In central Dalmatia, halfway from Šibenik to Zadar, there is a stop you need to make.
It is a unique nature park Vrana Lake (Vransko Jezero). It is the largest lake in Croatia that has numerous impressive sites to explore. It is perhaps best known as a wetland bird reserve adored by bird watchers as well as outdoor enthusiasts, cyclists and overall curious minds. Specific geographical position along the intended Dalmatian coast just 500 meters from the shore offers one of the most fascinating viewpoints on the Kamenjak hill and various other interesting spots around a 30 square kilometers lake.
Mentioning every intriguing thing about this nature park is simply impossible, but we truly hope you to put a bright light on this amazing place you need to visit.
The lake’s flora and fauna
Spread along the Dalmatian coast, Vrana Lake is a place of intriguing specificity.
Water and wet wetlands are extremely important in terms of biodiversity conservation. There you can find a large number of endangered and sensitive plant and animal species. In the lake are present true aquatic plants that live entirely submerged or have floating pieces on top of the water.
Because of some salinity in the lake, not a large number of species get to develop, which is why the present species occur with a big number of samples and dominate the lake.
Due to its closeness to the sea, the lake is slightly salty and both freshwater fish and marine fish have their habitat there.
There are only two indigenous freshwater species in the lake; eel and freshwater blenny, other species have been purposely or accidentally introduced into the lake. There are carp, then Prussian carp, pike and mosquito fish that was introduced because it feeds on mosquito larvae and thus controls them. Most abundant marine fish specie in the lake is the mullet.
Most prominent feature of the park is the ornithological reserve in the northern part of the park.
In the time of breeding 102 species of birds use the reserve. The water and the land is abundant in food and tall reeds are an ideal refuge for their nests and the young.
Winter birds find shelter during severe cold weather while during the sunny winter days it is possible to see up to 100 000 birds in the open air enjoying the mild climate.
About 140 species of migration birds stop by in this bird haven to rest and feed in spring and fall. From a total of 250 species of birds that live in the reserve, nest, winter or migrate, 136 species are critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable on a national (129), European (95) or even the world level (9). Reeds and meadows of Ornithological reserve are among the most endangered habitats in Croatia.
Activities and attractions
If you decide to spend the whole day in Vrana Nature Park you won’t regret your decision. You can hop on a bike and cycle around the lake stopping by the bird reserve, sport fishing port Prosika and climbing the Kamenjak hill.
Kamenjak hill viewpoint offers an incredible overview of the whole lake and the beautiful archipelago in front. Kamenjak is famous for its colorful sunsets. In such a small space you can have the lake, the hill and the sea on the palm of your hand. Stroll down to the Prosika port and check out the latest catch.
Get educated with info boards and educational paths. Fish educational path will get you familiar with all the endangered species, Botanical path will amaze you with the variety of plant life and the watch tower will help you spot the countless birds flying in the Park.
All in all you can recreate, get educated and spend the day in the extraordinary landscape of this unique and alluring Nature park. Pack your water and tie your shoes tight because you are in for a treat!
Author: Nikolina Dukić
Photo Credits: NP Vransko Jezero