Nature Park Telašćica

Among the particularly valuable regions of the Republic of Croatia, Telašćica holds a particular place and it is the only nature park on sea.

Its natural geographical features, flora and fauna, geomorphological entity, sea, submarine world and landscape represent a naturally well-situated unity on the land and sea of the last maritime kilometers of the Republic of Croatia state territory.

A refuge for donkeys, karst fields and olive groves, Roman villas, coves, lakes, lighthouses... you can see all of these in Telašćica. 

The Telašćica bay, after which the whole Nature Park got the name, is situated on the south-eastern part of the island Dugi otok. It is retracted into the land about 8 km and on its south side is the widest part of about 1.6 km. That part of the bay which is turned towards the south-east, is open towards the neighbouring Kornati islands. The bay itself is very indented with 25 bays, capes and 5 islands. Thanks to its position it is protected from the blows of the north-eastern wind from the mainland and the south wind from the open sea. Because of these features, Telašćica is one of the largest and best protected natural harbours on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. The name „Telaščica“ probably derives from the Latin name of "tre lagus" which means "three lakes". It consists of three parts which are separated by constriction. These three parts are Tripuljak, Farfarikulac and Telašćica. These three bays are actually morphogenetic Karst sinkholes, which ended up under the sea some 10 000 years ago after the last de-icing period called glacial Würm.


The bottom of the bay is mostly covered with communities of sea-flowering plants and habitats extremely rich on animal life and very important for the reproduction of many fish species.

Lake "Mir" is located in the south-western part of the Nature Park Telašćica. The lake is situated in a narrow area of land between the bay Telašćica and the open sea. After the last Ice Age the sea level rose to approximately 120 meters when the karsts depression met the sea, which it penetrates through numerous underground cracks, particularly numerous on the north side. The sources of the sea are easy to recognize during the tide. The length of the lake is approximately 900 m and it is of 300 m. The maximum depth is 6 m. The lake is salty because its underground channels are connected with the sea. Salinity of the lake is generally higher than the surrounding sea due to evaporation and restrictedness of the lake. In the lake Mir very small changes in water levels have been found since the cracks which connect the lake with the sea area are of low porosity. On the south-eastern part of the lake, the sea tends to spill over into the lake during storms. The shores of the lake are mostly low and rocky, with numerous depressions, while only in the extreme north-western part less accumulation of sand may be perceived.The lake bottom in shallow areas is rocky and in deeper it is covered with clay and on a part of south-east it is covered with fine grey silt (curative mud).


Temperature amplitudes of the lake are very prominent (in summer to 33 º C and winter to 5 º C). Because of that, the lake is warmer than the coastal sea in the summer and colder in winter due to the shallowness of the lake. The salinity of the lake is over average due to evaporation. These extreme conditions are the cause of biological poverty of the lake. Apart from the plankton, there are only a few species of marine organisms. These include: algae, goby, mullets, sea-bass, several species of shellfish, snails, crabs and a special type of eel (called “kajman” or “bižat” by the locals) which can grow up to 3 kg.


On the open-sea side of the Telašćica bay, vertical cliffs rise forming the most distinguished cliff on the Adria, the famous "Stene" of Dugi otok. The cliffs spread from the cap Mrzlovica on the north-west to the slopes of Veli vrh on the south-east reaching a height of 161 m at Grpašćak. This area has a rich and interesting flora and fauna and also dolphins can be seen next to the cliffs. On the cliffs under the sea level, live different corals including the already reduced red coral. The cliffs are interesting also above the sea because on steep cliffs grows the Croatian centaury and this is also the most northern habitat of the spurge (Euphorbia dendroides). The cliffs are also the nesting place of the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and next to it the Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) can also be seen. Thanks to the existence of a great number of individuals of this species, Telašćica has been enlisted to the Important Bird Areas. Two endemic species of the shell snail family live also on the cliffs: Delima edmibrani i Agathylla lamellose. The Delima edmibrani has so far been found only within the boundary of the Nature Park so it can be considered a park’s endemic animal, i.e. a stenoendemic of the park.

The Croatian centaury is a rare endemic species. It can be found only in Croatia on several locations but with a rare population: in the vicinity of Cavtat and the central and south Dalmatian islands. Two subspecies of this species can be found in the Nature Park Telašćica: Centaurea Ragusina ssp. Ragusina situated on the cliffs and in the bay Čuška dumboka and Centaurea Ragusina ssp. lungensis which is present only on the steeps of the cliff.


Along the cliffs in the sea depths, the gorgonian corals Eunicella cavolinii and Paramuricea clavata, and sponges like the Axinella cannabina species, can be found. On the sea bed of the cliffs, at a depth of about 20 m, dominates an accumulation of photophyllic algae like the Halimeda tuna, Acetabularia acetabulum, Padina pavonica and many others. At greater depths colonies of the red coral Corallium rubrum, which is an endangered species, can be found here. On the area of the cliffs live several species of sea-urchins, a great number of different fish and crab species.

In the underwater recess of the cliffs in semi-dark caves live different sponges, stingers, corals….