Accommodations: Hotels and villas. One night will be spent in a mountain hut.
Group size: 5 – 12
2019 Date: September 19 – 26
Land Cost: $3,995
Hiking Trip Summary
Croatia is a surprisingly impeccable blend of unique natural beauty, intriguing history, enduring culture and architecture and irresistible authentic cuisine. Beginning in the vibrant capital city of Zagreb, this 8-day trip captures the essence of Croatia as we travel south through some of its most dramatically beautiful national parks and on to its legendary Dalmatian Coast.
Our hikes will take us to the cascading emerald green lakes and dazzling waterfalls of Plitvice National Park, to the remote mountain top weather station of Zavižan in Velebit National Park with its expansive view to Adriatic, and to the karst canyons of Paklenica National Park whose unusual limestone cliffs and rock formations have long a destination for rock climbers.
Arriving at the Dalmatian coast, we will stroll the narrow, marbled streets of the seaside medieval village of Zadar, and explore Split’s Roman ruins and historic old town. Known for its radiant white limestone and rugged beauty, our final stop is the island of Brac where our day will be spent hiking secluded coves and ancient hermitages, and our evening dining to the sound of surf and rustling palms.
Day 1: Arrival to Zagreb, Croatia
You will be met by your guide at our hotel in the capital city of Zagreb. The architecture, art, and culinary delights make this a popular destination for those visiting Croatia. This is a great city to begin our exploration of the complex history of the Balkan Peninsula. We will stay in the oldest hotel in Zagreb, which has been recently refurbished.
Welcome dinner and area orientation.
Day 2: UNESCO Plitvice National Park
Today our hike takes us through Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO Heritage site. This is Croatia’s oldest National Park, known for its magnificent waterfalls and cascading lakes. The park boasts over 1200 plant species, including 50 orchid varieties, as well as a plethora of birds and animals. Our walk will take us along a wooden walkway that connects 16 lakes and leads to a magnificent 200’ waterfall. Our accommodation is a family owned villa. Dinner is traditional, local, Croatian-style dinner. Elevation gain and loss: 600’; Hiking Time: 4 hours.
Day 3: Velebit National Park
Our day begins with a two-hour scenic drive to the Velebit Mountain Range. According to an old Croatian folk song, these mountains are haunted by fairies. It is a landscape carved by the strong bura winds that blow over the mountains from the Lika basin. Today we’ll hike to one of the oldest high-altitude weather stations in Croatia. Since Velebit forms a natural border between continental and Mediterranean regions of Croatia, two different climates clash at its uppermost levels – the maritime and the continental climates – resulting in unpredictable weather conditions. It is open year-round and will be our accommodation for the night. From our perch, 5000’ above sea level, we’ll have splendid vistas over the Adriatic. En route we’ll visit the botanical gardens, and walk along part of the 57km-long Premuzic Trail. This trail was built in the 1930’s, and was mapped out by lifelong Velebit enthusiast Ante Premuzic. It is now part of the Via Dinarica long-distance trail that runs along to the Balkan Peninsula. Elevation Gain: 1500’; Hiking Time: 5 Hours.
Note: For this night, the group will be staying at the weather station mountain hut of Zavižan. This is a simple mountain lodge with bunkroom style sleeping accommodations, running water, but no showers. Group members will need to carry everything with them they would like for the night, including a sleep sheet.
Day 4: Paklenica National Park
In the morning, we’ll transfer to Paklenica Canyon and National Park, a world-renowned rock climbing area. A well-maintained trail will lead us to the Paklenica Hut, passing Anica Kuk Cliff, the largest cliff in the Velebit and considered by some to be the most spectacular rock formation in Croatia! As we walk through the narrowest part of Velika Paklenica Canyon we’ll come across once secret bunkers built by the Yugoslav Army during the Cold War as protection in the event of nuclear war. Our accommodations are in a family run hotel right by the sea, and we dine on fresh, local seafood. Elevation gain: 1,200’; Hiking Time: 4 – 5 hours.
Day 5: Paklenica National Park, Zadar
This is a day to relax and slow down. After all, we will be on the Croatian coast where people meander and enjoy the cuisine, balmy weather, and scenic vistas. Today we will hike to the narrow canyon of Mala Paklenica and in the afternoon, visit the town of seaside Zadar. Zadar is famous for its “Sea Organs,” an experimental musical instrument integrated into modern architecture. Tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps play music as the sea waves splash into them. Hiking Time: 3 – 4 hours.
Day 6: Split City – Brac Island
Our morning begins with a drive to Split, the second largest city in Croatia. This town is known for its Dalmatian Coast beaches, Roman ruins and fascinating museums. We will visit the intriguing old part of the city, including the palace of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
In the afternoon, we’ll take a short ferry ride to the island of Brac, and hike up to Mt. Vidova, the highest peak of all the Dalmatian Islands. Our day will end in the village of Pucisca, famous for its stone carving school founded in 1909. Every island has astonishing treasures. Brac is brimming with cypress trees along rocky coastlines, ancient olive trees, pomegranates, and grapes, all against a backdrop of clear blue sea. We spend the next two nights in a 15th century renovated villa. City walk – 2hours; Island walk 1-2 hours.
Day 7: Blaca Hermitage and Mt. Vida
The largest of Dalmatian islands, Brac is famous for its wild untouched nature, and its white limestone used for building decorative stonework. This centuries-old craftsmanship dates back to the Roman times when the stone was used to construct imperial palaces. This same stone was also used in the construction of the White House.
Our walk today starts on a scenic trail along the rugged coast of Brac island. Shaded by pine trees, we pass vineyards and secret coves where you have a chance to refresh yourself in the emerald waters of the Adriatic. The last section of hike leads us uphill on an ancient trail bringing us to the 16th century Blaca hermitage built in the craggy cliff. It was established in 1551 by a Christian Glagolicit order. The monks once traded honey, wine, and olive oil with the Venetian crown. The trade gave power to the monks who specialized in astronomy and they soon became world-wide known astronomic observatory. Elevation gain and loss 1500’; Hiking time; 6 hours.
Day 8: Split – Departure
Our trip will end with a morning transfer back to Split arriving Split mid-morning, with possible transfer to Split Airport. The Split Airport is about 50 minutes from the ferry terminal. If you are planning on flying out this day, be aware the earliest arrival time at the airport would be around 10am, barring any delays
Note: Elevation gains and losses refer to the differences between the starting point of any given hike, the highest point of that hike, and the ending elevation. Actual totals of elevation gains and losses may vary slightly from this. Hiking times are general estimates of number of hours hiked, not including rests stops. And as always, this itinerary is subject to change due to weather, among other factors.
Group airport transfers
All breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches
Transportation as outlined in itinerary
National Park entrance fees
Guided walking tours
Airfare, optional/individual transfers or excursions, items not on set dinner menu, beverages, tips to guides, insurance, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, passport fees, etc.). Allow roughly $350 in additional costs.
If you wish to have your own room at the hotels there is a single supplement charge of $650. Please let us know if you would like a single at the time of registration. If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate.
During this trip we will be based in several different locations. As our luggage will be transferred from location to location along with the group, you will only need to carry a daypack during our walks. We still encourage our trip members to bring a medium-sized bag they can manage easily by themselves.
Accommodations and Facilities
Accommodations: Accommodations Croatia’s National Parks and Dalmatian Coast trip are comprised of in comfortable historic and family owned hotels and villas.
One night will be spent at the mountain hut /weather station of Zavižan in the heart of Velebit National Park. It will not be possible to transport luggage to hut, therefore group members will need to carry everything with them, that they would like for the night.
The trip will begin at our hotel in Zagreb, which can be reached easily by taxi from the Zagreb Airport. The trip will end with a transfer from Brac Island back to the city of Split. It is possible to book flights into Zagreb and out of Split.
Who would like this trip?
The Dalmatian Coast is renowned for its exquisite natural and architectural beauty and, despite the increase of travel to this corner of Europe, it remains relatively unspoiled compared to other Mediterranean destinations. This is a wonderful trip for those who enjoy a balance between being active and spending time in some of the area’s more beautiful and historically significant sites. The inviting mildness of Dalmatia’s mid-September climate also provides a welcome extension of summer.
This a slightly revised itinerary from previous years in our continued collaborating with TrekTrek. This is a great opportunity for those who are intrigued by experiencing a fresh itinerary, who are flexible, and have a highly-developed sense of humor and spirit of adventure.
To be announced.
Day 8 afternoon dropoff at the Split Airport.
For a more detailed itinerary or information on how to register, please call.
Any hiking trip in the mountains requires a certain amount of effort and proper fitness training will enhance your enjoyment. In the mountains, time and elevation gain or loss as opposed to distance, tend to be the determining factors when defining hiking grades or level of difficulty. We have done our best to grade our trips consistently, please contact us for further clarification. We are happy to offer names of past participants.
Easy: Hike 3 to 4 hours daily carrying a day pack on generally gentle terrain. Distances from 4 to 8 miles. Elevation gain and loss 500' to 1,500'.
Moderate: Hike an average of 4 to 5 hours daily on varied terrain. Distances from 5 to 9 miles. Elevation gains and losses generally 1,500' to 2,500' or about 2 hours.
Strenuous: Hike 5 to 7 hours daily on varied terrain, with consistent ascents and descents of 2 to 3 or more hours generally 2,500' - 3,500'. Distances from 6 to 11 miles. There are some sections that include steep uphill and downhills.
Strenuous Plus: 5 to 8 hours partly on rocky, challenging terrain with consistent steep ascents and descents of 2 to 3 or more hours generally 3,000'-5,000'. Distances from 6 to 15 miles. Though each day is not strenuous plus there are some sections that may include rough terrain and open and exposed trails.