Croatia is a rare European landscape which boasts as many as eight national parks.
Croatia is one of the ecologically best preserved parts of Europe. It is a land where the warm Mediterranean blends with the freshness of mountains and the golden plains of Pannonia. Croatia is a rare European landscape which boasts as many as eight national parks in so small an area!
Croatia’s eight national parks cover 7.5% of the country or 994 km² (759 km² of which is land and 235 km² is water). The parks contain an outstanding variety of geological and natural phenomena and they are home to various animal species. Aside from national parks, Croatia has eleven nature parks and two arboretums. Altogether, Croatia is home to as many as 4,300 plants and as many animal species.
View National parks in a larger map
Croatia’s national parks are listed below in alphabetical order.
- Brijuni: The Brijuni Archipelago National Park comprises the islands of Veli Brijun, Mali Brijun and twelve smaller isles.
- Kornati: The Kornati archipelago is the most densely grouped cluster of islands in the Mediterranean, consisting of 152 islands, isles and reefs strewn between the islands of Dugi otok and Žirje, with high cliffs on Klobučar, Mana and Rašip Veli.
- Krka two-thirds of its coursethis pure karstic river, with its seven waterfalls and which rises near the town of Knin, flows through canyons.
- Mljet: The national park occupiesthe western, wooded part of the Island of Mljet.
- Paklenica: The awe-inspiring torrent gorges of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, which run parallel to each other, offer an insight into the unspoilt wilderness that exists not far from the beaches of the Croatian side of the Adriatic Sea. They rank among the most attractive natural areas in the whole of the Mediterranean: dense forests of black pine and beech, watering points for game and delicious springs issuing from beneath the highest peaks of Velebit.
- Plitvice Lakes: A wondrous creation of forest landscapes snuggling between the mountains of Mala Kapela and Plješivica; a system of sixteen lakes interlinked by numerous waterfalls.
- Risnjak: The western mountain massif linking the Alps with the Dinaric range, encompassing Veliki Risnjak (1,528 m) and Snježnik (1,506 m) abounds in karstic phenomena - rifts, abysses, gravel areas, caves and potholes; large areas are covered by mature coniferous forests, mountain pastures, sub-Alpine and Alpine flora, of which many species are endemic.
- Northern Velebit: The widest part of the Velebit massif - edged on the seaward side by bare rocks and on the mainland side by wooded plains - extends from the Vratnik Pass (698 m) on the road Otočac-Senj, to Veliki Alan (1,379 m).
View Nature parks in a larger map
Croatia’s nature parks are listed below in alphabetical order:
- Biokovo Mountain: An imposing, massive rock towering above the Makarska Riviera; a botanical garden of the Biokovo world of flora and a challenge to hikers, climbers and paragliders.
- Kopački Rit: A zoological and botanical reserve situated close to the town of Osijek. It is among the largest and best preserved wetlands of Europe.
- Lonjsko Polje: A wetland areain Posavina with forests of common oak, bird and fish reserves; Čigoč - the village of white storks; herds of Posavina horses on wide areas of grazing land; a wide variety of game; indigenous popular architecture - oak-built dwellings.
- Medvednica Mountain: The mountain rising above Zagreb with forest reserves; the Veternica cave system and other smaller caves; skiing runs, mountaineers’ and biking paths; chapels.
- Telaščica on Island Dugi Otok: A 7 km-long fjord-like bay on the island of Dugi otok, with a sea water lake and attractive cliffs facing the sea; a favourite meeting place for sailing boats at the “gateway” to the Kvarner Archipelago.
- Velebit Mountain: A mountain system which encompasses two national parks and which in its entirety has been enteredinto the UNESCO World List of Biosphere Reserves. The most interesting destination among the Croatian mountains for mountaineers, climbers, mountain bikers and which caters for all their eco-adventures.
- Učka Mountain: A 1,400 m-high and 20 km-long mountain in Istria acts as a climatic barrier above the Bay of Kvarner; rich in forests of laurel, sweet chestnut, oak and beech, and speckled with high-altitude flowering meadows. From the top there is a view of the Kvarner islands and from where Velebit and Gorski kotar open out. This is a popular destination for both mountaineers and the paragliding fraternity.
- Žumberak: In the near vicinity of Zagreb; closely packed hamlets perched high up on the slopes, Greco-Catholic churches, prehistoric and Roman necropolises, typical karstic relief, mountain pastures; footpaths and trails to suit everybody: walkers, hikers, riders, mountain bikers.
- Papuk Mountain: A mountain rising above Vallis Aurea (Golden Valley] near Požega - forests and springs, the Velika Spa at the foot of the mountain; a road to the Jankovac park; Tisa’s cave; tracks for hiking and biking tours.
- Vransko Lake: An ornithological reserve separated from the mainland near Pakoštani by a narrow strip of land. A rich game fishing ground for catfish and carp; also of interest to canoeists and bird watchers.
- Lastovo Islands: A group of 44 islands and islets. The onshore area has a wealth of flora and fauna, while the surrounding watersare counted among the most bountiful and diverse in the Croatian Adriatic.
Source: Croatian National Tourist Board