National parks include extensive and for the most part unaltered areas of land and/or sea with one or more preserved ecosystems. Their primary function is to preserve natural values and thus economic use of natural resources is prohibited.
National parks Plitvička jezera (Plitvice Lakes) and Krka are known for their interesting karst hydrography and morphology with magnificent travertine waterfalls and lakes, while Kornati, Brijuni and Mljet are island national parks characterised by their diverse and rich marine ecosystems. Risnjak, Paklenica and Sjeverni Velebit (Northern Velebit) are typical mountain areas with diverse vegetation and reliefs.
Kornati islands are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea situated in the central part of the Adriatic. They are characterised by interesting geomorphology, well-indented coast and various living communities. The archipelago consists of 89 islands, islets and reefs.
The bed of the river Krka is deeply embedded into the limestone plateau between the towns Knin and Skradin. This natural and karstic phenomenon created seven travertine waterfalls: Bilušića buk, Brljan, Manojlovački slap, Rošnjak, Miljacka slap, Roški slap and Skradinski buk, the highest cascade in the Mediterranean (46m).
The National Park Mljet is situated on the western part of the same-named island Mljet. Autochthonous forests of Holm oak and Aleppo pine cover more than 90% of the Park’s surface providing it with special biological and aesthetic value and it is therefore often called the “Green Island”.
The National Park Paklenica covers the area of torrent flows of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, and their distinctive canyons carved vertically into the south slopes of Velebit and the broader surrounding area. This relatively small area has an abundance of geomorphological forms, diverse flora and fauna, attractive landscapes and intact nature.
The National Park Plitvička jezera (Plitvice Lakes) is the oldest Croatian national park. It is known for its magnificent travertine waterfalls which create clear lakes in a constant biodynamic process of travertine creation. As a result of that process, a series of 16 cascade-lined larger and several smaller lakes, which are the most picturesque part of this Park, was created.