You thought there were no zebras or elephants in the Mediterranean? Guess again!

The Brijuni archipelago consists of 14 islands and islets known for having the most diverse plant and animal life of all of Istria. Brijuni attract with their scenic beauty, and spending a day at this Croatian national park is a truly unique experience. The largest and the most visited island is Veliki Brijun, where you can take a trip to the safari park, come across dinosaur tracks, and see delightful mouflons wandering around.

Exploring the natural beauty of Brijuni National Park

Brijuni’s vegetation really enriches Croatia’s overall biodiversity. There are more than 600 domestic plant species on Veliki Brijun island alone, with maquis shrublands and holm oaks being the most common ones. Many are fascinated by the fact that there’s quite an abundance of marine poppies and wild cucumbers on the islands, since those species are rare to find in other parts of the Istrian Peninsula.

Equally captivating is the evergreen shrub of the strawberry tree, but don’t be fooled by its appealing name! If you eat too much of its berries you could end up with digestive disorders. Even the Romans knew its intoxicating effect and called it unum tantum edo, or I eat only one.

Most of the archipelago’s flora has typical Mediterranean characteristics, but there are some interesting imported species as well. The stone pine, eucalyptus and sequoia are just some of the plants you won’t see in other parts of Croatia. When walking through this landscape, your eyes will also be drawn to the extraordinary solitary trees, the kings of Brijuni’s grasslands. Their specific crown tops, reaching up to 20 metres, are shaped by deers feeding on their leaves.

Where is Brijuni National Park?

Brijuni National Park is located off the west coast of the Istrian peninsula, near the town of Fažana, which is easily accessible from Pula or Rovinj.

Best time to visit

The Brijuni islands are beautiful throughout the year, with summer being the most popular time to visit. However, if you’d like to avoid the crowds and enjoy some milder weather, spring or autumn are your best bet.

Getting to Brijuni National Park

To get to the park, you can take a ferry from the port of Fažana, easily reachable from Pula or Rovinj. The ferry ride to the main island of Veli Brijun takes approximately 15 minutes and is included in the ticket.

Tickets for Brijuni National Park

Tickets for Brijuni National Park can be purchased at the official park entrance in Fažana or online in advance. Prices vary depending on the season, age, and type of experience you choose, with options for a guided safari excursion or a self-guided tour.

Must-visit places within Brijuni National Park

Veli Brijun Island

Veli Brijun Island is the largest and most visited island in the national park, offering picturesque landscapes, ancient ruins, exotic animals, and many cultural attractions.

The Mediterranean Garden

The Mediterranean Garden is a botanical marvel, showcasing a diverse collection of 169 plant species from around the world, each with its own QR code that allows you to learn more about them.

St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s Church is a historic landmark dating back to the 6th century. Later renovated and transformed into a Benedictine convent, it would remain in use until the 14 century.

Remnants of ancient Roman villas

The remnants of villas scattered across Brijuni provide a fascinating glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of ancient Romans. The largest one dates back to the 1st century BC!

Fort Minor

Fort Minor is a well-preserved 19th century fortress, the largest of its kind on the Adriatic. Built during Austrian rule, it was used by the military until 2001, when it became home to the Ulysses Theatre.

Tito’s summer residence

Tito’s summer residence is a historic villa where the former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito used to spend his holidays. Visitors can tour the villa, explore its lavish interiors, and learn about Tito’s life and legacy.

Dinosaur footprints

Among the most interesting inhabitants of Brijuni islands are the ones who walked on it over 125 million years ago — dinosaurs. Footprints of the reptile that dominated the Earth during the Mesozoic were found at four different sites of the Brijuni National Park. You can clearly see the marks of the Theropod, a three-toed seven-metre tall carnivore.

The safari — exploring a unique animal kingdom

The safari experience on Veliki Brijun allows visitors to observe a wide range of exotic and endangered animals, including zebras, elephants, llamas, and dolphins, many of them roaming freely around the island. It’s an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers.

Brijuni outdoor activities

Besides sightseeing and guided tours, the Brijuni islands offer various outdoor activities, including cycling, hiking, swimming, and snorkelling.

Guided tours within Brijuni

Guided tours within Brijuni National Park are available in multiple languages and take you through key attractions, share fascinating stories and insights, and ensure a memorable and informative experience.


There are several hotels and villas where you can stay in Brijuni National Park, with Hotel Neptun and Hotel Istra being the most popular options. Unlike other Croatian national parks, camping is forbidden.

A unique animal kingdom

Deer is not the only animal you can see hopping around the vast meadows. Hares, fast-running mammals resembling large rabbits, and mouflons, a kind of a wild sheep with curved horns, found a perfect home in the Croatian national park. If you visit the islands at the end of the summer, you could even witness numerous widgeons and ducks resting on Brijuni on their way to the south.

There’s also an unusual combination of exotic species from South America, Africa and Asia that lives on the northern edge of Veliki Brijun. It’s the Brijuni safari park, an enclosed area of over nine hectares where elephants, llamas, zebras, camels and ostriches form a happy community. The park also has a domestic part where you can see goats, donkeys, Istrian sheep, and the famous Istrian ox, boškarin.

Other wonders of the Istrian Peninsula

Istria has always been known for its beauty, and Brijuni National Park surely contributes to it. But the peninsula’s nature is more than just nice to look at. Its soil is perfect for the growth of Istrian truffles, an underground fungus harvested by specially trained truffle hunting dogs. Among four different kinds of truffles, the White truffle is the most exclusive one, luring gourmets around the world with its nutty and earthy aroma.

Get ready for your Brijuni adventure

Are you eager to explore Croatia and revel in delights such as a beefsteak with truffles and a side of Istrian pasta, fuži? Book your stay at Camping Village Šimuni and try out other Croatian delicacies in one of our restaurants! And if you’re planning a day trip to one of the jewels of Croatia — the Brijuni National Park, simply reach out via this contact form and we’ll help make your wish come true!