Top 5 National Parks in Croatia

Whilst Croatia is best known for its beautiful beaches and historic towns, there is a lot more that this versatile country has to offer.

With eight spectacular national parks and eleven nature parks, a holiday to Croatia is not complete unless you have visited one of these natural wildernesses. With activities ranging from hiking to snorkelling, we have selected the top five national parks in Croatia to visit where you can experience diverse landscapes and geological wonders.

Plitvice Lakes waterfall

Plitvice National Park

Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park is renowned for its 16 interconnected lakes that flow into each other at different heights, creating a beautiful cascade of waterfalls that shimmer in a variety of turquoise hues. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the national park is also comprised of verdant forests complete with walking trails, where you can spot diverse flora and fauna. Wooden footbridges and pathways meander through the park, offering panoramic vistas of the stunning landscape.

If you want to see the whole park, it is best to arrive early and choose a long trail (we recommend the 6-hour trail K), but there are also several shorter trails that still allow you to see most of the parks highlights (we recommend the 4-hour trails C or H). All visitors can use the park’s free shuttle boats and buses as well. Please note that swimming is not allowed in the lakes.

Krka National Park waterfall

Krka National Park

Over thousands of years, the water of the Krka River has cut a deep canyon through the mountains of Sibenik’s hinterland, creating the incredible natural spectacle of Krka National Park’s waterfalls. Visitors can admire this force of nature from both sides of the river: from the top to the foot of the park, and back on the other side. The route takes about two hours. Skradinski Buk is the largest and most famous waterfall in the national park.

There are two entrances to the park; we recommend the Skradin entrance so you can enjoy a 20 min boat trip to the foot of the park.  The other option is the Lozovac entrance, where a shuttle bus takes you to the top of the park. Both the boat and the bus are included in the entrance fee.

Travel Tip

Swimming is no longer permitted in Krka National Park, though you can still admire the pools from the boardwalks that weave throughout the waterfalls.

Mljet National Park lake

Mljet National Park

National Park Mljet is a beautiful island park, located on Mljet island in the Dubrovnik archipelago. In the park, you will find the most pristine forests, two unique saltwater lakes and numerous cliffs, coves and tiny islands. A visit to the island is perfect for those who wish to relax, swim, sunbathe or do something active, such as cycling, hiking or kayaking. In the centre of one of the lakes is a small island with a former Benedictine monastery that has been turned into a charming restaurant.

During the high season, there are frequent daily ferries and catamarans from Dubrovnik to the towns of Sobra and Polace on the island. Outside the summer season, the park can be visited as well, but the ferries ride less frequently.

Kornati National Park

Kornati National Park

The Kornati archipelago in Northern Dalmatia is a collection of almost 150 uninhabited and unspoiled islands and islets. It is a true sailor’s paradise and those of you who are planning to sail along the Dalmatian coast must surely visit this natural beauty. Daily boat excursions to Kornati are organised from the mainland, and the best place to start an excursion is from Murter.

Enjoy a day at sea, sail past the rocky islands with extraordinary shapes and colours, let the crew serve you lunch with fresh fish and wine, take a swimming break and return to the shore with unforgettable memories.

Tip: bring plenty of sun protection, which is extra important when you are out at sea.

Brijuni National Park

Brijuni National Park

Along the Istrian coast, not far from Pula, a group of 14 islands make up the Brijuni National Park.  Its largest island, Veli Brijuni, is the only one that can be visited but that should not stop you from hopping on a ferry as this beautiful island has lots to offer to visitors of all ages. Over 200 genuine dinosaur footprints can be found around the island, as well as many ruins from Roman times. There is an archaeological museum, a church that displays interesting exhibitions and, last but not least, a safari park filled with exotic animals that were given to Tito by celebrities and important politicians. Tito had a summer residence on the island and regularly received guests such as Liz Taylor, Richard Burton and Sofia Loren.

Regular ferries to Veli Brunij depart from the town of Fazana (this is the only way to reach the park unless you have your own boat) and the ferry ride is included in the entrance fee.

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