Astonishing National Parks in Croatia
No matter if you’re looking forward to discovering top UNESCO Heritage sites in Croatia or not, this article might turn out to be helpful for you. We took the time to explore the area in which we offer villas to rent, including the top nearby national parks in Dalmatia, Istria, and Kvarner. Nature was kind to Croatia, which is why you will discover in this country plenty of natural preserve area, high mountains, crystal lakes, and impressive deep blue sea. So, let’s see up next which astonishing national parks in Croatia you need in your travel itinerary.
The world-wide famous UNESCO World Heritage Site at Plitvicka Jezera ( Plitvice Lakes National Park)
Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the oldest protected areas in Croatia and has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage register since 1979. It stands out due to its unique natural sites, which attract yearly plenty of tourists. Plitvice is accessible on the globe due to its sixteen lakes positioned in a cascade. This makes room for a heavenly view, which people say you won’t see anywhere else in the world. And the most exciting part about this national park in Croatia is that all the lakes are connected and have similar water flow.
Many tourists come here due to the impressive Croatian landscape. But did you know that this national park is home to a diversity of flora and fauna? Well, the area around the Plitvice Lakes has impressive climatic conditions, being both remote and welcoming. This is why plenty of rare species still live here, including the brown bear. Other rare animals that live here include the grey wolf, the eagle, the owl, the Eurasian lynx, the European wildcat, and the capercaillie. Anyhow, for nature enthusiasts, the Plitvice Lakes National Park offers access to an interesting flora connection. There is a combination of both Alpine and Mediterranean vegetation. Local scientists documented here up to 109 plant species, including the famous 55 species of orchids.
You can discover this national park between the Mala Kapela mountain and the Pljesevica mountain. Overall, it is rather simple to reach this site. And if you think about the numerous villas to rent in the area, it can turn out to be the perfect destination for your holiday no matter the time of the year. The nearest airports are Zadar, Zagreb, and Rijeka, while the closest train station is Josipdol.
And this national park isn’t solely about the natural wonders. Staying in a rented villa here will get you access to a wide array of interesting local customs and traditions. Hence, all the architecture in this area follows the traditional Croatian approach. You will find various stays in low wooden houses. And if you’re lucky enough, you might stumble upon a local celebration for which locals dress in national costumes. Also, we recommend you visit this national park during winter so that you take part in a prelo, a local tradition in this area. This is a showcase of local products, such as textiles or butter, accompanied by drinks and local dances during the winter months.
The Plitvice National Park is a great area to visit if you want to try the local Croatian cuisine. Make sure you try Slivovitz (Croatian šljivovica), wine, and coffee or dishes, such as soft cheese (Croatian vrhnje), polenta, pršut, paprika sausage, roasted suckling pig (Croatian: odojak) or lamb (Croatian: janjetina).
The most visited European site: Krka National Park
Maybe one of the most popular national parks in Croatia, Krka National Park, is one of a kind. Close to Sibenik in Dalmatia, it was named after the Krka River that crosses the site. And in case you didn’t know already, the main attraction of the Krka National Park consists of the impressive waterfalls, such as the Skradinski Buk falls. An interesting fact about this national park in Croatia is that it is home to the highest density of lavender in Europe. So, renting a villa in the area can get you to access to mesmerizing smells and the constant buzz of bees.
Since Krka National Park has a unique position in the Southern European area, it is home to a wide array of flora and fauna. There are around eight hundred and sixty species of plants, such as the stone bellflower, the chimney bellflower, the mullein inula, the Dalmatian pellitory, and the Illyrian iris, which is found growing on the rocks. And that’s not all! This national park is known for its variety of fish living in the Krka River, such as the brown trout and the Dalmatian barbelgudgeon. Also, those that love discovering bird species will find here the perfect ground to observe the local fauna. Some of the top species of birds you can admire include the osprey, short-toed eagle, golden eagle, Bonelli's eagle, lanner falcon, and the peregrine falcon.
And because Krka National Park is one of the most visited in Croatia, tourism in the area is well-established. Hence, you can access here a wide array of options for accommodation and leisure time activities. As an example, you can explore several footpaths, join sightseeing tours or boat trips. Also, there are plenty of souvenir shops, museums, local restaurants, and Croatian wineries in the area. Some of the most attractive areas of the Krka National Park are the Skradinski Buk, the Roski Slap and Visovac.
The closest airport to Krka National Park is Split Airport, followed by the Zadar Airport. Keep in mind that there are plenty of local transfers that can get you from the airport to your accommodation. Make sure you check the bus timetables before booking a ticket. The closest large town to Krka National Park is Zadar, but you can easily reach the area from Split, Zagreb or Dubrovnik. Anyhow, renting a villa at Krka National Park will get you access to plenty of amenities and interesting local activities. Our top recommendation is to check out the local restaurants which serve their meals in shallow waters. We guarantee this will be a unique experience! And, of course, don’t forget your swimsuit, as there are plenty of areas in Krka National Park that allow you to swim and enjoy the astounding landscape! Krka National Park is one of the largest travertine cascade systems in Europe, which is why it is ready to accommodate any tourist needs you might have!
image credits: Hotice Hsu
Lesser-known national parks in Croatia, you need to visit at least once in a lifetime!
Besides the Plitvice Lakes National Park and the Krka National Park, Croatia has many other sites to offer. No matter if you’re looking forward to enjoying the golf course on Brioni Island or simply to sit and relax in an interesting landscape, the following lesser-known national parks in Croatia will mesmerize you. And since there are plenty of villas with pools to rent close to these national parks, we can say that this will be the best vacation you ever had!
The remote RISNJAK
Risnjak National Park is an interesting, remote area in the Gorski Kotar region. It is known for the impressive Risnjak, the Snježnik massif, and the beautiful source of the river Kupa. An interesting fact about this Croatian national park is that it is home to 15 types of forest communities. Hence, a stay here will get you the chance to admire various tree species, such as the black hornbeam or white alder. This park is close to the border with Slovenia, but you can easily reach it with the help of public transportation. The most popular traveling route is from Zagreb, from where you can either rent a car or book a bus ticket. We recommend you rent a bike during your stay here and explore several remote routes hidden in the heart of the Risnjak National Park.
image credit: Sabina Sirco
MLJET National Park and its adrenaline activities
The Mljet National Park is located on the Mljet island, one of the vastest islands in south Dalmatia. It stands out due to the Great Lake with the Isle of St. Mary and the villages of Govedari, Polace, and Pomena. There are plenty of outdoor activities you can enjoy while visiting this national park in Croatia, including cycling, swimming, or scuba diving. And we recommend you consider some adrenaline activities, such as renting a canoe or kayak and paddle around the lakes. Besides this, you can always explore the wide array of caves in Mljet, as this is one of the top locations on the Mediterranean Sea with such wonders. Make sure you place on your itinerary a visit to the Odyssey’s Cave.
PAKLENICA National Park and its unique caves
Paklenica National Park is one of the most popular sites in Croatia for those looking forward to enjoying some adrenaline activities. It is located near Zadar, being easy to reach and discover. And the best part about it is that there are several all-inclusive rustic villas for rent so that you make the best of your trip. So, you have plenty of things to do here, including exploring hiking trails and climbing the impressive Velebit mountains. Many people visit the Paklenica National Park due to the numerous caves and well-preserved geological sites. But, of course, as it is the case with all the national parks in Croatia, you can discover in this park several wildlife species, like falcons, eagles, bears, deer, or wild cats.
KORNATI National Park and its complex islands systems
Kornati National Park is, in reality, a gathering of 89 inhabited islands, islets, and reefs. And this place is popular amongst tourists due to the sunny labyrinth of deep blue sea and natural landscapes. Overall, this is an untouched natural site, nearby Zadar. You can reach this national park by renting a car, taking the bus, or boat. Also, there are plenty of accommodation options in the area, which will allow you to stay near the water and relax. We recommend you take the time to admire the Strunac bay, the Levrnaka bay, and try some group tours. Also, there are plenty of outdoor activities in the Kornati you can try, such as swimming, diving, fishing, or hiking. And the best part about your stay in Kornati National Park is that dogs are allowed on site if you keep them on a leash.
SJEVERNI VELEBIT National Park and its top attractions
The Sjeverni Velebit National Park has plenty to offer. Some of the top attractions include the Big Lubenovac lea area, the Premuzic trail, the Visibaba botanical reserve, and the Borov forest reserve. Moreover, you can opt for day trips organized within the national park, so that you make the best of your stat here. When it comes to accommodation options, you can easily discover villas with pools, that will get you everything you might need during your stay. The fastest way to reach this national park is from Zagreb, but you can use the road from Jablanac, too.
BRIJUNI Islands National Park and its unique European archipelago
Brijuni Islands National Park is a unique site in Europe that will most likely leave you speechless. Located on the western coast of Istria, this archipelago features 14 islands and islets with an interesting marine ecosystem. We recommend you consider this as your next travel destination, as there are plenty of activities to enjoy. As an example, you can explore the safari park in Brijuni Islands or the old olive tree. Here you can find the oldest olive trees in the Mediterranean, which are still used for olive oil production.
The bottom line
So, these are some of the most interesting National Parks in Croatia, including top UNESCO World Heritage sites and top adrenaline activities destinations. Croatian national parks are versatile and have plenty to offer. So, make sure you plan an itinerary that includes several national parks so that you make the best of your stay. No matter which national park you opt for, the local cuisine and attractions will keep you occupied at all times.