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The National Parks of Croatia and its Wildlife - Dalmatian Coast Holidays.

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The National Parks
in brief

1. Brijuni. A group of two large islands and twelve small islets off the west coast of Istria. Appreciated in ancient times.
2. Plitvice in Kvarner. Noted for its 16 small and large lakes connected by waterfalls.
3. Sjevern Velebit in Kvarner. Mountains, with many unusual karst rock formations.
4. Risnjak in Kvarner just north of Rijeka. A forested mountain massif with brown bear, lynx, chamois, deer, snake eagle, and more.
5. Krka, 15 minutes south of Sibenik. One of the natural wonders of Croatia, with a series of spectacular cascading waterfalls and gorges.
6. Paklenica near Zadar. Has two impressive canyons, a multitude of unusual karst formations, and a number of caves.
7. Kornati Islands near Zadar. The wildest & most indented archipelago of islands of Croatia, mostly unpopulated.
8. Mljet. An island lying south-west of Dubrovnik. Has two deep lake-like bays with very narrow outlets to the sea.

There are also many Nature Parks in Croatia.

Wildlife & National Parks
of Croatia

Dolphin animation

There are 8 National parks in Croatia, overflowing with fauna and flora, forests, cascading waterfalls, rivers and deep blue lakes. Four of the parks are in the mountainous region, which are Risnjak, Sjeverni Velebit, Paklenica and Plitvice Lakes, and four are in the coastal region, which are Kornati, Mljet, Brijuni and Krka. There are about 450,000 hectares of protected natural assets.

Hinterland behind Biokovo Nature Park

Krka Falls near Sibenik    

Over 400 bears roam wild in the mountain forests and wild sheep, mountain goats, wild cats, wolves and an abundance of lynx live happily here. The amount of bird life is too vast to mention! Of course, there are the various geological phenomena too - mountains, valleys, canyons, sinkholes, ravines, springs, gorges and caves, some unexploited.

Included in this figure are reservations, natural monuments & nature parks. There are too many Nature Parks to list here but two, among many, which are not part of National Parks are: Biokovo, a botanical garden on the mountain with spectacular views, and Vrasko Jezero, Croatia's largest lake, whose brackish water attracts many bird species. In Croatia over 44 herbal and 381 animal species are protected.

The Cetina River near Omis   

You’ll note that Croatians take great care of their environment, and it is rare to find any rubbish discarded in their protected areas. In winter there is a wind, the Bora, which at times blows very strongly along the coast, so please make sure your plastic bags are thrown away securely.

You don't have to go to the National Parks to enjoy nature here. Croatia only has a population of 4.5 million people, so it is very easy to find secluded spots, where you’ll probably not see another person all day.

Plitvice Falls   

Let’s not forget the marine life of Croatia. Look over any quay side in Croatia and you’ll be stunned by the number and variety of fish. If you keep your eyes peeled you’ll also see dolphins!


In Istria

The Brijuni Isles, a group of two large islands and twelve small islets off the west coast of Istria, are a National Park due to their spectacular beauty and abundance of nature, which was appreciated even in antiquity. This is also the home of the famous Brijuni safari park. You can take a ride around the park on a little train (actually a tractor disguised as a train). Finally, don't forget to take your swimsuit as there are some lovely bays just perfect for a quiet swim. Information: Tel: +385 52 525 888; Fax: +385 52 521 367; E-mail: np-brijuni@pu.tel.hr; http://www.brijuni.hr/en/Home.aspx?PageID=1&gohome=true

In Kvarner & Highlands

PLITVICE LAKES (Plitvicka Jezera)
Situated inland behind the Velebit mountain range, it is the most beautiful and best-known Croatian National Park, and an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage. It comprises 16 small and large lakes connected by waterfalls created through sedimentation of travertine, a particular type of limestone. The area is covered by thick forests of beech and pine, with a section of it being primeval forest. Animal life is rich with the brown bear being present. Special panoramic tours are organised for visitors both on land and on the largest lakes in panoramic buses and electro-powered boats. Information: Tel: +385 53 751 015; Fax: +385 53 751 013; E-mail: info@np-plitvice.com; www.np-plitvice.com (English) www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr (Also English)

In the central part of the Velebit mountain range in the most attractive part of this region, around Velebit’s highest peak, it includes the Rozanski and Hajducki Kuk nature reserves. They are comprised of karst rock formations and include the Lukina Jama (Luka Cave) - one of the deepest in the world - and the famous Velebit Botanical Garden. Information: Tel/Fax: +385 53 884 552; +385 53 884 551; E-mail: np-sjeverni.velebit@gs.hinet.hr

A forested mountain massif to the north of Rijeka, encompassing the source area of this small area, a haven for an amazing wealth of biological diversity, including brown bear, lynx, chamois, deer, and snake eagle. The beauty of its forests, the karst phenomena and magnificent views attract great numbers of mountaineers. Information: Tel: +385 51 836 133; Fax: +385 51 836 246; E-mail: np-risnjak@ri.tel.hr; www.risnjak.hr

In North Dalmatia

KRKA FALLS - Sibenik
The National Park of Krka is one of the natural wonders of Croatia, 15 minutes south of Sibenik in the direction of Kin, and should not be missed. It covers an area of 111 km². In the south of the park is the river Krka with a series of spectacular cascading waterfalls. After follows the gorges of Mešu Gredama with its long lake and celebrated isle of Visovac, home to a 15th century monastery (Boat trips can be taken to the island). To the south of the lake are the Skradinski Buk waterfalls, the most spectacular in the park. Information: Tel: +385 22 217 720; Fax: =385 22 336 836; E-mail: izleti@npkrka.hr; www.npkrka.hr

Situated in the southern part of the Velebit mountain range, running from the highest peaks to the sea. There are two impressive canyons, Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, a multitude of unusual karst formations, a number of caves and the flora and fauna of the park is rich and diverse. A vertical rock formation, known as Anica Kuk, is one of the most popular training areas for Croatian mountain climbers. Information: Tel: +385 23 369 155; Fax: +385 23 359 133; E-mail: np-paklenica@zd.tel.hr; www.paklenica.hr

The Kornati Islands are the wildest & most indented archipelago of islands of Croatia, consisting of about 147 isles and rocks, most of them unpopulated. The Nature Park of Telasica, which covers 5 of theses isles is the big must. The park has a deep bay, 9 km long and 1 - 2 km wide. In all there are 25 bays, 5 isles and a Mediterranean vegetation of nearly 300 spices. Here at lake Mir you will find a serenity that is rare. The water of the lake contains two times more salt than normal and is 6 ºC warmer than the temperature of the sea, a superb environment for swimming. The islands are a favourite destination for recreational sailers. Information: Tel: +385 22 434 662; +385 22 434 166; Fax: +385 22 435 058; E-mail: np-kornati@si.tel.hr; www.kornati.hr

In South Dalmatia

An island lying south-west of Dubrovnik. The western part of the island is a National Park with two deep bays which are referred to as lakes because of their very narrow outlets to the sea. With lush and diverse Mediterranean vegetation, the park also has valuable Antique monuments and a 13th century Benedictine monastery set upon an islet in the centre of the lake. Information: Tel: +385 20 744 041; Fax: +385 20 744 043; E-mail: np-mljet@np-mljet.hr

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