A country that is mostly known for its historic old cities, Croatia is also rich in natural wonders. Green islands and mountain ranges, magnificent lakes and stunning waterfalls, dramatic cliffs and canyons — all contained in national parks and protected areas to further preserve their beauty.
Interspersed with ancient gates and walls, columns and fortresses — these national parks are among the reason Croatia is such an ideal country to visit. If you’re headed this way and wanted to know more than its history, here are the national parks in Croatia.
- National Parks In Croatia – Guide and Tips For First-Time Visitors
- 1. Plitvice National Park, Croatia
- 2. Brijuni National Park Croatia
- 3. Risnjak National Park
- 4. Kornati National Park, Croatia
- 5. Mljet National Park
- 6. Krka National Park Croatia
- 7. Sjeverni Velebit National Park
- 8. Paklenica National Park
National Parks In Croatia – Guide and Tips For First-Time Visitors
1. Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Located halfway between Zagreb and Zadar is Croatia’s oldest, and most popular national park, Plitvice. A place that’s visited by a great number of tourists any time of the year, Plitvice‘ major draws are it’s 16 lakes.
Intertwined within are lush forestry and grasslands, it’s thriving wildlife, natural dams of moss and algae and it’s a rich natural landscape that’s perfect for hiking. Plitvice has been a popular destination since the late 1800s when a hotel was even built inside the park.
Today, Plitvice is a favorite among hikers, cyclists, and even skiers during winter. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site so there are stricter regulations imposed for the preservation and protection of this national treasure.
The Park is open daily all year round, with longer opening hours during summer (usually 7 am to 8 pm).
Address: 53231 Plitvička Jezera
Phone: +385 (0)53 751 015, +385 (0)53 751 014
2. Brijuni National Park Croatia
Brijuni is made up of 14 islands located off Istria’s west coast. Most of these islands are off-limits, but the Veliki (meaning ‘Great’) Brijun isn’t just easily accessible to the public but has also welcomed royalty, film stars and even state leaders.
It was in Veliki Brijun that Tito, the head of Yugoslavia after the second world war, had his Island fiefdom. He has invited leaders from Africa, India, and South America who all brought him gifts which included exotic animals. These animals now form the island’s diverse wildlife and are one of its main attractions.
Apart from the wildlife, Veliki Brijun‘s rocky coastline has hundreds of dinosaur footprints that you can see as you approach the island by boat. A hiking tour of the island will also lead you to ancient Roman ruins, some even dating back to the bronze age.
There’s also a 13-kilometer cycling route that will take you through the island’s best sights. Accommodations are also on offer if you want to stay for the night or a few days, with hotels and villas located close to the harbor.
Address: Nacionalni Park Brijuni Brijuni, 52100 Pula
3. Risnjak National Park
Despite being frequented by hikers, climbers, spelunkers, and even botanists — Risnjak is still probably t the least known among Croatia’s national parks. It is situated in the northernmost part of the country, just off the main road between Zagreb and Rijeka.
Risnjak boats of its unspoilt wooded slopes that’s like a barrier between Croatia and Slovenia. It’s a gorgeous area that’s a haven for wildlife such as wild cats, wild boars, brown bears, and lynx.
The park’s hiking trails are an ideal way for visitors to learn more about its a rich flora and fauna, as the 4-kilometer stretch takes you through an educational tour of Risnjak. You may also take a more challenging route up to the highest point in this national park — the Veliki Risnjak.
On your way up, you may stop and rest at Šloserov dom, which was named after the 19th-century botanist and explorer who worked in the original details of of the park’s landscape.
Down below, you may also check out one of if the largest and deepest springs in Croatia, the river Kapa. There’s also Vražji prolaz, an 800-meter canyon wedged between rocks, lined with bridges and stairs for easier access. Adjacent to it is the stunning Zeleni vir, which was once the power supply source for Gorski kotar.
If you want to stay longer at Risnjak National Park, there are accommodations within and around the park that includes private lodgings, a three-star hotel, and upscale chalets.
Open 24 Hours
Adults – 45 kn (€6.09)
Children and youth (till 18 years of age) 25KN – (€3.38)
Family Ticket -100kn (€13.44)
Children below 7 years of age – no fees
Mountaineers (with paid membership)- 25KN (€3.38)
Address: NP RISNJAK Bijela Vodica 48 Crni Lug
Phone: +38551836133 or +38551836246
4. Kornati National Park, Croatia
A national park that’s also an archipelago, Kornati is one of the most interesting nautical sites in all of Europe. Most of the islands are uninhabitable, save for a few which boasts of really nice restaurants. That’s one of the many surprises the Kornati has in store for those who will explore the islands.
You get to explore this amazing national park and enjoy the food as well. The best way to fully enjoy a visit to the Kornati is on a boat, so you can see all 89 islands.
You can either rent one for yourself, or you may join one of those excursion boats that originates from nearby cities such as Zadar.
Monday to Sunday – 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Address: Kornati National Park Butina 2 22243 Murter Croatia
Phone: +385 (22) 435740
5. Mljet National Park
Comprising about 5,400 hectares, Mljet National Park is a must-visit in the southern part of Croatia. It is located in the lovely green island of Mljet, and among its main attractions are the bodies of water in and around it.
There are the Great and Small lakes, small bays and the St. Mary island which is home to a Benedictine monastery.
Easily accessible by a ferry that originates from Dubrovnik or the Peljesac peninsula, this national park, as well as its island, is perfect if you want to go hiking, cycling, swimming, and snorkeling.
There are also accommodations available if you want to spend more than a day here, as it’s quite massive and several hours simply won’t be w enough to really explore Mljet.
High Season: Every day from 8 am to 8 pm
Low Season: Every day from 9 am to 5 pm
Adults – low season 70 kuna (€9.41), high season 12 kuna
Children and students – low season 50 Kuna (€6.72), high season 70 Kuna (€6.72)
Children under age 7 – free entrance
Address: Pristanište 2, 20226 Goveđari – Mljet, Hrvatska
Phone: +385 20 744 041 or +385 20 744 058
6. Krka National Park Croatia
The wet and wild landscape of Krka National Park is home to 850 different types of plants. It is situated by the Krka river where it got its name, which is adjacent to stunning waterfalls. It is called the Skradinski Buk, which boasts of a pool of water which connects to the waterfalls in one end then a lovely cascade in the other.
Skradinski Bu looks even more picture-perfect with the abundance of wildflowers and plants framing it, which makes for an idyllic sight. The park also has the Visovac — a stunning tiny island located in the middle of the lake, reminiscent of Lake Bled in Slovenia or the Taal Lake in the Philippines.
March-9:00 am – 5:00 pm
April- 8:00- 6:00 pm
May, September- 8:00 am-7:00 pm
June- August -8:00 am-8:00 pm
October 1-15 -8:00 am- 6:00 pm
October 16- 31- 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Krk National park
For full entry to all areas of the park
January- March, November-December
Adults- 30 kn (€4.06)
Children ( 7-18 )- 20 kn (€2.68)
April- May, October
Adults- 100 kn (€13.44)
Children ( 7-18 )- 80 kn (€10.76)
Children under the age of 7 – have free entry throughout the year.
Address: Trg Ivana Pavla II br.5, 22000 Šibenik, Hrvatska
Phone: +385 (22) 201 777
7. Sjeverni Velebit National Park
The magnificent Velebit Mountains make up the largest mountain ranges in Croatia. It has some nearly unspoilt natural scenery — lush green forests, sweeping hills and mountains, and deep valleys.
A place that’s best for hiking, the Sjeverni Velebit National Park has a variety of trails to follow, suited for any hiking ability from beginners to expert.
Wander through the park and you’ll come across the remains of old houses and lodges that over time just fell on disrepair and were abandoned. Despite their condition though, these remnants only add to the rustic beauty of the park.
Around the park, there’s more to see and explore — all offering either stunning scenery or an interesting insight regarding its history. Check out caves, chasms, and craggy peaks which abound in the rocky areas of the park as they offer some amazing sights.
Address: 96, 53274, Krasno Polje, Croatia
Phone:tel: +385 (0)53 665 380
8. Paklenica National Park
A park with a stunningly diverse landscape, Paklenica is one of Croatia’s truly unique and beautiful national parks. With its rich flora and fauna, coastal channels and two huge canyons right within the park, Paklenica is definitely something you haven’t seen before.
It is also a rich and biodiverse area that’s home to a thousand plant species that you must check out and try to identify as you wander through the park.
Paklenica is also home to a number of rare bird species that rest among the rocks. The rocky areas of Paklenica have streams snaking through them, making the place all the more picture-perfect.
With its varied landscape made up of canyons, cliffs, and rocky areas, Paklenica is also an ideal place for hikers and climbers. It is among the top recommended hiking areas in Europe and a must for those looking for a unique place to visit while they’re in Croatia.
Adults- 20 kn (€2.68)
Children (5-14) 10 kn (€1.34)
Highschool university students ( 15-21) 15 kn €2.02)
Mountaineers and Senior Citizens older than 65 – 15 kn €2.02)
Adults- 40 kn (€5.38)
Children (5-14) 20 kn (€2.68)
Highschool university students ( 15-21) 25 kn (€3.36)
Mountaineers and Senior Citizens older than 65 – 25 kn (€3.36)
Adult -60 kn (€8.07)
Children (5-14) 30 kn (€8.07)
Highschool university students ( 15-21) 40 kn (€5.38)
Mountaineers and Senior Citizens older than 65 – 40 kn (€5.38)
Monday to Sunday – 6:00 AM to 8:30 PM
Address: Paklenicka ulica | B.b., Starigrad-Paklenica 23244, Croatia
Phone: 00385 / 23 / 369-155, 369-202, 369 -803