From ancient palaces and amphitheatres to stunning seaside towns and medieval castles, Croatia is a country with a multitude of attractions. But beyond the man-made feats and well-preserved pieces of history are some of the continent and globe’s most stunning natural wonders. Where to go when visiting Croatia’s natural marvels? Here’s a list of our favorites.
Let’s Start With Love
First brought to fame in the early 19th century, Galešnjak is an island located in the Pašman channel of the Adriatic Sea. Home to only wild plants, trees and a few ancient burial sites, there’s nothing to attract visitors to this privately owned sliver of land. So what makes this island one of Croatia’s top natural wonders? Slowly zoom out from the unassuming beaches and forests, and you’ll find one of the world’s only naturally shaped hearts. There’s no wondering why Galešnjak is better known under its English name… the Island of Love.
Getting Active in Croatia: The Zrmanja River
If your interests lie in outdoor activities instead of heart-shaped objects, this next attraction is for you. Situated in southern Lika, this warm, turquoise colored river has been proven to be one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. Drawing in rafting, kayak and canoe enthusiasts from all over the world, the Zrmanja River is one of Croatia’s most visited natural destinations.
The National Parks
Of all of Croatia’s natural wonders, its National Parks are some of the most famous. Proclaimed a National Park in 1995, Krka is named after the river (Krka) found inside the park. Visitors can expect to see waterfalls, gorges, lakes and rapids within the Krka National Park, and shops, restaurants and a museum available to those looking to get some cover during their stay.
Paklenica National Park is another of the country’s natural wonders, home to some amazing caves, caverns, cliffs and mountains. Located in the central coast region of the country, this park is popular amongst hikers, spelunkers and mountain climbers alike. With nearly 200 kilometers of hiking trails and over 70 cave complexes in the park, there’s no wondering why this is one of Croatia’s top National Parks.
For the adventure-seeker who prefers to do their exploring underwater, Kornati National Park is the place to be. Just south of the city of Zadar, Kornati is comprised of 89 islets and reefs, covering nearly 55,000 acres in the Adriatic. On land, Kornati is home to some magnificent flora and fauna, which thrive in the “crown” shaped rock walls facing the water. Surrounding the islets is an amazing array of underwater life and topography, which make for some unforgettable diving.
Though Kornati, Paklenica and the previous attractions are truly must-visit natural wonders in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is the country’s largest, oldest and most famous.
A series of 16 breathtaking lakes (all interlinked and leading into each other), Plitvice is truly Croatia’s number one natural marvel. Turquoise, crystal clear waters make up each individual lake, with magnificent, feeding waterfalls dropping as far as 210 feet. With equally gorgeous flora and fauna found within the national park’s forests, a visit to Plitvice is unforgettable. What to do while in Plitvice Lakes National Park? Though swimming and all water sports are banned from the waters (that’s how they keep them so clear), hiking, cycling, electric boat cruises and panoramic train rides are available within the park. Constantly voted as one of the best things to do in Croatia, if you have the opportunity, don’t miss this National Park!!
Most of the country’s natural wonders cover thousands to tens of thousands of acres; the best way to explore them is alongside an experienced Croatia tour guide, and make the most out of your visit to this land of natural wonders.
Image credits and License Details: https://flic.kr/p/6H5MQD (Mark Turner, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/6Xt8TU(_Leon10_, CC BY-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/coRuP1 (Bill Higham, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/eBMkd5 (Maureen Barlin, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/2vndRB (2nd star on the right, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/eez9px (Sarah Arnoff, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)