Croatia is blessed with 8 national parks all over the country, each offering their unique blend of flora, fauna, heritage and natural beauty. A visit to at least one during your stay is highly recommended, and our Sun Gardens Dubrovnik team is on hand to advise on the arrangements.
For the UNESCO Dubrovnik connection, where better to start than with the most popular park of all, Plitvice Lakes. Along with the old town of Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes became a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1979. Its numerous lakes and waterfalls inspired local resident Nikola Tesla, and they have been stunning visitors ever since – a true natural paradise. Plitvice is open all year and offers four very distinct and diverse experiences through the four seasons, including winter when the waterfalls freeze.
Krka National Park close to Šibenik is arguably the best run and most diverse national park, with a wealth of attractions beyond its iconic Skrandinski Buk waterfall. Cycle trails, monastery islands, Roman ruins, Neolithic caves with ancient inhabitants, an ethno village with workshops and exhibitions, Krka is the ultimate family national park day out.
Looking for an island national park experience? Look no further than Mljet National Park close to Dubrovnik. And if you are looking to get shipwrecked, there are few more beautiful spots to choose from. Just ask St Paul and Odysseus, whose enforced stay enabled them to be among the first tourists to this greenest of islands, half of which is given over to the national park. A different type of island national park experience awaits in Brijuni, just off Istria, a park with zebras, Shetland ponies, an elephant, golf course and exhibition of the 60 world leaders who visited bearing indigenous animal gifts to former Yugoslav President, who used Brijuni as a semi-permanent base.
But the most popular island national park of all – especially among sailors – is Kornati, whose hauntingly beautiful islands offer among the finest nautical experiences in Croatia, as well as some of the most authentic waterfront restaurants in its many hidden bays.
For the more active national park visitor, Paklenica National Park north of Zadar is home to some outstanding forest and breath-taking sea views, the best of which you can enjoy while indulging in a little climbing and mountaineering. Paklenica is celebrating 70 years as a national park in 2019.
A little further north is the hiking paradise of the North Velebit National Park, the last park to be added to the list back in 1999. Home to Croatia's most imposing mountains, North Velebit “is recognizable by its preserved biodiversity, richness of the natural phenomena and experience of pristine wilderness.”
And if the rain and wet weather are not a problem, there are few more diverse places in Europe in terms of flora and fauna than Risnjak National Park. Located in mountainous and densely forested Gorski Kotar, Risnjak is actually the wettest place in Croatia, boasting more than 1,000 types of flora and sub-species, as well as being a natural habitat for bears, wolves and lynxes.
Many tourists come to Croatia for the beaches, sun and pristine Adriatic, but there is beauty in every corner of this beautiful planet. Nowhere is this more true than in these 8 idyllic national parks (and let's not forget the 11 nature parks as well). For more help in visiting these wonderful natural treasures, the Sun Gardens Dubrovnik team is standing by to help you with your needs.