Croatia has so much natural beauty, especially when it comes to its 8 national parks that it’s proven to be a great challenge for me to come up with a list of the top four I believe are the cream of the crop.
Here are my picks for the top four Croatian national parks you have to visit at least once in your life:
1. Plitvice lakes national park
One of seven UNESCO world heritage sites in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is arguably one of the most popular sites in Croatia. Since the lakes are located about half way between the capital Zagreb and Pag, they also happen to be a preferred stop for many visitors to the Island of Pag and hotel Boškinac. Spring, fall, summer or winter, every season brings out a truly unique and stunning beauty to this magnificent site. It is the largest national park in Croatia and one of the oldest in Southeast Europe, founded in 1949.
There are a total of 16 lakes, all interconnected with one another, the origin being a runoff from the mountains and descend over 100 meters through a wide variety of absolutely mesmerizing waterfalls.
“The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plitvice_Lakes_National_Park)
Official Web site: http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/en/
2. Krka national park
Located less than 20 minutes from picturesque Šibenik is Krka National Park, a park that includes many different types of flora and fauna. It is a bird watchers’ paradise, with over 200 species of birds inhabiting the area.
The park also includes archeological remains of at least five fortresses from the Roman era (Bogočin, Burnum, Čučevo, Nečven and Ključica).
If you’re into waterfalls, Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap are a must see, with more than a dozen breathtaking waterfalls among them.
On the Island of Visovac, located within the boundaries of the park is a Franciscan monastery that dates back to the 15th century. Within the park, there is also an Orthodox monastery built in the 14th century.
3. Sjeverni Velebit national park
Sjeverni Velebit National Park is located in the northern most part of Croatia’s largest mountain: Velebit. The park is about 100 square km of breathtaking views filled with different species of mountain flora and is part of the UNESCO’s “Man and the Biosphere Programme”. The park contains numerous trails, the most notable being Premužić’s Trail, which, among other things, overlooks the Adriatic Sea and includes a spectacular view of Pag Island. The park also encompasses the highest peak in Croatia, Zavižan, which is over 1600 meters above sea level. The park also includes two well-known collection of peaks: Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi (collection of peaks). Both Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi contain approximately 90 peaks exceeding 1600 meters.
For more information on the Northern Velebit National Park, please visit http://www.np-sjeverni-velebit.hr/park/
4. Kornati national park
Out of the four National parks that make up this list, Kornati National Park is the only one not accessible by road. The park is easily accessible by boat from nearby Zadar. There is even an organized excursion from Novalja to the Islands via Zadar which has gotten rave reviews from our guests. The park is known as a nautical paradise, with some of the most extraordinary sailing in Europe. It is also a great place for divers and hikers. There are 89 islands within the boundaries of the park with an endless parade of islets and reefs between them.
More information can be found at http://www.np-kornati.hr/en
Well, there you have it, my list for the top 4 Croatian national parks you have to see to believe. It is worth noting that there is total of 444 protected areas in Croatia, 8 of which happen to be national parks that cover approximately 960 km2. The national parks include some of the most incredible sights in the world, from mountains to waterfalls, fauna to flora, lakes to sea, that will definitely redefine the way you see the world, enriching your entire being with every step you take; whether you’re hiking, cycling, sailing or sightseeing, your soul will feel refreshed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The other 4 national parks you should definitely add to your bucket list are: Brijuni, Mljet, Paklenica and Risnjak https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_areas_of_Croatia