Vrana Lakes Nature Park stretches over a vast area of around 57 km² and sits just 5 minutes’ drive from the beach resort village of Pakoštane. You can enter the park from either place. In fact, there are three entrances to the lakes, they are, Crkvine, Kamenjak, or Prosika harbor.
The most ideal way to reach the lake no matter which entrance you choose is to come by car or pre-arrange transport or tour. Once here, you have an abundance of things to keep you busy.
Vrana Lake is one of the top birdwatching spots in Croatia. Spending time at the lakes to view the birds won't disappoint you no matter what time of year you choose. Though, the ultimate time to visit would be in spring and autumn when you will be rewarded with the most diversity of birdlife.
Plan your visit either in the early morning or instead before the sunset as these are when the birds are active, and you’re most likely to get a glimpse of the winged creatures.
Once in the ornithological reserve, you should proceed gently and quietly to have the best chance to see the birds in their natural habitat. Guides can be booked to take you through the reserve to help you locate them and also to point out birds' nests and feathers, and the like that you may miss on your own.
Of course, bring with you a good pair of binoculars, and if you are extra keen, a telescope with a tripod will help you maximize your chances of success.
Head up, up, and a little further up to Kamenjak viewpoint for the most incredible views over the lake. It's here that you will find a sightseeing point.
Once at the viewpoint, you can read the interesting information on educational boards or take a seat and take in the view from one of the stone benches. You can even use the telescope and spot the Kornati islands. From this height, you can even see the remote islands and the town of Pakoštane.
In addition, you'll find two other great stops, the souvenir shop and everyone's favorite tasting room. In the Kamenjak tasting room, you can sip on a cold glass of locally made wine or sample the many tasty kinds of cheese and olive oils surrounded by fascinating relics.
If you'd love to see the beauty of the lake on two wheels, you're in luck as several picturesque biking trails in the region pass Lake Vrana.
One such route in the "MTB 29 Vrana 1", at just over 6 kilometers, it's an ideal one to do. With only one ascent, this is an easy trail suitable for beginners who can peddle on a rough macadam surface.
Many other routes are available; all you have to do is choose your fitness level and how many kilometers you want to peddle that day!
Click here to find more cycling routes to suit your needs using the interactive map.
Strap on your hiking boots and head to Vrana Lake Nature Park for a day (or two) in nature. Along the many hikes, you'll discover how biologically diverse the area is thanks to the enlightening trails dispersed in the park.
Take the family along 600 meter wooden 'Educational trail of the Birds of Lake Vrana,' which encompasses the ornithological reserve. Peer through the reeds and see how many bird species you can discover; if you're fortunate, you'll see the endangered Pygmy cormorant that love to nest here. The trail has eight educational boards, and you can finish the trail in just 45 minutes, which is ideal for little legs. To make it even more fun, why not rent a pair of binoculars at the info center Crkvine.
There are longer trails for keen hikers, such as the 5 kilometer educational botanical trail. This circular hiking trail will take you around 2 hours; it starts at the Kamenjak viewpoint and goes through the Mernjača canyon to the Bašinka pier and further through the Orlja Draga canyon and circles back to where it all began, Kamenjak.
Feel at one with nature on a kayak at the lake. After all, kayaking has to be one of the most fun ways to enjoy the lake (after swimming!). Vrana Lake is the largest natural lake in Croatia, and at the lake, you can fish from your kayak for extra outdoorsy fun.
You can rent tandem or single kayaks at the information center located at the Port of Prosika entrance. You can opt for an hourly rental or take the kayak for a whole day of adventure.
Get to really enjoy the lake, by sleeping right by the lake, at the Crkvine campsite. Positioned close to Pakoštane sea-side village (just 2.5 kilometers away), this camping site is part of the nature park and offers an array of accommodation options.
Choose from a pitcher, or sleep in a modern fully equipped mobile home. On-site, Crkvine campsite has up-to-date sanitary facilities as well as several sports amenities.
From the camping ground, you can kayak, fish or birdwatch. There are also several cycling and hiking trails close by, making the camp one of the most active in Croatia.
Kids of all ages will love the Lake Vrana Adventure Park. Situated in a thick pine forest, kids can test their rock climbing skills, balance, walking, and hanging from a zipline! Adventure awaits those who want to try any one of the 27 exercise elements set in an area of more than 3700 square meters and has two trails.
Get around faster thanks to the electric tourist train. Starting at the sea-side village Pakoštane and making drop-offs and pick-ups at the Crkvine Info Center, the train then makes its way back to Pakoštane.
The train will run based on reservation (3 days in advance), so you can plan your day around taking the train for total ease.
The departure point is from Kralja Petra Svačića street and is available from 8 am to 4 pm daily for a fee of 40 kunas per adult or 30 for children. The price includes entrance to the Ornithological Reserve.
GUIDE TO PAKLENICA NATIONAL PARK