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Butterflies of Croatia

Tour Code: HRV01

A unique 8-day butterfly holiday, run in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation, to Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park, Paklenica National Park and the seldom-visited Velebit Mountains.

8 days from £1695(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1495 SRS: £195

Very few lepidopterists have explored the regions we visit on this unique tour, run in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation, and the country’s mix of both southern and eastern European butterfly species makes this an exciting holiday for the butterfly enthusiast. Along trails in the Plitvice National Park we’ll look for species such as Southern Festoon, Osiris Blue and Ilex Hairstreak, while the limestone gorges of Paklenica National Park are home to a more typical selection of ‘Mediterranean’ species such as Dark Green Fritillary. For our final two nights we transfer to the Velebit Mountains on the Dalamatian coast, home to some 130 species of butterfly! Beautiful scenery, curious folklore and warm hospitality are among the many other delights of a holiday to Croatia.

  • 190 butterfly species recorded in Croatia
  • 10% of the tour cost donated to Butterfly Conservation
  • Wide variety of ‘blues’ including Short-tailed & Chapman’s Blues
  • Rarities such as Bright-eyed & Dalmatian Ringlets in Paklenica
  • Rock Nuthatch & Subalpine Warbler, plus a rich reptile fauna
  • Stunning scenery – turquoise-coloured lakes & Velebit Mountains
  • Clouded Apollo, fritillaries, skippers & whites in Velebits
  • Rare Balkan Copper, attractive lizards & Chamois on alpine slopes
  • Led by expert naturalist guides


All included in the price.


Comfortable hotels, all with private facilities.

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Zagreb; transfer Plitvice National Park

Day 2 Plitvice National Park

Day 3/5 Paklenica National Park

Day 6/7 Velebit Mountains

Day 8 Fly London

Dalmatia Coastline

This unique butterfly holiday focuses on the beautiful mountains, forests and coastal maquis of Croatia. Nearly 200 species of butterfly have been recorded in this small, but varied, country and we have every chance of finding half of these during this week-long tour! Species familiar to those who have explored southern Europe, including Cleopatra, Camberwell Beauty, Large Tortoiseshell and Southern Festoon, flutter alongside butterflies with a distinctly eastern flavour such as Little Tiger Blue, Southern Comma, Hungarian Skipper, Balkan Marbled White and Great Sooty Satyr. A few surprises are also assured, for this is a region rarely visited by butterfly enthusiasts and we will be exploring areas where, even today, few lepidopterists have trodden! With a leisurely pace, warm Adriatic sunshine, beautiful upland scenery and mountain panoramas at every turn, this exciting tour has become a popular addition to our programme of butterfly tours.

Our holiday begins with a flight to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, from where we drive to our first base in the enchanting Plitvice Lakes National Park. Founded in 1949, Plitvice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a picturesque forested karst landscape, fed by the clear waters of the River Korana and dotted with lush meadows and lakes. The centre-piece of the park is a series of stunning turquoise coloured lakes which are set amidst woodland and stepped one above the other, over which roaring waterfalls tumble. We will explore the park via its network of marked trails from which we can expect to see a range of exciting butterflies, amongst them Southern Festoon, Scarce and Common Swallowtail, Eastern Dappled White, Ilex Hairstreak, Large Copper, Osiris, Short-tailed and Chapman’s Blue, Nettle-tree Butterfly, Purple Emperor, Camberwell Beauty, Cardinal and Great Banded Grayling.

Next we will explore the limestone gorges of the Paklenica National Park, just a stone’s throw from the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Paklenica is drier and more rugged than Plitvice, less wooded, but with some fine karst scenery. We will spend our time here enjoying leisurely walks through limestone habitats that often teem with butterflies. Paklenica is blessed with a selection of typical ‘Mediterranean’ species, such as Southern Swallowtail, Balkan Green-veined White, Cleopatra, Duke of Burgundy, Eastern Baton Blue, Silver-washed and Dark Green Fritillary and Eastern Rock Grayling. With a little luck we may also find a few rarities, perhaps Bright-eyed Ringlet or the endemic Dalmatian Ringlet. As we have learned from our spring visits, Paklenica is also superb for birds and we will keep an eye open for Rock Partridge, Rock Nuthatch and Subalpine Warbler. Reptiles such as Dalmatian Algyroides, European Glass Lizard and Dalmatian Wall Lizard also occur.
For our final two nights we will move from the Dalmatian coast into the Velebit Mountains, in particular into the Velebit Nature Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The Velebits will provide yet another contrast to the areas already explored, being more montane in nature than both Plitvice and Paklenica. En route we can also enjoy the impressive views over the many islands, of every shape and size, that dot the waters of the turquoise Adriatic Sea. The Velebit Mountains are part of the Dinaric Alps, a mountain chain that forms the rugged backbone of Croatia from the north-west to the south-east.

The highest areas (Vaganski Vrh at 1,757 metres being the highest peak) are alpine in nature with bare limestone and dolomite peaks, rocky screes and forested basins. The fauna and flora here are influenced by both Mediterranean and Alpine forces along with the ‘Bura’, a chilly wind that occasionally blows in from the northern Adriatic. Over 130 species of butterfly have been recorded here, amongst them Silver-spotted Skipper, Clouded Apollo, Mountain Small White, a range of blues (including Large, Mountain Alcon, Amanda’s and Meleager’s), both Twin-spot and Nickerl’s Fritillary and, possibly, the rare Balkan Copper. Herds of Chamois balance on precipitous slopes and even Wolf still live here, though the latter are shy and rarely seen. The herpetologists among us will also hope to see the attractively marked Leopard Snake or perhaps the endemic Horvath’s Rock Lizard.

Finally, we must leave the mountains and head for Zagreb and our flight home, having been spoiled by the impressive montane and coastal scenery, stunning landscapes, curious folklore, warm hospitality and diverse habitats that all combine to make Croatia such a special butterfly and wildlife destination.

Marbled Fritillary (Ian Small)Turquoise Blue (Ian Small)Male Spider - Philaeus Chrysops (Robert Godden)Southern Festoon (Robert Godden)Reverdin's Blue (Robert Godden)Red Helleborine (Robert Godden)Purple-shot Copper (Ian Small)Little Tiger Blue (Ian Small)Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Robert Godden)Leopard Snake (Robert Godden)Large Wall Brown (Robert Godden)Hungarian Skipper (Robert Godden)Hermit (Ian Small)Heath Fritillary (Ian Small)Great Sooty Satyr (Robert Godden)Dice Snake (Robert Godden)Balkan Green Lizard (Robert Godden)Blue Spot Hairstreak (Robert Godden)Amanda's Blue (Ian Small)Twin-spot Fritillary (Ian Small)Olive Bee Hawkmoth (Colin Burningham)Aesculapian Snake, Gerard GormanEastern Green Lizard, Gerard GormanPlitvicePlitviceOlive Bee Hawk Moth (Peter Waterton)Safflower Skipper (Peter Waterton)Flightless Grasshopper (Peter Waterton)Lappet (Andy Harding)Little Tiger Blue (Andy Harding)Niobe Fritillary (Andy Harding)Southern Comma (Andy Harding)Spotted Fritillary (Andy Harding)Amanda's Blue (Andy Harding)Balkan Marbled White (Andy Harding)
Dr. J.H.
A keen and knowledgeable group who made the most of the enthusiasm of our leader, Andy Harding, who worked fantastically hard for us.
Andy was an excellent source of knowledge. Loved his genuine enthusiasm. He was very helpful and considerate. Loved the flexibility to cater for everyone's interests.
We were taken around dozens of locations and stayed in three great hotels. Interesting field trips, with varying interests for each member of the group. Something for everyone. Our guides and local driver couldn't have done more to make our holiday better. Excellent service.
Good leaders. Terry was fun and made for a relaxing trip. Excellent locations with fabulous scenery and interesting wildlife. Not too much driving. A good group of fellow travellers. First hotel had a fabulous area at the back which was probably the best butterfly location of the trip.
Tyne & Wear
Good variety of habitats. Excellent local guides knowledge.
I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Croatia and I will treasure the memories (and photos) of the scenery, the wildlife and the people. Terry is an excellent tour leader, with a very affable nature and a good sense of humour. I have had little experience of travelling 'alone' so I was glad to be met by someone who made me feel at ease straight away. The hotels were all run by very friendly, welcoming people.
Excellent guides, particularly Terry, who was so helpful and informative. I'd be very happy to be on a trip of his again.
My Naturetrek holiday was absolutely superb. My thanks go to Terry who is an excellent leader, very friendly and amazingly patient!
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Mon 3rd June 2019 - Mon 10th June 2019



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1495 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Croatia

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Kerrie Porteous
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01962 733051

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BirdsWild flowersMammalsButterfliesConservation

Tour Reviews

A keen and knowledgeable group who made the most of the enthusiasm of our leader, Andy Harding, who worked fantastically hard for us.
Dr. J.H., Oxfordshire