Code of conduct in protected areas

Find out about the code of conduct in protected areas aimed at preserving their precious natural values

There are nine categories of protected areas in Croatia: strict reserve, national park, special reserve, nature park, regional park, nature monument, important landscape, forest park, and horticultural monument.

National parks

National parks comprise wide and mainly untouched areas of land and/or sea with one or more preserved ecosystems. Their primary purpose is to preserve natural values, which is why commercial use of their natural resources is prohibited.

Nature parks

A nature park is a wide natural or partially cultivated area of land and/or sea with valuable environmental characteristics and special landscape, as well as cultural and historical values. Commercial and other types of activities that do not affect the park’s essential characteristics and role, are allowed. The manner of performing commercial activities and using natural resources in a nature park is established based on nature protection conditions.

Code of conduct

In order to enjoy a pleasant and safe stay in the park and preserve its nature, it is necessary to follow certain rules of conduct and take some advice.

Park rangers are directly in charge of protecting the park and have the authority to issue fines on the spot for violations of the rules defined by the Regulations on Internal Rules and the Nature Protection Act.

Moving around and spending time in the park:
  • entry to ticket-issuing parks is prohibited without a ticket, which you must hold on to until exiting the park, and show it to park officials at their request
  • it is prohibited to drive and/or park vehicles outside of areas designated for driving or parking
  • it is prohibited to walk outside of the marked trails and paths, and in some parks, visitors are permitted to walk only in the areas and on paths that are clearly marked and intended for visitors
  • some parks still include suspected mined areas, which is why you should not enter such areas
  • visits to some sites (e.g. special reserves) are only possible by prior arrangement, in the presence of park staff and in smaller groups, and there are also sites where visits are completely prohibited
  • climbing the cliffs is prohibited
  • off-road driving is prohibited
  • camping is prohibited, except in designated and marked areas of specific parks
  • dogs must be leashed
  • visitors are advised to wear suitable clothes and footwear and to bring drinking water and food, if necessary, as well as sunscreens and mosquito repellents in the summertime.
Lighting fire, waste disposal, noise, carrying of weapons, park equipment:
  • lighting fire is prohibited, except in designated areas at specific parks, that are equipped with the appropriate facilities
  • it is prohibited to litter and throw cigarette butts, if necessary, take them with you
  • do not make noise, it disturbs the animals
  • it is prohibited to bring firearms into the park
  • do not damage park equipment (e.g. signs, information boards, etc.), as it serves to support your informational and recreational needs.
Local population, park staff and park activities:
  • respect local customs and tradition, as well as privacy of park residents
  • cooperate with the park staff
  • recording videos or taking photographs for commercial purposes is prohibited without park permission
  • prior notice and park permission are required for specific recreational activities (e.g. paragliding, hang gliding, climbing, photo safari, etc.)
  • it is prohibited to engage in tourism, catering and commercial activities without concession approval from the park
Plants, animals, mushrooms, the environment, minerals, fossils, caves, etc.:
  • it is prohibited to pick, collect, damage or destroy plants and mushrooms
  • do not feed, chase, harass, frighten, disturb, hunt, collect, harm or kill any animal
  • do not damage the animals’ nests and hollows
  • do not collect snails and mushrooms and do not pick medicinal herbs
  • do not pollute watercourses, water sources and cisterns
  • it is prohibited to pollute air, soil and water
  • it is prohibited to destroy protected minerals and fossils
  • it is prohibited to damage, destroy or remove dripstones, plants and animals in speleological sites, as well as archaeological, fossil and other findings, and to dispose of or release waste in speleological sites
  • it is prohibited to damage, destroy, remove or misappropriate anthropological findings and tangible remains of different cultures, archaeological and fossil findings, and cultural and historical buildings and cultural monuments.
Fishing:
  • in some parks fishing is prohibited, and in others it is permitted under the condition of obtaining a licence in advance, issued by the park
  • sport and recreational fishing is permitted under the condition of obtaining a licence in advance, issued by the park
  • speargun fishing is prohibited, with the exception of the Lastovo Archipelago where it is prohibited during the night and with the use of diving cylinders, but only in specific locations
  • some parks prohibit collecting and removing bivalves and other marine organisms.
Swimming and diving:
  • visitors must respect the signs prohibiting swimming at certain locations of parks
  • solo diving is permitted only under the condition of obtaining a licence of the park in advance, and only in specific locations
  • dive responsibly and, if possible, moor your vessel instead of anchoring it, and do not anchor in Posidonia oceanica meadows. When diving, be mindful of your movements and equipment in order to avoid any harm to or disturbance of marine organisms. Leave the sea only with what you took entering it.
Navigation, anchoring and mooring vessels:
  • vessel speed must be adjusted to the park’s speed limits
  • anchoring and/or mooring of vessels are permitted only in areas designated and marked for such purposes
  • anchoring and/or mooring of vessels outside of the marked areas are prohibited without special permission from the park.
Paragliding and sailing:
  • visitors who use hang gliders and paragliders do so at their own risk
  • sailing and paragliding are permitted only from approved and marked take-off sites, and only with park permission
Hiking and walking:
  • do not explore mountains on your own
  • choose only those trails that suit your fitness level
  • inform your family on the directions you aim to take and when you expect to return, and stick to your plan
  • ask park staff for advice and follow it
  • check the weather forecast beforehand
  • put on suitable hiking clothes and footwear, and take warm and waterproof clothes with you, as well as protection against rain, wind and the sun
  • take enough drinking water with you
  • take a flash light, matches and a candle with you
  • take first aid medical supplies with you
  • use a hiking map and compass
  • exercise special care in wintertime, and beware that it gets dark early
  • do not engage in wintertime excursions in those areas that you have not explored in the summer.
Mountaineering and climbing:
  • visitors who engage in climbing do so at their own risk
  • climbing is only permitted in designated climbing sites
  • use of full climbing equipment is mandatory
  • do not climb alone – solo climbing is prohibited
  • creating new and changing the existing climbing routes is prohibited without park permission
  • when climbing, be careful not to knock off rocks, as someone could get hurt
  • many endemic plant species grow on rocks – do not pull out or damage them
  • many birds nest on rocks – do not disturb them. If you come across a nest with eggs along your climbing route, please inform the park
  • due to the presence of a rare or endangered plant or animal species, individual routes may be closed to climbing.
Cave exploration:
  • it is prohibited to damage, destroy or remove dripstones, plants and animals in speleological sites, as well as archaeological, fossil and other findings, and to dispose of or release waste in speleological sites
  • it is prohibited to destroy or collect fossils, fossil remains or other phenomena in caves and other speleological sites
  • it is prohibited to destroy, remove or misappropriate anthropological findings and tangible remains of different cultures found in caves or other speleological sites
  • do not enter speleological sites alone
  • do not take bats into your hands and do not touch them; do not photograph bat colonies and do not make noise during bat hibernation.