HIKING IN CROATIA
Croatia sure does pack a lot of punch in such a small country. You can go skiing, swimming, hiking, enjoy lakes & waterfalls, go on adventure tours… All in a country with about 4 million people. But if you’re visiting Croatia, then you already know about the sea and lake and rivers. What we want to do today is tell you about activities that aren’t as touristy as most others here. So we’re bringing you a list of the best places for hiking in Croatia.
Nature Park Biokovo
Biokovo is a mountain just above the Makarska Riviera. Because of its vas geomorphological and biological diversity, it became a Nature Park in the 80’s. Some of the most beautiful views on the Dalmatia coast can be found on this mountain. And because of its status as a protected area, the park is well organized. The entry ticket is 50 kuna for a day; there are multiday tickets as well if you’d like to spend a few days there. There are several hiking tracks for you to explore, along with information centers and different peaks. We’ll give you an overview of the most popular ones.
Saint Jure is the highest peak of Biokovo, and it stands to reason that routes leading up to it are the ones that are the most difficult. First, you have the path Makarska – Makar – Kruška – Štrbina – Babina Vrklja – St. Jure. The difficulty for this one is quite high – the trek is around 7 hours. For this one, you really have to be extremely well prepared. Makarska – Veliko Brdo – Križice – Štropac – Duboki dolac – Babina Vrklja – Sv. Jure is another 7-hour trek – high difficulty as well. Milići – Očeski – St. Jure is a shorter trek, but no less difficult than the other two. And the last one is Vrh Turije – Lozovac – Ljubović – St. Jure which amounts to about 6 hours – and of course, the trek is difficult as well.
For shorter treks, there are quite a few options. Starting with the 2.30 hours easy hike of Podgora/Srida village – Vrutak – Staza – Podgogovik. It takes about the same time for the Brela/Kričak – St. Kajo – Nevistina stina (rock)– Sokolove staje (barn) – St. Nikola trek. That one is quite easy as well.
There are also two treks starting from the town of Tučepi, both of medium difficulty, and lasting form 3 to 4 fours. Other medium difficulty tracks include the 6 hours Brzice – Kaoci – Podrašac – Studenci – Lokva. Or try your luck with Makarska – Makar – Kruška – Štrbina – Vošac.
Vidova Gora – island of Brač
Brač is the highest island in Croatia. And of course, houses the highest peak of any Croatian island – Vidova Gora. This hill/mountain is one of the places on the Adriatic that regularly has snowfall in the winter; that’s how high it is. This is perfect if you’d like to combine some time on an island, swimming, and hiking. Vidova Gora is also one of the most famous viewpoints in Croatia. You see, this is the place where so many of the famous Golden Horn beach pictures where taken!
There are several ways to go about hiking to and around Vidva Gora. The easiest is to take your car up a road that takes you to the mountain. That way you can decide your own starting point basically. If you’d like to do a proper trek, head down to the town of Bol. From the church of Our Lady of Karmela there’s a path taking you to the top. This isn’t the easiest hike, but it’s more than worth it. It’s a 780 meters high trek, so be well prepared, especially if you’re coming in the summer months.
The top is called Vidilica (viewpoint), Saint Vid, or Suvid. They’re all more-or-less a play on the name Vid. The whole place owes its name to it. There’s a church of the same name atop of Vidova Gora, as well as a restaurant. Perfect for some relaxation after the tiring trek!
Mosor is a mountain a short 20-minute ride from Split, above the town of Žrnovnica. Well, actually, it looms over parts of Split But the part you’d be interested in as a hiker, is some 20 minutes away from the very city center. You can get to a certain point on a local bus. But from there on, you have to walk quite a ways up to reach the ‘official’ starting point of the trekking paths. This is one of the most popular places for hiking near Split. Mosor has their own climbing association, as well as all the amenities hiker might need. And you’ll see why once you get up there and see the amazing view and surrounding nature!
By far the most popular spot for hikers is the mountain home Umberto Girometta. It’s located at 868 meters, making it the lowest one. The paths are well explained and shown on the mountain. So you’ll have no problems getting there. It’s opened during the whole week (weekends only), and you’ll see a lot of people up there. Very close to it, there’s a little house you can rent if you’d like to barbecue somewhere safe. The hike to the mountain home is steep at points, so bring your A-game. There’s lot of rocky terrains that you have to navigate with finesse. It’s slippery on the best of days, so make sure you’re going on especially dry ones.
There are many trails you can choose on Mosor. Just keep in mind that you need to follow the red and white circle and signs. It’s an easy mountain to get lost on, as every mountain is.
National Park Paklenica
This is climbers/hikers paradise in Croatia. Plain and simple. It’s also one of the most treacherous and dangerous parts of Croatia for any tourists. So strap on, and here we go!
Paklenica is a part of the mountain Velebit, up west from Split. It’s been proclaimed a National Park shortly after Plitvice Lakes due to its flora and fauna, and simply, put gorgeous nature. Because it’s a famous hiking/mountain climbing spot, it offers a lot of amenities for those who dare climb it. Starting with mountain shelters and hut, it’s made to help any wayward stranger. There are several hikes you can undertake at Paklenica. Some are more educational, and some are more sports based. A comprehensive list of which you can find on the Official website of National Park Paklenica.
For adventure seekers, these are the trails that we recommend. Let’s start with easy ones. There are two that start from Velika Paklenica (you can get there by car), and both are relatively easy, They take about 2 hours to finish; one ends at Mountain hut Paklenica, and the other at Manita cave. There are a few places along the way where you can get water, but our advice is to get all you need at Velika Paklenica.
From above mentioned Manita peć you can continue to Starigrad, which takes about 4 hours and is a very difficult climb. Here you won’t find any stops where you can fill up your water until the very end at Starigrad. If you’d like to do a hike that isn’t as difficult but still demanding, there’s the 6-hour trek from the mountain hut Paklenica to the Velika Paklenica canyon.
National Park Northern Velebit
Another National Park located on the mountain Velebit, this one offers hiking trail a-plenty as well. As with Paklenica, there are educational trails you can choose to take or real hiking trails. As with all National Parks, there’s an entry ticket you have to pay. The main one is 44 kuna and you can use it for 3 days. There are some additional tickets you can buy for certain areas of the park, but your best bet is buying the main park entry ticket.
There are three main hiking trails. Mountain house Zavižnjan to the Rossi hut, Mountain house Alan to Veliki Lubenovac, and the Premužić road. Along the first two, there are several paths you can take actually. That means you decide by yourselves how long your trek is going to last. It can be anywhere from 2 hours to the whole day! Check out all the paths you can take on the Offical Website of Northern Velebit.
Always keep in mind that hiking isn’t an innocuous activity. Especially in Croatia where most trails are still on the wilder side. So be well prepared before going hiking/climbing. Bring hiking shoes (or at the very least running sneakers), bring lots of water, sunscreen, your phone, and some kind of a jacket. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of summer and it’s 36 degrees outside. If you get caught up on a mountain in the nighttime, you’ll be more than happy for an extra layer of protection. And if you do run in some issues, call HGSS. They are the mountain rescue service in Croatia. Just dial 112.
Have fun hiking, and keep your wits about you!