Sjeverni Velebit National Park

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The Velebit National Park is a unique wilderness - difficult to forget. It will leave an impression on your spirit...

A wilderness area with an impressive mountainous ridge, near the Adriatic Sea, Sjeverni Velebit National Park covers 2,000 square kilometers of land.

This UNESCO biosphere reserve is a giant limestone mass like no other in the world.

People come here for the quiet and seclusion - it's possible to hike the entire ridge by following the Premuzic Path and staying the night in the mountain huts scattered along the way.

Photo Velebit National Park location

This Croatian National Park is near the coast and in the vicinity of nearby islands, known for pleasant weather conditions. However, the climate here is not typically Mediterranean.

This is because of the massive size of the ridge. Only the coastal slopes enjoy the calm weather patterns you'd expect in the region.

I recommend a visit between July & September

At the top of the ridge the climate is more continental - the summers are extremely hot and surface water is scarce. The winters are bitingly cold and severe, with temperatures at the peaks of the ridge dipping below 0 degrees for 160 days a year.

If you decide to visit the park, make sure you come when the weather is the nicest - usually from July to September.

Mountains at Velebit National Park

Velebit National Park - typical mountain scene

The landscape is striking simply because of its size, but it has other features that are worth a visit. The jagged karst landforms are interesting from two points of view - close by and from a distance.

Standing far away the landforms appear as one large piece of land that flows uninterrupted against the sky. The ridge sweeps over the land rather smoothly. Both sides of the ridge slope downward to sea level toward the coast and the Lika plateau on the mainland.

As a result, Velebit National Park sticks out in the landscape - a long barrier that comes between the sea and Croatia's inland region. Because the limestone on the ridge has endured weathering over the course of thousands of years, up close you'll notice deep gorges, steep cliffs, sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage systems.

Velebit's flora changes depending on the altitude and location on the ridge. The slopes on the coastal side are bare and rocky, only covered by a thin layer of maquis and scrub. Further in the amount of vegetation increases and there is more variety, with sparse woodland gradually transforming into lush forests of beech, juniper, and pine as you reach the peaks.

Beneath the ridge the flora is sub-alpine - here you'll find gorgeous meadows teeming with colorful wildflowers. Lots of animals roam this part of the ridge - watch out for bears (the most common sight) as well as wolves, martens, wildcats, deer, snakes, golden eagles, griffon vultures, and long-eared owls.

This national park is located in the north part of the Velebit ridge, and has been a favorite among visitors since it opened in June 1999.

When it comes time to visit Croatia, make sure you put this park on your itinerary. The natural beauty of the ridge is something special.

Other Croatian National Parks:

Brijuni | Kornati Islands | Krka Waterfalls | Mljet
Paklenica | Plitvice Lakes | Risnjak

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