Nature Parks in the Republic of Croatia include: Biokovo, Kopacki Rit, Lonjsko Polje, Medvednica, Papuk, Telascica, Velebit, Vrana Lake, Ucka, and Zumberak – Samobor Hills, Lastovo and surrounding islands.
Biokovo is a part of the Dinaric Mountains. The vegetation of the mountain Biokovo is very interesting and rich. It is an apparent mixture of different floral elements. There are mixed oldest Mediterranean, Boreal and Central European floral elements.
Nature Park Kopacki Rit is situated in the north-eastern part of the Republic of Croatia. Geographically speaking, Kopacki Rit is the flat part of Baranja, belonging to Osjecko-Baranja County, mainly lowland situated between the Drava and Dunav rivers and the state border with the Republic of Hungary.
This kind of pond and beam layout gives the area a unique appearance. The entire floodplain obtains a delta kind of look and is extremely exceptional because the Dunav creates a so-called “inland delta” in its middle stream with the assistance of the Drava. A phenomenon like this is not notable for other European rivers in this form and therewith gives this area a global significance.
Up to now, 293 bird species have been recorded in Kopacki Rit, which makes up 78,1% of the total bird fauna in Croatia (375 species).
Nature Park Lonjsko Polje, with an area of 50,650 hectares, is the largest protected wetland area not only in Croatia, but also in the entire Dunav area. It is located in the alluvial plain of the Sava River in the central Sava River Basin, between Sisak and Stara Gradiska. It is composed of three fields: Lonja, Mokro and Poganovo.
It is among the most vulnerable parts of the wetland in the world. The most important environmental element in the Nature Park is floods that can happen at any time of year due to extraordinary constellation of the Sava River and its tributaries. This micro relief is created a mosaic of different habitats typical of the flooded areas, resulting in a rich variety of different features, such as various types of wet forests, grasslands, meadows, various types of wetlands and wetlands, as well as ditches and channels, the result of years of human influence. Park is the most important habitats for a large number of rare and endangered plant and animal species.
The forests of Medvednica descend almost to the very centre of Zagreb. In addition to peace and greenery, the mountain is rich and diverse wildlife and peculiarities such as Bliznec forest path for people with disabilities, Veternica Cave, medieval coal mines Zrinski and French coal mines, Sljeme chapel and 500 Horvat’s stairs… The highest peak of Medvednica is Sljeme with 1033m high. Sljeme is also a ski slope where it is held races Snow Queen.
The best preserved fortress on Medvednica is Medvedgrad, built in the 13th century which served to defend the Captol and the bishops’ estates.
The second fort is Susedgrad, also built in the 13th century. It is famous for the battle that took place at the foot of its walls during the Peasants’ Revolt.
Also, near Gornje Stubice is Orsic’s Castle which was built in 1756 on the foundations of the fort built in the 13th century. Later the castle renovated and (1973) transformed into a Museum of Peasant Uprisings.
Nature Park Papuk is situated in the mountainous forested areas of Papuk. Papuk is the most beautiful mountain in Slavonia. Geomorphologic, climatic and vegetation characteristics of Nature Park Papuk provide excellent natural habitats for numerous plant and animal species. Papuk provides excellent habitats and numerous species of birds.
Telascica bay is situated in the central part of the eastern Adriatic coast, in the SE part of the island of Dugi otok. Thanks to its extreme beauty, richness and importance, this bay are surrounded by 13 islands and islets, together with 6 islets inside the bay of Telascica itself.
On a clear day, the entire mountain is visible from an altitude of 8000 m. It appears as a huge, craggy arch protruding into the sea. Its slopes are steep, and its crest wide. The coastal slope of Velebit that sweeps toward the sea is much higher than its inland slope. The difference in altitude from the coastal slope to the lowest pass is about 700 m, and to the highest peak even 1757 m. On the inland side, Velebit rises from 150 to 1150 m above the plateau of Lika, which itself lies 500 to 600 m above sea level. Both slopes also differ greatly in landscape. The coastal slope is very rocky and bare, moon-like in some places and grey or yellowish-grey in colour, speckled with short plant life. Although steeper, the inland slope seems gentler. It is almost completely covered in forest so that it is dark-green in colour. www.pp-velebit.hr
For those who preferring physically less demanding way of enjoying the world of nature, the Nature Park Vrana Lake is perfect. It consists of the largest lake in Croatia and its surrounding area. Located in the vicinity of the sea, the lake is home to exceptional number of bird species, to wild ducks and egrets in particular. Diversity of bird species and numerous observation posts make this park a paradise for the bird observers. Since the lake’s water is a mixture of freshwater and saltwater, variety of different sea and river fish species live here and make the lake an attraction for fishermen.
Amongst the main attractions of Ucka are the unique limestone formations in the area of Vran and at the very top of Ucka, where an old tower is built. Mountaineers like to be photographed next to this tower. From the summit of the mountain there are unforgettable views of the nearby islands and Opatija Riviera. Ucka’s peaks are frequently bathed in sunshine whilst its slopes are often blanketed in fog. This creates a special atmosphere. Walkers and mountaineers visiting Ucka in mid-summer and enjoy in all its beauty, whether through the refreshing wooded parts or along the mountain’s wind-swept ridge. Numerous other features of interest are found there, such as caves and chapels, which provide shelter in inclement weather. The most courageous visitors like to take advantage of the favourable air currents and use the top of Ucka as a launch pad for paragliding.
West of Zagreb is Nature Park Zumberak – Samobor Hills. Stands out with karst phenomena untypical for areas adjoining the Pannonian Plain are deep canyons, clear rivers full of waterfalls and wide flower covered meadows. Most residents of Nature Park Zumberak are descendants of the famous Croatian guards must, deserters from the town of Senj on the shores of Kvarner. As part of them Greek Catholic faith, Zumberak villages are dotted with numerous picturesque churches, including the highest peak of Zumberak 1102 meter high, Sveta Gera. Sometimes we can find two churches one to another the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic church, as in the village of Dojutrovica. The bottom of Zumberak – Samobor Hills are gentler, particularly the vineyards area Plesivica. For Samobor Hills are well known Grape vines. www.park-zumberak.hr
This remote group of islands is richly indented, full of greenery and boasts a unique folklore tradition. One of the reasons for such a high degree of preservation and the special atmosphere of peace and tranquillity is their remoteness: it takes more than a four hour journey from the mainland to reach them. The waters of Lastovo allow true lovers of maritime life to indulge themselves fully, and only experienced yachtsmen sail these distant islands. Lastovo is equally attractive when approached from the north towards the small port of Pasadur across the open sea and towards enchanting Hidden Port, or if simply sailed into any of the romantic coves that surround this magical island. Having sailed into the waters of Lastovo, the most experienced sailors will not miss out the chance to visit one of the island’s lighthouses, particularly Glavat located on a tiny island east of the main island of Lastovo, or Susac, sitting on a cliff far out into the open sea. Today, these lighthouses have been transformed into tourist facilities for those yearning for utter solitude and primeval romantic charm.