The Pearls of Zadar Archipelago: Telling the Story of Dalmatian Islands

Zadar region archipelago is anything but void, as dozens of islands and isles, almost 300, populate its tranquil waters. Someone once said that a giant pearl necklace was torn apart by bura wind in celestial heights above this Dalmatian town, and that each falling part became an island in its vicinity. Yet, these ‘pearls’ are not solely places of typical Mediterranean beauty. During centuries, they played an important role in intrigues and political struggles of Adriatic power holders, from Roman Empire to Armies of Napoleon. Thus, they are historical sites too which can be interesting from this angle as well.

Naturally, such rich history many marks on locals and their cultural background, as numerous customs and traditions reveal. For example, residents of Island Iž annually choose their very own king during large fiesta, who will supposedly govern and represent them in Adriatic matters.  The Island of Molat, on the other hand, is known to be a vacation spot of foreign royalty, as King Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson visited Molat in 1936.

Islands of Ugljan and Pašman can be found across Zadar itself. Popular locations since ancient times, they are filled with sites of historical value, such as Roman villas and Early Christian Churches.  Pašman is also popular due to its cycling tracks, and wonderful sights of neighboring Kornati archipelago. The islands are connected via bridge, so transferring between the two is not a big issue for visitors.

Dugi Otok (Long Island in Croatian language) is well-known destination to frequent guests of Croatia, its sandy beach Sakarun being one of the unofficial symbols of the country’s blooming tourism. The Island also features the renowned Telašćica Nature Park and Strašna Peć (Horrific Cave). Telašćica Nature Park includes three awesome natural phenomena such as its bay “Telašćica” which is one of the safest natural ports of the Adriatic, the cliffs of the island Dugi otok rising up to 200 m over the sea and the salt lake called “Mir” (Peace). Stunning 19th century lighthouse Veli Rat adorn the opposite side of the island.

Island Olib is known for Banjve Cove where archaic remains of Roman settlement can be found, and sandy beach near Slatinica port. Meanwhile, waters near Premuda Isle are known as perfect locations for scuba-divers, as one can visit magnificent underwater grotto called ‘Cathedral’ and wreckage of Austro-Hungarian battleship ‘Szent Istvan’.

In 13th century, nobles of Raua family governed a small island near Zadar named Rava. In addition to wonderful coastline, this island has a rather unique feature. It is full of horizontal and vertical drywalls, thus virtually looking like a giant puzzle surrounded by Adriatic waters.

These are just a few fine examples of Islands in Zadar’s coastal vicinity. There are many more to discover and enjoy, such as Katina, Lavdara, Sit and Gangaro. It is up to you to discover their traits, but please remember one thing. Bathing in Adriatic Sea and enjoying prime local delicacies are mandatory activities on these ‘pearls’. After all, where to find fish as fresh as the one caught by the locals?