A land of lush greenery: Meet Croatia's National Parks
Those include 8 national parks, 2 strict reserves and 11 nature parks. In this post, we'll focus on national parks with a total area of 994 km2, of which 235 km2 is a sea surface.
When we say lush greenery, we don't mean a few fancy parks. No, we are talking about the land that has 444 protected areas, that encompasses 9% of the country. Those include 8 national parks, 2 strict reserves and 11 nature parks. In this post, we'll focus on national parks with a total area of 994 km2, of which 235 km2 is a sea surface.
Embarking on a journey through Croatia's national parks means slipping through a breath-taking array of sceneries filled with forested islands, rugged mountains, sparkling waterfalls, lakes, and sometimes even little miracles, such as island within the island. This kind of set up offers a unique vacation experience both for nature lovers and active travellers. From hiking, biking, swimming, and diving to just resting your eyes and soul surrounded by unspoiled nature, national parks of Croatia offer a full spectrum of joy. And here they are…
Probably the most famous one, and most visited one, Plitvice Lakes National Park is also the oldest and largest national park in Croatia. Hidden between two mountain ranges, this emerald gem glitters with waterfalls and lakes. Formed on karst, it's a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site.
Located near the historical city of Šibenik, Krka National Park is somewhat like a younger sister of Plitvice. The Park also boasts waterfalls and lakes but unlike ones in Plitvice, in Krka's lakes, you can actually swim. The main showstopper here is Skradinski Buk, the largest waterfall in the park, but the whole area is paradise-like filled with greenery and fairy-tale waling paths.
Leave the fuss and over crowdedness of other Croatia islands, and come to Mljet back and enjoy the forests and inland lakes. Located near Dubrovnik, this magical place is home to salt lakes, The Great Lake and The Small Lake, which are a unique geological and oceanographic phenomenon. Oh, and right in the middle of the Large Lake, there is a small island with the 12th-century Benedictine monastery.
Unfairly not so popular, Risnjak is situated in the north-west part of Gorski Kotar, in the vicinity of the town Rijeka. The Park's forests were once home to ris or lynx but now you can meander trails in the shade of pine trees and enjoy flowery meadows. You can also enjoy various activities such as hiking, biking, trekking, or skiing in the winter time.
If you're more on the energetic side, you'll love Paklenica. Cliffs and gorges, grottoes and caves put this incredible place on a map as one of Europe's beloved spots for rock-climbing. Beside challenging hiking trails, for those who are more laid back, Paklenica offers walking paths, with just as much to explore.
If Paklenica isn't wild enough for you, then you have to come to Velebit, and get lost in the mountains. Access is only by mountain trail or via an, ahem how should we put it, more adventurous mountain road from Otočac. The Park is recognizable by its preserved biodiversity, the richness of the natural phenomena and experience of pristine wilderness.
With 89 uninhabited islands, islets, and reefs, for a total area of 217 km2, no wonder the Kornati became one of the yachties beloved place on the Adriatic Sea. Almost completely uninhabited, this magical archipelago provides endless opportunities for exploration with your own boat or a guided tour.
Consisting of two main pine-covered islands and 12 islets off the coast of Istria, just northwest of Pula, the Brijuni archipelago are a sight to see. Covered by meadows, parks, and oak and laurel forests the islands were pronounced a national park in 1983. The largest island, Velki Brijun, was once Tito's summer residence and was regularly visited by politicians, tycoons and celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth II, her sister Margaret, JFK and Sophia Loren, and many more.