Your guide to the most incredible nature park in the Zadar region – Telašćica. Find out everything you need to know about Telašćica Nature Park, including how to get there and what to see and do when you are there.
Steep cliffs on the open-sea side of the Island, or locally called “strmac”, are pretty special, so it’s worthwhile knowing a little about them. These huge vertical cliffs are rising up to 160m above sea level and dramatically plummeting down to 85m deep into the sea.
These rocks not only look impressive, but they’re also home to some pretty amazing wildlife too. The dolphins in the region love to swim beneath, but you’ll also find an abundance of corals, including the endangered red coral. The regal grey falcon is often seen nesting in the rocks along with another endangered species, Eleonora’s falcon. The area is protected because of the presence of these two falcon species.
Just over the cliffs on the inward side of the island lays a lake! A salt lake Mir (eng. peace) abounds in wildlife and is found towards the southwestern portion of the park. The lake was formed after the last Ice Age and is around 900m in length. It's saltiness makes it the perfect spot for sea bass, snails, crabs, and shellfish. Pretty picturesque, it’s a lovely spot for some photos.
Who doesn’t love to see dolphins frolicking in the open water? When visiting the park, you won’t have to be lucky to see these adorable mammals, as they’re regularly spotted from the clifftops, as you sail over to the park, and whilst you’re checking out the view from land. It is thought that around 220 dolphins inhabit the Adriatic, which means they’re endangered in general. However, they’re playful, and they love to be seen, so get your camera ready!
Lighthouse on Sestrica Vela island
Right on the very edge of the park, you’ll find Sestrica Vela, a small island that is home to the beautiful Tajer Lighthouse. Dating back to 1876, during the Austro-Hungarian period, the lighthouse is huge and sits 47 meters above sea level. The original construction is still in place, and you can also check out the small stone bridge which connected the lighthouse to the land.
To reach the lighthouse, you need to walk from the pier and through a beautiful forest that is more than 100 years old. Another photo moment!
Though, if you want to go inside the lighthouse, you’ll need to book beforehand, so do bear that in mind before making the trip.
The Flat Island
This tiny yet quite interesting island, is actually a flat rock named after its shape Taljuric (eng. plate) is worth a visit. At just 60 x 3 meters, there isn’t a huge amount of things to do, but checking it out is worthwhile. It’s made of eroded limestone, which has that windswept, stunning look to it. You’ll see amazing views from this tiny island too. We’ve already mentioned the park’s famous rocks, but if you head to the south of Lake Mir and head towards the open sea, you’ll find the area known as Skraca.
Stone sculptures on Skraca
We’ve already mentioned the park’s famous rocks, but if you head to the south of Lake Mir and head towards the open sea, you’ll find the area known as Skraca. These rocks are thousands of years old, and they shape the entire area beautifully. There are countless stone sculptures made by the visitors to check out around here, and they’re pretty famous on Instagram too!
Who doesn’t love donkeys? You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone! This part of Croatia has its own indigenous breeds and donkeys once played an integral part in farming and general life. Sadly these beautiful animals have now found themselves somewhat surplus to requirements but some of them have made the park their home.
There are 14 donkeys in the park currently, 8 boys and 6 girls. They move around the park freely, but you’ll find most of them around Lake Mir and some around Mir Bay. The donkeys are used to being around humans, so they’re pretty friendly and very curious! Remember to approach the donkeys slowly and not to creep upon them. These beautiful inhabitants might be the stars of your visit!
Interpretation & Educational Centre - Fort Grpašćak
This is without a doubt a huge highlight of the park! Sitting on the edge of the huge cliff, you’ll find a fort named Grpašćak - an unique military fortress converted into a tourist center. The views of the Telašćica riches and the Kornati islands are stunning. You can do some fantastic dolphin watching from here, and you can learn more about the area's history and culture. There are several exhibitions inside, and you can take a tour which takes just over one hour to complete. If you want to see the underwater world of Telašćica or the stars above it, head to the tower where you can do both - whatever you choose you will not go wrong!
The Center is open and accessible to visitors throughout the week, and the entrance is free of charge (included in the ticket price for the Nature Park Telašćica).
The Center can be reached by car, on foot and by transport organized by the Nature Park Telašćica .
Transportation to the Center and back, which lasts about 10 minutes in one direction, is organized from the pedestrian entrance Dolac or from the Mir Bay and is not charged extra (included in the ticket price for the Nature Park Telašćica).
A few trails lead through the park, and these will help you learn more about the park and its natural history. You’ll notice the aromatic smell of herbs in the area as you move through the interior of the park and up to Lake Mir. You can also stop and take a rest occasionally, as there are benches dotted around. Whichever direction you follow, you’re sure to see amazing views.
The most popular trail is around Lake Mir. This is 2.2km in length and takes you in a large circle around Lake Mir. You can also take the medicinal plants trail, which is 1km in length and takes you from Grpašćak to Gmajno Polje, or another which takes you from Mir Bay to Lake Mir and covers 2.5km.
The best way to learn about anything is to take a guided tour. By doing that, you benefit from an experienced guide helping you learn and appreciate what you’re seeing. You can take several tours around the park, including the Natural Beauty Tour, which takes you around Mir Bay and teaches you about the wildlife species that call that space home. This tour will take you just 2 hours.
You can also take the Three Phenomena of the Park tour, which begins at Grpašćak and takes you to Mir Bay. You’ll get to learn more about the Strmac and the main cliff that made the park what it is today. Also, you’ll get to learn about the wildlife too. The tour takes 5 hours, but you’ll learn a lot!
Underwater Educational Trail
In Tripuljak bay, you’ll find a 200-meter trail that takes you underwater and really opens your eyes to what lives under the sea. The trail is suitable for anyone who can swim and as long as you’re comfortable with a snorkel and mask.
The tour takes just half an hour, and you also have access to an audio guide covering four languages. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent some at the entrance to the trail.