Croatia is one of the ecologically best preserved parts of Europe. It is a land where the hues of the sunny and warm Mediterranean happily blend with the tranquility and freshness of mountains and the gentle sway of the golden plains of Pannonia. A land of truly divine inspiration that has delighted many of the world’s prominent men of letters. A rare European landscape which boasts as many as eight national parks in so small an area!
With Risnjak, Paklenica, the Plitvice Lakes and Northern Velebit in the mountainous area, and with the Kornati Archipelago, the island of Mljet, the Brijuni Archipelago and the Krka waterfalls in the coastal area, Croatia is indeed a jewel of the primeval beauty of nature. Adding to that two arboretums, one in Trsteno, near Dubrovnik, and Opeka, near Vinica, numerous historical parks and protected nature parks, it is indeed a green land, with as many as 4300 plant and as many animal species.
Do not delay: sail the azure blue waters of the Adriatic and discover the island which is one of the last habitats of the griffon vulture in Europe. For dedicated nature lovers in Croatia you can put to sea with an adopted dolphin or, if you are particularly lucky, encounter the mysterious and rare Mediterranean monk seal. Whatever you decide to do, you will find that this is a place where the colours of nature are at their warmest and fullest.
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.
On the south side of the Velebit Mountain range, in an area of 3617 ha along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, is where you can find National Park Paklenica. The area had been declared a National Park since 1949, because of the diverse natural environmental and other variety of life in park. In this area mountain and sea fuse together, with awesome horizontal and vertical canyons and other extraordinary phenomena, capture the curiosity of all its visitors.
Plitvice Lakes most famous national park in Croatia, and are among the most beautiful sights in Europe. Because of their natural diversity, the UNESCO World Heritage List. Plitvice lakes consist of 16 interconnected lakes and numerous waterfalls, surrounded by dense forests. Visitors will find many trails and wooden bridges, built just above the calm water of the lakes.
The area was declared a national park because of the variety of karst phenomena, the wealth of wildlife and outstanding natural beauty on a relatively small area.
The park is 109 km, and inside there is a strict nature reserve Rozanski kukovi its Geo morphological phenomenon which has so far uncovered more than 150 caves, such as the famous Luke’s Cave, one of the deepest in the world, discovered in 1999 . year.
The Kornati National Park covers the bigger part of the Kornati waters. Because of their exceptional landscape beauty, interesting Geo morphology, highly jagged and indented coast as well as because of rich communities of the submarine Eco-system, the islands were made a national park in 1980.
The Kornati archipelago, as a separate and special island group located between Šibenik and Zadar islands, covers the area of about 320 km2 and includes about 150 land units, located either permanently or frequently above the sea. The archipelago makes 12% of all the islands in the Croatian Adriatic – 1264 islands, 67 of them inhabited. It has been long attracting the attention of yachtsmen, divers, mountaineers and other nature lovers. From Balabra to Samograd, distance of 35 km or 19 nautical miles (between Long Island and Žirje islets), and from Mana to Gangarol, distance of 13 km or 7 nautical miles (between the open sea and Pašman, Vrgada and Murter) there are four island chains in two groups. One of them is the Upper Kornati – Sit and Žut island chains with 51 land unit, and the other one is the Lower Kornati with 98 land units.
Mljet National Park – Island
Mljet National Park is large area that borders two salt water lakes – Veliko and Malo Jezero (Large and Small Lake). The Lakes stretch for about 4 kilometres. Right in the middle of the Large Lake there is a small island / islet Melita (Sveta Marija) with large building of former Benedictine monastery, erected there in 12th century (see photo above). The monastery’s building is now café/restaurant. The small island is connected by boats that sail there from both sides of the Lake.
Brijuni archipelago are attractive group of islands near Istria Peninsula, with the main islands Veli Brijun that is Croatia National Park and open to visitors. The fact that it was visited by the elite of Austrian, Hungarian and German aristocracy when Istria was part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy speaks of its beauty and charm. In more recent history almost every major statesman visited the islands as Brijuni were residence of late President Tito of Yugoslavia.
Krka National Park
Krka National Park is a spacious, largely unchanged region of exceptional and multifaceted natural value, and includes one or more preserved or insignificantly altered ecosystems. With its seven travertine waterfalls and a total drop of 242 meters, the Krka is a natural phenomenon. At the heart of the national park is a Franciscan monastery located on an island Visovac.