Of the eight national parks in Croatia, five are easily accessible by waterways. Sailing the seas around them provides a great opportunity for a visit.
Mljet, on an island, with the port of Mljet
It can be a day trip from Split, or a part of a week-long island-hopping in the area, Mljet National Park can be a refreshing green experience either way. The must-see sights are the two lakes, Malo and Veliko Jezero, dotted among the endless forests. Both are salty and great for swimming and kayaking. The small one also has a monastery in the middle. Whether you anchored your boat in Pomena or Polace (where you can also purchase entrance tickets), you can go to admire the lakes on foot or even by bike. For a little altitude, go up the hills and enjoy the sight at the 200-meter top.
The national park occupies 89 island, islets and reefs of the 147 of the archipelago. They’re pure nature: pine trees, rocks, with the sea blissfully babbling among them. Lime stones are like solid fountains emerging up from under the ground on the deforested sites, giving these areas a Martian look. Elsewhere you’ll find abundant vegetation on land, or dolphins and sea turtles in the water. Be prepared to anchor in one of the designated marinas, such as Marina Piskera, if you want to stay overnight.
Brijuni is a national park consisting of 14 small islands, some of which also serve as holiday resorts. Besides the amazing local natural sights, your stay here can be action-packed in very different ways. The most famous attraction is the safari park, located on the northern edge of the main island. It will entertain you with the sight of zebras, elephants, llamas, and zebus, coming from all parts of the world. The island is also a paradise for bikers, using the asphalt roads as well as the forest trails.
The national park named after the Krka river lies on the mainland but, because of the estuary, it is accessible on water, with about 10 nautic miles of sailing up the river from Sibenik. You can leave your boat in Skradin at the ACI marina and take a waterboat for the last portion of the trip. Eight sets of waterfalls with their lagoons of crystal clear water are going to refresh you, and set you in the right mood to walk through the green wonders of the marvelous woodland.
An ideal place for climbers: the park is full of rocks of all sizes and the most peculiar forms. These beauties can also be observed from the many hiking and mountain bike trails. On the Velebit mountains that connects and divides the coastal area from mainland Croatia, the flora and fauna is also remarkable. Due to the strict rules of preserving biodiversity, over 950 species of plants and many animals, including brown bears, lynx and wolves are thriving in the area.
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