Area: 7,165 km²
Location: Pakleni Islands, Croatia
Number of inhabitants: 15
Number of visitors per year: 300.000
The Pakleni islands are an island group composed of 19 islands, islets and skerries in the central Adriatic near the island of Hvar which extend from the town of Hvar to the west. The Pakleni islands land has been protected since 1968 in the significant landscape category managed by the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Areas in the County of Split and Dalmatia “Sea and Karst”. By the decree of the Government of the Republic of Croatia on the designation of the ecological network, the Pakleni islands marine area is defined as a Natura 2000 site for the main purpose of preserving the Posidonia beds and reefs. Posidonia (Posidonia oceanica) in the underwater of the Pakleni islands forms dense meadows that cover approximately 12% of the seabed area of the Natura 2000 network. The most beautiful and most accessible for observation are the shallow Posidonia meadows in the passages between the islands, such as the one between Sv. Clement and Borovac, that reach sea surface which is a rarity of the Mediterranean. The coralligenous reefs with huge gorgonias are also unique. Here, the violescent sea-whip (Paramuricea clavata) grow from a depth of 15 m, and form dense communities up to the recorded 70 m depth!