Embracing Untouched Nature in Croatia and Slovenia

From cascading waterfalls to endless isles to snowcapped peaks soaring above the forests, if it’s the splendor of unspoiled environments you want, Croatia and Slovenia’s untouched gems await you. The dedication to preservation is nearly unparalleled on the continent with both countries having among the most protected lands in the EU.

More than 1/3rd of Slovenian territory is protected, encompassing wild areas that include mysterious caves, magnificent mountains and endless forests covering nearly 60% of the country. It’s no wonder Slovenia was designated the first Green Destination of the World.

Fertile forests also spread across almost 50% of Croatia with protected areas extending to eight national parks, twelve nature parks and into the sea.

Protected Parks from the Islands to the Mainland

The jewel of Croatia’s protected areas is the UNESCO-listed Plitvice Lakes, dazzling year-round with paths through forests and over lakes. The greens and blues of spring and summer give way to autumnal colors flowing into snowy winter scenes and waterfalls frozen in time.

Protected parks can be found all over Croatia. In Brijuni, you’ll discover an assortment of uninhabited islands off the coast of Istria, boasting a mixture of cultural heritage and stark natural beauty.

North Velebit National Park is a must for hikers, the UNESCO-protected mountain affords spectacular views of the coast and islands below. Telašćica Nature Park on Dugi Otok offers tranquil bays and cliffs overlooking the sea.

Krka National Park, covering an area of 109 km² along the Krka River, is more than just the roaring Skradinski buk waterfall. Its endless trails, monasteries and ruins set along the beauty of a powerful river.Mljet is one of Croatia’s southernmost islands, a forested dreamscape with every shade of blue found along its coast. Half of the island is a national park and it’s the oldest protected marine area in the Mediterranean.

Forests, Apples & Iconic Mountains

Slovenia’s largest protected area, Triglav National Park, is a wonderland of peaks, gorges and pristine lakes reflecting the Julian Alps. The park’s centerpiece is Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak (2,864 m), which offers unparalleled views of the mountains and valleys below – there’s a reason it’s featured on the flag.

From the mountains and to the trees where you’ll find the UNESCO-protected primeval beech forests of the Krokar Virgin Forest and Snežnik Ždrolce Reserve. Thriving since the end of the last ice age, the forest spread across 18 countries, including Croatia.

Onwards to the hills, streams and blooming meadow orchards of native apples and vibrant forests that make up the Kozjansko Regional Park. Alongside archaeological sites and quaint villages, lovers of plants and animals can rejoice in the rich biodiversity – so diverse that it’s a protected UNESCO biosphere and protected by the EU’s Natura 2000.

Karstic Wonders Above and Below Ground

The protected gems of Slovenia aren’t just aboveground.

The Karst region is home to the majority of Slovenia’s over 13,000 caves. An underground world beneath your feet, including the Postojna Cave which is so large it has its own train. One of the most unique pieces of karst landscape is Lake Cerknica, an intermittent lake resting on a porous karst surface that makes the lake disappear and reappear yearly.

The karst landscape extends into Croatia too, with pits as deep as 1,000 meters and cave systems that stretch for nearly 40 km.

Visit 365 Days a Year

No matter the season, there are few places in Europe where you’ll find more unspoiled and diverse nature. With a clear commitment to safeguarding what’s here today so future generations can enjoy it tomorrow, Croatia and Slovenia are ideal places to celebrate the great outdoors.

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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