Kayaking on the Adriatic coast and the islands are ideal for exploring because with little effort you can reach inaccessible places and enjoy spectacular experiences
A dense region of the Adriatic archipelago is ornamented with endless islands, clifs, beaches, bays, lagoons, steep reefs, caves and a lavish spectrum of pebble strands. Together with smaller and bigger towns coloured in Dalmatian-Mediterranean hues vibrating with centuries old life, leaving traces of ancient cultures and numerous historical monuments like palaces, squares, chapels, cathedrals, fortresses and narrow streets behind, Adriatic also enjoys almost perfect weather conditions from April through November for revealing charms and magic of the sea kayaking.
Among the sailors there are plenty of those to whom sailing and navigation aren’t enough; they crave more activities, so besides swimming, exploring the depths of the sea, hiking on nearby hills, they also like to discover hidden beaches by riding kayaks or paddle boards.
Kayaking on the Adriatic
But a few days long kayaking trip takes a bit more then just a bathing suit, sun and mosquito bloc. Necessecary elements are basic experience, endurance for a few hours of rowing in the sun, sometimes even against the wind. Hence, there is a spark of magic in everything. Intensive sea experince brings a good night sleep, especially followed by fine dinner and sipping of the God’s nectar revealing the spirit of Dalmatia.
Possibilities of chosing a route are proportional to limitless number of lagoons and bays, so if you are kayaking on your own, depending on your gusto you will head for Brijuni, Lošinj, Kornati, Prvić, Brač, Korčula or where your emotional frequency drives you, and possibilities allow.
Best time for kayaking on the Adriatic
Days of favorable weather and sea conditions are abundant, still pre and post season period is the most privileged, meaning less frequent sea traffic, less crowded restaurants, more available apartments. In May, the first part of June, somewhere even through the whole June beaches are less packed, days are long offering more relaxation.
September and the first half of October furnish more stabile weather conditions, and sea temperature is still pleasant, masses are gone providing more chances for undisturbed kayaking pleasure compared to the heart of the season, July and August, when it is necessary to chose destination throughly if yearning for peaceful coves (possible even with that timing).
Due to the proximity of many islands, islets and cliffs, the Adriatic coast is ideal for exploring it in kayak because a small boat can easily and with little effort reach inaccessible places rewarding you with spectacular experiences. We bring you some of the most interesting kayaking tours on the Adriatic, among thousands of them.
Kayaking on the Kornati islands
If we had to choose the most beautiful kayaking tour it would definitely be the one exploring the Kornati islands because it’s hard to compete with the vast amount of natural phenomena hiding there, including small fishing spots and virgin coves. The meditative feeling that dominates the entire archipelago is even stronger when riding a kayak.
You are as close to seeing true paradise on Earth when kayaking through the Kornati islands as you are close to the surface of the sea when in kayak. The Kornati archipelago consists of around 90 islands, and if you have already visited some of them by boat, set aside at least one day to reach places where no other boat can go.
If you are traveling from Zadar, your first stop is the small town of Sali on Dugi Otok island. Kayaking around the southern side of the Kornati islands you will discover hidden coves of the islands of Levrnaka, Piškera and Lavsa giving you a unique opportunity to climb the rocks directly from the kayaks. If you choose to trek on the island of Kornat, you will enjoy a spectacular view of the unique landscape that testifies to the century-old cohabitation of man and nature in a completely sustainable way, and your trip will transform from a seemingly small adventure to an important experience which will stay with you for a lifetime.
Nature Park Telašćica is situated just before the National Park Kornati, within the bay that ‘guards’ thirteen isles. The Slano Lake, an unreal karst phenomenon that is completely safe for kayaking even for families with children, is a must-see destination. Having passed the calm waters, the adventurers kayaking along the coastline can ‘anchor’ themselves at the sandy Sakarun beach.
Kayaking on Hvar and Pakleni Islands
Due to their stunning beauty, the central Dalmatian islands have become crowded during the summer months, but even then, it is still worth going on a tour and visiting some of the most popular destinations for adventure seekers. By kayaking slowly, you can visit Pakleni Islands, a protected landscape full of small oases, including the small islet of the Galešnik at the very exit of Hvar harbor, a bigger Jerolim island, the beautiful Marinkovac island and the largest island of St. Klement.
If you decide to paddle along the shore, there are all kinds of different surprises waiting for you in each bay, whether it is sandy or pebble beaches, small Robinson Crusoe style restaurants or rock formations like the Red Rocks which you can reach by kayak. On your way back, do not miss Dubovica beach and other coves as each of them have many beautiful memories in store for you.
Kayaking on the island of Brač
One of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the Zlatni Rat beach on the island of Brač, offers a beautiful and easy kayaking tour that starts at the small nearby town of Bol. If you wish to avoid crowds and find peace and relaxation, paddle northwards from the Zlatni Rat beach, where you will find small beaches, some of them so intimate that there’s only room for two.
In search of the true adventure on the Brač island, the best way is to continue kayaking to Blaca cove where you can climb uphill to the unreal Blaca desert, a monastery carved into the cliffs where priests ran one of the most famous observatories in the world.
Kayaking on the island of Mljet
The legend says that the greatest seafarer Odysseus, on one of his famous travels, survived shipwreck and found shelter in a cave on the island of Mljet where the goddess Calypso kept him as her prisoner for seven long years. Although it is not the only cave on the island, this cave called Odysseus Cave has a sea entrance which is just high enough for kayak to pass under, and while you’re paddling under the rocks into the interior of the cave, pay close attention to the entrancing blue color of the sea underneath because it is highly unlikely that you will see such a thing anywhere else in the world.
Apart from beautiful sandy beaches like Saplunara beach on the eastern tip of the island, this green island hides another geological phenomenon: Veliko and Malo Jezero (the Great and Small Lake), which is a perfect location for surfing on paddle boards. The Great lake is connected to the sea via small canal. There is a small islet called St. Mary in the middle of the lake where a monastery is situated, a true oasis of peace built by the Benedictines in the 12th century.
These are just some of the unique Adriatic sites where you can quench your eternal thirst for adventure, tire yourself out and take a well-deserved rest far away from the summer crowds, and find that zen moment which makes kayaking worth all the effort.
Text Filip Bubalo
Photos Damir Pačić, Yachts Archives & Unsplash