Croatia offers attractive landscapes, historic places, impressive architecture, lovely villages, great food and wine, and lots of outdoor activities. It is fast-becoming among the most appealing vacation spots for travelers looking for a European destination with a twist. You can take a flight to Pula or Split, and from there visit the many natural beauties or take a yacht charter for your Adriatic Sea cruise.
Croatia is a popular vacation goal for visitors from the United States. A holiday in Croatia, even during the height season in July and August doesn’t always have to be high-priced, if you do some research in advance. Regardless of the popular demand for Croatia, you can find affordable, excellent accommodations and cost-effective vacations in beautiful, historic places.
Croatia is so fortunate with natural charm! You have it all – islands, beaches, mountains, caves, beautiful waterfalls, forests, wildlife….!
National parks in Croatia
The eight National Parks of Croatia include 7.5% of the country or nearly 1000 sq km. Going to every one of the Croatian National Parks offers a beautiful variety of landscapes from forested islands to rugged mountaintops, waterfalls, lakes, and islands full of sunshine. They give excellent holiday retreat activities for dynamic travelers, as there looks like it’s nothing you cannot do. Try snorkeling, mountain climbing, trekking, biking, swimming, and spelunking!
Entrance prices are usually affordable for the National Parks, but they have been rising progressively in recent years. Typically, it is less expensive to go to in spring or autumn as some parks grow their prices during the summer time. Nearly all national parks and several nature parks are now allowing people to obtain tickets ahead of time and online which can save time and effort in the summer season. Parks of Croatia deal with online sales at their website.
Of the eight national parks, three are built on islands – Brioni, Kornati and Mljet; three correspond to mountain areas – Risnjak, northern Velebit and Paklenica, and two to natural phenomena related to water – the Krka and the Plitvice lakes.
This list of Croatia National Parks is one you will be confident to put in your travel bucket list. These Croatian national parks offer a wealth of choice for activities, sightseeing, and photo opportunities.
Photography lovers, hikers and nature enthusiasts, will wander along in any on the list of eight national parks in Croatia and be in amazement. Croatia is more than just beaches.
With National Parks, there are 8 more good reasons to visit Croatia. People in the US usually enjoy visiting National Parks and visiting these Croatia parks which are gorgeous and with many various features and landscapes will be well spent time on a vacation.
To these Croatian National Parks must be added the protected oases, the natural reserves, the many areas of naturalistic and environmental interest, real lush gardens with numerous and rare species of plants and animals. A confirmation that in Croatia, nature has a leading role and that much has been done for the conservation of the environment.
There are small islands suspended in a crystal clear sea, stretches of coast dotted with a myriad of islets and rocks, thick forests with old trees or karst lands where the water has dug gorges and caves, natural landscapes make up paintings different, but all of unrepeatable charm and suggestion. Thus they become one of the essential features of the country, and, of course, one more reason for a holiday in Croatia.
Entrance to the National Parks is subject to charges. Many agencies organize guided excursions on foot or by boat, and in many of them, there is also the possibility of staying in hotels, pensions, and rooms for rent.
This unusual natural phenomenon consists of forest-fringed waterfalls and turquoise lakes. It is Croatia’s best-known national park and the only one of eight that is listed on the UNESCO List.
|Visitor category||Period – price per person in Kunas
|1 Jan – 31 Mar and
1 Nov – 31 Dec
|1 Apr – 30 Jun and
1 Sep – 31 Oct
|1 Jul – 31 Aug|
|Adults – GROUPS||50,00||100,00||160,00|
|Students – GROUPS||40,00||70,00||100,00|
|Children and teenagers 7 – 18 years||35,00||55,00||80,00|
|Children and teenagers 7 – 18 years – GROUPS||30,00||50,00||70,00|
|Children below 7 years of age||FREE||FREE||FREE|
As many as 16 karst lakes linked together by an infinite number of waterfalls, streams and water jumps, created by a very particular phytogenesis phenomenon that creates travertine barriers. A complex system of walks that winds along well-marked paths, to which bridges and wooden walkways suspended over the water are added.
With a total area of around 30,000 hectares, most of which are covered with beech, spruce and white firs, maples and pines, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is truly a spectacle of nature, thanks to the particularity of the environment and for the very rich fauna (bears, wolves, foxes, roe deer, wild boar, badgers, otters and 150 species of birds).
The main attraction of this park, unique in the world, is represented by 16 small lakes joined together by waterfalls formed with the deposit of limestone deposited by water – travertine. The park includes the source of the Korana river immersed in an area of thick beech and fir woods.
Created as early as 1949, it is the oldest of Croatia’s national parks; in 1979 a UNESCO committee for the protection of natural assets entered it in the register of World Heritage.
Risnjak National Park
Its name derives from ‘ris’ – the lynx – which still lives there, in the company of other protected species, such as the bear, the ibex, and the wild cat. The Risnjak National Park is located in the Gorski Kotar mountain massif near the city of Rijeka, the large karst plateau between Slovenia and the Kvarner coast, the most wooded region in Croatia.
Just the extraordinary vegetation, with secular firs up to 45 m high, is one of the reasons that led to the protection of this area, with a national park created in September 1953. The beauty of the woods, the karst phenomena, the pure springs, and the grandiose panoramas attract expert climbers and simple nature lovers on the Risnjak.
Particular is the presence, at Leska Alps, of an educational trail – the first of its kind in the parks of Croatia – which leads to the discovery of the salient and characteristic aspects of this environment.
Brijuni National Park (Brioni).
A small archipelago in front of the Istrian coast, formed by two islands and 12 islets, with an area of 36 km. Here nature is a show wisely built by man since the creation of a luxuriant garden dates back to the end of the 19th century.
Some industrialist who bought the islands and enriched the local vegetation with exotic and rare plants to create an aristocratic and exclusive resort. In the period between the two world wars it became an exclusive haven for international and elite tourism; they combine the charm of archaeological remains from the Roman and Byzantine periods with a truly unique environment, in which deer, peacocks, pheasants and a particular species of mouflon move freely.
The archipelago of the Brijuni is also distinguished by its heritage of historical artifacts of great value dating back to the time of the Romans and the Byzantines: therefore, for over a hundred years, it has been an attractive holiday resort, favored by politicians and aristocrats from all over the world. There are the remains of a Roman villa of the first century, found in the bay of Verige and identified as an imperial summer residence, as well as the Byzantine remains of a fortress, inhabited until the 14th century, built in the bay of Dobrika.
Although the islands are not inhabited continuously, there are daily presences throughout the year, thanks to the continuous visits of tourists.
The Brijuni islands have been a national park since 1983. Daily visitors to the Brijuni Park must join group visits departing from Fažana (frequent in the summer; one per day at other times of the year).
Paklenica National Park.
Established in 1949, it covers an area of 36 km2 located between the highest peak of Velebit (Vaganski vrh m 1757), the largest mountain range in Croatia, and the coast. Characteristic of the park are the two gorges, deep up to 400 m, with impressive erosive phenomena, caves and sheer rock walls. In the thick forests of beech and black pine, numerous species of mammals live, with some bear specimens; among the many species of birds that inhabit the park, there is the presence of a rare griffon.
The variety of climatic zones, and consequently botanical varieties, ranging from the warm Mediterranean climate, along the coast, to the rigid temperatures of the mountains, near the highest peaks of Velebit, has strongly influenced the determination and recognition of this park.
The Anica Kuk, a rock wall of over 400 m, is the most famous ‘gym’ for climbers in Croatia, who can climb it with a favorable climate throughout the year.
Kornati National Park (Kornati).
The Kornati islands are renowned for the extravagance of their shapes and the particular structure of the reliefs, as well as for their particularly high steep coasts. Over 100 islands, with islets and rocks of white rock scattered in a stretch of the sea about 35 km long and 13 km wide at the most.
Established in 1980 to protect many species of marine flora and fauna, the Kornati National Park is rightly famous for the extraordinary beauty of its sea, coral bottoms, and unspoiled nature.
On the major islands only a few isolated houses and tiny villages, a choice that protects these islands from the often ruinous assaults of mass tourism. Murter is the starting point for visiting the Kornati National Park; many hotels on the coast organize excursions with private and fishing boats.
The greatest Kornati lovers are boaters, who find exactly what they want here: a sunny labyrinth of sea and islands, in the peace of unchanged nature. The yachts can find a safe berth in the numerous protected bays, in the marinas around the park. The local gastronomic specialties, especially those of the sea, can be enjoyed both in the marinas and in the many rustic trattorias, made in the old fishermen’s houses.
Krka National Park.
In the county of Šibenik, a river, perhaps the most beautiful in all of Dalmatia, has carved its way into a karst terrain. To make a way towards the sea, it created a long, fascinating canyon, with lakes, rapids, and waterfalls.
The most famous is that of Skradin, which falls from a barrier of tuff 46 m high. With 142 km of surface, the park of the Krka river is also an important ornithological reserve, which boasts over 200 different species of birds. Apart from its natural beauty, the Krka National Park is rich in cultural-historical monuments. Noteworthy is the Franciscan convent on the islet of Visovac, a real landscape jewel, situated where the river flows in the lakes.
In the Visovac monastery complex, you can visit the art gallery and the 14th-century church. The inventory of the convent museum is famous because it has about 600 documents dating back to the period of Turkish domination of this region. Inside the park on the riverbank, we find the interesting Greek Orthodox monastery Krka, the ruins of the Roman Burnum camp as well as several “steps,” ancient fortifications built on the cliffs overlooking the Krka. The interior of the park, the historic town of Skradin and, the island of Visovac, can also be visited by boat.
Mljet National Park.
Mljet is an island located at the southern end of Croatia, west of the most famous Croatian tourist resort, Dubrovnik. The national park includes the western part of this island, considered by many to be the most beautiful in the Adriatic.
A particularly luxuriant flora and, above all, the very particular conformation of this island has led to the creation of the Mljet Island National Park (Mljet, km- 31), between Korcula and Dubrovnik. Inside, the Malo jezero and the Veliko jezero – the Small and the Big lake – connected to the sea by barely perceptible straits.
Northern Velebit National Park
Established in 1999, it is the most recent national park that includes the most fascinating and precious area of northern Velebit, from a naturalistic point of view.
In this exceptional mountain park, although in a limited space, a large number of attractions are concentrated – the karst rock formations, an incomparable natural botanical garden, and the cave, Lukina Jama, one of the deepest in the world.
Croatian climbers consider this place the most precious jewel in the Croatian mountains. Given the distance from the main arterial roads, it is little frequented, which makes the environment almost mystical and of primordial beauty.