It’s that time again, when the ancient streets of coastal Croatia are full of traffic. It’s the same thing for the roads, especially the Adriatic Highway, probably one of the most scenic routes you could ever drive along. No matter which part of Croatia’s coastline you’re heading to, incredible views are guaranteed. Between Zadar and Šibenik, a real natural phenomenon can be sighted – the Adriatic Sea and the freshwater Vrana lake separated by less than one kilometre of mainland.
Besides of being one of Croatia‘s largest natural lakes, it has been pronounced a nature park as well. Stretching from Pakoštane to Pirovac, blessing the two Croatian counties of Zadar and Šibenik-Knin at once, Vrana lake nature park covers about 57 square kilometres in total. A ridge, the Prosika canal, lets salt water flow down into the freshwater lake, making it possible for both salt water and freshwater fish to live there – a fact that attracts both sport and recreational fishing enthusiasts.
There are plenty more opportunities on offer at the gorgeous Vrana lake nature park aside from fishing, such as swimming or kayaking for example. One can also choose horseback riding or even try out swimming with the horses. Besides the abundant water activities, Vrana lake nature park also boasts 40 kilometres of impressive cycling and hiking trails with stunning views on offer. Several display boards providing educational information dotted around Vrana lake can be found as well.
What makes Vrana Lake nature park even more special, is its declaration as an Ornithological Reserve and its listing as one of the “Important Bird Areas in Europe” with more than 256 bird species being registered as living there. Off-season, particularly during the winter, over 100,000 aquatic birds seek out Vrana lake as their seasonal home. Birds aside, numerous other fascinating animal species can be found there as well.
From the “Kamenjak” viewpoint, Vrana lake nature park’s highest peak, one can catch sight of the rugged coastline, the Kornati archipelago, the Mediterranean swamp as well as the rural area of Ravni Kotari all at once – an amazing picture that one can hardly ever forget. During the year, some traditional festivities take place at the top, right in front of the Chapel of All Saints. Moreover, the main path up the hill is known as the Way of the Cross with its 14 stations regularly walked by locals and tourists.
A traditional Dalmatian tavern makes it possible to enjoy local delicacies while admiring the picturesque surroundings up there, and in the mornings one can see the beautiful shades of blue of both the lake and the sea, and soak up the amazing sunsets in the evenings. At this place, one thing is sure – unforgettable memories are guaranteed.
For more on Croatia’s nature parks, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.