Visitors have once again flocked to Croatia’s stunning National Parks this year. Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is Croatia’s biggest National Park and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, was the most popular with 1.3 million visits, almost half of the total number of visitors for this year. The least visited park was Risnjak National Park which had 12,715 visitors.
The second most popular park in 2016 was Krka National Park, famous for its series of 7 waterfalls. Located along the Krka River in southern Croatia, Krka National Park has stunning cascades, a nature and includes Visovac Island, home to the 15th-century Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy. We might call it the Magnificent Seven: Bilušića buk, Brljan, Manojlovac, Rošnjak, Miljacka slap, Roški slap and Skradinski buk. These are the tufa cascades of the Krka River – for many, the most beautiful blue line of the Dalmatian karst. Gorgeous cascades and thick, rich sound of life given by water.
In many of its parts, the Krka’s flow is calm, and its cascades are announced by “silver necklaces” – increasingly thick rippling of water, the color of which turns silver, resembling countless necklaces scattered on the river. All that silver will eventually splash over the cascades, and beauty will obtain a completely new form.
Kornati National Park was the next most visited with 157,574, followed by Brijuni National Park (149,444), Paklenica National Park (119,686, Mljet National Park (112,156) and National Park Sjeverni Velebit with 16,471 visitors.
The Kornati archipelago – a labyrinth of stone, with eighty nine islands, islets and rocks in the sea. It is the most indented island group in the Mediterranean. Regardless of whether you look at the Kornati Islands from the air, from the sea, or from sightseeing points on the islands, the view is equally impressive – and yet different to the eye every single time. Every vista is more than worth experiencing, and every perspective worth examining. Dry stone walls on the Kornati Islands are silent and steadfast witnesses to hard work on modest soil on stone surrounded by crystal-clear sea. The Kornati Islands are the stone pearls of the Mediterranean.
Mljet – the green island. The Ogygia of Homer’s Odyssey. According to legend, the nymph Calypso, lover of the Greek hero Odysseus, chose this island as her home. The beauty of the island was the only beauty surpassing hers, making Odysseus, that eternal traveler, stay there for years. Are there any facts in the legend? Some historians are convinced that, by describing Ogygia, Homer actually wrote about the island of Mljet. Others doubt that. The romantics would say that only the sea knows the answer. Well, whatever the answer may be, a cave bearing the name of Odysseus, that Greek adventurer, still stands there carved in stone.
The Brijuni Islands were created by separating from what used to be the landmass of the Istrian peninsula. There is no other place with so much holm oak and bay laurel in one single place, or so much shade under the crowns of trees up to twenty meters wide. Brijuni are a wonderful image of nature cultivated by man, with the aim of providing the most pleasant stay possible in the splendor of green vegetation, remarkably cultivated landscape, and scent and vicinity of the sea.
Man shaped nature according to one’s own needs, creating an unusual landscape in the Adriatic, gladly visited by a number of statesmen, famous actors, musicians, artists, scientists, noblemen and other renowned personalities. Brijuni have been and remain synonymous with the joy of leasure. So, if you are in Croatia at time, now it’s your chance to explore the most beautiful National parks in this area.
Photos by: National Park Mljet, National Park Kronati, National Park Brijuni