5 Amazing National Parks in Croatia to Visit on a Sailing Holiday

To get a glimpse of the country’s greatest natural wonders, your best bet is to start with its national parks.

01 February 2021

Are you planning a sailing holiday in Croatia? Then visiting its national parks must be at the top of your list. Read our selection of Croatia’s national parks, perfect for a yacht charter on the Adriatic!

You will rarely find a country with a landscape as diverse as Croatia’s – dream-like islands and beaches, stunning waterfalls, picturesque mountain peaks, magnificent canyons, enchanting lakes and sparkling rivers…

To get a glimpse of the country’s greatest natural wonders, your best bet is to start with its national parks. In Croatia, there are eight national parks in total, and they are the following:

  • Brijuni
  • Risnjak
  • Plitvice Lakes
  • Northern Velebit
  • Paklenica
  • Krka
  • Kornati
  • Mljet

Even though we recommend you visit each if you can, we have selected five which you can easily reach while sailing the Croatian coast. Let’s begin the tour!

Paklenica National Park

View of the Velika Paklenica canyon. Source: Shutterstock

Located in the “heart of the Adriatic”, the UNESCO-protected Paklenica National Park is a dream come true for hill climbers and mountain bikers. Spreading from the Dalmatian coast to the mountain tops of the mighty Velebit range, it features 150 kilometers of astonishing routes among magnificent karst canyons called Velika and Mala Paklenica.

The protection of the largest forest complex in Dalmatia was the primary reason for declaring this area a national park. Apart from this, you can also find an abundance of fascinating geo forms such as ravines and caves – the most famous one being Manita Peć. And the fauna? Over 80 species of butterflies, more than 30 reptile species, 260 bird species, deer, boars, wildcats… even bears can be found in the area!


How to reach Paklenica while sailing

Paklenica is located near Zadar, which is featured on our north Adriatic yacht charter route. One of the nearest places to dock is the Starigrad harbor, a town not far from Zadar. From there, it’s about a half-hour drive to the national park by a bus or a taxi.


Entrance fees for Paklenica

20-60 HRK (one-day pass)


Krka National Park

Waterfalls of Krka. Source: Shutterstock

While sailing in Dalmatia, visiting Krka National Park is perfect for spending a day ashore. Located on the Krka river, this national park is famous for its stunning waterfalls, rock pools and lush green forests around them - the landmarks including Skradinski Buk and Roški waterfalls, which are one of the most mesmerizing natural sights in all of Croatia.

Apart from beautiful, untouched nature, you can also find diverse archaeological sites such as the prehistoric Oziđana cave, remains of a Roman military camp, and several medieval military fortresses. A fact about the fauna: four European endangered animal species can be found in Krka National Park: the greater horseshoe bat, wolf, otter and wild cat. No wonder Krka is such a well-protected national treasure!


How to reach Krka while sailing

The Krka National Park is located in the Šibenik area, and it is also featured on our north Adriatic charter route. You can simply dock at the Skradin town marina and then take a water taxi right up to the park’s entrance.


Entrance fees for Krka

30-200 HRK (month-dependent)


Plitvice Lakes National Park

View of the Plitvice lakes. Source: Shutterstock

From all of the Croatian national parks, Plitvice is the first one officially declared, and arguably the most popular. Comprised of 16 breathtaking lakes with waterfalls cascading into one another, it is yet another Croatian site placed on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list.

Being rich in microscopic life forms, the colors of the lakes range from all shades of blue to green. The karst-formed water pools are surrounded by green forests, whose colors change to reddish-yellow in the autumn… and everything turns to white in the winter (the waterfalls freeze, creating a truly breathtaking sight).

What’s most interesting is that the lakes cover just under 1% of the total park - there are several different trekking and hiking routes for visitors to explore. Whatever the season, Plitvice is a must-see.


How to reach Plitvice while sailing

The closest place to dock is Starigrad near Zadar, featured on the itinerary of our north Adriatic yacht charter route. From there, it’s about a 1-hour drive up north to Plitvice Lakes.


Entrance fee for Plitvice

80-300 HRK (month-dependent)


Kornati National Park

View of the Kornati archipelago. Source: Shutterstock

Often referred to as a nautical paradise, the Kornati archipelago is one of the crown jewels of the Croatian coast. This national park is made up from around 130 islands and reefs, perfect to discover while sailing. The total area of the national park covers more than 64 square kilometers of mostly uninhabited islands, with numerous secluded bays that guarantee peace and quiet – leaving you nothing but the splashing sounds of glistening water.

This is yet another Croatian national park placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, because of its unique landscape, geological formations and rich underwater life. It is also a great place for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

Related: Best Diving Sites in Croatia - Top Scuba & Snorkeling Spots


How to reach Kornati while sailing

You can reach Kornati National Park easily from the nearby coastal cities like Biograd, Zadar and Šibenik. We also recommend to check out our north Adriatic yacht charter route, since sailing the archipelago is featured on day 2.


Entrance fee for Kornati National Park

150-300 HRK


Mljet National Park

View of the Mljet National Park and Dubrovnik archipelago. Source: Shutterstock

Mljet is hailed as one of the most popular islands in Croatia, for a number of reasons. A perfect day trip from the city of Dubrovnik, this lavishly green island boasts an unusual combination of elements.

The national park area is located on the northwestern part of the island, and is famous for its two saltwater lakes (Large and Small). Right in the middle of the Large Lake, there’s a tiny isle called St. Mary, where a Benedictine monastery from the 12th century is located, surrounded by turquoise waters. This site paints a remarkable and instantly recognizable image of the park itself.

You can explore numerous hiking and cycling trails among evergreen pine forests, see old roman ruins, discover hidden caves (the famous one being Odyssey’s Cave), go kayaking, enjoy a wonderful swim or dive in the rich underwater – try to do a bit of everything!


How to reach Mljet while sailing

When sailing Croatia’s south, you can anchor your vessel in the nearby coastal towns of Polače or Pomena. If you are looking for a guided tour, we recommend checking out our south Adriatic charter route, where Mljet is one of the focal points of the itinerary.


Entrance fee for Mljet National Park

70-125 HRK


Discover Croatia’s national parks on a luxury yacht charter

Want to start your sailing voyage along the Croatian coastline? You can find out more details on Croatia as a yacht charter destination here.

If you are interested in the yachts available for charter, feel free to browse our our selection of luxury yachts here.


Read more about the yacht charter experience in Croatia:

Top 10 Croatian Restaurants for a Yacht Tour of the Adriatic

Best Croatian Wineries to Visit During a Yacht Charter