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Nature richly rewarded the Paklenica Riviera, surrounding it with the sea, mountains, rivers, lakes, and islands. Such a variety and richness of the landscape in so small an area can rarely be found. By walking for just a few minutes from the seacoast, you are already in the mountain world of Paklenica and the Velebit Mountain. By boat you can put to sea towards the magical Kornati Islands or the imposing cliffs of the Telaščica Bay. The Zrmanja, Krka, and Una Rivers are karst beauties, whose magnificent canyons, flashing falls, and banks filled with greenery leave visitors breathless. The Plitvice Lakes, adorned with gorgeous waterfalls and dense green forests, are recognized pearls of the world natural heritage, while Vransko Lake is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Their special features have caused this region to be protected and united into as many as 5 national parks and 3 nature parks.
There are innumerable possibilities to further enrich your visit to the Paklenica Riviera. The National Parks: Paklenica, Krka, Kornati, and Plitvice Lakes, as well as the Nature Parks Northern Velebit, Vransko Lake, and Telaščica Bay will delight you with the infinite beauty of nature, and the historical urban centers of Zadar, Nin, and Pag with their perfect harmony of ancient and modern. The impressive beauty of the Velebit Mountain can most intensively be experienced on photo-safari excursions. A trip sailing by sea all the way to the rapids on the Zrmanja River is an unforgettable experience… Another 3 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list are also located in the vicinity – The Plitvice Lakes National Park, the historical nucleus of the city of Trogir, and the Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik….
The National Park of Paklenica lies between the highest peak of Mt. Velebit (Vaganski vrh, 1758m) and the Adriatic Coast, extending over an area of 95km². Its most attractive features are the monumental canyons of Velika and Mala Paklenica, whose steep cliffs rising up over 400m have made Paklenica a world famous mountain climbing destination.
The old beech forests, the second biggest black pine reserve in Europe, the mysterious caves, endemic plants and abundant fauna enrich this primeval natural ambience. Paklenica National Park provides a challenge to every nature lover: walker, mountaineer, alpinist, or adventurer.
Due to the exceptional beauty of the landscape, the intriguing geomorphology, the extreme jaggedness of the coastline and the incredibly rich marine life, the majority of the Kornati waters was declared a national park in 1980.
Vransko jezero is the largest natural lake in Croatia. The predominating characteristic of the park is its special Ornithological reserve, which has been included to the list of Important Bird Areas in Europe and is a potential Ramsar site. It streches in the direction from the North-West to the South-East paralelly to the sea coast, from which it is in some places less than a kilometer apart. It is an unusual compromise and connection of land and water which offers a refuge to diverse species of plants and animals, offering them all that its neccessary for life. The lake is unique for its postition and characteristics not only in Croatia but also in other parts of Europe. It is in fact a karst valley filled with brackish water and is below sea-level…
Telašćica bay is situated in the in the SE part of the island of Dugi otok. The bay is surrounded by 13 islands and islets, together with 6 islets inside the bay of Telašćica itself, The area of "Telašćica" 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...
Velebit is the largest Croatian mountain range (2274 km2), deeply interwoven into the space, lives and consciousness of the locals. Due to the impressive beauty of the landscape, the variety of relief shapes, flora and fauna as well as the untouched nature, it was declared a Nature Park.
Numerous hiking trails, historical buildings, old regal trails, fortresses and sacred monuments are evidence of man's centuries long relationship with this mythical mountain range. Paklenica National Park, with its monumental Velika and Mala Paklenica canyons, is the most beautiful part of this mountain range; and has been included in the World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO…
This national park is a vast area of exceptional and numerous natural riches, for the most part untouched. It encompasses one or more preserved or insignificantly altered ecosystems.
With its seven travertine waterfalls, totalling 242m in height, Krka is a phenomenon of nature and karst. At the very heart of the National Park is a Franciscan monastery, situated on the islet of Visovac.
The Plitvice Lakes are Croatia’s best-known national park and are considered to be among the most beautiful sights in Europe. Because of their natural diversity, UNESCO has included the lakes on the list of World Heritage Sites.
Plitvice Lakes consist of 16 interconnected lakes with numerous waterfalls and surrounded by dense forest. Visitors will find many walking trails with small wooden bridges across the lakes, just above the still water’s surface.
The area was declared a national park due to the exceptional variety of karst phenomena, the diversity of wildlife and the exceptional natural beauty of this relatively small area. The park covers an area of 109 km2 and also includes the Hajdučki kukovi and Rožanski kukovi strict nature reserves. These are specific geomorphological phenomena in which over 150 pits have been discovered so far, the best-known of which is Lukina jama (Luke's Pit), one of the deepest in the world, discovered in 1999.
The town of Zadar is the centre of the region and was founded 3000 years ago. It is impressive for its architecture, museums and churches, as well as its rich cultural life and the entertainment it offers.
Ljubotić is one of the rare mountain settlements that is still active and has retained its ancient character. It is situated in a green oasis on the slopes of Mt. Velebit and yet so near to the coast (3km above the town of Tribanj-Kruščica).
It is possible to try simple local specialities, and to visit an ethnic house and a permanent exhibition on the development of beekeeping in Dalmatia and the Mediterranean (in preparation) at the rural homestead of Vrata Velebit (the Gates of Velebit).
Nearby, there is the Mirila educational trail, while experienced hikers will gladly head to more distant but attractive locations, like Stap, Kamena galerija (Stone Gallery) and Reljina Cave.
The Zrmanja River delights with its crystal clear waters wending their way through an imposing, 200-metre-deep canyon before merging with the waters of the sea at the town of Novigrad. The upper reaches of the river abound in travertine waterfalls, both large and small, among which the most attractive is the 11-metre-high Veliki buk, while Jankovića buk, bedecked with the striking remains of old mills, is a popular area for excursions. Sailing from Starigrad-Paklenica, Novigrad – an ancient fishing settlement situated at the very mouth of the river – is worth a visit, as are the fortifications of the Kurjaković princes above the town of Obrovac, which is also situated on the banks of the Zrmanja River.
The most interesting tributary of the Zrmanja River is the Krupa. The attractive locations on this stream, like, for example, Deveterac, a large, grass-covered travertine barrier, can be reached by road from Starigrad-Paklenica. The barrier takes its name from the nine travertine cascades that culminate in a 13-metre-high waterfall. Way back in the 19th century, an industrious craftsman constructed the well-known dry-stone Kudin Bridge here, with 12 arches built from travertine blocks placed on the same number of stone columns.
Many of the attractive locations in the Velebit area are accessible only using all-terrain vehicles.
That is how you will visit Tulove grede and the Zrmanja River canyon, drive the historic Velebit roads, and visit the Krupa monastery. We absolutely recommend visiting the spring of the shortest river in Croatia – the Krnjeza. Its source is located at the bottom of a 60 metre deep cave adorned with calcite curtains and stalactites and stalagmites at the entrance, only to converge with the waters of the Zrmanja River a short 600 metres later. Although short, it is as deep as 45 metres in places, and its waters are very cold and clear, excellent for drinking.