Crystal clear waters, stunning scenery and endless coastlines – that is what you can expect from the Zadar archipelago. But where should you begin? This guide will help you to turn your dream about island hopping in Zadar into reality.
Whether you’ve only got a couple of hours, a few days or a couple of weeks, it’s well worth taking the time to explore some these islands and discover the unique character of each.
The main island group which is best suited for touring from Zadar include Dugi Otok, Losinj, Susac, Silba, Molat and Olib. The archipelago consists of numerous islands and islets stretching over the area of about 250 square kilometres. Some are inhabited and they are also interconnected by local ferry boats.
The good thing about choosing Zadar as a starting point for your island-hopping holiday is that Zadar has its airport and has fantastic connections with its local islands as well as islands in Kvarner archipelago all the way to Pula and Rijeka. You can even choose to start from Zadar, fly to Zadar and then island-hop to Pula and fly back home from there.
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How much time I need to island-hop from Zadar:
Depending on how much time you have, you can choose to island-hop just for a few days to the nearby islands and coast, to week, 10 days or even two weeks long island-hopping holiday. For a very short visit, Zadar has several local islands that are just 20 minutes ferry ride away.
Zadar archipelago includes popular Kornati Islands National Park and Telascica Nature Park and if you have time try to visit both if you can.
- If you have just a few hours, go to Ugljan.
- If you have just a few days, I suggest you choose to visit Dugi Otok and Molat.
- If you have a week to spare, then Dugi Otok, Molat, Olib and Silba are a good choice.
- For 10 days to two weeks, start from Zadar and see numerous islands including Silba, Losinj, Pag and Rab on the way to Pula or Rijeka. Ferry schedules are suitable for a round trip too. You can also include a visit to the Kornati Islands archipelago which is also a National park. Bear in mind that there is no public transport available there, you have to book a private trip. You can also prolong your trip, take a bus to Sibenik or Split and continue your island hopping from Split to Hvar and further south- check how to get from Zadar to Split article, Zadar to Hvar and back, and more info about the city of Split.
Best time to island-hop from Zadar:
If you can choose, the best time is June and September. Ferries are still fairly frequent running on the high season schedule while crowds are smaller and this period is much quieter.
Here are some itinerary suggestions for local island hopping by car or as foot passenger:
Zadar Island Hopping Map – Car ferries and Foot passenger ferry routes:
On the above map of Zadar and part of Kvarner Archipelago, you can see all ferry routes that are currently served in the area. Click on to map to see the large version, and download it for private reference.
Itineraries With Car or Bicycle:
There are five car ferry routes running in the archipelago, so if you are planning to travel by car, motorbike or bicycle there is plenty of choices. Out of the season, these ferries operate just once a day while in the high season it runs several times a day.
- Car Ferry route 401: Zadar to Mali Losinj, also stopping in Ist, Olib, Silba and Premuda islands.
- Car Fery route 433: Zadar to Molat, stopping in Rivanj, Sestrunj and Zverinac.
- Car ferry route 431: Zadar – Preko (Ugljan island)
- Car ferry route 434: Zadar to Brbinj on Dugi Otok island (ideal to visit Telascica Nature Park by car, motorhome or camper)
- Car ferry route 435: Zadar – Iz (Bršanj) – Rava – care ferry for Iz island getting to Rava just once a week.
While planning your routes, bear in mind that Silba island is a pedestrian-only, car-free zone so no cars are allowed there. Important: All car ferries leave and arrive in Zadar Gazenica ferry port. (map)
Suggestion: If you are arriving by car in Zadar, the good option is also to safely park your car there and island-hop as a foot passenger. Zadar parking map, parking cost and booking info is here.
Itineraries Without Car (Foot passengers only)
Numerous fast and slower foot passenger ferries are sailing daily between Zadar and the islands interconnecting the whole archipelago. The boats are sailing several times a day so you can choose to either visit the islands for a day trip or stay on any of them for a day or two. The journey times are between 30 minutes and 1 hour and 40 minutes, depending on which island you choose to visit.
- Foot passenger catamaran fast ferry route 9401 – good for visiting Silba, Premuda and Olib.
- Foot passenger catamaran fast ferry route 9403 – for Molat and Ist islands.
- Foot passenger catamaran fast ferry route 9141 – ideal for foot passengers who would like to island-hop from Zadar to Pula or Rijeka. Daily service in high season, just once a week in the off-season period (winter). Use this one to visit the sandy island of Susak.
- Foot passenger catamaran Zadar – Silba – Rab – Krk – Rijeka – consider this one if you are planning a longer, round island hopping trip including the Kvarner archipelago.
For the complete list of boats, fast catamaran & ferry timetables as well as booking info check croatiaferries.com site here
Things to do and see on the islands
Islands in the archipelago are good for sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, as well as any other water sports activities. If you are after local culture, choose Mali Losinj. For natural beauties go to Dugi Otok (Telascica) and the Kornati. Silba and Susak are great for the small local community, with lovely beaches and a car-free experience.
Where to stay
Here is some suggestion for nice places to stay on the islands:
- Silba apartment on Silba island, the unique and secluded location very close to the beach.
- Telascica Beach House – a lovely cottage in the heart of Dugi Otok island’s Telascica Nature Park. Fantastic views & waterfront. One of the best locations in the archipelago if you are looking for nature, peace and quiet.
- Susak Cottage – an old traditional cottage recently converted in a comfortable holiday home on Susak island. Situated in the very centre of the Susak village and just a few minutes walk from the amazing sandy beach.
Video of Kornati and Telsacica
Kornati and Telsacica on Dugi Otok
Map Zadar Island Hopping
More info about island hopping in Croatia