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Croatia's National Parks

Experience this country's natural beauty and diversity
in the National Parks of Croatia

The land in Croatia is beautiful and the landscape varied. From forest to coast are national parks sure to please the explorer that lives inside every vacationer.

For a fun family day, you can take the group to Croatia national parks. In total, there are eight national parks in Croatia, which do not include ten nature parks and two strict reserves. Although all of the national parks are funded by the government, each one is maintained by a distinct organization.

Originally, there were only two state parks, Plitvice Lakes and Paklenica, which were established in 1949. In 1953, Risnjak joined the group and by the end of the 1960’s so had Mljet and Kornati. Throughout the 1980’s, Brijuni and Krka were established, which left the last edition, Sjeverni Velebit, to be added in 1999.

In 2010 some 2 million tourists have visited the 8 national parks, which is about 20% of the total 2010 visitor numbers to Croatia. These numbers are increasing each year.

Brijuni

The Brijuni national park is made up of a group of 14 islands off the Croatian coast. This park was created in 1983, and offers a number of three star hotels for guests to the islands.

Kornati

The southern portion of the Kornati Archipelago (made up of more than 130 islands) was made a national park in 1980. It is a great place to relax, take a hike, and breathe in the salty sea air. There is no natural spring water on the islands, so be sure to bring your own.

Krka

Established in 1985, the Krka National Park is located in Dalmatia and is just a few miles outside of town of Å ibenik. This park is most famous for the clear lakes and gorgeous waterfalls. To say it is picturesque would be an understatement.

 

Nocturno at Krka National Park - Over 3 years the photographer Mario Romulić took 220,000 time-lapse night photos of the National Park. He used 70,000 of those to create this amazing video. The music is by Ana Rucner, Croatian cellist.

Mljet

The national park of Mljet, which was established in 1960, is an island located a short boat ride from Dubrovnik. Mljet is a beautiful island with two deep bays for which it is famous. The land is covered with thick green vegetation and is very inviting.

North Velebit

This is the youngest of Croatia’s national parks, created in 1999. It contains mountains, trees, and even a cave system that is a delight for spelunkers around the world.

Paklenica

This is a beautiful river canyon located in northern Dalmatia, and is well known for hiking and mountain climbing. Paklenica was established as a national park in 1949.

Plitvice Lakes

This is one of the most well known national parks in Croatia, and it is also one of the most visited. It was created in 1949 and has been churning out happy hikers ever since. It is officially recognized by UNESCO as a National Park since 1979.

There are a group of sixteen lakes, all of which are connected through a series of waterfalls and streams. There are wooden walkways snaking through the park, suspended above the water, making it a hiking dream for the visitors.

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes is Croatia's major and most visited National Park,
with over one million visitors per year.
  (Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com)

It is a truly beautiful sight covered with forests and meadows and populated by a variety of wildlife. For added pleasure and first-hand experience, hop on the silent electrical boat to further explore the lakes.

In July 2018 theculturetrip.com listed Plitivice Lakes National Park in the 2nd spot among "23 Natural Wonders in Europe That Will Take Your Breath Away", right after The Tuscan Countryside. It called the Lakes as 'a standout attraction in Croatia and well worth a day trip from the capital'.

The internet magaine Travel and Leisure in May 2017 has placed Plitivice Lakes National Park on the list of the world's most beautiful spots with the most turquoise-blue waters, calling it a natural hidden gem.

Plitvice Lakes National Park now visits nearly one million visitors annually. It is the most visited national park in Croatia. In 2010 there were 750,000 visitors by the end of August. That was an increase of 5% on 2009 visitor numbers. In 2014 that number was grown to one million visitors per year. Most of those visitors come from Germany, Italy, France, Russia, Israel, and Japan.

Risnjak

Established in 1953, this park is located in Gorski kotar, which is the most mountainous and heavily forested area in Croatia. This is a hiker’s paradise.

No matter the type of park in which you want to spend your vacation, you are certain to find somewhere wonderful in Croatia.

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