National Parks in Croatia

Croatia boasts 8 national parks, which are Paklenica, Plitvička jezera (Plitvice Lakes), Risnjak, Mljet, Kornati, Brijuni, the Krka National Park, and Sjeverni Velebit. Each with its unique beauty and biological diversity. These protected areas of Europe, located in the eastern part of the continent, offer a wide range of natural landscapes, from mountains and forests to islands and coasts, providing a haven for a rich variety of flora and fauna. The Croatian national parks are popular destinations for both conservation and tourism, inviting visitors to explore their extraordinary natural environments.

List of National Parks in Croatia

Paklenica National Park

Paklenica National Park, spanning 95.0 km², is renowned for its rugged karst terrain, deep gorges, and diverse flora and fauna. Adventurers flock here for rock climbing, hiking, and exploring the dramatic landscapes of the Velebit mountain range.

Risnjak National Park

Covering 63.5 km², Risnjak National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts with its dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and the towering peaks of Risnjak Mountain. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, wildlife spotting, and breathtaking panoramic views.

Mljet National Park

At 5.4 km², Mljet National Park is a tranquil oasis boasting lush forests, pristine lakes, and historic landmarks. The park encompasses the island of Mljet and offers opportunities for swimming, hiking, and exploring ancient monasteries and Roman ruins.

Kornati National Park

Kornati National Park, sprawling over 217 km², is an archipelago of stunning beauty with its rugged coastline, crystal-clear waters, and over 100 uninhabited islands. Visitors can sail, snorkel, and marvel at the unique geology and marine life of this protected area.

Brijuni National Park

Encompassing 33.9 km², Brijuni National Park comprises a cluster of fourteen islands adorned with lush vegetation, archaeological sites, and exotic wildlife. Visitors can explore ancient Roman ruins, safari parks, and scenic coastal trails.

Sjeverni Velebit National Park

Sjeverni Velebit National Park, spanning 109.0 km², is a rugged wilderness characterized by dramatic peaks, deep gorges, and diverse ecosystems. Hikers and nature lovers can traverse scenic trails, encounter rare plant species, and enjoy panoramic vistas of the Adriatic Sea.

# Name Area Website in Croatian Established in
1 Plitvice Lakes 296.9 km2 1949
2 Paklenica 95.0 km2 1949
3 Risnjak 63.5 km2 1953
4 Mljet 5.4 km2 1960
5 Kornati 217 km2 1980
6 Brijuni 33.9 km2 1983
7 Krka 109 km2 1985
8 Sjeverni Velebit 109.0 km2 1999

Protected Areas of Croatia

In Croatia, protected areas are a crucial part of its natural wealth. With 444 protected areas covering 9% of the country, 8 national parks stand out, 2 strict reserves, and 11 nature parks, as well as a large number of special Croatian reserves. The iconic Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, leads the list. Managed by both the central government and the counties, these areas are vital for conservation and biodiversity.

Map of Croatia's national parks and protected areas

The creation of the National Ecological Network in 2005 demonstrates Croatia’s commitment to environmental protection and its integration into the Natura 2000 network. The national parks cover an area of 994 km², including a marine extension, and each is managed by a specific institution under government supervision and funding.

Nature Parks

# Name Established in
1. Kopački rit 1967
2. Papuk 1999
3. Lonjsko polje 1990
4. Medvednica 1981
5. Žumberak-Samoborsko Gorje 1999
6. Učka 1999
7. Velebit 1981
8. Vrana Lake 1999
9. Telašćica 1988
10. Biokovo 1981
11. Lastovo Archipelago 2006
12. Dinara 2021

Strict Reserves

Bijele and Samarske stijene, along with Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi, stand out among the 2 strict reserves in Croatia, protecting unique and biodiverse environments that are crucial for nature conservation in the country.

  • Bijele and Samarske stijene.
  • Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi.

Special Reserves

Croatia is home to a total of 80 special reserves, including a wide variety of protected ecosystems and habitats, from forest vegetation reserves to marine, ornithological, botanical, etc:

  • 37 forest vegetation reserves.
  • 22 ornithological reserves.
  • 9 botanical reserves.
  • 2 ichthyological reserves.
  • 2 ichthyological and ornithological reserves.
  • 2 zoological reserves.
  • 2 marine reserves.
  • 1 geological and paleontological reserve.
  • 1 paleontological reserve.
  • 1geographic and botanical reserve.
  • 1 botanical and zoological reserve.