Four National Parks You Can Visit On A Croatian Small Boat Cruise

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.

Browse our collection of Croatia cruises here >

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.

Croatia National Parks
Croatia National Parks

Mljet National Park

Mljet National Park is situated in the northwest area of Mljet Island. The outstanding beauty spot covers most of the island and was proclaimed a protected natural sanctuary in 1960. The park boasts two saltwater lakes, Veliko Jezero (large) and Malo Jezero (small) and the tiny island of Sveta Marija. To escape the tourists, it’s recommended that you visit the park in the low season.

Walk along the shady paths that lead through fragrant pine and bay woods, to discover your own piece of paradise in Mljet National Park. You can explore the unique geological landscape on foot or you can hire a bike. There are tarmac and gravel trails to suit all cycling experience levels. Kayaking, canoeing and swimming are permitted in the lakes that stretch out over 4 km of the park. The small lake offers a pleasant water temperature that is perfect for swimmers.

Enjoy a relaxing boat ride on Veliko Jezero, on route to the picturesque island located in its centre. Discover the 12th century Benedictine monastery and church, and enjoy a refreshment break in the refashioned café. Once you’re back on dry land, head for the summit of the park’s lush hills for spectacular panoramic views.

Kornati National Park

Kormati National Park is often called a nautical paradise, due to its prime location in Croatia’s largest archipelago. The 89 uninhabited Kornati Islands are situated 27 km from the mainland, and boast a stunning natural landscape that is studded with rugged cliffs, secluded caves, grottoes and crevices. On the southwest side of the coastline lie dramatic steep cliffs that are home to common swifts and peregrine falcons. Many species of indigenous flora are also evident in the idyllic, peaceful retreat.

Open all year round, Kormati National Park is a protected conservation zone that comprises of lush forests, craggy limestone rocks and desert-like plains. To explore the diverse ecosystem, take to the hiking trails that snake all over the islands. Dive into the crystal clear turquoise waters if you want to observe the stunning marine life that surrounds the islands, islets and reefs. An estimated 850 submarine animal species live here. You can also swim, snorkel or scuba dive, or kick back and relax in the beautiful tranquil setting with a cool drink and a good book.

To fully appreciate the ample attractions of Kormati National Park, you really need to spend the entire day at the park. Wear comfortable footwear and don’t forget the sunscreen lotion and your swimming costume. Pack a delicious picnic and venture out on an excursion to locate the perfect lunch spot. Although the Kornati Islands are uninhabited there are a few cafes situated on Kornat Island, where you can sample fresh seafood direct from the sea.

You can visit Croatia’s beautiful national parks on a Croatia small ship cruise with Cruise Croatia. Call our Croatia Travel Experts.

You may be interested in