Croatia is located in South-eastern Europe between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia, and bordering the Adriatic Sea. Its shape resembles that of a crescent or a horseshoe, which flanks its neighbours Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. To the north lie Slovenia and Hungary; Italy lies across the Adriatic Sea. Its mainland territory is split in two non-contiguous parts by the short coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum.
Its terrain is diverse, including:
* plains, lakes and rolling hills in the continental north and north-east (Central Croatia and Slavonia, part of the Pannonian Basin);
* densely wooded mountains in Lika and Gorski Kotar, part of the Dinaric Alps;
* rocky coastlines on the Adriatic Sea (Istria, Northern Sea coast and Dalmatia).
Phytogeographically, Croatia belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Central European and Illyrian provinces of the Circumboreal Region and the Adriatic province of the Mediterranean Region. According to the WWF, the territory of Croatia can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Pannonian mixed forests, Dinaric Mountains mixed forests and Illyrian deciduous forests.
The country is famous for its many national parks. Besides national parks, Croatian laws provide special protection to ten more nature parks and two strict natural reserves. Around ten percent of total territory of Croatia is enjoying special protection by law in the aforementioned forms. Croatia has a mixture of climates. In the north and east it is continental, Mediterranean along the coast and a semi-highland and highland climate in the south-central region. Istra has a temperate climate, while the Palagruža archipelago is home to a subtropical climate.
Insular Croatia consists of over one thousand islands varying in size. The largest islands in Croatia are Cres and Krk which are located in the Adriatic Sea. The Danube, Europe's second longest river, runs through the city of Vukovar. Dinara, the eponym of the Dinaric Alps, is the highest peak of Croatia at 1,831 metres (6,007 ft) above sea level.
Karst topography makes up more than 50% of Croatia and is especially obvious in the area south of Karlovac. There are 49 caves deeper than 250 m (820.21 ft) in Croatia, 14 of them are deeper than 500 m (1,640.42 ft) and three deeper than 1,000 m (3,280.84 ft) (the Lukina jama-Trojama, Slovacka jama and Velebita cave systems). The deepest Croatian pits are mostly found in two regions – Mt. Velebit and Mt. Biokovo.
Important characteristic of Croatian landscape are numerous natural lakes. The biggest one, Vransko lake stretches over 30 km² in Zadar and Šibenik-Knin county. Interesting phenomena is Lake Vrana, a crypto-depression lake located on the Cres island, containing fresh water used to supply housholds on the island with water. Lake Peruča is the biggest artificial lake used for Energy generation in Dalmatia. The most famous are the Plitvice lakes, a system of 16 lakes and waterfalls connecting them over the dolomite and limestone cascades. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
Croatia is divided into 20 counties (županija) and the capital city of Zagreb
|Zagreb County||Zagrebačka županija|
|City of Zagreb||Grad Zagreb|
|Littoral (Adriatic coast)|
|Primorje-Gorski Kotar||Primorsko-goranska županija|