Velebit Nature Park

Photo owner Modzzak – Link

Nature Park Velebit is a protected area located in the Velebit Mountain range in Croatia. The park covers an area of 2,200 square kilometers and was established in 2019 to protect the unique natural and cultural heritage of the region.

The park is characterized by its stunning natural beauty, with rugged mountains, canyons, and crystal-clear rivers. It is home to a diverse range of plant and animal life, including several endangered species such as the Eurasian lynx and the brown bear.

One of the park’s most notable features is the Zrmanja River, which flows through a canyon and is a popular destination for rafting and kayaking. The river is surrounded by lush vegetation and towering cliffs, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.

Velebit Nature Park is the most important endemic hub of flora and terrestrial fauna in Croatia.

Velebitian degenia (Degenia velebitica), Croatian gorse (Arabis croatica), Croatian bluebell (Edraianthus graminofolius var. croaticus), ostrum fish (Aulopyge hugeli), long-legged bat (Myotis capaccinii) and wolf (Canis lupus) are just some of the most well-known endemic and rare types of park full of different karst phenomena.

Photo owner M.Dirgėla – Link

The following protected areas are located within the Velebit Nature Park:

  • Zavratnica cove
  • Velnačka head
  • Hajduk’s hips
  • Rožan’s hips
  • Cerovac Caves
  • Štirovača special forest vegetation reserve
  • Botanical reserve Zavižan-Balinovac-Velika kosa

The geological peculiarity of Paripov ditch was proposed for protection.

Visitors to Nature Park Velebit can enjoy a range of activities, including hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. There are also several scenic viewpoints throughout the park, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

In addition to its natural attractions, the park is also home to several cultural and historical sites, including the ruins of the medieval fortress of Kudin Kuk, and the village of Krupa, which is known for its traditional water mills.

Photo owner Perun – Link

Flora: Velebit Nature Park is known for its diverse and unique flora. The park is home to over 2,000 plant species, including many rare and endemic species that are found only in the region. The lower slopes of the mountain range are covered in deciduous forests, while the higher elevations are home to alpine meadows and rocky terrain.

Fauna: The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including several endangered species such as the lynx, brown bear, and wolf. Other notable species include the chamois, red deer, and wild boar. The park’s rivers and streams are home to a variety of fish species, including trout and grayling.

Hotels and Restaurants: There are several hotels and restaurants located in and around Velebit Nature Park, catering to a range of budgets and tastes. Some popular options include:

  • Hotel Zavižan: This hotel is located in the heart of the park, at an elevation of 1,592 meters above sea level. It offers comfortable rooms and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.
  • Camping Zavižan: For those who prefer to camp, there is a campsite located near the Zavižan mountain hut. The campsite offers basic facilities and is a popular starting point for hiking and exploring the park.
  • Restaurant Jezera: This restaurant is located near the entrance of the park and offers traditional Croatian cuisine, including fresh seafood and meat dishes.
  • Restaurant Vila Velebita: Located in the nearby town of Smiljan, this restaurant offers a range of international and Croatian dishes, as well as a selection of local wines.

Overall, Velebit Nature Park is a unique and beautiful destination, offering visitors the chance to explore Croatia’s rugged mountain landscape and diverse flora and fauna. With a range of accommodation and dining options available, it’s a great place to spend a few days or longer.