Located along the Southern side of Dugi Otok Island, visitors can find the peaceful, tucked away paradise that is home to Telašćica Nature Park. Dramatic vertical cliffs, turquoise blue waters, and distant wild islets will take your breath away. Many tourists only pay a visit to the popular Kornati National Park; however, Telašćica Nature Park should not be missed. Visitors can easily plan an entire day of fun activities and must-see spots throughout the preserve. Keep reading for the Ultimate Guide to Telašćica Nature Park, and start planning your itinerary!
Getting to Telašćica Nature Park
The first detail to consider is how to reach Telašćica Nature Park. Nearly 65% of the park is sea, which means the easiest way to get there is by boat. From renting a private boat to joining an organized tour, the options are numerous. You can also take a boat from the mainland to see the park from Zadar. There are tours for Kornati which also include Telačćica.
We decided to drive there, which is surprisingly easy. The Telašćica Nature Park is bordered by the village of Sali, which is also the last inhabited territory before entering the natural preserve. If you plan to take your car, take the Jadrolinija ferry from Zadar (Gaženica is the port outside of the city center) to Brbinj or Božava. The ferry always allows dogs as long as they are outside on the deck and on a leash. The ride is about an hour and twenty minutes, but it’s usually quite sunny with little shade available, so bring lots of sunscreen and make sure to have a water bowl for your dog.
If you don’t want to drive but still want to spend more time in the Nature Park than the tours from the mainland allow, consider taking the catamaran from the Zadar city center with G&VLine. Make sure that the catamaran company allows dogs if you plan to bring your furry friend. Once in Sali, you can plan an expedition with Adamo Travel. They have tours, water taxis, and cars available either for hire, or per taxi ride. The good news is there are plenty of options when it comes to traveling to the preserve.
As a designated nature park, Telašćica Nature Park requires you to have a valid entrance ticket, which gives you access to the entire area including the archeological sites, caves, the salt lake, and much more. It is best to get your ticket upon arrival from the rangers’ office. The entrance fee for a day pass is only 40 Kuna per person (around 5 EUR), and it covers your vehicle entrance as well. Keep in mind that if you are arriving by boat, the ticket prices vary depending on the size of your vessel. For more information check HERE.
What to See
Your first stop once you enter the park should be the Salt Lake Mir. Visitors can find the lake in the southwestern part of the nature park. Once you park your car by the cliffs, the walk to the lake will take between 20 to 40 minutes depending on your pace. The lake is beautifully nestled between Telašćica Bay and the Adriatic Sea. There are underground cracks which connect the lake with the open sea and cause the salinity of the lake. You may not be able to find a wide variety of marine wildlife here; however, on the southeast side of the lake there is a deposit of healing mud from the pelitic deposits (“fango” is considered a healing compound).
On the opposite side of Telašćica Bay, the dramatic vertical cliffs rising high above the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea are a truly spectacular sight. Also known as the Stene Cliffs, some of them reach a height of 160 meters, and it is believed that they reach a depth of 90 meters into the sea below. You definitely need to stop by to truly take in the beauty of this iconic landmark. If you are lucky, you might even spot dolphins playing in the water in the distance.
As you visit Telašćica Nature Park, be sure to stop by its beautiful, peaceful beaches as well. You definitely need to head to Beach Cuscica, which islocated on the southeastern side of the nature park. This stretch of sand is not only a hidden gem, but it also offers a breathtaking vista of the calm, pristine Adriatic Sea and the incredible Kornati Islands in the distance.
Telašćica Nature Park holds significant importance to Croatia not only because of its natural landmarks, but also because of its cultural and historical heritage. All across the island, visitors can find a large number of impressive archeological sites, including early Christian churches, medieval settlements, and ruins of Roman villages and burial mounds. To get the most up-to-date information, it is best to inquire with the park rangers when you are getting your tickets.
The park is also home to a number of unique caves, and I would recommend you check out the Otok Veli Garmeniak and Strašna Peć Caves. Keep in mind that access can be limited, so it is best to check at the park’s official information center for more specific details.
What to Do
While there are numerous landmarks and sights to see, there are also many must-try activities that attract tourists to Telašćica Nature Park. Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of the preserve is to rent a kayak and explore the park by water. There is nothing better than spending a few hours peacefully floating on the salty water of Lake Mir or following the sea route towards the picturesque Kornati Islands. For those who prefer staying on land, I definitely recommend renting a bike. Keep in mind that there are some steep parts and you might have to go uphill, but it is well worth the workout to admire the panoramic views of the island and the surrounding blue waters.
The nature preserve is home to a sanctuary for donkeys. They actually move freely on the southern part of the island. Visitors can often catch a glimpse of them along the gravel trail. My suggestion, however, if you’re walking, is to choose the shady path along the sea where you will find a sign pointing to the right. After just 15 steps up the hill, it’s very likely you will be greeted by the sight of wild donkeys freely and peacefully grazing and romping.
Where to Stay
You can definitely plan just a day trip to Telašćica Nature Park. However, if you would like to fully experience nature’s beauty and catch all of the numerous sites and do a few activities as well, it might be a good idea to stay overnight. There are a number of holiday houses across the park, and each one of them is extremely accommodating, as well as charming and picturesque. Choose a stone house along the sea, or a cottage tucked away in the bushes. There are also cottages available to rent along one of the main entrance roads.
Where to Eat
As you can imagine, the food in the nature park is extremely overpriced. Even though we did not try the food, we were tempted by the delicious smell of freshly cooked meals a few times as we were passing by the restaurants.
We were staying in Sali for a few days and we found some great restaurants. We liked Konoba Kod Sipe the best, as their octopus salad and black cuttlefish risotto were some of the best I’ve ever had. We also went to a local market and bought fish and shrimp to cook at our apartment one of the evenings.
- Always make sure to ask for the bill when buying something. Even though the law in Croatia states that you should always be given the bill, at one of the restaurants in the park we did not get one. We were only informed of the price and it was absolutely outrageous.
- Bring good shoes, not just sandals and flip flops, but some good walking or hiking shoes as well. Also, if you plan to swim, you will definitely need water shoes.
- Bring a swimsuit. You will find numerous fantastic places to swim.
- Start your day early! Come before 11am if you want to skip the crowds. After 11:30, dozens of boats will flock to the park. Tourists come for day trips from Zadar and many other cities and towns. As a result, it gets fairly crowded around lunch time.
- If you have a furry friend, make sure to bring him or her as the park is dog-friendly.
Has the wanderlust hit you after reading my ultimate guide to Telašćica Nature Park? Wait no more and start packing your bags, as this hidden gem of Croatia is definitely bucket-list worthy!
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