meters.
If you want, you can hike from here to the two highest “mountains” of Dugi Otok(4), Vela Straza(35) and Druzinjak(36), 337 and 233 meters high, respectively. Just nearby also invite several caves such as the 30-meter Kozja Pec(37), where partisans hid during World War II.
Day 3: Luka/Dugi Otok – Zut/Zut
We leave the small, quiet village of Luka heading north, taking the passage between Luski(37) and Luka(34), the water depth here is about three meters. If this is too little for you, or if there is a strong current here, you can also easily sail around the small island of Luski.
We continue to follow the north side of Dugi Otok(4) island southeast, leaving Krknata(39) island to starboard, passing Sali(40) and sailing along between Lavdara(41) island (port) and Dugi Otok(4) (starboard). Now we change our course to OSE, keeping a good lookout for small islands lining our waterway and finally heading for ACI Marina Zut(42) on the island of the same name.
The ACI Marina Zut offers good service – and two nice restaurants
The marina on the island, which is only about 15 square kilometers, is well protected and has 120 berths. In addition, charter yachts can also moor at one of Marina Zut’s 15 buoys, located at Cape Razanj(43).
Here, in addition to various services, there is also a small supermarket, two restaurants (Festa – reservation recommended, and Sandra) and sanitary facilities. The nearest gas station for boats is about eight nautical miles away on Dugi Otok in Zaglav.
Day 4: Zut/Zut – Piskera/Piskera (Kornati National Park)
Those who want an excursion to the National Park Kornati(45), sails southwest on the fourth day of the cruise, leaving Zut initially in a northwesterly direction.
We pass the passage between the southern tip of Dugi Otoks(4) (starboard) and the northern tip of the island of Katina(44) (port), pass through the red-green pair of buoys and then keep south until we reach the open water off the southern coast of the island of Kornati(5). Now we continue sailing “around the outside” on a southeasterly course, leaving the small islands of Levrnaka(46), Borovnik(47), Mana(48), Rasip Mali(49) and Rasip Veli(50) astern.
Piskera(17) lies in the middle of the Kornati National Park(45), a paradise for sailors, divers and hikers
The island now visible on port side is Piskera(17) – we are now in the middle of Kornati National Park. It is recommended to round the small offshore island of Vela Panitula(51) clockwise to approach the eponymous ACI Marina Piscera(52) from the south or with a northwesterly course “from below”, because the northern entrance to the bay is very shallow (max. 0.5 meters draft, passage also possible only in calm seas).
Caution: the actual marina buildings are not on the island of Piskera(17), but on the southern island of Vela Panitula(51). Here there are 120 mooring buoys at a total of six floating jetties. If you want to avoid the comparatively high marina prices for entrance tickets to the national park, get the tickets beforehand (tell them right away when paying at the marina). By the way: even those who anchor in the surrounding area to save the high marina fees will be asked to pay by the nature park rangers.
Day 5: Piskera/Piskera – Biograd
On the fifth day of the cruise, we return to Zut(6) early in the morning, but this time we sail directly along the coastline, “inside” between the offshore islets, first in a northwesterly direction, then in a northeasterly direction.
However, we now leave Zut to starboard and sail further east, then round the southern tip of Pasman(53) on a northeasterly and finally NW course. Our destination for today is Biograd(18), which we reach safely after a wonderful half-day cruise.
In Biograd, two marinas invite us to moor: Kornati for larger yachts and Sangulin
Two marinas in one harbor complex invite skippers to moor in Biograd: Marina Kornati(23) is located just to the north (entering thus on the port side); here there are 380 berths for owner and charter yachts. At the north pier some more berths have been added in the last years, one lies here alongside to the pier, there is a travel lift, a crane and other usual services. 12 charter companies have their offices here.
Marina Sangulin(24) is located in the south of the port complex. It is a part of Marina Kornati(23) and is suitable mainly for smaller yachts and boats. The reception, sanitary facilities and also the charter offices are still partly housed in containers. But no matter in which part of the harbor the crew moors – from here it is only a few minutes walk to the worth seeing old town, which is directly connected to the elongated waterfront promenade.
The “white city by the sea” Biograd na Moru(18)has a lot to offer, during the day and in the evening
The “white city by the sea” Biograd na Moru, like Sukosan(15) also a popular port of departure for sailing trips to the island maze of the Kornati Islands, offers a lot. Fantastic beaches and bays await bathing holidaymakers, especially the shallowly sloping pebble beach Drazice(54) and the sandy beach Soline right next to it are very popular with families with children.
While during the day life takes place mainly on the beach and harbor promenade of Biograd, in the evening hours the hustle and bustle shifts to the waterfront promenade on the edge of the old town. Numerous restaurants, konobas and taverns invite you to enjoy the specialties of Dalmatian cuisine.
Day 6: Biograd – Sukosan
Cruise day six is all about the return to Sukosan(15): we leave Biograd(18) after breakfast and set course NW. For about ten nautical miles we sail once again in the most beautiful wind between Pasman(2) (to port) and the mainland (to starboard), passing Turanj(55) on the mainland side and Kraj(56) on the left, Pasman(2), Barotul(57), Nevidane(58), Dopropoljana(59), Banj(60) and Zdrelac(61) before entering our port of departure again.