Even though small in size, Croatia has 8 national parks and 11 nature parks, which is not a small number. Difference between the two is that it is strictly prohibited to use natural wealth’s for any kind economical purposes in national parks.
Starting with the ones accessible by boat, here we will list all the national parks in Croatia: Mljet, Kornati, Krka, Brijuni. The other four are: Plitvička jezera, Risnjak, Sjeverni Velebit and Paklenica, accessible by car.
If you have rented a sailing boat or a catamaran from Dubrovnik to Trogir and Split, then island Mljet is a place where you would want to spend a night and maybe even stay for a day or two. Located 24 NM from Dubrovnik, its north-west part was declared a national park in 1960. Berthing in Polače is recommendable and safe if you are eager to visit the park. Your second option is Pomena which is actually closer to the park but limited by a only 20 berths or so, so arriving earlier at around 14:00 in peak season is advised. Maybe the most beautiful parts of the park are the two salt lakes called Big and Little lake. Kids enjoy being „dragged“ by the slow current under the little bridge or rowing to the little island of St. Marija. This is the place for quality time with your kids, since it is one of the most beautiful part of the Adriatic, according to experienced seamen. One more thing to mention is the fresh and quality fish which you have to try.
Entrance fee fo Mljet national park is 100 HRK; entrance to St. Marija island (Melita) is included.
Yachtsmen should check if the berth includes entrance to the national park.
This archipelago was named after the latin word for crown – corona. Consisted of many small bare islands, Kornati are poorly inhabited (biggest village is Vrulje), but this makes them a perfect getaway from everyday rushed life. They were declared a national park in 1980, with yachtsmen making for more than 80% of the visitors. Easiest access is from Marina Kremik near Primošten, Vodice, Murter (7NM), Šibenik (15 NM), Biograd, Zadar.
Entrance fee is 150-300 HRK for the smallest boat (price depends also on the purchase place; it is best to buy it beforehand, not at the park’s entrance).
During hot long summer days, it is best to escape to Krka national park. It is recommended to tie your boat in ACI marina Skradin which is the closest to two main attractions of river Krka: Skradinski buk and Roški waterfall. Organized boat rides are the best choice to visit them.
Don’t miss taking a dip in the refreshing river (only in marked places), and visit the ruins of the first Croatian hydroelectric plant at Skradinski buk. Hydroelectric plant „Krka“ (later known as „ Jaruga I „) was built and became operatinal on Aug 28th 1895., only two days a similar plant strated working at Niagara. It is not mentioned enough that Šibenik was the first one to have electric public lighing in the world. Nikola Tesla was to thank for both of hydroelectric plant projects.
Entrance fee to Krka national park is 30-110 HRK. Yachtsmen should add mooring fees to this expense.
Island of Brijuni is situated on the north-west part of the Adriatic, and it is a bit more than 7 square kilometers in size. Favorable and mild climate made Austraian industrialist Paul Kuplewieser build a fashionable resort and treatment center. In 1954, Brijuni becomes a favourite summer resort of the Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito who cherished the island as en elite destination as many world diginitaries, actors and celebrities from that period were his visitors.
Entrance fee to Brijuni is 125-210, depending on the season.
These other national parks are situated inland, but still worth the visit:
One of the oldest and most beautiful national parks (since 1949) is Plitvice. Legend has it that the Black queen descended from the mountain and, following a long drought, sent to the people winds, thunder and rain, thus making 16 lakes which the Black queen dubbed as „the place that people from all around the world would visit“…… If you are heading from Zagreb to the south (Split, zadar, Dubrovnik) and viceversa by car, make sure you visit the lakes which are very different in summer and winter.
Entrance fee to Plitvice national park 55-180 KRK, depending on the season.
Natinal park since 1949, with the highest peak – Vagan (1757 m). Wild canyon has a pleasant hiking trail with a lot of pointers in English and Croatian. Paklenica is characterized by 150 km of hiking trails.
Entrance fee to Paklenica national park is 40-50 HRK.
Risnjak is situated in Gorski kotar, only 15 km northeast of city of Rijeka. Natural heritage is best appreciated at 23 stops along the hiking trail Leska, which is suitable also to those who are not in best shape. River Kupa’s spring also makes for a nice visit.
Entrance fee to Risnjak national park is 45 HRK.
The youngest of national parks (1999), north Velebit is part of UNSECO program „Man and biosphere“ (along with the rest of Velebit mountain). Here you can find the highest weather station on the 1594 m high Zavižan, which is also one of the coldest parts of the country. Protected Endemic plant „velebitska degenija“ can be seen in the botanical garden.
There is a 16 km hiking trail goilng through North Velebit national park, called Premužićeva staza.
Entrance fee to North Velebit national park is 25-45 HRK.