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Nature Park Vrana Lake

Traveling with Jadranska highway towards north Dalmatia, between two historical cities, Zadar and Sibenik, you will see a nature's phenomenon- two equally beautiful but still different lakes. On one side you will see rugged Adriatic coastline, famous by it's extraordinary beauty and clean sea, and on the other side you will see biggest natural lake in Croatia.

Vrana Lake and it's surroundings were declared as a Park of nature on 21st of July 1999. Park is located between Pirovac and Pakostane. Park itself is placed over a surface of 52 km2, from which 30.02 km2 is the lake itself. Lake is unique for it's placing and characteristics, not only in Croatia, but in other parts of Europe, too. It is actually a karst valley filled with salt water below sea level, and it is the biggest lake in Croatia, too.

Unusual interweaving and incredible symbiosis of land and water offers place for many animal and plant species, giving them all necessary conditions for life. Filled with grass, reeds and rushes, it reminds of a field filled with shallow lakes, covered with flowers of lively colors and surrounded by butterflies, dragonflies and other insect species. These conditions create perfect environment for birds that live in lake area and in park itself. Till today, there has been documented over 251 species of birds, from which 102 are residential on lake area. Four of them are considered endangered in Europe, and seven of them are endangered species in Croatia. For some of these birds, Vrana Lake is the only nesting place in the whole Mediterranean part of Croatia. Park area is also a resting point and source of food for many other endangered European animal species. More then 100 000 water birds spend their winter here.

Birds are not only thing worth seeing in the park. Lake is rich with many fish species and visitors can discover many other lake sights. Climate in this area is typical Mediterranean. Water springs, pine forest and Crkvine camp offer shelter and refreshment in any moment. You can find peace and quietness necessary for enjoying yourself in bird watching of fishing during the whole year. Cyclists and pedestrians can have a really good time on a bicycling lane which is 40 kilometers long. It leads through many sightseeing spots and places in which you can enjoy different colors and aromas of aromatic, wild plants, with sage being the most noticeable. On certain spots you can take a beak and refresh yourself in pine forest which is placed directly by the lake.

 
Nature Park Vrana Lake
 

Vrana Lake bicycling lane

Vrana Lake bicycling lane is a circle shaped lane that's 48 kilometers long. Small part of it is asphalted while most of it is macadam. Most usual starting position on this circle shaped trail is local church in Vrana. Trail leads up to the Majdan hill, where you can enjoy a view over a whole ornithological reserve, but this is also a very tricky and hard part of the trail and it would be best that you are already in a good shape and condition before you tackle it. Make sure to bring enough food supplies cause nearest market is all across the lake in Prosika. If you have enough time and strength, definitely visit viewpoint Kamenjak, which is placed above the mark that marks half of the trail, cause it offers a great view on the whole Vrana Lake, Pasman and Murter islands and on islands that belong to National park Kornati. Trails that goes along the east part of the coast, which leads to Prosika, is short and goes over Babin Skoj peninsula. There, you can see remains of Liburnian ruins and Venetian tower. You can take a break in Prosica, too, near the channel that connects lake Vransko with sea. After Prosika, trail shortly goes alongside the highway (right now, trying to make this part of the trail to go other way is in the works, so that in the future, it doesn't goes alongside the road and that people can enjoy nature more without car noise). Ending of the trail leads towards camp, and it is mostly flat and not so straining.

 

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