Northern Dalmatia in Croatia is a holiday (and not only!) paradise on earth for everyone – for those looking for blissful relaxation and active recreation. These are beautiful beaches and azure seas, islands, mountain ranges, rivers, lakes and waterfalls, but also charming towns with intriguing history and culture. Regardless of the length of your stay, the season, or your preferred form of recreation, Northern Dalmatia has a lot to offer!
Northern Dalmatia: map, geography, history
Dalmatia is a historical region in the Balkans, stretching across today’s Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, along the eastern Adriatic coast. The climate here is Mediterranean.
The name of the region comes from the ancient Dalmatian tribe. From the 2nd century BC was a Roman province – from Dalmatia came, among others, Roman Emperor Diocletian. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was incorporated into Byzantium and then settled by Slavs – mainly Croats. The turbulent period in the history of Dalmatia ended basically only at the beginning of the 21st century. The region (in whole or in part) passed from hand to hand – it belonged, among others, to to Venice, Austria-Hungary and Italy to finally become part of Yugoslavia. After its dissolution, much of Dalmatia returned to the Croats. This turbulent spirit of history in Dalmatia can be felt at every step.
Currently, Dalmatia is divided into three parts: northern, central and southern.
Northern Dalmatia stretches from the island of Pag (in the north) to the beautiful towns of Rogoznica and Marina (in the south). The largest towns in Northern Dalmatia are Zadar and Šibenik, the longest river – Krka, and the largest lake – Vransko. Northern Dalmatia also has a varied coastline, which includes numerous islands and islets. The region is dominated not only by vibrant resorts, but also by numerous national parks.
Attractions in Northern Dalmatia include sunny beaches and azure sea
Northern Dalmatia is an ideal place for those who enjoy swimming in water (water temperatures are perfect) and sunbathing. There are sandy, pebble, rocky and mixed beaches here. The beaches are both already developed for tourists (including campsites, restaurants, water equipment rentals) and secluded, wild beaches, much less visited. Examples?
- Zaton Beach – sand and gravel, located in Zadar, in the heart of Northern Dalmatia, approx. 1.5 km long, with gentle, safe access to the sea. Marked with a blue flag, which proves the purity of the sea waters and its high tourist attractiveness. The beach is surrounded by a forest that allows you to take a break from the sun.
- Zrće Beach – a unique beach located near Novalji, also with a blue flag. The seabed here slopes quite steeply, making it an ideal place for enthusiasts of all kinds of water sports. Well-equipped and vibrant even at night! Called by some “Croatian Ibiza”.
- Ninska Laguna – Beach of the Kings, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia and entirely sandy, in the shape of a peninsula. Apart from the golden sand and crystal clear sea, it delights with the view of the mountain ranges in the Paklenica National Park.
Northern Dalmatia is a paradise for those who love water sports
Northern Dalmatia allows you to enjoy water sports at every step, both amateur and professional. Sailing and diving enthusiasts will certainly be delighted, as the Adriatic Sea is one of the calmest, but also the cleanest, seas in the Mediterranean. In Northern Dalmatia alone, there are several hundred islands and islets that are worth seeing from the deck (and more!). Fantastic cruises depart from Zadar and Šibenik, including: to the Kornati archipelago.
In Northern Dalmatia there are numerous bays, ports and modern marinas where you can rent equipment or moor/launch your own boat. There are water sports centers on the beaches and resorts where you can try, for example, windsurfing. For fans of diving, the Krk island is especially recommended (here, in the depths, there is, among others, a sunken shipwreck) and the island of Premuda with reefs and underwater cave systems. There are also good ferry connections in Northern Dalmatia, so many places can be reached by car.
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Interesting places in Northern Dalmatia located in the mountains
Just off the coast of Northern Dalmatia lies the Velebit mountain range. Although it is rather low (the highest peak is Vaganski Vrh, 1,757 m above sea level), it is beautiful, diverse and majestic! Experienced people can use two high-mountain trails – the Premuzica and Velebitska paths. Two national parks have been created in these mountains: Northern Velebit National Park and Paklenica National Park, which have numerous hiking trails and viewpoints with a panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea.
Paklenica National Park is a mecca for climbers who come here from all over the world! There are plenty of rocks and rocks here, and the variety of climbing routes is huge – from easy, through medium, to very demanding. The most famous climbing facility is Anica Kuk, an almost vertical wall, rising to a height of 350 m, which offers a lot of unforgettable experiences and wonderful views!
Northern Dalmatia for those who love wildlife
Northern Dalmatia is a land of national and landscape parks. We have already mentioned two of them, but beautiful and wild Croatian nature is not only about mountains!
- Kornati National Park – created on the Kornati archipelago, which you can reach by your own ship or as part of an organized cruise. These are over 100 islands that delight with their diversity of flora and fauna (including the Mediterranean monk seal, a rare species of seal) and the richness of the underwater world. It is also worth visiting the remains of ancient buildings, e.g. the Tureta fortress, probably built in the 6th century!
- Krka National Park – the crystal clear Krka River, which flows for several dozen kilometers in a large canyon, overcoming cascades and creating impressive waterfalls several dozen meters high (popular ones include Roški slap and Skradinski buk). The park also has a deep karst lake called Visovac with characteristic green water, a waterfall and an island on which there is an ancient monastery. Amazing views!
The attractions of Northern Dalmatia also include historical and cultural heritage!
Northern Dalmatia is famous not only for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear sea, majestic mountains and wildlife parks. Where should you go to learn about the history and culture of this region and take advantage of the charms of, for example, the beautiful old town?
- Šibenik – one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Dalmatia, a town located on the hills, right at the mouth of the Krka River to the sea. The biggest attraction this tourist town offers is the Cathedral of St. James, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The historic center with charming narrow streets is also enchanting, and the fortress of St. George rises above the city. Michał, which has become an impressive viewing point. While you’re here, don’t forget to taste the local wine!
- Zadar – a city founded over 3,000 years ago! One of the attractions is the old town, located entirely on a peninsula, with a characteristic “Roman” street layout. Walking avenues, promenades, St. Cathedral Anastazja, the Pozdrav Suncu installation, imitating the solar system – there is a lot to see here! It is believed that in this town you can watch the most beautiful sunsets in the world. It is also worth listening to the melody of the sea organ (Morske Orgulje), played by the waves flowing through special tubes in the promenade structure.
It is also worth visiting other tourist towns, e.g. Biograd na Moru or Vodice.
We strongly encourage you to visit Northern Dalmatia. The attractions described are only a fraction of what this land can offer to visitors – it is worth staying here longer to fully discover its beauty! The opportunity to visit Northern Dalmatia is available not only through a travel agency, but even relatively cheap holidays can be efficiently organized on your own.