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Discovering Croatia's National Parks
Discovering Croatia's National Parks

Although it is often the pebbled shores and turquoise waters of the Adriatic that draws visitors to Croatia every year, the country has something even more beautiful to offer its visitors inland. Croatia is well known for its spectacular National Parks that are situated throughout the country and no visit here can be complete without a trip to at least one.

Uncover magnificent waterfalls, explore vibrant green forests and get closer to the local wildlife. With each National Park offering a unique experience, we recommend you pay a visit to more than one during your time in Croatia for this reason.

Discover Krka and Plitvice Lakes

Two of Croatia's most visited and famous National Parks, Krka and Plitvice Lakes, attract thousands of travellers every year. Both are known for their breath-taking waterfalls, with Plitvice being named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its outstanding natural beauty.

Krka National Park
Krka National Park covers a huge 109 sq km, located along the picturesque Krka River. Close to Skradin, the area remains largely untouched and features the incredible 800m waterfall named Skradinski buk, where guests can swim in the azure pools and feel the cool spray from the gigantic waterfall that lies above.

Adventure is everywhere in Krka, and nature lovers will delight in the fact that over 860 plant types and 200 bird species reside in the area. Explore on foot, take the riverboat on a four-hour tour and don’t forget to visit the unusual, man-made island of Visovac where an active Franciscan monastery can be found.

It is easy to get to Krka, with coaches making trips frequently every single day from Croatia's major cities, and roads are signed clearly if you choose to drive yourself. From Zadar, Krka National Park can be reached in under an hour. The journey is similar from the popular seafront city of Split, with the drive taking approximately one hour and ten minutes.

Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes, meanwhile, is even larger covering 295 sq m. Due to its protected UNESCO status, you cannot swim in the water here like you can in Krka, however this means the water is so pure visitors can fill up a bottle and take a drink directly from the lakes!

16 crystal clear lakes are joined together in Plitvice by a series of incredible waterfalls which lie hidden within rich woodlands lined with wooden bridges. You will need to bring your walking shoes here as the National Park is best explored on foot.

There are many different areas in Plitvice Lakes, including the Upper Lakes, Lower Lakes, the Plitvica Stream and the Šupljara caves. Regular buses and boats operate daily - for free - inside the park for those who wish to explore a specific location.

By car or coach, visitors can reach Plitvice Lakes in two hours when travelling from Croatia's capital, Zagreb, or just one and a half hours from Zadar.

Risnjak National Park

Explore Risnjak National Park

Located in Gorski Kotar, the most mountainous area of Croatia, is Risnjak National Park. Covered in thick, dark forests and surrounded by limestone cliffs, the park is a wonderful choice for enthusiastic hikers. This park is less well known and receives fewer visitors than Croatia's other National Parks, it offers guests a real chance to get close to untouched and natural wilderness. Animals that call the Risnjak National Park home include over 500 species of butterfly, deer, lynx, eagles, wild cats, brown bears and wolves.

Mountain biking, fishing, and trekking are just a handful of activities to be enjoyed here, and you reach Risnjak National Park in under two hours by car or coach from Zagreb or Pula.

Take a trip to Mljet Island

The western corner of Mljet Island is known as Mljet National Park - a truly spectacular oasis lined with pine forests and saltwater lakes. Visiting the island is simple, a catamaran can be caught from nearby Dubrovnik or Split and Hvar.

Most of the island is covered by the National Park, while the 12th century Benedictine monastery can be found here, waiting to be explored by visitors. The monastery is now a restaurant, and a small boat can transport people to and from the area.

Life flourishes here, with endangered species finding sanctuary in the park and nature surrounding you. Spend your time hiking and cycling in the sun, or rent a kayak and hit the waters before taking a refreshing swim in the lakes.

If you wish to visit Croatia and start your trip in five-star luxury, look no further than Kempinski Hotel Adriatic. Located in beautiful Istria, you will be based just two hours away from Risnjak National Park, and in the perfect position to start exploring the country.

Kempinski Hotel Adriatic

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