Pakoštane is a small coastal place situated on a thin strip of land between the Adriatic sea and Vrana lake in North Dalmatia which makes its location very interesting, put between two water worlds, fresh and salty one. In the past the local population mostly engaged in farming and fishing, however, modern times see Pakoštane as a popular tourist destination ideal for a peaceful family vacation and enjoying excellent local food and wine.
Biograd is a small town near Zadar (the center of North Dalmatia), and it has a long and interesting history. The most interesting fact is that it once was a town of Croatian kings, where they were crowned and Croatian noblemen and bishops resided here. There are several valuable monuments from early medieval and later times in the town. Today Biograd is one of the leading tourist destinations in Croatia and an important yachting centre, and it hosts numerous events throughout the year.
Zadar is situated in the north part of Dalmatia and it is its economical and administrative centre. It developed on a peninsula where the historic old center is located today, and it was founded by Romans, as a colony for their retired soldiers. The town’s area had been settled much earlier, with Illyrian tribes living there. During centuries, Zadar progressed into an important Dalmatian center so there one can find ancient Roman remains, many churches and buildings of outstanding artistic value, museums and other important facilities. The most famous modern attractions are unique Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun at the end of Zadar peninsula.
Šibenik is one of four large towns in Dalmatia, and it is situated in its central part, between Zadar and Split. Šibenik developed as medieval town, and it was founded by Croats. The town spread along the slopes below the fortresses built as a part of fortifications system. During renaissance times it was an important cultural and art center with many humanists. The most famous building from that period is St. James cathedral, built in gothic and renaissance style, a work of famous Juraj Dalmatinac. Each year, Šibenik hosts The International Children Festival, as well as many concerts held by Croatian and international music stars which makes this town a concert center of Dalmatia.
Krka National Park is located in the Šibenik inland and it includes almost the entire Krka river that flows through the rocky landscape and on its way goes over many cascades which results in beautiful waterfalls. The biggest and the most famous one is Skradinski buk, but there are several others worth the visit, such as Roški slap, Ogrlice or Manojlovac. In the Park there is a Franciscan monastery of Visovac situated on an islet of the same name, and more up the stream there is Krka monastery. In the north part of the Park the remains of Roman military camp called Burnum are located, with well preserved amphitheatre.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest national park in Croatia. It is situated in the mountain region of Lika, and it includes 16 emerald green and blue lakes that spread in cascades ona after another, interconnected through tufa barriers. Veliki Slap is also located in the Park and its 78 meters of height make him the highest waterfall in Croatia. There are also several caves in the Park area and two of them are opened for visitors. Another Plitvice Park attractions are orchids, since there are as much as 50 species growing across its area.
Kornati National Park consists of a hundred islands, islets and rocks of Kornati Archipelago that stretch as a stone necklace across the blue sea surface. It is a great location for boat trips and it is very popular among yachtsmen. Kornati underwater world is also very interesting for exploring, and diving is possible with professional scuba diving clubs that organize such tours. On the outer part of the Archipelago, cliffs can be found, one of many natural beauties of Kornati park.
Vrana Lake Nature Park is the largest freshwater lake of natural origin in Croatia, and it is situated right next to Pakoštane. it is an important habitat for swamp birds, and it also has a very rich fish fond. Cycling and hiking trails run along the lake coast, and above the middle part of the lake, on a hill, there is a lookout with resting area and a restaurant. There one can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view that stretches across the lake, the coast and nearby islands.
Telašćica Nature Park is located in the south-east part of Dugi otok, and it consists of Telašćica bay, the largest natural harbour on the Adriatic (which makes this Park extremely popular with yachtsmen), a few islets, Mir salt lake right next to which a donkey sanctuary is located and the outer side of the islands that is made of cliffs which dive vertically into the sea.
Kličevica is a medieval fortress near Benkovac that is situated near a small river that bears the same name. It was erected by Croatian noblemen for the purpose of guarding the border between Croatia and the Republic of Venice. During the turbulent times in past, at one moment it even belonged to the Ottoman army. To this day the fortress has remained almost intact while there is a small portion of fortification wall left.
Vrgada is a small island near the town of Pakoštane. In the past it was used as a watching point of Adriatic sea routes, and today it is visited by yachtsmen as it has a small but very interesting archipelago that consists of 15 islets. There are no cars on the island, and it is covered with pine forests above sand beaches which makes it ideal destination for a completely relaxed trip or summer vacation.
Prosika is a man-made canal dug in the 18th century in the southernmost point of Vrana lake and it connects it with the Adriatic sea. The canal was made in order to meliorate the swamps around Vrana lake. At the beginning of the canal there is a small harbour for boats and a renovated fisherman’s house from the 19th century, which today serves as an info center for Nature Park visitors.
Vrana lake is supplied by water from several sources and one of them is Pećina, located in the village of Vrana. The remains of the Roman nymph sanctuary have been discovered there, and the town of Zadar supplied with water from this spring during Roman times.
Kamenjak is a lookout place with resting facility and info center of the Vrana Lake Nature Park. It is located on the hilltop above the central part of the lake, with an amazing view of the lake, coast and islands nearby. Besides the info center, there are also a souvenir shop and Dalmatian tavern that offers traditional Dalmatian dish.
Vrana Lake Nature Park has a very interesting attraction – an educational ornithological path with observing spots along the coast of the lake where numerous bird species that live on the lake can be watched. It is entirely made of wood thus fitting nicely in the natural environment, and there are info boards about birds and interesting facts about them placed along the walking path.
Remains of the 9th century Benedictine monastery can be found at the location called Gradina, situated at the border of Vrana Lake Nature Park. The remains also bear the name of Old Vrana town. The place had a great importance in the medieval period when the crown of Croatian kings was guarded there. During the following centuries, the place was run by Benedictine monks, Templars, Venetians and Ottomans. Right next to it Maškovića Han is located.
Maškovića Han is the westernmost example of Turkish secular architecture, and it is located next to the Vrana village in the Vrana Lake Nature Park. The construction was begun by Jusuf Marković, a high ranking Turkish court nobleman whose origins were from Vrana area. The building was meant to serve as a han and Mašković residence. Han has been renovated and today it functions as heritage hotel and restaurant with small museum and souvenir shop.
First Croatian amusement park Mirnovec is located between the towns of Biograd and Pakoštane, offering a great opportunity for great family fun and excellent trip. It consists of several themed sections where there is a variety of attractions for both children and grown-ups. There are also several restaurants, bars and a souvenir shop in the park.