Kornati islands, as a separate island group in the central part of the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, covers an area of about 320 km2 and includes about 150 islands, islets and cliffs. This most indented island set in the Adriatic Sea covers as many as 12% of all the islands of the Croatian Adriatic, at only 1% of the total Croatian territorial waters. In the immediate neighbourhood, in the northwest of the Kornati islands, Dugi otok (Long Island) is located with its deep bay Telašćica, which together form a unique natural and cultural entity.
The first written proposal to designate Kornati a national park was created in 1965. Two years later Kornati islands become natural areas reservation. Due to the exceptional beauty of its landscape, interesting geomorphology, indented coastline and especially the richness of the marine ecosystem, in 1980 most of the Kornati maritime zone was declared a National Park.
Biogeographically Kornati islands belong to a separate Adriatic vegetation sector of the Mediterranean region for which the mutual association of plants of east Mediterranean and west Mediterranean floral element is significant. Kornati were once covered by forests of holm oak that through the ages, people have turned by their actions into the rocky pastures.
Area of the National Park Kornati can be characterized as an area rich in highly important underwater communities that are, due to the years long protection, on the high level of conservation. In the underwater of the National Park there is a large number of Natura 2000 species and habitats that ensure for this area a place in the European network of protected areas – network Natura 2000.
To this date, in the area of Kornati National Park it was recorded 353 species of algae, and 3 types of sea flowering plants and about 850 species of animals, including 61 species of coral, 177 species of molluscs, 61 species of crabs, 64 species of echinoderms and 185 of fish species.
Often, floating in the surrounding waters, happy Bottlenose Dolphin, the most common but also the only permanently inhabited by species of dolphins in the Adriatic Sea. Often you can see sluggish, but cute sea turtles, one of the most endangered animals in the world. The only permanent resident of the Adriatic, the loggerhead turtle with an adult reaches carapace length and up to 110 cm and weight up to 115 kg, in the Adriatic comes for eating and winter, and in the Kornati sea oasis of food and needed peace.
Often, floating in the surrounding waters, happy Bottlenose Dolphin can be met, the most common but also the only permanently species of dolphins inhabited in the Adriatic Sea. Often you can see sluggish, but cute sea turtles, one of the most endangered animals in the world. The only permanent resident of the Adriatic, the loggerhead turtle whose adult reaches carapace length even up to 110 cm and weight up to 115 kg, comes in the Adriatic for eating and winter, and in Kornati sea oasis finds the food and needed peace.
Kornati National Park covers an area of 217 km2 and includes total of 89 islands and reefs. Islands occupy less than 1/4 of the total park area (slightly less than 50 km2), and the sea surface is predominant in it. The average surface of the islands in Kornati National Park is approximately 0.5 km2. With the exception of the island Kornat, as the biggest island in the archipelago of the area of 32.5 km2, the average surface of the islands in the park is less than 0.2 km2. The total length of the coastline of all the islands is 238 km. The highest point is the peak Metlina on the island Kornat (237 m) and the deepest point in the sea next to the islands lies near the island Purara (125 m).
The incredible combinations of nature and man, who lives in Kornati for thousands of years, which is proven and also reflected in the always modest but striking buildings, are additional and by all means worthy decoration of the NP “Kornati”. Of all the things that Kornati hand had created the most attractive is definitely the wall, more precisely – the dry stone wall. Kilometres of walls that intersect Kornati islands are one of the biggest tourist attractions. The primary reason was the construction was division of the property and the separation of pastures. Another reason is to, trying to take every inch of ground from the rock and bush, for planting grape vines and later the olives, each stone that could be moved was removed, and it was immediately used for building of the wall that was used to protect crops from the cattle, as well as from the wind and salt that is brought from the sea by wind.
Kornati provide excellent conditions for cruising, diving, snorkelling. There are nine diving zones where diving is allowed only in organized and approved groups. Therefore, visitors can enjoy swimming in the beautiful sea without limits. Underwater of the National Park offers the opportunity to explore the rich flora and fauna. The mainland part of the park, although it often looks like a “semi-deserts”, is also teeming with life. Pedestrians have at their disposal around Kornati islands numerous vantage points, which are can be reached easily.
Kornati can be reached exclusively by a vessel. The National Park is located about seven nautical miles (about 13 km) from Murter, or about fifteen nautical miles (28km) from Šibenik and Zadar. The area of the park can be reached by private or rented boat, or in the organization of one of the many shipping companies or travel agencies on the Adriatic coast that organize trips in the area of the park.