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Northern Velebit National Park - home to rare plants and animal species

Northern Velebit National Park - home to rare plants and animal species

Get to know the Northern Velebit National Park

Velebit is the longest and largest (just not the highest) mountain in Croatia, as well as of the whole karst area of the Dinaric Alps.

In 1978 it was recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and shortly after that, the whole mountain was declared as a Nature Park. Since 1999, the northern part of the mountain was designated a National Park.

The protected area of the National Park covers 109 square kilometers. It includes the strict reserve Hajducki and Rozanski Kukovi which are a geomorphological phenomenon, and two botanical reserves, which are places with the highest concentration of the endemic plant Croatian Sibirea. When mentioning plants, the most famous one here is the Velebit Degenia. It is also worth mentioning that the beautiful beech forests in northern Velebit are added to the UNESCO list of world natural heritage.


There is a famous trail made of drystone wall construction called Premuziceva Trail that goes through the northern and central part of the mountain and is also protected as a cultural good. It is 57 km long, of which 16 km are set within the National Park. This trail was built in the 1930s and opened access for the first time to parts of Velebit for locals, scientists and visitors. There are no steep climbs on this trail, so even those who are not used to climbing can easily manage it. The trail starts in Baske Ostarije at its lowest point (920 m) and ends in the National Park at 1630 m.


Velebit is special for its diversity of karst landforms. Characteristic stony peaks make this mountain so special and recognizable. You will definitely notice this even if you just pass parts of Velebit by on the highway.
This magnificent mountain is rich in wildlife, forests, and biodiversity. It is a home for more than 2000 plant species, out of which around 80 are endemic. Velebit is also home to many amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, bats, and more than 274 species of birds. The brown bear, wolf, Eurasian lynx, and otter have their habitat here as well. Considering that this is a relatively small area, it is amazing how interesting and diverse Velebit´s flora and fauna are.


Except for the fascinating sights of this mountain, Velebit is special for its wide underground world. There are many caves and pits, mostly closed for the public, as they are populated by a number of endemic species. In the area of the National Park, more than 400 speleological sites have been discovered. For speleologists, a very special place is definitely the area of Hajducki and Rozanski Kukovi, famous for their pits. The deepest pit here is Lukina Jama. It is more than 1000 m deep, which makes it one of the deepest pits in the world.

National Park Northern Velebit is reachable by many hiking trails, as well as by car. In case you want to get up by car, you can enter the Park and leave the car in a parking lot close to Zavizan. From there you still have a lovely, maybe half an hour-long hike to reach the top, Zavizan, and enjoy the magnificent view of the Adriatic Sea and its islands. Savor the smell of flowers from the botanical garden and take a walk on one of the botanical garden paths close to the top.
There are many options on how to spend a day here and it all depends on the time you have available and your physical condition. Keep in mind that the entrance ticket for the National park is valid for 3 days, which gives you even more options for discovering Velebit.


The management of the National Park is set in Krasno, a beautiful small village in the hinterland. Here you will find the Velebit House, which is the visitors´ and information center of the Velebit National Park. It is a perfect starting point for getting to know Velebit better. 

Northern Velebit National Park welcomes all nature lovers and is the perfect destination for those who like walking, climbing, cycling and trekking. Use the opportunity and discover the beauties of this magnificent mountain on your next holiday in Croatia.

Mateja Barisic

+385 1 222 70 50