National parks in Croatia
National Park Krka
For more than two-thirds of its overall length (723 kilometres) the Krka flows through a canyon whose depth varies between 100 and 200 metres and accumulates into lakes which empty over seven waterfalls into the depths.
National Park Brijuni
On these 14 islands just of the west coast of the Istrian peninsula thick forests, ancient oak trees, avenues of pines and cypresses, and a 1,600-year-old olive tree - are a part of unforgettable scenery.
National Park Paklenica
The scenery of the park consists of the canyons of Velika and Mala Paklenica. Cliffs rising to a height of more than 400 metres, waterfalls and wild, rugged rock forms create a dramatic ambiance.
National Park Mljet
Mljet is an island located southwest of Dubrovnik and with its spruce forest, its olive groves and vineyards, belongs to the group of southern Dalmatian islands. Mljet has two sea lakes (created by karst depressions) surrounded by woods of Aleppo pine, holm oak and macchia, as well as small areas of olive groves and vineyards. The island is just as rich in cultural monuments.
National Park Plitvička jezera
This national park is beautiful – it has 16 lakes interlinked through waterfalls. The area is covered by thick forests of beech, spruce, juniper and pine, which provide a habitat for over 120 bird species. Since 1979 the Plitvice lakes have been entered into the UNESCO register of world cultural heritage.
National Park Kornati
According to legend the Kornati were created when God, having created the Earth, was left with a few stones which he simply tossed over his shoulder. The result was the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean, with over 140 islands, rocks and reefs, 110 of which form the national park. Kornati's cliffs are famous for their extraordinary height - up to 100m above sea level and as much below sea level.
National Park Sjeverni Velebit
This national park, established in 1999, encompasses the highest areas of northern Velebit. This wide area has remained untouched to this day, its ecological system well balanced. This part of Velebit is mostly covered by virgin forest (c. 80% of the National park) with various animal species inhabitating it.
National Park Risnjak
This park, located very close to Rijeka, extends all the way to the Slovenian border. This whole wide area comprises a whole range of natural phenomena but not one single tourist facility. The highest peak is Risnjak (1,528 metres), and the lowest point at an altitude of 295 metres, in the Kupa valley.
Nature parks are wide areas which possess pronounced aesthetic, ecological, educational, cultural and historical, touristic and recreational properties - either naturally or through cultivation. Croatia has ten such parks. We would like to mention:
Nature Park Biokovo
Nature Park Kopački rit
Nature Park Lonjsko polje
Did you know?
- The last oasis of European white-headed vulture is located on the island of Cres.
- The last specimen of the Mediterranean seal lives in the Croatian aquatorium.
- Numerous endemic species of flora and fauna. According to Croatia's biodiversity it ranks among the top five countries in Europe.
- The Dalmatian breed of dog originates from Croatia.
- In Croatia there are three objects declared by UNESCO as world inheritance: Plitvice Lakes and towns Split and Dubrovnik?
Source:Croatian National Tourist Board
The Cathedral of St Lovro (Lawrence) - Trogir
The Cathedral of St Lawrence of the beginning of the 13th century is one of the most beautiful examples of Romanesque and Gothic in Croatia. Particularly remarkable is the main portal, a masterpiece of world Romanesque sculpting made by Master Radovan (1240). In the remarkably rich interior of the cathedral there is one of the most lovely Renaissance monuments in Croatia - the chapel of the Blessed John of Ursini*, made by Nikola Firentinac, a pulpit from the 13th century, a Gothic sarcophagus, a number of pictures by old masters a rich collection of ecclesiastical vessels and vestments. The belfry of the cathedral is the best example of a mixture of building styles in Dalmatia. Every storey is done in a different style, from the Romanesque via Decorated to late Renaissance.
The Cathedral of St Dujam - Split
The one-time mausoleum of the Emperor Diocletian is today's Cathedral of St Dujam. The original appearance of the mausoleum is preserved almost in its entirety. The exterior is octagonal, and it is surrounded by a series of 24 columns which carried the roof, while inside it is of circular shape with two rows of Corinthian columns and a frieze decorated with medallions with heads of the Emperor Diocletian and his wife Perisca. Among the oldest monuments in the mausoleum-cathedral are the monumental wooden doors (reliefs with scenes of the life of Christ) done by Andrija Buvina and a stone pulpit from the 13th century. The right hand side altar with a late Gothic canopy is the work of Bonino from Milan (1427). The left altar of St Stas is the work of Juraj Dalmatinac (1448). The main altar was done in the 17th century, while above it is a Gothic crucifix of the 14th century. The image of a Croatian national ruler of the 10th century decorates a 10th century font. Attached to the cathedral is a building which houses the sacristy, the treasury and the archives of the Split cathedral. In the treasury there are among other things a collection of gold objects and ecclesiastical vestments from the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods. At the foot of the belfry are two Romanesque lions, and to the right on the wall is an Egyptian sphinx of black granite from 1500 BC.
The Cathedral of St Stephen - Hvar
On the site of an old Benedictine abbey a Renaissance cathedral was built (16th-17th century) with a pseudo-Romanesque belfry of the 17th century. The cathedral has a rich treasury, gothic pews, baroque altars and a number of pictures done by Italian masters. Of particular interest is the Franciscan monastic complex of the 15th century.
Salona was mentioned for the first time in the year 119 BC, as the centre of the Illyrian tribe the Delmata. In the year 78 BC, Salona was the economic and political centre of the Roman possessions in Dalmatia. It made its greatest advances during the time of the Emperor Diocletian. Salona was also the centre of the regent of the Eastern Gothic King Theodoric, and in the sixth century became part of the Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire. About 614 it was taken by the Slavs and the Avars, who razed it to the ground. The following remains have been found: a Roman theatre from the beginning of the second century with a semi-circular auditorium, the foundations of a temple from the first century, a city forum with a series of prestige buildings and temples, an early Christian three nave basilica with an octagonal baptistery, a Roman amphitheatre from the beginning of the second century, a Christian oratory on the walls of which there are still the remains of figures of the saints and writings, the ruins of the city thermae, a Roman cemetery, an early Christian cemetery, and so on.
A medieval fortress located at the intersection of the roads Split-Sinj and Split-Drnis. The fortress and the surrounding estates were under various Croatian feudals as a royal fief. It was taken by the Turkish army in 1537.
The fortress Kamerlengo was build after 1420, by enclosing the south-western corner of the city walls, although the polygonal tower is from an earlier date. Nowdays it is used as an open air theatre. Trogir was in the 3rd century BC a Greek settlement "Tragurion" which developed into a major port in the Roman period. The old core on the small island, inscribed in 1997 in the UNESCO World Heritage.
"Fortica" is a fortress build in 16th and 17th century. It offers an unforgetable view over Omis, the Dalmatian islands and inland region known as Poljica.
Split was probably an ancient Greek settlement called "Aspalathos". Emperior Diocletian constructed there around AD 300 a luxurious palace in which he resided until his dead. The only one living Roman palace in the world, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage.
Touristic Caves in Central Dalmatia
Vranjaca, Modra spilja (Blue Cave) in island Bisevo, Medvidina Špilja (Medvidina Cave) and Zelena spilja (Green Cave) near island Vis are one of the nicest. Vranjača Cave near the village of Kotlenica in the hinterland of Split, was discovered in 1903. It is probably the most beautiful cave in Central Dalmatia, characteristic for the Dalmatian karst region, which was formed in mineral limestone. It consists of two main halls and a corridor which connects them. Its length is about 300 and depth about 65 meters. Modra Špilja (Blue Cave) is located on the island of Biševo, not far far from Komiža (town on the island of Vis). This cave is geomorphologically interesting and presents a typical karst form. A special attraction and unique experience are the specific light effects created by the refraction of sunlight. Today it is a tourist attraction. Medvidina špilja on the island of Biševo, not far from Komiža, is very interesting geomorphologically. Its entrance on the sea surface is relatively large-sized but these dimensions gradually decrease towards its interior. At its end, the cave is very narrow and low, and its complete length of 160 meters ends with a little beach.
The canyon of the Cetina River stretches from the mouth near the town of Omiš and 10 kilometers upstream. The canyon is one of the most remarkable geomorphological phenomena which was formed by the Cetina as a typical karst river. In its lower course the Cetina River has deeply cut into the limestone base between Mosor and Dinara above Omiš, forming a canyon up to 300 meters deep.
Biokovo is one of the largest and most impressive mountains in Dalmatia. It rises almost vertically from the very coast. Biokovo is the habitat of many rare endemic plants, but we can also find forests of the Dalmatian black pine. It is also the habitat of numerous very rare birds of prey, like the golden eagle and other extraordinary animal species.
Mount Vidova Gora
Mount Vidova gora on the island of Brac is the highest peak of the island and all the Adriatic islands. It is covered by Dalmatian black pine (Pinus nigra). Mount Vidova gora has preserved its autochthonous appearance and untouched nature, and around it the local inhabitants still engage in cattle-breeding in an old-fashioned way. That contributes to nature preservation and gives a special charm to the idyllic atmosphere of this timeless oasis of peace and bird's song. From the top of Mount Vidova gora there is a magnificent view of the well-known tourist resort of Bol and its famous beach Zlatni rat.
Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape)
Zlatni rat, situated in Bol, a town on the island of Brac, is a unique geomorphological phenomenon. This cape was formed from pebbles brought by torrents from Mount Vidova gora which is the highest peak of the Adriatic islands. The cape is elongated and extends into the sea for about 400 meters whereas its tip changes shape constantly depending on the sea currents. The general impression is rounded off by little beaches and pine woods surrounding it.
The archipelago of Palagruža is the most distant group of Croatian islands, and the little islet of Galijula from that group marks the southernmost point of Croatian territory. Palagruža differs from any other island by its large range of natural characteristics. It is characterized by an extremely dry climate with a very small amount of precipitation. A specific type of vegetation has developed because of such climate and great influence of sea and salt. Besides endemic plants, there are also different endemic animals. To make up for the lack of precipitation all these animals and plants abundantly use the moisture produced by dew which is greatly present on Palagruža, as well as some other specific adaptations. Thus, the endemic plant- wood spurge (Euphorbia dendroides) has a completely opposite life cycle from most other plants. Whereas most plants throw away their leaves in autumn and spend the winter still, this wood spurge remains without leaves and stays still in the summertime, in the period of the greatest drought. At the beginning of autumn it starts leafing, and the cycle ends at the beginning of summer, having used the rain from winter.
The island of Svetac (Sveti Andrija - St. Andrew) about 14 nautical miles from Komiža, a town on the island of Vis, is one of the Adriatic islands which was once inhabited but not any more. The sea around Svetac abounds with fish, and on the sheer cliffs of the northwest part there are colonies of some rare bird species. On one of the island's peaks there are Byzantine remains and some prehistoric remains, which proves that Svetac was inhabited even a thousand years ago.
Source: Split & Dalmatia County Tourist Information Service