Croatia  National Parks

In Croatia there are differences between national - and nature parks. The Croatian national Parks (8 Parks) are as little as possible provided, but the nature parks are provide more.

Image1National Park Brijuni | The islands are located in the south west of Istrian coast, separated from the mainland by the Fazana canal. This island group exists from two larger and twelve smaller islands along the west coast of Istria. These group of 14 islands together makes the Brijuni national park. A lot of millions years ago, when there were still dinosaurus this part of Croatia belong to the mainland. The tracks of these pre historic animals are still visible on the island, particularly at Ploce, where the foot impressions of ' Igvanodon ' (Dinosaurus) can be found.
The islands comprise three main islands: Veli Brijun (Big Brijun), Mali Brijun (Small Brijun) and Vanga as well as several islets and reefs. The coasts of the islands are well indented.

Due to its favourable geographic position and low terrain, Brijuni Islands are known for their mild climate. The vegetation on the islands is extremely rich – Mediterranean: holm oak, laurel, pine, olive, rosemary and underbrush.

Already in classical antiquity the picturesque Brijuni Islands attracted people seeking natural beauty and tranquility, the archipelago has been inhabited since Roman and Byzantine times, and the ruins of Roman villas as well as numerous remains of other buildings and decorative mosaics speak of the attraction of the archipelago. National Park Brijuni includes the surrounding sea with exceptionally preserved sea fauna.


A lot of tour operators offer a day trip to Veli Brijuni, which is the main island of the archipelago with Brijuni as main city. In the first place the islands concern a nature area, in the Second place it is an important archaeological place.

Image3 Also the islands are well known as an exclusive conference harbour and as destination for daily people. On the island there is an electric train. The whole archipelago is car free.

More information: Croatian Website
Tel: 052 525 888 fax: 052 521 367

Image4National Park Kornati |On the last day of the Creation God desired to crown his work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath - wrote George Bernard Shaw. According to the legend the islands of Kornati were created out of white rocks which remained after God has completed the Creation. He threw those rocks into the sea and as He saw the result, He decided to leave it that way, because they were perfect.

Image5 Beautiful nature, a network of countless islands and islets (a folk saying goes: "one island or islet for each day of the year"), the magnificent sea – all this makes the Kornati Islands a true promised land for boaters and yachting enthusiasts. Kornati Islands are the largest archipelago in the Adriatic (147 islands), the islands stretch in the length of about 35km, between the island of Dugi otok (Long Island) and the island of Žirje.

Image6 The archipelago was named after Kornat, its biggest island. Pliny called them Cratea. From the 14th century the island of Kornat had several names: Insula Sancte Marie, Stomorin Otok, Tarac, Toreta. In the 17th century the archipelago got the name Coronati. The islands were populated as early as the Neolithic.

In recent times there are no permanent habitations. Due to limestone formation there are no water streams or sources on the islands, the vegetation is very sparce, the predominant type is rocky ground with sparse pastures. On the south-western side the coast is extremely steep; the highest cliffs are those on Klobuèar (80m), Mana (65m), Rašip Veli (64m). The islands abound with karst phenomena, cavities, caves, gullies, crevices and represent the natural habitat of a number of bird species.

The Kornati area is one of the richest fishing grounds in the Adriatic, especially rich in benthos species. The islands have a number of small coves, "wild" harbours, where boaters may take shelter and dock. Boaters spend the nights on their boats, the other may rent a modest house or just a stone cottage. There are several yachting schools in the area. On the island of Piškera there is also a modern well equiped ACI-marina with 120 berths. The islands are a unique pleasure and experience to all those who are keen on bathing in the crystal-clear sea, who appreciate peace and quietness but also feel ethusiastic about eco-tourism.

More information: Croatian Website
Tel: 022 434 662 of 434 166 Fax: 022 435 058

Image7National Park Krka | Krka is a river in Dalmatia which springs out at the western foot of the Dinara mountain, and flows into the sea near Šibenik. In limestone it forms a narrow and deep canyon, flowing over travertine barriers and forming waterfalls. In the lower part of the course is the most beautiful waterfall on the river: Skradinski Buk (37.5m).

Image8 Between Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap is Visovac Lake with an islet on which there is a Franciscan monastery with a small church. Downstream of Skradinski Buk is the Krka River estuary in which freshwater mixes with saltwater. Part of the estuary is also Prokljansko Lake.

The park visitors may see the water mills in which cereals are ground with millstones and taste bread made of such ground cereals. The National Park may be reached from Skradin by boat, or by car to the entrance of Lozovac. From Lozovac buses take visitors to Skradinski Buk.

More information: Croatian Website

Image9National Park Mljet | The island of Mljet is situated in the southern Dalmatian archipelago, on the south east of Dubrovnik. The landscape of the island seems to justify the opinion of those who think of it as of the "enchanted island" where Ulysses was captured by charming Calypso. 90% of the area of the national park is covered with forest.

Image10 Its relief is characterized by ranges of limestone elevations and numerous karst valleys and fields. South of the highest crest (Veli Grad, 514m) is the largest field zone. In the extreme north-western part of the island is the submerged valley of Mljet lakes; Small and Big Lake, connected with a canal. Big Lake is connected with the open sea by a shallow canal called Soline. In both channels the sea current changes its direction due to ebb and flow, this was in the Middle Ages used for water mills.

On the island are numerous monuments and ruins that date back to the Illyrian and Roman times. In Roman times the island was mentioned under the name of Melite. On the islet in Big Lake is a benedictine abbey with a church. The climate on the island is Mediterranean. Major places lie in the interior, along cultivated fields. Economy is based on viticulture, production of wine, olive growing, cultivation of medicinal herbs, fishing and tourism.
More info: Croatian Website
Phone: 020 744 043/041

National Park Paklenica | One of the most interesting natural phenomena of the Zadar Riviera is National park of Paklenica - a place of outstanding natural beauty, situated halfway between the sea and the mountain. This most picturesque part of the Riviera of Zadar is the canyon of Velika and Mala Paklenica cut into the massif of Velebit at an altitude of up to 1700 m. The gorge with its natural and cultural qualities is protected as a National park and you can enjoy its beauty even with a glance from the Adriatic road. This unique combination of the Mediterranean sea, culture and the colossal mountain attracts nature lovers from all over the world. The National park of Paklenica offers exceptional opportunities to enjoy the contrasts of the landscape and the local flora and fauna. The small town of Starigrad, the starting point of the expeditions to Paklenica is a typical summer resort with mild climate, while only a few hours of climbing up the mountain brings us to the canyon where the temperatures dramatically change.

Image11 The remarkable view of the sea from the Velebit peaks provokes a special feeling
from that mysterious mountain the islands in the sea seem to be just laid out at the very moment of creation of the world. Some steep cliffs in the National park are up to 400 meters high. This fact explains the great difference in the environment compared to the coast
just a few kilometers away. Dramatic gorges, sharp peaks of high rocks, gentle springs and waterfalls, thick forests and unique local plants, are the particular features of Paklenica, the mountain that hides one cave Manita pec, 175 meters long. The territory of the National park is an ideal area for lovers of both traditional and modern sports, who can choose any of the following activities: mountaineering, bird watching (an exceptional attraction is the white-headed vulture, a protected species), trekking, mountain climbing and walking tours around this extraordinary canyon. The National park of Paklenica is an ideal place for modern men looking for total relaxation in a primordial natural environment. In the village of Parici there is a mountaineering hut. The National park of Paklenica covers the area of 100 km2 at the altitude of 1700 meters.

Most famous activities |

  • mountain-climbing - sport climbing - rock-climbing
  • trekking
  • alpinistic route guides
  • bird-watching
  • visiting the cave "Manila pec"
  • visiting the underground tunnels "Bunkeri"
  • picnic at the Lugarnica - the forest ranger's cabin
  • visit to the old mill of Paklenica
  • slide and video viewing
  • camping at the National Park campsite, situated on the coast within the
  • information and representation centre

    More info: Croatian Website

    Image12National Park Plitvice | This is one of the most beautiful parks in whole Europe. Plitvice Lakes are composed of 16 interlinked lakes between the mountains of Mala Kapela and Plješivica in the region of Lika. The whole area is on certain maps called the Devil's Garden, due to its landscape and history.

    Image13 According to the legend the Plitvice lakes were created after a long period of drought. People, animals and nature were longing for water, even the Black River went dry. People prayed and prayed. Then appeared in the valley the Black Queen with her magnificent suite; a strong wind begun to blow and with a thunder rain fell down on earth. The rain was falling until the water had grown enough to create the Lakes.

    Image14 The lake system is divided into the upper lakes and the lower lakes. The highest of them is Prošæansko Lake (639m) and the lowest is Novakovica Brod (503m). The upper lakes, surrounded by thick forests and interlinked by numerous waterfalls, lie in a dolomite valley, while the lower lakes, smaller and shalower, surrounded only by sparse underbrush, lie on the limestone bedrock. The lakes receive most of their water from rivers called Black River nd White River. After the waterfall Sastavci on the lower lakes, the lakes' water continue to the korana river and the Plitvice brook, which falls from an elevation of 76 m.

    Cliffy rocks around the lakes and along Korana comprise 14 caves in limestone and 6 caves in travertine. Climate is alpine. The water temperature in Prošæansko lake and Kozjak reaches even 24°C in summer. The whole region is covered with snow from November till the end of March; the lakes are frozen in December and January offering a magical view on the winter landscape. There are lodging facilities and hotels in the area. The Plitvice lakes are situated on the main road (M13.01, E751).

    National Park Risnjak |Risnjak is a mountain massif and a national park in the western part of Gorski Kotar, 18 km north-east from Rijeka. The top of Veliki Risnjak is 1,528 m high. The Risnjak massif is formed predominantly of limestone and sandstone. It became national park in 1953.
    The limestone features characteristic karst forms: cracks, sinkholes, caves and abysses in which many streams disappear.

    Image15 Much of Risnjak is covered with the ancient coniferous forests, subalpine and alpine flora. The climatic conditions are typically mountainous, with the average annual temperature of 6,5°C; snow falls on about 115 days a year. The area of the Risnjak mountain plays a significant role in the stationary tourism and it is an attractive destination for excursions; climatic resorts, excellent winter sports grounds, mountain tours, hunting and fishing.

    Image16 The towns and villages on the coast have good road connections with Risnjak, and it is easily accessible by the road from Zagreb to Rijeka. The are lodging facilities and small hotels in the area.

    Image17Very exceptional in this park are the very high trees, some up to 45 meter. It is worth seeing them.

    National Park Velebit | Velebit is the longest mountain range in Croatia; its northern part lies between Senjska Draga and a deep ravine called Brusanka. Its landscape is not typical for a mountain range, it consists of several ranges of ridges and crests, separated from each other by deep karst ravines and valleys.

    Image18 The belt above 1000 m reaches here the width of 30 km. The highest peaks of Northern Velebit are Mali Rajinac (1,699 m), Veliki Zavižan (1, 676 m) and Veliki Rajinac (1,667 m). Among few favourable passes, the most important is Vratnik (698 m), which is also the point on the main road Karlovac – Senj (the so-called Emperor Joseph's road). Caves are amply represented in the relief of Velebit, the best known being Cerovac Caves (Cerovaèke Spilje) near Graèac and the caves of Paklenica near Starigrad.

    Image19 According to its size, natural features and role in Croatian history and culture, Velebit is the most famous Croatian mountain range. The Velebit ridge has a large number of relief, botanical and landscape values; scenic rocky landscapes are interwoven with woods and high-rising peaks, from which unique views are offered.

    Image20 The most beautiful hiking trail on Velebit is Premužiæ's trail with wonderful vista points, this trail leads hikers to the magnificent karst formations known as Rožanski Kukovi, which, together with Hajduèki Kukovi, has been designated as a nature reserve, due to their specific natural features. In 1978 Velebit was included in the international network of biosphere reserves by the UNESCO.

    Velebit can be accessed from the littoral (Primorje) and from the region of Lika.