Parks & Strict Reserves
|Side by side in Croatia
there are phenomena which are usually many miles apart. Within a hundred
kilometers you will find the sea, the karst, densely wooded mountains and
fertile plains. Ecologically, Croatia has one of the best preserved environments,
with as many as 8
National Parks, 10 Nature Parks and 2 Strict Reserves.
Croatia is also one of few
European countries which can pride itself on its unpolluted environment
and abundant plant and animal life outside the areas under protection.
There are some 4,300 plant species, and in the Adriatic there are hundreds
of edible fish species, cephalopods, crabs and shells. The Kopacki Rit
swamp near town of Osijek is the second largest and most attractive ornithological
preserve in Europe. Croatia has two arboreta (Trsteno near Dubrovnik and
Opeka near Vinica), numerous historical parks and protected animal species.
It also boasts a unique natural phenomenon: a fresh water lake on the Island
of Cres, the Vransko Jezero, which is natural wonder and the source of
life for the island.
Park Papuk - Papuk is the largest mountain range in Slavonia, covered
by forests; built partially of eruptive rock. The peculiarities of Papuk
represent the important part of biological and landscape values in the
area of Slavonia. Outstanding relief characteristics spoke of stormy geological
history of origination of this area. Variety of geological phenomenon,
preserved flora and vegetation, and habitats of the larger number of animal
species, represents the treasure that needs to be explored, improved and
Park Biokovo - An imposing limestone mountain range above the Makarska
Riviera, abundant in various plant and animal species, offers beautiful
vistas to visitors. This magnificent rocky mountain is famous for its dazzling
scenery and its rich flora and fauna, especially tha chamois.
Park Medvednica - A mountain near capital city, Zagreb and its
principal recreational site, with preserved beech and fir forests and interesting
caves and deep valleys with mountain streams. Even though it is very close
to the major urbane centre, it is a very well protected conservation area
and it is by far the most popular holiday resort of the inhabitants of
Rit - Nature Park Kopacki rit is one of the largest natural marshlands
in Europe situated in the north-east of Croatia in the corner made by the
mouths of the Drava River into the Danube River. The basic ecological feature
of Kopacki rit is given by the flood-dynamics so that the landscape of
the whole region depends on the flood intensity. The parts of the swamp
land and water, arranged mosaically, change its size, form and function
depending on the quantity of the risen water, namely from the Danube River
and less from the Drava River. Numerous fish species live here along with
wading birds and large herds of deer and wild boar.
Park Lonjsko Polje - Lonjsko Polje is another marshland in Croatia.
It is the one of the largest and best preserved swamps in Europe, located
along the Sava river, east of Sisak, between Sisak and Nova Gradiska. Covered
by impressive and extensive vast oak forests where many bird species live,
including storks. A special attraction are the storks which live literally
next to the people, nesting on the roofs of their autochtonous wooden houses.
Park Telascica - Nature Park is distinctly contrasted area with
quiet and peaceful beaches and laid down coastline on one side and wild
and rough cliffs on the other. It is the area of the Aleppo pine-trees
and holly oak woods on one side and bare rocky grounds on the other. It
is the area of cultivated fields of vineyards and olive-trees, as well
as the area of degraded forms of the flora covering dry habitats.
Three basic phenomena are
certainly the main characteristics of the Nature Park: the unique bay of
Telascica as one of the safest, the most beautiful and the largest havens
on the Adriatic that includes 25 small bays and 69 km of the well-indented
coastline, the cliffs of the island of Dugi otok or so-called "Stene",
rising up to 200 m above the sea level and falling down vertically up to
90 m below the sea level, and finally the salt lake called "Mir" with its
Ucka Nature Park - Ucka is a mountain in the eastern part of the
Istria peninsula, which soars above the Kvarner Riviera and offers stunning
views of the Kvarner bay with its islands and Istria hinterlands.
In only couple hours one
of the numerous hiking trails will take you from the heritage of picturesque
Mediterranean towns of North Adriatic coast through the forests of Ucka's
slope right to it’s highest peak Vojak at 1401 meter elevation. If weather
is clear the old tower-like observatory on the top of Vojak offers full
360 degrees of breath-taking panorama: Croatian islands, Italian Alps,
Istrian Peninsula, limestone towers of Vranjska Draga Special Geomorphologic
Reserve, Bay of Trieste…
An area rich in plant life
with a very interesting natural relief. predominately symbolizes great
variety of features within the relatively small area. Thus, this is the
only place on Earth where you can enjoy taking pictures of steno endemic
Ucka's Bellflower (Campanula tomassiniana), and it is also one of the very
last European sites where your eyes will be awarded by impressive silhouettes
that belong to Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) or Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).
Park Vransko Jezero - The largest natural lake in Croatia, located
in the vicinity of Zadar, actually between historical towns of Zadar and
Sibenik. On account of its proximity to sea, it is a habitat for both marine
and freshwater fish; many birds live there also (hosts over 300 bird species
which makes it a perfect destination for any bird watcher).
Park Velebit - Each nation has its own holy mount - the Greeks
have Olympus, the nations of central Europe have the Alps while the Japanese
have Mount Fuji. Croatia's very own holy mountain is Velebit. Velebit is
the longest mountain of the Dinaric system. It rises along 145 km in a
gentle northwest-southeast curve between Vratnik saddle and the Zrmanja
valley. Velebit is not particularly high. Its highest peak - Vaganski vrh
- is only 1757 m high. The largest and the most beautiful of Croatian mountains
has been proclaimed a World Biosphere Reserve on account of its unique
natural relief and plant and animal life. Velebit is also the largest protected
area in Croatia, an area that also includes the Paklenica National Park
and the North Velebit National Park.
Nature Park - Samobor Mountains (Samoborsko Gorje) - Located 30
km southwest from Croatian capital city, Zagreb, near the border with the
Republic of Slovenia, and comprises a hilly area to the southwest of the
Panonian plain bordered by the rivers Sava, Krka and Kupa. This Croatian
Nature Park covers 333 km2 and it is popular destination renowned for its
extensive meadows, picturesque villages and deep canyons.
I ROZANSKI KUKOVI - A group of rocky Velebit peaks, some of which
are up to 2000 meters high, established as a Strict Reserve in 1969. Fascinating
speleological locations can be found in the Kukovi Strict Reserve, most
prominent of them being the Lukina jama cave which was discovered in 1992.
In 1994 a hitherto unknown animal from the order of leeches was found there.
Other landmarks that must be mentioned are the Cerovacke pecine cave, designated
a morphological natural monument, and Veliki Kozjak, the most beautiful
peak of northern Velebit (1,692 meters) that offers stunning views of the
entire northern and central Velebit.
I SAMARSKE STIJENE - A part of the Velika Kapela mountain range,
located in its central part, to the southeast of Mrkopalj, this is an area
of exceptional beauty, unique phenomenon hidden in the forest, with a number
of interesting animal and plant world features. Established as a Strict
Reserve in 1985, it is a unique geomorphological karst phenomenon created
by tectonic forces during the tectonic folding period (Oligocene-Miocene)
from a bedrock of layered limestone and massive limestone breccia. The
most improbable and amazing formations, naturally carved of white stone,
surpass anything human mind might have conceived. The untamed beauty of
the landscape will surely be an unforgettable experience for every visitor.
The most beautiful forms that the area of Bijele Stijene (White Rocks)
(1335 m) offers are shapes of crooks, turrets, gates, arche...vertical
cracks and grooves in limestone where snow lingers all year round. Samarske
Stijene (1302 m) have even richer fauna but not easily accessible. The
rocks can be approached from Mrkopalj and Tuk. On Bijele Stijene there
is a mountain shelter, and on Samarske Stijene there are two mountain lodges.
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