Croatia is hosting 8 different National parks. As they are full of wild nature and preserved beauty, they are protected areas that you need to respect while visiting. If you discover them, you will see true natural jewels of Croatia and amazing animals and plants species that you will hardly find anywhere else. Take a look in our amazing National parks!
Photo by: Morena Bravar
The National park Brijuni (or Brioni in Italian) is located in Istria, off the coast of Pula. It is an archipelago formed by 14 islands of different sizes and shapes.
The 2 biggest islands are Veliki Brijuni (Big Brioni) and Mali Brijuni (Little Brijuni). Those two islands are the only ones open to visitors as the other ones are still restricted areas.
When we speak about the national park Brijuni, we actually refer to Veliki Brijuni.
Tito, leader of the former Yugoslavia, had a summer residence on the Brijuni islands, which is what made it so famous.
Each summer, many famous celebrities were invited on the archipelago by Tito. They used to bring him presents from their home country when invited, and as he kept them all his life, they are still on the archipelago, creating a wide collection of plants, animals...
Tito died in 1980 and Brijuni was classed as a national park as of 1983, that is to say, 3 years after Tito’s death.
Brijuni is also famous for the Brioni declaration signed on July 19th 1956 by Gamal Abdel Nasser, Josip Broz Tito, and Jawaharlal Nehru to fight together both American and Soviet influences that were trying to unite all countries with them. It was the first step to the “Non-allied movement”.
On Brijuni, you can do a safari to see all animals and plants that were offered to Tito back in time. There are exotic animals such as zebras, elephant, lamas, gnous, camels… There are more than 700 animal species in Brijuni, including more than 250 bird species.
Photo by: Ki Ka
You can take the boat to go there from Fazana (10km from Pula). During Summer, there are boats that go there each hour, for a duration of about 15 minutes.
The price is 28€ for adults and 14€ for children (4-14 years old). This price includes the boat travel, the safari excursion as well as a visit of the remains of a Roman villa dating back to the first century, a visit of the archaeological museum housed in the 16th-century Citadel building and the Saint-Germain church with a permanent exhibition of copies of frescoes, paintings and Glagolitic writings of Istria.
This National park is located in the Gorski Kotar region, it is 1h driving from Rijeka and 2h driving from Zagreb.
This park is really huge as it is more than 6.350 ha. large. It has a very diversified in terms of difference of heights as the highest point is 1.528 m high (Mont Risnjak) and the lowest point is 290 m high. You can thus have great walks and hiking.
It is an important barrier to both climate and vegetation between the coastal and mainland regions of Croatia.
The National park Risnjak hosts 1.148 fauna and flora species including 3 typical ones that are attracting visitors from far away: bears, wolves and lynxes.
The name Risnjak comes by the way from the word “Ris” meaning lynx in Croatian.
It is the perfect national park for you if you love mountain hiking and walking in the nature.
But to summarise, the Plitvice lakes national park is the most famous national park in Croatia. It is also one of the largest (about 29.685,15 ha.) and oldest. It is as well part of the UNESCO World heritage.
It counts 16 lakes, 92 waterfalls and a large forest of pines and beeches.
Those diversified natural habitats host more than 1.267 flora species and more than 200 animal species, including brown bears, wolves and lynxes.
This park is mostly famous for the colour of its lakes, a very particular turquoise blue, which is due to limestone and bacterias that created this very distinctive shade.
If you want to learn more about this national park we strongly advise you to click on our link to read the full article about Plitvice lakes.
If you want to learn more about the Plitvice lakes, we have a detailed guide about it;
Photo by: Merina Cavlin
It became a National park only in 1999 which makes it the youngest National park in Croatia. 109km2 large, Northern Velebit is located on the Northern part of Velebit mountain - as the name suggests - the largest mountains range in Croatia. It is located not far away from the Rab Island.
The park is from 518 to 1676 m high, the highest point being Veliki Zavižan.
It mostly consists of pine forests and the climate is typical of mountains, allowing mountains-flora species to thrive, such as mountains pines or edelweiss flowers. You can as well find mountain animals such as chamois, Ural owls, ibexes and so on.
You can as well find numerous big predators such as brown bears, lynxes, golden eagles and wolves, present due to the proliferation of preys allowing them to feed.
The ecosystem is well preserved in this park, that shows us nature in its most authentic form.
Velebit has been modified by man’s action in the past, but its centuries and centuries ago, at a time where men didn’t have any other choice than dealing with nature, which makes it a very interesting place to see as it is preserved and authentic but at the same time you can some ancient trace of human influence on some parts.
If you love nature on the raw, then this park is made just for you!
Photo by: Merina Cavlin
Photo by: Merina Cavlin
Paklenica national park is also located in the Velebit mountains. It is located in both the Kvarner and Northern Dalmatia regions.
This is the perfect National park for you if you love rock climbing and steep cliffs.
The most famous boulder in the park and in Croatia as well is Anića Kuk, a very sheer and complex 300-meters-high rock. Climbers from all other the world come to visit it.
It also features 2 famous canyons, that may be the biggest highlight of the park. :
Velika (large) Paklenica and Mala (small) Paklenica, two impressively wide canyons.
Velika Paklenica is a 14km long and 700m high canyon. It is mostly from 500 to 800m large but it gets way narrower at some points, getting even to only 50m large at a point.
Mala Paklenica is as suggests the name smaller than Velika although it is also big. It is for itself 12km long and 650m high. In terms of width, it is mostly from 400 to 500m large but can get narrow up to only 10m large.
The two are thus very similar and both very interesting to see. You can also admire rivers and caves in this National Park, so it is really worth the visit thanks to its diversified landscapes.
This park is also the natural habitat to 1000 flora species and more than 300 animal species including brown bears, wolves, lynxes, boares, chamoises, eagles, falcons or even owls. It has thus a very complete and diversified ecosystem allowing all those species to thrive.
Photo by: Kjara
The Kornati archipelago is a group of 150 islands, including 89 islands forming a National park.
Located in Northern Dalmatia, it is between Sibenik and Zadar.
You can get there with excursions boats, that you can easily find in any cities of the surroundings. It is usually a whole-day-long excursion that costs around 35-40€, including 2 breaks: one for lunch (not included) and one for dipping in the water and the admission to the park.
In this national park, you will be able to do a lot of diverse activities… Of course, the main one is swimming in the sea as the sea is so blue, clear and appealing (it looks like paradise). But there are other activities that you could enjoy doing on Kornati islands : Walking and hiking on the islands, going mask diving or even scuba diving if you feel bold enough, fishing (most of the areas are opened to fishing, you will just have to pay a fee to get the authorisation which is around 20€ if you take it before, out the park and around 40€ if you take it on the spot).
We strongly advise you to go diving in the park as there are a very rich and interesting biodiversity, not so many land-based animals and plants but more sea animals and plants.
It hosts more than 160 species of fish, as well as crabs, shellfishes, turtles and dolphins, that you may have the chance to see during the evening.
Please note that in this park there is no electricity or running water, it is wild! Locals use rainwater, gas and solar energy instead.
Photo by: Vesna Suboticanec
The Krka park is located 10min away from Sibenik, in North Dalmatia.
It is formed with numerous waterfalls that were created by limestone sediments.
Thanks to it and to bacterias (just like for Plitvice lakes), the water has a very particular and distinctive colour, a very deep turquoise blue with crystal clear water.
Unlike in Plitvice lakes, you can swim in the lakes.
The park also features a Hydroelectric power plant that was built in 1895, only 2 days after the first one ever created (that was created in the Niagara falls by Nikola Tesla). This Hydroelectric power plant allowed Sibenik to gain electric lightning before many other big European cities such as London, Rome, Budapest, Vienna….
The second Hydroelectric power plant was built only 10 years after by Ante Supuk. It is called Jaruga. It is still working nowadays but the first is currently being renovated.
It has a very wide range of species: around 850 plant species and around 300 animal species, including 20 types of fishes, 22 types of reptiles, 211 types of birds and 46 types of mammals.
In this park, you will be able to see amazing animals, such as golden eagles, the “human fish” (olm), otters and so on.
Photo by: Gordana Novacki
Located in South Dalmatia between Dubrovnik and Korcula island, Mljet island is believed to be the most beautiful island of the Adriatic sea. It is 37 km long and about 3km wide (average).
Not the whole island is considered as a national park, only a third of it.
The National park consists of forests and lakes.
There are five types of forests including of op Aleppo pine and one of Holm oak. Nature is so lush on the island that it is often called “the green island”.
It features many species and has a great biodiversity except snakes that were eradicated at the beginning of the 20th century due to the presence of mongooses on the island. Wild animals live in peace in this national park, such as mouflons, deers and wild boars. They thrive as there are no big predators on the island.
The so-called lakes are not proper lakes, they are indeed two large bays that separated by such a narrow passage that they can be mistaken as lakes, which is why people call them this way. They are made out of salted water. The largest one is 145 ha. Large and has a depth up to 46 m whereas the smallest one is 24 ha. Large and is up to 29m deep.
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