It’s never a chore to explore the great four
Even though it is probably most well known for its beautiful coastline (which really is beautiful), ancient walled cities (which really are ancient) and Plitvice lakes (which are so much more than lakes, really). Did you know Croatia is home to a total of eight National parks? That is correct. Eight places of pristine nature that showcase the magnificent diversity of biomes huddled together in this part of the world.
Sure, there are other spots, some of which you are almost required to visit when traveling to Croatia. The places all the brochures talk about and all the TV commercials scream about. But when the bucket list is finally checked and you’re done with the mandatory, it is time to turn to the enchanting world of natural beauty and adventure.
We are here to help you do that.
During the famous Jamming Croatia Multi-activity tour, we will visit and explore four National parks of Croatia together. But before we see what we are getting ourselves into, a quick reminder.
Croatia Multi-activity tour is most beloved by travelers wanting to see Croatian nature first hand. The tour is lead by expert guides that know every nook and cranny of the parks. They will lead you on the path least traveled, give you nuggets of information you won’t find elsewhere. Also, they are always ready to share some of their hard-earned secrets.
The 3 pillars of Jamming
As you may well know, when we do the Jamming tour, we do things a bit differently from the run of the mill vacation traveler. What makes us different? Three things basically:
We are active travelers.
That does not necessarily mean we do the full Iron Man challenge from the moment we hit the tarmac. But some sweat and a healthy dose of cardio are in store if you decide to join up. Do not panic, you are not required to sport a superhuman fitness level, as the tour is completely customized to the group’s wishes and reserves of stamina.
We explore the national parks of Croatia and the vibe.
It is an experience seeking journey, but its spotlight is not wining and dining, partying and such, so much as exploring the often unbeaten paths. Or in case of those well beaten but too beautiful to miss out on. We try to find a time of the year or a time of the day to do it without getting lost in the endless crowds.
We take our time to both discover and have fun in the great outdoors.
Each Jamming trip is planned in such a way as to ensure there is no rush. You will have plenty of time to fully experience each location in our itinerary. That said, let’s find out more about the National parks of Croatia.
The most famous from the national parks of Croatia, the one you can see on every brochure, every TV commercial and the one that most clearly represents the natural wonders of this tiny country with a big heart.
It is a classic postcard scene. Eighteen terraced lakes with varying, vibrant hues of green and turquoise, interconnected by waterfalls and cascades, surrounded by the fragrant freshness of nature. Plitvice are photographers and nature lovers paradise.
No matter which trail you pick, you are guaranteed countless opportunities to get lost in the beauty. Then, depending on your preference, either simply enjoy the experience and preserve it in your memory or snap a few and let the camera’s memory card do the remembering for you.
As well as being the oldest and the largest within the national parks of Croatia, Plitvice are also a part of UNESCO World Heritage. With almost 300 square kilometers of pure beauty, there is a lot to explore here. The centerpiece is Veliki Slap, a magnificent waterfall with a 78-meter drop.
The park is beautiful at any time of the year but changes dramatically with the seasons. In the spring, the lushness of nature takes the spotlight. During the summer the scenery basks in the sunlight. Autumn hues are simply stunning, while the abundance of rainfall makes the lakes swell and the waterfalls become much fiercer. Winter, on the other hand, sees them freeze, creating incredible nature’s works of art.
PROTIP: As any celebrity would admit, being pretty and super popular has a price. During the high season, Plitvice contend with a real tourist invasion. You can still enjoy the views and nature but plan for a really early start of the day, as after midday things often get a bit tricky.
Jamming through Plitvice
For our Plitvice adventure, we have chosen an 18-kilometer route that takes us through the most interesting and most beautiful parts. It will be a challenging but rewarding experience.
Kornati archipelago — A maritime patchwork of islands and cliffs, many of which bear the funny and slightly profane names given by locals. The christening may have been unofficial, but the names stuck to this day.
If ever the opportunity presents itself to witness the greatest aquatic labyrinth of the Mediterranean — take it. You can thank us later.
Observing the lunar landscape of Kornati from a distance, you would be forgiven for believing the archipelago is a barren, desolate place. Appearances can be deceiving, as this superficial frugality hides pure, raw beauty. You need to come just a bit closer to witness the incredible variety of flora, fauna, natural phenomena, and scattered remnants of rich human history.
Kornati’s 89 islands come in a dazzling array of unusual shapes and sizes. But the most distinguished figures are the crowns. Those steep, sharply cutoff cliffs protruding toward the sea are a sight to behold. The highest crown towers 82 meters above the sealine. Many are submerged, sometimes reaching a depth of over 90 meters. Crowns are home to the majestic peregrine falcon, among other creatures that thrive in the harsh, unforgiving surroundings.
Exploring further, you will come across prehistoric dwellings, burial mounds that dot the island, and drywalls that divide the arable land into plots. Some islands are neatly divided into two halves by such a wall. Others feature a neatly walled olive grove standing solitary inside a sea of grassland.
The most impressive building on the Kornati is Tureta, a Byzantine fort that once protected the maritime trade in these parts of the Adriatic. Just below it, a large basilica bears testament to the number of inhabitants that once lived here.
When we add the saltworks in Lavasa bay, a 16th-century Venetian Castello, a plethora of plant and animal species inhabiting the islands, there is really no shortage of exploring opportunities around the Kornati.
The national park can be experienced from sea, air or land.
Each way offers a unique perspective of the island patchwork. For the sea route, just board a vessel of your choice and navigate the labyrinthine pathways around the islands, much like the pirates of old used to do. To explore the underwater world, don your scuba gear and head for one of the nine designated areas. Among the many gorgeous spots to discover, be sure to include the submerged crowns, teeming with aquatic life.
And once you make landfall, you will find plentiful hiking opportunities. Most trails culminate in promontories that award the weary with soul-lifting views of the archipelago.
Jamming through the Kornati
A day of our week in Croatia will take us to the Kornati. Get ready for a thrilling speedboat ride through the densely packed labyrinth of islands, islets, and cliffs. During the trip, you will have an opportunity to take a swim in the pristine seas of the nature park and visit one of the local restaurants for lunch.
PROTIP: If you are a seafood lover, go for a fish plate. It just might be the freshest and most delicious one you have ever tasted.
With the fascinating cascades, the lushness of nature and tiny trails leading through it, Krka is Croatian pride and joy. Always in the shadow of its larger “sister”, Plitvice, it always had to try a bit harder and go that extra mile to get the recognition it deserves. All for the better, though, as the result is nothing short of spectacular.
The cascades of Krka are a gorgeous sight. Wide and shelved travertine formations make a path for the gushing water. Resulting crystal clear pools reflect the surrounding vegetation and give the park a surrealistic, fairy tale look. The trail meanders through the park, around the cascades, culminating in the largest one – the Skradinski Buk. Unlike Plitvice, where swimming is not allowed, you can take a dive into the inviting water beneath Buk and cool off on a hot sunny day.
PROTIP: Since you are nearby, take this chance to check out the second oldest hydroelectric power plant in the world, built just below the large waterfall.
Krka offers a lovely insight into rural Croatian life that once took place along the river. You should not miss the opportunity to explore the old water mills, like the one on Roški slap and discover the array of traditional crafts, showcasing a glimpse of history. After you have explored the nature park to your heart’s content, you might want to cross the Visovac lake and make landfall on the tiny namesake island in its center. Perhaps there, beneath the shade of a cypress tree, you will enjoy a moment of quiet contemplation, just like the Franciscan monks do in the nearby monastery.
Jamming through Krka
Time to hop onto a bike and take a ride through the valley. We will take some time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Like tasting the delicious local wine in the nearby winery and sipping on a hot cup of coffee in Skradin. After that, we head for Skradinski Buk for a swim and a scenic hike around the park.
A paradise for adrenaline junkies. It is bikeable, it is hikeable, it is climbable. Like a huge and wonderful sports park, Paklenica features gorgeous vistas, rough and rugged terrain and a brazen call for an adventure.
At Paklenica, untamed nature yearns to be explored. Eagles, Falcons, deer, and bears inhabit the parks’ black pine, mountain pine, and beech forests. Steep and rugged cliffs divide the park into two parallel canyons — Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica. The larger one is 14,5 km long, at places very narrow and up to 400 meters deep.
While walking along some of 150 km of trails crisscrossing Paklenica, you might spot-free climbers conquering the sides of Velika Paklenica canyon. Many come to test their skills on this attractive Croatian climbing site. The most impressive cliff in the park is Anića Kuk, a 712-meter high formation with a dominating view of the surroundings and more than a hundred maintained climbing routes.
PROTIP: The scenery, very reminiscent of the American West, made this park an ideal location for the filming of Winnetou in 1963. While visiting Paklenica, discover the places where some of the most iconic scenes were shot.
If you embark on an hour and a half ascent from Anića Luka, be sure to explore Manita Peć. It’s a 175-meter long cave adorned with 80000-year-old stalactites and stalagmites, perfect for a guided spelunking adventure.
Jamming through Paklenica
A whole day of exploring is ahead of us. We will hike to the most impressive landmarks of the park, through the Velika Paklenica gorge with view on Anica Kuk, the iconic cliff of the park and to the Manita Peć cave. If you feel adventurous, don’t miss your chance to bungee jump from Maslenica Bridge, which we will visit during the tour.
Ready to go Jamming?
Seize the opportunity to explore Croatia through the prism of its natural wonders. Visiting the four national parks of Croatia we introduced will define your Croatian experience.
When the dust settles, you’ll have walked, trekked, biked and speedboat all across them. Prepare for the salt-scented wind in your hair, warm sun on your skin, and perfect memory of an adventure.
Are you ready for the week of a lifetime?
Of course, you are.