What to see & where to go?
Among all other stunning things to see in Croatia we would strongly recommend you to visit at least one of the eight national parks: Brijuni, Kornati, Krka, Mljet, Paklenica, Plitvice Lakes, Risnjak and North Velebit.
Brijuni National Park
Situated along the western Istrian coast, Brijuni consists of 14 islands and islets having a total surface area of 36.3 km2. The main characteristic of the Brijuni archipelago is the extraordinary biological diversity given thanks to its geographical location and the fact that a lot of the flora and fauna species were brought here from various parts of the world. On Brijuni there is an attractive Byzantine archaeological site and luxurious Roman villa, ethnographic collection, collection of frescoes, archaeological museum and natural history exhibit.
Furthermore, in August you can book your seat in one of the plays of Ulysses theatre or join the crowd and visit one of the golf tournaments organized trough the whole year.
If the wild, untouched nature is too much for you, you will then enjoy in Brijuni's tamed scenery of meadows and parks, with deers and peacocks running free all around.
Kornati National Park
"On the last day of the Creation God desired to crown his work,
and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and
breath" … George Bernard Shaw.
With a total surface area of 220 km2, comprising 89 islands, islets and reefs, Kornati group of islands are situated in the central part of the Croatian Adriatic.
The Kornati area is one of the richest fishing grounds in the Adriatic, but the fishing is strongly restricted to protect the species almost extincted in past.
The land is owned by private owners mainly living in Murter, but
there are no permanent settlements in Kornati- there are just
simple houses in well-protected coves such as Vruje, Kravjačica,
Lavsa and others which are used by land owners as temporary
shelters. Many of them are these days transformed in summer
restaurants offering traditional, peasant cuisine.
The best way to visit Kornati is by renting a yacht as islands's numerous coves and bays offer a great challenge and an excellent shelter for yachtsmen which can spend the nights moored in natural bay or in one of two modern, well equipped marinas - Piskera ACI Marina (located on the island of the same name) or Žut ACI Marina (on island Žut).
Eco tourism without any modern facilities is today the main activity on Kornati islands, so they offer a unique experience to all those who appreciate crystal- clear sea, peace and quietness.
Krka National Park
The Krka National Park is located in central Dalmatia within the territory of Šibenik - Knin county and encompasses an area of 109 square kilometers along the Krka River.
The empire of Krka river boosts with seven waterfalls where Roški slap and Skradinski buk stands out as the widest and the most longest ones - the charming little village Skradin can be your starting point for exploring the hidden beauties of Krka.
The best thing is that in thsummer months the visitors are allowed to swim in the lower lake - that's if you don't mind the chilly water!
Don't forget to visit the ethno museum with live presentation of the traditional arts and crafts and also the only hawk training center in Croatia where you can see hunting with hawks and hawk trainers' skills.
Maybe the most amazing things to see is the Franciscan monastery on the tiny isle of Visovac with the surface of only 1400 m2, situated in the middle of Krka river. The origins of the monastery date back in 14th century, when this place was recognized as a place of unique natural and spiritual beauty - today it serves it purpose as novitiate - the place for preparing the young boys for monk and priest service.
Please just note that the park is open only during the spring and summer months…
Mljet National Park
Situated in the far south of Croatia with a couple of hours boat ride east from island of Korčula in Dubrovnik direction, Mljet is often mentioned as the most magical Adriatic island… It is surely because of its distant location, tick Meditteranean primeval forest, its unique panoramic landscape of well intended coastline, cliffs and reefs… Two natural salt lakes - Veliko and Malo jezero are also the part of the island's magical beauty, but the thing that separates Mljet from other stunning Croatian island is the fact that it has an island in the middle of Veliko jezero with a castle which is Benedictine monastery from the 12th century!
Acording to a legend Mljet is believed to be the island mentioned in the famous epic poem 'Odyssey' wrote by Homer. Mljet seems to be the paradise island where the Calypso nymph detained Odysseus, king of Itaka.
Maybe the myth is not true, but the island's alluring energy is, so don't forget to make the Mljet one of the stops on your way.
Paklenica National Park
The area of Paklenica National Park covers a surface of 3617 hectares and has an exceptional diversity of geomorphological forms, probably formed as a result of unusual contact between the sea and the mountain.
The most attractive and most valuable surely are the impressive canyons of Velika and Mala Paklenica with the steep sides as high as 400 m. Velika Paklenica is visited by more then 150000 annualy, due to its canyon which is 14 km long and in the narrowest part only 50 m wide.
With more then 300 km of the paths Paklenica is the most significant climbing centre in Croatia - not only because there is over 400 climbing sites suitable for recreational and the most demanding climbing, but also probably because of the stunning sea views from almost every top.
The underground area of Paklenica National Park is one of the most completely explored areas in Croatia with 39 pits and 37 caves and numerous clear water springs - most of them are open for visitors with obligatory guide escort.
The Paklenica Park can easily be reached from its starting point town Starigrad where you can find everything from accomodation to climbing equipment.
Plitvicka Jezera (Plitvice Lakes) National Park
As a first Croatian national park proclaimed in 1949 this woody mountainous region preserved its natural, unspoiled beauty of 16 lakes of a crystal blue and green color . They are formed thanks to calcium carbonat that is extracted from the numerous springs under the specific bio-chemical processes and settled on the bottom of the lake forming cascades and water barriers. All the lakes are connected by waterfalls, and the tallest one is Veliki Slap which is 70 meters tall.
Heavily forested, with a mixture of Alpine and Mediterranean
vegetation Plitvice lakes offer a pleasant shelter during the
summer heats, when the beauty of this resort reaches its
Visitors can walk, jogg or hike trough a network of pathways and can access numerous waterfalls and rocky lake shores- other way is to simply explore the lakes by boat.
The park offers accomodation in 3 hotels, but you can also find accommodation in private houses around the park.
Risnjak National Park
This beautiful park famous for its fantastic views of the islands of the Kvarner Bay is located in Gorski kotar region, the most mountainous and heavily forested region of the country. Due to its vicinity to major road connections and tourist centers on the coast it is most visited National Park in Croatia.
The park was created on the point where the Alps meet the
Dinaric Mountains and depite the fact occupies only a relatively
small area it is a good example of diversity in areas of
morphology, geology, hydrology and climate, flora and fauna.
Risnjak is a home for a few interesting animal species such as brown bear, red deer, roe deer, wolf, but the most important animal used to be the lynx which was almost exterminated during the 19th century.
Visitors can participate in hiking tours on the Leska Trail which takes taking about two hours to complete, and it is geared toward average hikers. Guslica and Risnjak are the most interesting points of interest for mountaineers and for the most adventurous visitors we can recommend the multi day hikes that includes the major peaks, but please be sure to contact the professional hiker who will led you.
Sjeverni Velebit (North Velebit) National Park
The Northern Velebit was proclaimed to be a national park in
1999 due to its richness of carst phenomena, outstanding
biodiversity and stunning nature on a relatively small area.
Ones of the most attractive sights on the Park's surface of 109 m2 are Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi, unique botanical garden and Luca's cave, one of the longest in the world.
The Park boosts with a large network of mountaineering paths where the most famous and widely known is the Premužić's trail which runs through the most beautiful and the most interesting parts of the park.
The stunning thing about the park is that from the most of the peaks there is a great view of islands Pag, Rab, Goli, Prvić i Krk and on the continental side as well.
Croatian mountaineers and hikers consider the North Velebit a greatest jewel among the Croatian mountains which is less visited due to its remoteness from the main roads, but this only helped to preserve it's primeval atmosphere and wild nature.
Entertainment & cultural events in Croatia troughout the year
- December- January:
If you want an atmospheric location to see in the New Year then look no further than Dubrovnik's historic Old Town. This year promises a string of concerts, performances and other festivities on the main promenade - including a free cocktail-tasting session! Scheduled to last well into the night.
The International Rijeka Carnival
The biggest and most spectacular of its kind in Croatia, and one of the biggest in Europe, the Rijeka Carnival is a week-long extravaganza of parades, balls, theatrical performances, concerts and general tomfoolery which each year attracts over 100,000 spectators. Apparently having their origins in the centuries' old traditions of scaring away evil spirits and welcoming in the new spring, the festivities turn this coastal town into a riot of colour, creativity, fun and laughter. So if you're looking for an alternative escape from winter blues this could be right up your street.
Women (WTA Tour) - Brac Island
Krk Wine Promenade , Krk island
The Melodies of Istria and Kvarner Festival, Krk island
The International Children's Festival, Sibenik
A week of plays, outdoor performances, workshops and films for children young and old in one of northern Dalmatia's oldest and prettiest towns. Still going strong as it approaches its 50th year.
Golden sopile (Zlatna sopela), 9th Mediterranean Folklore Encounters, Poreč
- June- September
Hvar Summer Festival
There are open-air performances almost every day from June to September set against the splendid backdrop of the town's Renaissance architecture.
Pula Film Festival http://www.pulafilmfestival.hr/en/
Motovun film Festival http://www.motovunfilmfestival.com/
The charming Istrian hill-top town of Motovun hosts the original and most highly-regarded international film festival in Croatia. The atmospheric, medieval town square is transformed into an outdoor cinema each year.
6th Libertas Film Festival, Dubrovnik
Traditional Dalmatian Acapella "Klapa" Music Concerts, Omis
Krk Jazz live, Krk
Jazz in Lapidarium, Poreč
Valamar Jazz Festival, Poreč
- July- August
Krk Summer Festival
Featuring a wide-range of indoor and open-air performances for all tastes - classical and contemporary
Split Summer Festival: http://www.splitsko-ljeto.hr/52splitskoljeto/index.htm
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival
The biggest and most spectacular of the many Summer Festivals in the towns of the Dalmatian Coast, it's a pulsating 45-day celebration of music, theatre and art, with a great closing fireworks display.
The perfect time to visit the city if you're a 'culture vulture'- but prepare yourself for the crowds. If you value your sleep it's probably also better to stay outside the Old Town.
Ulysses theathre, Briuni national park
Rabac Summer Festival: http://www.rabacsummerfestival.com
Attracting a host of international and local DJs, you can party into the night and wait for the sun to come up on one of Rabac's many fine beaches.
Liburnia Jazz Festival, Opatija (July): http://www.liburniajazz.hr
Traditional Knights Jousting Exhibition and Tournament, Sinj
Split Film Festival: http://www.splitfilmfestival.hr/
International Tennis Tournaments
Men (ATP Tour) - Umag, Istria (October):
Sailing Regattas, Vis island http://www.jklabud.hr/regate/61_viska/eng/ and Makarska (May)
The annual Vis Regatta on the second weekend of October would be an opportune time for sailing enthusiasts to experience the delights of this island.