It’s well known that the Eastern European country of Croatia boasts a plethora of UNESCO World Heritage sites, rich history and vibrant culture. But are you aware that it also features beautiful nature and spectacular national parks? When visiting Croatia on a small boat cruise, join a guided excursion to one of the nation’s most popular outdoor attractions. In nature’s wonderlands you can enjoy peaceful tranquillity, enviable photo opportunities and unforgettable views of outstanding scenery.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Situated in Lika in central Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is undoubtedly one of the country’s major tourist attractions. Protected by the magnificent Gornja, Mala Kapela and Medvedak mountains, the 295-sq km forest reserve first opened its doors as a national park in 1949. Today, it boasts UNESCO World Heritage site status and features a stunning arrangement of 16 terraced, mineral rich lakes that are connected via waterfalls.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is abundant in wild woods and forests of beech, fir, pine and spruce trees. There are also pretty meadows and open pastures. The park’s main attraction however, is its 16 crystalline lakes that tumble into each other via the cascading waterfalls. The upper and lower interconnected lakes are surrounded by meandering wooden paths that allow you to get up close to the water. Although it’s highly tempting to take a dip in the refreshing jewel coloured lakes, swimming in the park is strictly prohibited.
To fully explore the unspoiled beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park, it’s recommended that you allow 2-8 hours. Wear comfortable footwear and make sure that you pack a drink and regularly apply sunscreen. To avoid the crowds, it’s a good idea to visit early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. You can stroll along the trails that loop around the park, or explore the nature reserve freestyle. As the parkland is the natural habitat of bears, rabbits, wolves, wild boars, otters, skunks and other furry creatures, you’re very likely to spot a few. There are also any species of endemic birds nesting in the forests.
Krka National Park
Situated in Lozovac, within close proximity of the city of Sibenik in southern Croatia, Krka National Park covers a sprawling 142 sq km. Two-thirds of the Krka River are located within the park’s boundaries. The spectacular natural environment features a series of 7 cascading waterfalls, and the tiny Visovac Island.
Krka National Park’s top attraction is most definitely Skradinski Buk falls, which flaunts an impressive total of 17 waterfalls. There is also Roski Slap, with 12 waterfalls, and numerous gorges. The best way to explore the stunning scenery is on the water. You can sail through the park in a boat, and also swim under the refreshing waterfalls. Footpaths situated close to the water’s edge lead you on an exciting excursion around the natural habitat of amphibians and reptiles, and the nesting places of as many as 200 different species of birds. Indigenous flora is dotted all over the park.
Whilst in Krka National Park make sure that you pay a visit to the enchanting little island of Visovac, situated on the Krka River. The island is home to a 14th century Franciscan monastery, a church and library.