When people talk about National Parks in Croatia, they usually immediately think of Plitvice National Park. With 16 beautiful lakes and lush greeneries and the stunning photos that circulate around social media like wildfire, it’s no questions that it is the top attraction in Croatia. However, it’s not the only national park on the block. Croatia is actually home to eight national parks, and together they make up a total of 8% of Croatia. A country that occupies a stunning stretch of the Adriatic Sea, it’s not surprising to learn that a fair few of these national parks are situated along the coast, or involves a body of water. It’s not fair that all the hype is concentrated on Plitvice, and I want to shed some light on three other National Parks that are worthy of recognition in Croatia:
- Krka National Park
Situated between Split and Zadar, Krka National Park resembles Plitvice greatly as the two share similar geology and consists of lakes and waterfalls. Most famous for the unbelievably gorgeous Skradinski waterfall, it has one upped Plitvice with the fact that you are allowed to swim in the lake in front of the waterfall. Although, any attempts to swim there is counteracted by the strong current. My friend almost got swept away before we got a photo together.
The water is also unbelievably clear and the sceneries undeniably similar to Plitvice’s, but its advantage being that it’s only one hour’s drive from the nearest big city. This makes it a great alternative to Plitvice if you are pressed for time when travelling around Croatia. However, bear in mind that this national park is equally expansive and if you want to visit the entire area, you should plan to spend at least an entire day there. Skradinski waterfall is only the southernmost attraction.
- Mljet National Park
The island of Mljet is almost completely made up of the national park, and it’s well located in the seas between Dubrovnik and Split. This small island is home to two linked lagoons and several small villages, meaning it is riddled with coast lines. Aside from its unarguable natural beauty, Mljet is also home to rich histories,n otably the 12th century Benedictine Monastery nestled on a small island in the middle of one of the lagoons. It is definitely worth visiting.
The best way to explore this national park is to cycle around the lagoons. You can easily find a secluded spot or two around the shores for a dip when the exercise has become too hot.
- Kamenjak National Park
On the northern end of Croatia in the Istria region, Kamenjak National Park is a small peninsula that juts out into the Adriatic Sea. A limestone paradise that’s less than an hour’s bus ride from the city of Pula, it’s the secret hideout of many locals as well as tourists as there are countless beaches you can settle on for the day. Most famous for its safari bar and cliff jumping, there is actually dinosaur footprints preserved in the limestone sheets dipping into the sea!
A tip from the insider: entrance to the national park is free, however, if you are driving a vehicle (save for a bicycle) then there is a fee for that.
If you want to learn more about Croatia and the three national parks – visit my blog’s Croatia archive!