No vacation in Croatia is complete without swinging by Zadar. This gem of the Adriatic Coast is known for its fascinating history, stunning architecture and idyllic location. As you wander through the maze of narrow streets in the Old Town, you’ll be awe-inspired by the ancient Roman ruins, medieval churches and vibrant squares that pop up everywhere. The city also has a weird and wonderful side to it – exemplified by the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation designed by genius architect Nikola Basic.
The Sea Organ produces mystical musical notes from the sound of waves and is certainly one of the destination highlights. But Zadar isn’t all history and architecture. It’s also the gateway to Croatia’s most beautiful islands. Just a short ferry or boat trip away and you find yourself in the spectacular Kornati National Park – a cluster of over 100 uninhabited islands and islets that boast crystal-clear waters. Kornati is a nature-lovers paradise with plenty of sailing, swimming and hiking opportunities on offer.
Another must-visit island is Dugi Otok or “Long Island”. Dugi Otok is 44.5 kilometers long and 4.8 kilometers wide featuring dramatic cliffs, hidden coves and seawater lakes. Salt Lake Mir, situated in Telascica Nature Park, is where you can see a true wonder of the natural world. If you’re an influencer traveling with a drone, then capturing the lake from the sky will produce viral social media content for you. Of course, there is only one way to experience the wonders of Zadar’s islands and that’s on a boat trip!
Luckily, Zadar Archipelago is here to make all your seafaring dreams come true. This premier company has a wide range of boat tours to choose from, each one more thrilling than the last. Their small group boat trips have a maximum capacity of 12 guests, alongside two crew members, creating an intimate and adventurous experience for all. Better yet, by jumping on their world-class speedboats you will be able to get to the islands quickly and in comfort (even during rough seas, the speedboats remain stable).
As you set sail on a half or full-day journey, you’ll have the chance to soak in the breathtaking coast of Zadar, and feel the sun on your face and wind rushing through your hair. Once you arrive at the islands, turquoise waters invite you in for a refreshing swim. Does life really get any better than that?! With the European summer only a couple of months away, now is the perfect time to start planning your Croatia holiday. Check out the boat trips from Zadar Archipelago below and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
Best Boat Trips from Zadar
Silba & Olib Boat Tour – 2x Islands and 6x Stops
Two majestic Croatian islands are on the itinerary for this nine-and-a-half hour boat trip, running from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm, namely: Silba and Olib. The former is one of the sunniest spots in the archipelago with picturesque pebbly and sandy coves to discover, and no cars in sight. While the latter is called the “King of Sandy Beaches” for a reason. The first stop on the tour takes place in Olib at the sheltered Slatina Bay. The translucent blue waters, white sand and green pine forest backdrop here will blow your mind.
Next up is Silba for a snorkeling adventure. After hearing some interesting stories about the first inhabitants of the island, you’ll be immersed in the mysterious underwater world of Pocukmarak Bay and see an ancient sarcophagus on the seabed. As noon rolls around, it’s time to take a dip in Sotorisce Bay – Silba’s most famous beach – before heading to Silba Village to visit an open-air art gallery and take a walk that includes a visit to the Tower of Love. Lunch can then be enjoyed at one of the restaurants.
In the afternoon, at approximately 16:00 pm, the group returns to Olib for another swim but this time at The Bay of St. Nicholas. This is a lovely way to make the most of the final sunshine hours. Finally, the trip concludes with a cruise back to Zadar’s old city center. The Sea Organ, mentioned previously, will be the last swansong of the tour as you listen to serene sounds and reflect on a brilliant day with Zadar Archipelago. Scroll through the photos below to get a glimpse of just how incredible these islands are!
Dugi Otok Boat Tour: Ultimate Boat Adventure
This is one of the best boat trips in the region and why Zadar Archipelago named it the “ultimate boat adventure”. Dugi Otok is the destination for the day with its abundance of untouched bays, pristine beaches and secret places not many travelers know of – such as the Golubinka Sea Cave where you can jump from cliffs into unimaginably clear waters. Prior to the sea cave visit, guests get to snorkel around a 250-foot long shipwreck that sank in 1984. The wreck protrudes above sea level – making it a superb photo op.
The Great White Stone Beach is the next attraction on the full-day tour and what a spot it is! It’s situated close to Mezanj island which will also captivate you as you pass by. Your hour or so here can be spent as you wish: from swimming and snorkeling, to sunbathing and walking along the shore soaking up the best beach in Dugi Otok. At 14:00 pm, the fun continues at Sakarun Beach which is popular among locals. Your guide will invite you to play a game of Picigin, while you sip on a cocktail and grab a bite to eat.
After these beach festivities, a visit to Veli Rat awaits. Guests enjoy a relaxing walk under trees en-route to the tallest lighthouse in the Adriatic. To take your experience to the next level, you can book a table at a restaurant to take in the views and sample local cuisine. Wrapping up the day are rides through military tunnels on the west coast and visiting the village of Bozava. In Bozava you can order an ice cream and swim one last time. The tour finishes on a high with the Sea Organ welcoming you back.
Kornati Islands & Telascica Boat Tour
The only Kornati National Park tour you need to book is the Kornati Islands and Telascica boat trip with Zadar Archipelago! It’s the total package that ticks all the boxes of this truly beautiful destination. Highlights include swimming in Lake Mir with its healing properties, snorkeling in crystalline waters surrounded by fish, visiting a movie set on Mana island, chilling out on pebbly beaches and admiring the panoramic views on the boat. In total, you will be visiting five islands – making it great value for money.
One favorite experience with guests on this tour is the short but sweet hike to Salt Lake Mir. Apart from swimming in the lake and absorbing its health benefits, you can also stand on the edge of the towering Telascica cliffs and take unbelievably unique photos. The cliffs are 100 meters high and literally take your breath away. Additionally, travelers are astonished by the cliffs of Mana island. While it’s impossible to go cliff-jumping at the Telascica cliffs, the Mana cliffs on the other hand provide the opportunity to do so.
To balance out these adrenaline activities the tour heads to Vrulje Bay for a gourmet lunch and Levrnaka island for a bit of beach relaxation. Just when you thought Kornati couldn’t get any cooler, the amazing Lojena Beach presents itself on Levrnaka with its heart-shaped bay. The last but not least stop is Sali Village. Here the group can unwind over a coffee, ice cream or pizza. For those lucky enough, the Sali orchestra might be playing its “donkey melody” when you are in town. A funky way to finish the voyage!
Private Boat Tours in Zadar with Family & Friends
The same Zadar boat trips above can also be done on private versions if you have a big group in mind or would prefer privacy. These are ideal for families, groups of friends or couples who would like to celebrate a special occasion. Simply head to the tours page of Zadar Archipelago’s website to see all the options. The Magical Zadar Sunset is a romantic way to surprise your significant other on your Croatia getaway, while the Private Boat Tour to Molat & Ugljan might just be the perfect outing for family and friends.
Essential Travel Tips for Zadar
In conclusion, these awesome boat trips from Zadar Archipelago are truly the best of the best. Don’t just take it from us though. Have a read of their Tripadvisor reviews and see why they are ranked as one of the top tour companies in the region. From showcasing the natural beauty of unspoiled beaches to diving into the cultural charm of authentic villages, the team at Zadar Archipelago know a thing or two about this magnificent island chain. Booking your boat tours with them is easy, affordable and totally worth it.
Before signing off, you should consider these tips to ensure your visit to Zadar is a smooth one. Although traveling to Croatia is straightforward in the modern age, there are still a couple of things to bear in mind. The first is that obviously the best time of year to visit for the boat trips is summer, from June to August. That said, prices are higher and the crowds can be larger too. You might find May or October to be pleasant. You will still be able to swim in the sea with the added benefit of less tourists.
A day or two is enough to see the Old Town of Zadar but to explore the hidden gems of the archipelago, it’s best to give yourself a week. This gives you plenty of full days to take boat trips and not feel rushed. It’s easier to stay longer in Zadar anyway, as opposed to Dubrovnik or Split, because the prices are much lower. Yet, you will still find Croatia to be more expensive than other European countries. One final important tip is that as of January 1st 2023, Croatia now uses the Euro. So bring your Euros along!