ORNITHOLOGICAL TOUR

This tour encompasses visits to ornithological sites, including visits to national parks and some of Croatia’s attractive cities.

Day 1:  ZAGREB
Arrival in Zagreb, capital of Croatia. Dinner and overnight in Zagreb.

Day 2:  ZAGREB – CRNA MLAKA – ZAGREB
After breakfast, visit to Crna Mlaka ornithological reserve in the immediate vicinity of Zagreb, an important habitat of wetland ornithofauna. The diversity of animal species is due to the combination of extremely favorable and diverse biotopes: water, wetland and forest. In addition to fish and bird fauna, Mlaka is the habitat of the extremely rare otter.
Dinner and overnight in Zagreb.

Day 3:  ZAGREB – OSIJEK
After breakfast, sightseeing of Croatia’s capital and its old center (Kaptol and Gradec, the remains of defensive walls from the 13th century, Cathedral and so on). Sightseeing includes a visit to the Hunting Museum, which houses an extensive collection of birds and other animals. The holdings of the museum number over 2000 objects, mostly prized examples from the area of Croatia, as well as atypical examples (moose, raccoon dog and so on) and anomalies. A unique attraction is the collection of birds and bird eggs (171 species). Also extremely interesting is the collection of hunting tools, which encompasses cold weapons and firearms from the 16th century to the present.
Departure for Osijek. Sightseeing of the old town center and Tvrđa (the old part of the city).
Dinner and overnight in Osijek.

Day 4:  OSIJEK – KOPACKI RIT – OSIJEK
After breakfast, all- day visit to nearby Kopacki Rit Nature Park, a flooded area in the southeastern part of Baranja, near the confluence of the Drava and Danube rivers. In addition to being a zoological reserve, it is also a hydrological, limnological and vegetational reserve. Due to its biological diversity, Kopacki Rit was included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance in1993, inaccordance with the provisions of the Ramsar Convention. Ambience lunch and dinner in a typical restaurant. Dinner and overnight in Osijek.

Day 5: OSIJEK – DJAKOVO – LONJSKO POLJE – PLITVICE
After breakfast, departure for Djakovo. Sightseeing of the Cathedral and then departure for Cigoc, a village located at the very entrance to Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, one of the largest stork habitats in Europe.
The picturesque village of Cigoc was proclaimed the first European stork village by the European foundation Euronatur. Due to its exceptionally favorable natural conditions, there are stork nests on nearly every house or barn, and there are more storks than people. Namely, in 45 active nests, there area over 200 storks, while in some seventy houses, only about 120 inhabitants, which clearly says a great deal about the relation between man and nature in the area.
Traditional lunch in the rural household.
Continue to enjoy the natural beauties of Lonjsko Polje, the largest protected wetland area not only in Croatia, but in the entire Danube River basin. Specific sections within the nature park (ornithological reserve Krapje Djol) have been placed under even more stringent protection. Wetland meadows, forests of ash, willows and poplars in this reserve are important for the nesting of ducks, while found in the wetland oak forest and meadows of the Lonjsko Polje are very rare European animals (white-tailed eagle and short-toed eagle, gray and white heron, black stork and so on). Located in this wetland area, where high waters can remain for up to six months of the year, is one of the largest carp spawning areas in Europe.
Dinner and overnight in Plitvice.

Day 6:  PLITVICE
All-day tour of the largest and oldest national park in Croatia, with an area of19,172 ha, and specific phenomenon in the Karst terrain: sixteen cascade lakes, series of waterfalls and vegetation often of a primeval character. Living next to the lakes is a whole range of animal species (bears, wolves, deer, foxes, badgers, wild cats and others), among which a special place is taken by birds of prey and those that nest in the hollows of trees. The lake waters are adorned by travertine, while the crystal clear waters abound in trout. Visit of the national park on foot, by electric train and by boat.
Dinner and overnight in Plitvice.

Day 7:  PLITVICE – ZADAR –PAKLENICA NP – SPLIT
Drive to Zadar, short sightseeing of the historical city center, as well as a visit to Paklenica National Park, located near two canyons of Velebit Mountain at3,617 ha, habitat of rare nesting birds on canyon cliffs, but also of bears, wild boars, martens, wild cats, as well as an autochthonous black pine forest.
Afterwards, continuation to Split.
Dinner and overnight in Split.

Day 8:  SPLIT – NERETVA DELTA – LAKE KUTI – DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, visit to the city of Split and its sights, as well as a visit to the Neretva Delta and Lake Kuti, which together with Hutovo Blato form a natural ornithological whole as the most important nesting ground for wetland birds in the Croatian Mediterranean area. This area contains a diversity of habitats that form a wonderful and exceptional landscape. Marshes, reed, lagunas, lakes, beaches, rivers and lime hills form a mozaic of natural habitats in the area of the Neretva Valley. Visit to the Ornithological Museum in Metković. In the ornithological collection, the birds are distributed according to habitat, and so give a visual depiction of the former exuberance of life in the wetlands of Croatia’s only delta.
Although all exhibits are equally valuable, visitors are sure to be drawn to the Dalmatian or Neretva pelican, which lived in the area prior to drainage of the brackish lakes at the mouth of the Neretva River. Continue toward Dubrovnik.
Dinner and overnight in Dubrovnik.

Day 9:   DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, sightseeing of the city known as “Croatia’s Athens”, a city that was the cradle of literature and arts in general, full of Renaissance buildings: town walls, towers, portals, Stradun, Rector’s Palace, Cathedral, St. Blaise’s church, Franciscan and Dominican monasteries etc.
After lunch, trip to the nearby islet of Lokrum, as well as a visit to the Botanical Garden located there, which cultivates about 500 species, mostly trees and bushes, while in the greenhouse there are about 200 types of succulents.
Dinner and overnight in Dubrovnik.

Day 10:  DUBROVNIK – MLJET – DUBROVNIK
All-day boat excursion to the island of Mljet, and its national park that encompasses3,100 haon its northwestern part, with two salt lakes that represent two flooded Karst fields. The lakes are joined, and connected to the sea. The surroundings are overgrown with lavish evergreen vegetation (forest of Aleppo pines – the best preserved on the Mediterranean). Migratory birds, as well as those staying the winter, make the brackish lakes their habitat. The most important species of the national park is Audouin’s gull, which nests on the islets, and is present all-year round.
The most significant species of Mljet National Park is the European shag, which also nests on the islets, as well as the sea cliffs. Both species are threatened as a result of over hunting of sea creatures.
Dinner and overnight in Dubrovnik.

Day 11:   DUBROVNIK  - GOOD BYE CROATIA
Transfer to the airport Dubrovnik for your home flight.

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