Due to its perfect geographical position Zadar Region boasts stunning nature and great variety. With 3 nature parks and 2 national parks within the Zadar county (4 National parks that you can visit from Zadar), you will find amazing nature on every step.
From magnificent mountain Velebit to largest natural lake, hundreds of islands, beautiful rivers and amazing canyons Zadar region has it all in one place.
If you are nature lover and outdoor enthusiast and would like to spend a day surrounded by enchanting nature discovering Zadar’s most beautiful landscapes, then you should check out list of 7 Best Outdoor places to go in Zadar Region.
1. Paklenica National Park
National park Paklenica is situated on a south slopes of Velebit mountain and this is where are its highest peaks ‘Sveto brdo’ (1753 m) and ‘Vaganski vrh’ (1757 m). This area was protected quite early, since 1949 it was declared a national park due to its exceptional geomorphological shapes and magnificent forests. Beech forests of the Paklenica National Park were included in 2017 on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Paklenica is a paradise for nature lovers due to the numerous hiking trails that are suitable for recreation and more demanding hiking. In Paklenica you will pass through beautiful canyons, walk by vertical cliffs, see the underground world of Manita Cave, see Mala Paklenica stream with drinking water and climb mountain peaks from which you will enjoy amazing views of the sea. You can visit the park in our trip to Paklenica.
2. Velebit Nature park
Velebit is the longest mountain in Croatia and the entire mountain area was protected as a nature park in 1981. In addition, Velebit is the most important endemic center of flora and terrestrial fauna in Croatia, which is why it is often called the “center of endemism”, and therefore it is included in the network of international biosphere reserves of UNESCO.
On Velebit there is also the Master Road built in the 19th century between Sveti Rok and Obrovac.
This macadam road is suitable for cyclists but also for cars and is known as the most beautiful mountain road in Croatia. Close to the road is the mountain top ‘Tulove grede’ from which you can enjoy an amazing view of the sea, the coast and surrounding peaks. Explore Velebit in our Jeep safari trip.
3. Zrmanja canyon
Zrmanja is a beautiful karst river in Zadar County, whose course is characterized by 6 canyons. The last canyon stands out, it is located on the last 2 km of the river flow just before Zrmanja river enters into the Novigrad Sea. This canyon is protected as a geomorphological monument of nature, and you can enjoy the view of the amazing canyon, which is over 200 m high from the lookout point Pariževačka glavica.
4. Krupa and Kudin most (Kuda’s bridge)
The most beautiful part of the river Krupa with its magnificent waterfalls and travertine cascades is located near the village Golubić. Descending towards Kuda’s bridge, you will enjoy beautiful views of the blue-green Krupa and its travertine barrier called Deveterac. It is named after the nine travertine cascades that end in the waterfall over which leads the Kuda’s bridge. The bridge is protected as a cultural monument and consists of 12 arches built in a dry stone walling technic, at the turn of the 18th to 19th century.
5. River Bijela spring
The river Bijela is a hydrological phenomenon because it springs from a cave located at a height of 180 m. The name of the river (in Croatian Bijela means white) comes from the melted limestone which is white in color. The very course of the river is cut into a canyon with high vertical cliffs that love sport climbing enthusiasts. Several large waterfalls (highest about 15-20 m) form natural pools of transparent greenish color. The river depends on rainfall, so it is an ideal time to visit the spring during spring or autumn because in summer the spring dries up.
You can reach the source of the river Bijela by road (macadam and asphalt), which starts from the separation from the main highway (direction Obrovac – Karin Gornji).
6. Karišnica river and watermills
Karišnica is a short river in Zadar County that dries up in summer. The river Karišnica springs in a cave above the mill, at an altitude of 20 m. The cave is about 120 m long and 4-7 m wide, and during the dry season it is possible to enter the cave and explore the place where this river springs. After its short 2,400 meters of flow, it flows into the Karin Sea. In the area of the river Karišnica there are five mills, which once were operating and to which various folk traditions are connected. The tour of Karišnica is further complemented by a landscaped trail equipped with educational boards that point to the rich fauna and flora of this region.
7. Vransko lake Nature park
is the largest natural lake in Croatia. The wooden educational trail is located in the Ornithological Reserve and equipped with educational boards so you can learn more about the birds that live in the park. In addition, you can visit the Kamenjak lookout and enjoy the view of the lake and the Kornati archipelago. The lake is surrounded by a 40 km long panoramic trail that you can go by car, quad or bicycle. Rarely in any other place you will be able to experience three completely different landscapes – a swamp with a diverse ecosystem, the indented coast of the Adriatic and the rural ambience of Ravni kotari.