Natural heritage

National parks

There are 8 National Parks in Croatia. These areas are under the utmost protection of the state. Croatia’s National Parks are Brijuni Archipelago, mountain Risnjak, North Velebit, Plitvice Lakes, Paklenica, Kornati Islands, Krka Waterfalls and the island of Mljet. There of these are maritime National Parks, and the rest of them (except for Plitvice lakes) are situated near the coast.


This archipelago consists of 14 islands and islets. They are situated just in front of Pula, along the west coast of Istria. They cover 7.42 sq km surface and hold perfectly preserved variety of flora and fauna and very valuable remains of Roman and Byzantine civilisations.

The protected area comprises not only the islands, but the surrounding sea as well. It was established to help preserve the lush Mediterranean vegetation, numerous endemic and rare plant and animal species and intact nature. On two larger islands, Veliki and Mali Brijun, you’ll find safari and ethno park, bird reserve, many imported plant species, ancient olive trees, parks and forests, museums, fortresses and villas.
For decades, the islands were a favourite destination of many state officials and nobilities, and during the past few years it has become attractive to yachtsmen and fans of other outdoor sports.

Kornati Islands

his archipelago comprises about 140 uninhabited islands, islets and reefs, covering only 70 sq km surface, 3 of which is water. The largest part of the archipelago (89 islands, 220 sq m) is a protected National Park.
Kornati Islands are situated in the North Dalmatia, stretching along the coast between the towns of sibenik and Zadar. These islands are recognizable for their unusual shapes, the so called “crowns” and other geologically unique forms.

This is the most indented island group in the Mediterranean and a widely know nautical paradise. Sailing these islands is a challenge for every yachtsman and a one of a kind, unforgettable experience.


Mljet is an island located in the South Adriatic, not far from Dubrovnik. It is widely known for its lush and diverse Mediterranean vegetation, endemic plant species, historical heritage from the Illyrian times, stunning scenery, indented coastline, caves and grottos, monasteries, churches and overall beauty. Mljet is also famous for its two, 10 thousand year old salt lakes that used to be fresh watered, which is a geological and oceanographic phenomenon. These lakes are, in fact, bays, but the passage connecting them to the sea is so narrow that they are considered as lakes.

The south part of the island was declared National Park in 1960. It is considered to be the fist attempt to protect an ecosystem on the Adriatic.

Nature parks

A Nature Park is the second most important protected area. In Croatia there are 11 Nature Parks and only 2 of them are maritime – the Telascica bay and Lastovo archipelago.


Telascica is a large bay on the SE coast of the island Dugi Otok. Inside the bay there is the largest, safest and, by many, the most beautiful inlet in the Adriatic, as well as a geomorphologic phenomenon lake Mir, high cliffs and hundreds of plant and animal species.
Telascica is surrounded by larger and smaller islets, and inside the bay there are also 6 islets. The coast is long 69 km, and it is contains 25 smaller inlets. Among others, the bay is protected as Nature Park because of its rich animal and plant life, more than 550 maritime species, geological characteristics and archaeological heritage.

Lastovo archipelago

This is the youngest Nature Park in Croatia. It was established in October 2006, consists of 44 islands and covers total surface of almost 96 sq km, of which only 1 is mainland.
The archipelago is situated in South Dalmatia, near island Korcula.

The largest islands in the group are Lastovo and Susac. Lastovo is the second most wooded island in the Adriatic (after Mljet), and Susac is practically uninhabited. This archipelago is one of the best preserved maritime areas in the Adriatic, cultivated and ecologically unspoiled.

As G. B. Shaw described it: Amidst the string of silver islands, over the Adriatic sea, stands the wooded Lastovo, amazingly beautiful island which from the outside seems a forgotten companion of history, while there, in the shadow of high olive-trees, life has flourished since the pre-Hellenic times.

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