Ecology & Nature in Croatia

Here are details of groups, associations and areas of the country – including national and nature parks – for those interested in ecology and nature in Croatia.

Dalmatian Islands Environment Foundation

The Dalmatian Islands Environment Foundation supports local environment and conservation initiatives to protect and restore the Dalmatian islands. They work to support local initiatives to sustain the natural assets of the islands, supporting projects to bring social and economic benefits to island communities. You can volunteer or offer your services, as well as fundraise for the foundation…or simply donate!

Ecology & Nature in Croatia

Blue World Institute

Primarily located on the islands of Losinj, Murter and Vis, the aim of the Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation is to protect the Adriatic’s marine life through research, education and conservation.

Their research focuses on larger marine animals such as dolphins, whales, turtles, sharks and devil rays, and their initiatives include the Adriatic Dolphin Project which studies bottlenose dolphins in the Mediterranean. They also host Dolphin Day on Losinj every 1st July which allows visitors to learn more about these creatures through educational and fun activities.

They have also created a Marine Education Centre in Veli Losinj (open year-round with free entry) and a Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Mali Losinj.

Griffon Vultures on Cres

There are colonies of the Eurasian Griffon vulture near Beli on the north of the island of Cres. Beli Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures aims to protect these wonderful birds, as well as the natural heritage of the island; you can visit the centre year-round to find out more about the birds.

Read more about the rescue, care and release of Griffon vultures on the island in this article: A new life for Croatia’s griffon vultures (The Daily Telegraph, 11th November 2009)

Sokolarski Centar

The Sokolarski Centar (Falconry Centre), 8km from Sibenik, is home to a number of wonderful birds (griffon vultures, hawks, owls, falcons, buzzards). The Centre can be visited from April to September, with the ticket price including a talk about the birds.

Secrets of the Island of Cres

Experience the beauty and heritage of the islands of Cres and Losinj. Recover from the stress of modern life. Walking, cycling, climbing and more. They offer expert guiding and an active holiday of a different kind along with modern apartment accommodation.


National Parks in Croatia

Much of Croatia’s nature and wildlife can be observed in one of the country’s eight national parks, including the Brijuni Islands, the Kornati Islands, Krka, the island of Mljet and, of course, Plitvice Lakes. The parks contain an outstanding variety of geological and natural phenomena, as well as being home to various animal populations.

You can organise your own trips to these National Parks, or join an excursion; whilst in them, there are also numerous activities to undertake, which is especially true for some of the island Parks whether it’s swimming, diving, hiking or cycling. In most cases, it is also possible to stay within (or at least very near to) these parks – please see the above websites for accommodation possibilities.

Volunteer at a National or Nature Park in Croatia

There are a number of volunteer positions available at Croatia’s stunning national and nature parks – involving restoration, preservation and monitoring of the parks, or visitor-facing roles. Find out more on the Volunteer in Parks of Croatia page.

Gorski Kotar

Gorski Kotar is a nature reserve near Rijeka, covering an area of about 2,000 sq. km in which wolves, lynx, boars and brown bears live in its forests. The region is also home to several towns and villages which are well worth visiting, including Delnice and Ravna Gora.

Natura 2000

Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas all over the EU that includes valuable and threatened wildlife species and habitats. As you may imagine, there are a number of sites in Croatia that are part of this network – they include the Kopacki Rit Nature Park in Eastern Croatia, Papuk Nature Park, Sunjsko Polje close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Velebit National Park, Gorski Kotar and Northern Lika, the Neretva River Delta.

Use the Natura 2000 Viewer to learn more about these sites in Croatia, and the habitats and species that live in them.

UNESCO Geoparks

UNESCO-designated Global Geoparks are protected areas of geological significance that promote sustainable development and education; there are just under 200 such Geoparks in 48 countries. In Croatia, there are three such Geoparks – the gorgeous Vis Archipelago Geopark, Geopark Papuk (within Papuk Nature Park) and Geopark Biokovo-Imotski Lakes. Take a look at these websites to understand more about the Geopark sites in Croatia and how they are protected.