Due to its pristine nature, Croatia counts 8 national parks and 11 nature parks
Both national and nature parks are extensive mainland or sea areas with preserved ecosystems and rich biodiversity. Also, these protected territories of exceptional natural importance have a scientific, educational, and recreational purpose. With numerous Croatian nature attractions to choose from, we selected the most interesting ones you should put on your bucket list.
Along the west side of the Istria coastline, there is an archipelago Brijuni made from 14 islands, which makes it an attractive destination for island hopping. This group of islands has a rich history marked by many famous politicians and artists. Throughout history, Brijuni were well-known as the gathering place of the European and world aristocracy. National park earned the title of the popular getaway due to its extraordinary nature and peaceful surroundings.
THE UNTOUCHED NATURE OF THE ADRIATIC ISLANDS
One of the most beautiful features of the Brijuni is a so-called Mediterranean garden where you can admire 169 species of exotic and indigenous plants. Every plant is marked with QR code. This way, you will be able to find out more about the plants by walking and exploring the garden at your own pace.
At Veliki Brijuni island head up to a safari park where you can see indigenous Istrian and exotic South American, African and Asian animals. Safari park is especially interesting to children since there is a little train going through the area.
A must-see for every nature lover is more than the 1600-year-old olive tree. Even though this olive tree cracked in half, during a thunderstorm 50 years ago, it is still alive and gives valuable fruits every year to produce high-quality olive oil.
The oldest, largest, and probably most photographed Croatian national park is Plitvice lakes. The park takes up a little less than 300 square meters. The most of this protected area is made up of forest, but visitors get blown away by lakes that make up only 1% of the national park. There are 16 lakes in total which provide stunning views of magnificent waterfalls. Plitvice lakes are open all year long, and every season is a perfect time to discover this mesmerizing piece of pristine scenery.
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Krka, the second national park with breathtaking waterfalls, features 7 glorious waterfalls. This preserved river area is best known for its waterfall Skradinski buk. Skradinski buk is 800 meters long, which makes it the longest and most impressive from all the seven Krka’s waterfalls. Krka national park has quite a few hiking trails leading to panoramic viewpoints. Part of this preserved area is also a little island named Visovac with an old monastery where you can come by a boat from Skradinski buk.
At the monastery, you will find a significant archaeological collection and a rich library with several historical manuscripts worth exploring.
Just like Brijuni, national park Kornati is also a group of islands, more accurately 89 of them, located in the middle Dalmatia. The Kornati are a dessert-like and mostly uninhabited area. Even though only about 25 locals are living in this area, there are charming taverns and restaurants on the islands accessible only by boat. Moreover, this national park has more of a traditional vibe. It remained preserved and authentic, celebrating its culture and history. Through eco-friendly products, recreational activities, and sightseeing tours, locals are dedicated storytellers of this magnificent archipelago.
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A MOSAIC OF NATURE, CULTURE, HISTORY, AND TRADITION
Depth of Kornati waters hides about 850 animal species. Amongst them, there are Bottlenose Dolphin and Loggerhead Turtle. The sea life of this national park is very diverse. Therefore, it would be a shame not to dive into this underwater paradise.
The peculiar-looking landscape of Kornati was shaped by the 65 million years of atmospheric influence and intensive processes of karst. To its dessert-like charm goes the fact there are only 25 locals living in the area.
This group of islands is the most indented archipelago in the European Mediterranean. Also, more than three-fourths of the national parks’ territory belongs to the sea.
Situated in the south Dalmatian, national park Mljet is the oldest protected water area in Croatia. More than 60 years, this island is welcoming visitors to discover its vivid green unspoiled nature. The territory of Mljet is home to numerous endemic and endangered species. Especially interesting ones, you would not expect to see on an Adriatic island are fallow deer, mongoose, and mouflon, brought on the island by people.
Take your time exploring magnificent National Park Mljet.
Great waves, sea currents, and strong winds influenced on islands’ coastline. Due to these weather conditions, there are more than a few inlets and caves surrounding Mljet island worth exploring. The most eye-catching on this list is Odyssey cave. As you can detect from the name, it is believed the cave is connected to the Greek hero Odyssey. Locals are convinced Mljet is the ancient Ogygia, from Homer’s epic poem, where Odyssey was trapped for seven years by nymph Calypso. Legend says that during high tide, rock in front of the cave gets completely covered with water. Therefore, it is presenting a treat to sailors. According to the story, Odyssey got caught in the bad weather and ended up in this cave. The rest is history.
MOST SPECTACULAR CROATIAN MOUNTAINS
The highest top of the mountain and national park Risnjak showcases a view that overlooks on Kvarner bay, Istria, and the Slovenian Alps. Mesmerizing panoramic scenery on 1528 meters will leave you in awe and give you a memorable experience.
Educational hiking trail Paklarić starts with a renovated mill and leads to the fortress of the same name. The length of the trail is 550 meters. At the top, you can expect a beautiful view, telescope, and boards that explain the importance of archeological findings in the national park Paklenica.
Newly opened Skywalk Biokovo is the most striking feature of this nature park. On 1228 meters and the see-through glass beneath your feet, your eyes can absorb a spectacular sight on the beautiful Adriatic coast.
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Let us know what of these natural wonders you want to experience, and we will make it happen. With our local knowledge and enthusiasm for planning, we will make sure to give you a unique trip you deserve.