Planning your summer holidays can be very tricky, especially if you just have under a week to spend. One of the rare occasions I took such a  quickie of a holiday brought me to a wonderful island in Croatia: Dugi Otok.

Croatia as a holiday destination increases in popularity from season to season (check out Katja’s post on Dubrovnik). Within the last decade it has become a true alternative to Greece, Italy and Spain, for those who fancy themselves a trip to the Mediterranean. It is still relatively cheap, there is a variety of sandy beaches for families and rough cliffs for adventurers, its infrastructure is fabulous and there is always a secret gem hidden behind almost every corner. This a great place to feel like an explorer!
SONY DSC SONY DSC
Dugi Otok is a longish island in Northern Dalmatia. It is connected to Zadar by ferry and especially popular with individual (sailing) tourists. There is no campground, although one is being installed and supposed to open this season. This leaves it mostly untouched from camping families and party people.

There are several small villages spread across the island. Soline in the north is host to the only sandy beach, Sali in the south provides the tourist and administration center. The beaches around the island are wild and isolated; many of them can only be reached my narrow dirt roads. On the way to our secret spot we even had to drive a one-lane tunnel. The turquoise sea, dreamy landscapes and lonely beaches pay off the efforts to reach them. Build a shelter with the driftwood on the shore and enjoy some calm hours in the sun.
SONY DSC Dugi Otok, Croatia (3) Dugi Otok, Croatia (4)
Sali is the ideal starting point of your trip to the Telašcica nature park and the Kornati national park. Just pick one of the many rental booths in the harbour and make a reservation for a boat for the next day.

In the morning get aboard, turn from turtle to rabbit and make your way south towards the end of the island. Telašcica and Kornati area are made up of beautiful bays and hundreds of small islands. A day trip is almost not enough, but gives you enough time to visit the donkey sanctuary, explore isolated beaches, dive into crystal clear water and fight the big waves of the Mediterranean sea east of the island.
SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC
With the campground opening in 2013 Dugi Otok’s time as hidden gem in an individualist’s destination-treasure might be over soon. Make sure you visit before everybody else does too!
Dugi Otok, Croatia (7) Dugi Otok, Croatia (10) Dugi Otok, Croatia (9)