Explore the unspoiled natural beuties of Croatia!
Unspoiled nature of the Croatian National Parks and the diversity of flora and fauna will leave no one indifferent. Croatia has eight national parks which takes almost 8% of Croatia, and here are some of it:
BRIJUNI – FAŽANA
The Brijuni island group that lies off the southwest coast of Istria in the vicinity of Pula, was once the meeting place of the European and world jet set. As the only national park in Istria, Brijuni with its 14 islands covering an area of 736 square hectares presents a unique play of nature that brings together remarkable animal species and rare and rich flora all at one place. It ranks as one of the loveliest archipelagos in the Mediterranean.The islands can be reached by boat departing daily from the nearby fishing village of Fazana. Registration at the reception of the Brijuni National Park is required. Sightseeing tours of the archipelago by boats start as well from the Pula-Pola waterfront with longer or shorter stops in the Brijuni Islands waters.
Because of their extraordinary beauty the Brijuni have been a popular tourist destination for world statesmen and members of the international aristocracy for over a hundred years.
NATIONAL PARK KRKA – KRKA
Among the rivers in the Croatian karst Krka is for sure the most strange one. This river is known for its numerous waterfalls which, like those at Plitvice Lakes, were created through the sedimentation of a special form of limestone. The park includes the larger part of the course of the River Krka, together with the neighbouring coastal area, from the historical town of Knin, near the river’s source, to Skradin, another historical town. Here after some magnificent waterfalls the river gradually wends its way into Lake Prukljansko and thereafter into the deep sea bay where the historical town of Sibenik is situated. The river partly flows through a deep canyon carved into a limestone plateau and partly forms lakes. Among the numerous waterfalls of particular beauty are the Skradinski buk and the Roški slap between which the rivers forms a lake where is situated the Island of Visovac with its remarkable Fransiscan monastery.
NATIONAL PARK MLJET – GOVEĐARI
The island of Mljet is situated in the southernmost part of Croatia, west of Dubrovnik, unarguably Croatia ‘s best-known summer destination. The Mljet National Park includes the western part of the island, which a lot of people consider to be the most beautiful in the whole Adriatic. The park is characterised by two deep bays, which are referred to as lakes due to their extremely narrow passages to the open sea (Veliko and Malo jezero -Great Lake and Small Lake), as well as by lush and diverse Mediterranean flora. Mljet is also noted for its wealth of cultural heritage the most impressive example of which is a Benedictine cloister complex dating from the 12th century situated on a small island in the centre of the Great Lake.
NATIONAL PARK PAKLENICA – STARIGRAD
National Park Paklenica is one of the most beautiful parts of Velebit, mountain which UNESCO added on the list of world biosphere reserves. In this beautiful natural landscape, located near the town of Zadar, we find high cliffs wchich are perpendicular to the direction of the mountain, rising from the sea surface straigth to the bottom of the highest peaks. Therefore, NP Paklenica is world famous alpine center, annually visited by more than 100 000 people, among which the most passionate are climbers, which can every year be seen on the rocks of Paklenica from the first days of spring until late autumn. Numerous plant and animal species (endemic Griffon Vulture and Arenaria orbicularis), amazingly beautiful karst phenomena (Manita Cave) and a wide range of sporting facilities (freeclimbing, trekking) make NP Paklenica an always attractive destination, both among scientists, as well as all those who like to be embraced by nature, untouched by time.
NATIONAL PARK PLITVICE LAKES – PLITVIČKA JEZERA
The Plitvice National Park, the most widely renowned of Croatia ’s national parks, is entered in the UNESCO Register of World Natural Heritage. Sixteen lakes interconnected by waterfalls created through the deposition of travertine, a light-coloured calcareous rock, constitute the chief attraction of this unique park. The wellspring of the River Korana issues from an area within the park, surrounded by dense forests of beech, fir and spruce, partly in the form of primeval virgin forest. Apart from the lakes and forests the park also contains several caves, springs and flowering meadows, and is inhabited by many rare but (here)still preserved species, one of these being the brown bear. It is a moot point as to when the park is at its most beautiful. Is it in spring, when the meadows are covered with flowers, in the autumn, with its numerous seasonal hues mirrored in the lakes, or perhaps in winter, when the waterfalls and surrounding trees are hushed and shrouded in ice in the snowbound landscape? The popularity of this park is augmented by the forms of transport used for conveying visitors around its various parts (panoramic trains and electric-powered boats), as well as the convenient geografical position. You really can’t tell during which season they are more beautiful.
NATIONAL PARK RISNJAK – CRNI LUG
National Park Risnjak is located in the hinterland of Rijeka and Kvarner coastal areas. Thanks to its position at the focal point area of Gorski Kotar, there are as many as four different types of climate characteristics that interlace there – harsh alpine climate, the impact of mild Adriatic climate, continental characteristics of the Pannonian plains and the mountain crispness of the Dinarides. It is for this reason that exceptional and valuable natural beauty, unspoiled mountain peaks, virgin forest areas and specific shape of the Dinaric karst hydrography can be found in the National Park Risnjak. Within only 15 kilometers of air distance from the sea, the magnificent white cliffs of mountain range Risnjak run up green highland forests, while its crown, Veliki Risnjak (1528 m), is known as one of the most beautiful Croatian vantage points from which the view extends to the Gulf of Kvarner, Klek, Velebit, Bjelolasica, Kamnik and Julian Alps in Slovenia… Regardless of whether you will visit Risnjak to walk 4200 meters long educational trail Leska, see the source of the Kupa river – one of many unsolved mysteries of karst, and it’s body of water which formed an enchanting turquoise-green lake, or just to enjoy the richness of flora and fauna of Miraculous Butterfly Valley, you will certainly remember this Croatian national park forever, by its extraordinary beauty! For those who love outdoor activities, the National Park Risnjak offers are hiking trails leading to Snježnik, the rocky mountain top surrounded by meadows, as well as the highest peak of Risnjak which can be reached using longer or shorter, more and less demanding trails.
NATIONAL PARK SJEVERNI VELEBIT – KRASNO
The area of Northern Velebit was proclaimed a national park in 1999 because of exceptional natural beauty, distinct variety of karst phenomena and the rich wildlife that resides there. The Northern Velebit National Park today is the ideal destination for those who prefer an active vacation and recreation in untouched nature, as well as a feeling of true wilderness. There are over 30 hiking trails that lead towards different landscapes and provide numerous opportunities for discovering this jewel among all of Croatia’s natural heritage. Almost each of those hiking trails – including most popular Zavižan, Velebit Botanical Garden and Premužić Trail – leads towards mountain peaks and wonderful lookout points. Premužić Trail, for example, passes through the most interesting and beautiful parts of Northern Velebit, leading towards mountain tops from which an outstanding wiev of the Adriatic, islands of Rab, Pag, Krk, Prvić and Goli (Naked Island) expands on one side, while the continent and the hinterland of Lika lie on the other side.
There is also a strict nature reserve inside the Northern Velebit National Park which is closed for visitors (with the exception of scinetists and educational visits of groups) called Hajdučki and Rožanski Kukovi – an area of geomorphic phenomenons where in 1999. one of the deepest caves in the world, Luka’s Cave, was discovered. Many ruins of old livestock housing, stone walls and houses bear witness to past times when a significantly higher number of people lived in the area of Northern Velebit National Park, giving an aditional, cultural value to this exquisitely beautiful natural landscape.
There are several international GEOPARKS in Europe, and Croatia is proud to be included on that list. GEOPARK Papak is among the top GEOPARKs in Europe,with more details to be found on the link.