Whether you're already in love with the beauty of Eastern Europe or you haven't yet been, Croatia is sure to ignite your wanderlust. With miles of jaw-dropping coastline, soaring mountaintops and thousands of islands, this country never fails to beckon travelers from all across the world. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the Croatia's gorgeous scenery is through their national parks. With that said, here are the five most stunning ones to visit:
Biokovo Nature Park
Biokovo Nature Park is located in southeastern Croatia on the country’s second highest mountain range. The park is in a fairly remote area – there is not much in the way of city life nearby, but the treasure trove of views makes the journey well worth your time. Trek to the Staza lookout for a panoramic view of the Makarska River, and you can also expect to catch a glimpse of the park’s rich and varied wildlife. One of Biokovo Nature Park’s biggest draws is the mountainside botanical garden featuring native plants, as well the cascading waterfall in a nearby canyon.
Kornati Islands National Park
The Kornati is a group of 140 islands strung throughout the Mediterranean Sea, and its national park encompasses 89 of these islands. The archipelago is a part of the Dalmatia region, famed for the beautiful boating, kayaking, snorkelling and swimming activities in their sapphire blue waters. You can also hike and bike throughout the park on land; just keep an eye out for the unique birds, snakes, lizards and rodents. If you are in the mood for a mix of the natural world and city life, you can explore the nearby coastal city of Zadar.
Krka National Park
Named after the Krka River, a stunning flow of water that has a total of seven waterfalls, this national park is a must-see. Skradinski buk is the longest waterfall, and the contrast of the river’s turquoise waters with the surrounding greenery creates a stunning sight. You can also see the gorgeous architecture of the Krka Monastery, explore Oziđana cave and hike one of the many trails that wind through the park. Šibenik city is also close by and is home to the Cathedral of St. James, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mljet National Park
Located on the Adriatic Sea, a large northwestern portion of Mljet Island is dedicated to its national park and contains two saltwater lakes, as well as the Svet Marija Island. The national park has no official entrance, but you can reach it from a number of different points. First, you will have to take a ferry from the city of Dubrovnik; once you arrive on Mljet, you can get to the park through the villages of Polače or Pomena. Visitors can also take a boat out to a 12th century Benedictine monastery and lunch at a café inside the ancient building. Make sure to bike or hike around the lakes and then follow up with a dip in the warm blue waters.
Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National Park, the largest in Croatia, is a system of lakes, streams and rivers in the very center of the country. The park’s sixteen lakes cascade into one another through a series of terraces – a real crystalline vision in winter, and a gorgeous spot alive with the sound of rushing water in the summer months. Hike through Čorkova Uvala, the national park’s virgin forest of beech and fir trees, or through Šupljara, an underground cave created over time as running water cut through the area’s limestone.
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