National parks in Croatia
20 May 2024

National parks in Croatia

Croatia's national parks rank among the most remarkable in all of Europe, and the country is renowned for its exceptional natural beauty. With eight national parks stretching from the mountains to the coast, each offers a unique combination of breathtaking scenery, wildlife, and cultural attractions. Here we present the most important facts, points of interest, and brief instructions on how to get to them.

National Park Plitvice Lakes

The Plitvice Lakes are the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, founded in 1949. The park is famous for its 16 cascading lakes that flow into each other creating over 90 waterfalls. The park was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. The park covers an area of 296.85 km². The park is located in the eastern part of Lika, and the magic of nature will delight you at any time of the year. The Plitvice Lakes are easily accessible by car and are about a 2-hour drive from Zagreb and Zadar. You can buy a ticket on the park's official website.

Krka National Park

Krka National Park was founded in 1985 and covers an area of 109 km², and is located in central Dalmatia, north of the town of Šibenik. The park is known for its seven magnificent waterfalls, the most famous of which is Skradinski Buk. In the park, there are also ruins of Roman aqueducts, Franciscan monasteries, an Orthodox monastery, old mills, and magnificent forts. The Krka River is home to a rich flora and fauna, including many protected species. Krka National Park is 1-hour drive from Split and only a 15-minute drive from Šibenik. It is open all year round, and ticket prices vary depending on the time of year. Buy them online.

Paklenica and North Velebit National Park

Paklenica National Park is the second national park in Croatia, established only a few months after Plitvička Jezera National Park. It covers an area of 95 km² and is recognizable by its spectacular Velika and Mala Paklenica canyons, and the trails and paths of the park are popular among climbers. Mountaineers are especially attracted to ‘Vaganski vrh’, the highest peak of the Velebit mountain, 1757 meters high, and ‘Sveto Brdo’, only 4 meters lower. In addition to the beautiful bare rocks, the park also owes its importance to diverse forest ecosystems and diverse flora and fauna. In the park, there is also the Manita peć, a cave that is open to visitors. The Paklenica National Park is located only 45 minutes' drive from Zadar, and in addition to driving to the park, there are also buses from the main bus station in Zadar. The Northern Velebit National Park is the youngest national park in Croatia, founded in 1999. Within this park, there are two strictly protected reserves - Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi.

Brijuni National Park

Brijuni National Park consists of an archipelago of 14 islands and islets. It was founded in 1983 and is known for its lush vegetation, archeological sites, and Safari Park where you can see Lanka the elephant, who came to Brijuna in 1972 as a gift from Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1972. Otočje was once the favorite summer resort of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, and today his Cadillac is kept there and you can take a ride in it. The price of a 30-minute ride costs €700. Visitors can see Roman villas, Byzantine fortifications, and numerous other cultural monuments. The park is located in the south ofIstria, opposite Fažana, a charming town near Pula. There is a boat to the island, and the ride takes only 15 minutes.


Kornati National Park

Kornati National Park was established in 1980 and includes 89 islands, islets and rocks. The park is famous for its indented coast, crystal clear bays with a rich underwater world, and picturesque karst relief. The Kornati Islands are a paradise for sailors, divers, and nature lovers. In addition to natural beauty, Kornati can also boast of a cultural heritage that dates back to the Illyrian era. Illyrian castles, Tureta Fortress, the church of St. Marije, and the remains of the saltworks in Lavsa are worth seeing. The legend of fairies is also connected to the park, and its beauty is truly magical. Kornati can only be reached by boat, by purchasing organized excursions, or by private vessel for which the ticket is paid according to the length of the vessel. Kornati is located west of Šibenik.


Risnjak National Park

Risnjak National Park is located in Gorski Kotar and represents one of Croatia's most beautiful and important natural beauties. The park's highest peak is Veliki Risnjak, which rises to 1528 meters above sea level. The source of the Kupa River, known as "Kupeško oko", is one of the most famous natural features of the park. The park is rich in caves and pits, which are home to many endemic species. Risnjak is home to over 1,100 species of plants, including endemic and rare species. Beech, fir, and spruce stand out for their lush forests. The park is home to many animals, and the fact that three animals live here - a bear, a wolf, and a lynx - is particularly impressive. Risnjak National Park offers a unique opportunity to explore untouched nature with numerous trails, among which the Leska educational trail stands out, and is suitable for all ages. The traditional shepherd's houses that can be found in the park bear witness to the historical way of life and work in these areas.


Croatian national parks offer incredible opportunities for exploring natural beauty and cultural treasures. Whether you like hiking, strolling, swimming, or just relaxing in nature, every park has something special to offer. Regardless of which park you choose, you will surely be enchanted by the beauty and diversity of Croatia, and look for your accommodation among our luxurious villas.

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