Northern Croatia offers some of the most undiscovered and dramatic walking landscapes in Europe. The interior and coastline between Zagreb and Split is an area rich in charming medieval towns and villages, breathtaking national parks, cascading waterfalls and spectacular mountains. With your expert local guide you will discover the best national parks of Croatia, including the renowned Plitvice and Krka with their superb lakes and waterfalls, as well as the must-visit cities of Zagreb, Zadar and Split. This tour also takes in the dramatic Velebit Mountains before heading to Paklenica National Park with its rugged peaks that overlook the islands of Pag and Rab. The trip ends on the stunning Adriatic Coast, with time to indulge in the beauty of the harbours, elegant promenades and seaside cafes. This guided walk is the perfect way to experience a totally different side to one of Europe's most visually beautiful destinations.
Walking in Plitvice and Krka nature parks with their superb lakes and waterfalls
Exploring the North Velebit National Park
Visiting fascinating Zagreb, Zadar and Split
Experiencing a mix of natural beauty, rugged mountains and the stunning Adriatic coast
Discovering the history and culture of Croatia with your expert local guide
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Arrive Zagreb, City Walk (2Hrs)
Meals Included: D
Today starts with a group transfer from Zagreb airport to the joining hotel, usually in the afternoon (eg 2:30pm). Meet your guide this evening (6pm) and enjoy a walking tour of Zagreb old town followed by dinner together. Zagreb is small and welcoming, with a mix of Austro-Hungarian grand buildings, cafes, museums, galleries, a landmark cathedral and a quirky funicular railway. We visit the Zagreb Cathedral, whose twin spires soar over the city and the colourful St Mark’s Church with its unique tiled roof depicting the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia and the emblem of Zagreb. You can climb the Lotrscak tower, built in the 13th century, for great views of the city (not included). Trg Bana Jelacica is great for people watching and a hive of activity. Overnight in Zagreb.
Transfer To Plitvice Lakes, Explore The Park On Foot (4-5Hrs)
Meals Included: B, L, D
After an early breakfast at our hotel we'll transfer (2hrs) through the hills of Croatia to one of the most outstanding and renowned natural landscapes in Europe, the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The UNESCO listed park is famed for its 16 crystal-clear lakes that are joined by spectacular cascading waterfalls. This incredibly diverse national park is home to bears, wolves, deer, wild boar and 157 bird species. It's also home to beech, spruce and pine trees, plus over 1,200 plant species. We'll explore the park on foot, using the fantastic wooden walkways found throughout the park. Overnight in the Plitvice area.
Walk: 11km/7mi. Ascent: 250m/820ft. Descent: 250m/820ft.
Transfer To Velebit National Park And Walk Part Of The Spectacular Premuzic Trail (6Hrs)
Meals Included: B, L, D
A morning transfer (1.5hrs) takes us towards the dramatic Northern Velebit National Park and the Zavizan mountain refuge, located next to a small botanical garden. We'll have time to wander amongst a variety of indigenous and endemic plant species here before walking along part of the spectacular Premužic Trail. We'll follow the trail as it snakes from one side of the Velebit's central ridge to the other, giving us a great taste of the mountain's varied geography, with lush woodland alternating with pine forest and arid, rocky slopes. The walk itself is easy and the gradient is fairly gentle, but we'll still get to experience the wild landscape of this dramatic mountainous area. At the end of the walk we transfer (1hr) to our hotel. Overnight Otocac or nearby town.
Walk: 15km/9.5mi. Ascent: 430m/1410ft. Descent: 580m/1903ft.
Spectacular Walk From Veliki Rujno To Ramici Village (3-4Hrs)
Meals Included: B, L, D
After breakfast we transfer (1.5hrs) to Starigrad-Paklenica and leave our main luggage at the hotel. Taking only a backpack with our overnight needs (toiletries, spare clothes), we transfer (1hr) on a mountain road to the high grassy plateau of Veliki Rujno. At 900m lies the small church of Our Lady of Rujno, built in the past for local inhabitants who lived from cattle breeding, and spent most of the year in mountain hamlets taking their cattle out to graze. Over time, the church became too small and in 1930, due to the dedication of a local priest and enthusiastic mountaineer Don Ante Adžija, a new church was built using masonry from the old church. An annual procession, held in August, sees hundreds of pilgrims make their way up the mountain to the chapel for mass. From here we walk to Ramici, where we stay overnight in a simple rural house and are guaranteed a warm welcome and a delicious home cooked dinner.
*Please note that this mountain hut cannot be accessed by road so you will need to carry your overnight requirements in your backpack today. Our bags will be waiting for us at our hotel on day 5. Bed linen is provided at the mountain hut.
Walk: 5.7km/3.5mi. Ascent: 258m/846ft. Descent: 585/1919ft.
Enjoy Spectacular Views Walking In The Paklenica National Park (4-5Hrs)
Meals Included: B, L
Inhabited since prehistoric times, the dramatic landscape of the Paklenica National Park gained national park status in 1949, due to its unique natural features and magnificent forests. A dramatic mountain range that appears to fall directly into the sea will be our host along its high trails for the next two days. We'll enjoy spectacular views across to the islands of Rab, Pag and the Kornati National Park. We start our walk through the canyon of Velika Paklenica, surrounded by huge walls and the remains of old water mills. These ancient buildings, built in the 19th century and still in use up until the 1960s, are well preserved cultural monuments and maintained by the national park authorities. We have a local transfer to the coastal town of Starigrad-Paklenica. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy a walk along the sea or relax with a drink in one of the many pavement cafes or local bars.
Walk: 8.5km/5.3mi. Ascent: 235m/754ft. Descent: 703m/2306ft.
Explore The Dramatic Krupa Canyon, Transfer To Zadar (2-3Hrs)
Meals Included: B, L
A short transfer (45mins) takes us to the pretty area of the Krupa river. Situated under the steep slopes of Velebit Mountain, this picturesque river stretches from a small spring through the deep Krupa Canyon until it reaches the Zrmanja River. The area is full of hidden, underground caves and dotted with tiny hamlets. We begin walking at the bridge of Kudin, one of the nicest places in the hinterland of Zadar. It's called Deveterci, for the 9 small cascades that make the place so magical. According to legend, a young man called Kuda wanted to be closer to his loved one at the other bank of the river so built the bridge from 12 arches out of travertine blocks, and just as many pillars. The last two arches are now damaged but the bridge still stands despite time and high winter waters. From Krupa we transfer (1hr) to the picturesque historic town of Zadar, the ancient capital of Dalmatia. The marble, traffic-free streets follow the the old Roman street plan and still contain some Roman ruins and several medieval churches. Massive 16th-century fortifications still shield the city on the landward side, with high walls running along the harbour. Zadar was part of Italy until 1947, and, though fast diminishing, one still finds Italian influence. The Roman Forum was constructed between the 1st Century BC and the 3rd Century AD, and the circular 9th Century Church of St Donat is one of the most outstanding monuments in Dalmatia. The sarcophagus of St Simeon is a masterpiece of medieval goldsmith work - commissioned in 1377 and made of cedar, covered inside and out with finely executed gold-plated silver reliefs. Your guide can help with dinner suggestions. Overnight Zadar.
Walk: 4km/2.5mi. Ascent: 200m/656ft. Descent: 200m/656ft
Transfer To Krka National Park, Explore On Foot And By Boat, Transfer To Split (4-5Hrs)
Meals Included: B, L, D
After breakfast we transfer (1hr) to the beautiful Krka National Park. Created by the Krka River, this stunningly beautiful national park can only be described as a limestone phenomenon. We start our visit of the park on foot, walking among waterfalls up to Skradinski Buk then take a boat to the waterfall Roski Slap. Visovac Lake and the Franciscan monastery are situated between these two magnificent waterfalls, right where the river enters the lake. From Rošk Slap we walk up to Ožidana pecina and then to Stinice. We later drive to Split (1hr) for the last night of our tour. This atmospheric city, located on the Dalmatian Coast, is an exciting mixture of modern buildings, UNESCO-listed palaces, old city walls, and a beautiful promenade - all with a spectacular mountainous backdrop. After check at the hotel we take a walking tour of old town and enjoy a farewell dinner.
Walk: 12km. Ascent 316m/1036ft. Descent -258m/846ft.
Meals Included: B
The trip concludes this morning with a group transfer to Split airport (approx 30mins).
Walking days are usually between 3 - 5 hours on trails which range from grassy paths and forest woodland to rugged alpine paths in the national parks. Trails are good with no difficult sections and most days we'll walk sections of the Via Dinarica, the new long distance walking trail that links the Balkans. On day 4 & 5 we are in the heart of the national park and away from any roads, therefore you’ll need to carry what you need for 1 overnight. As all bedding is supplied, there is no need for heavy backpacking and it gives us the opportunity to experience an unspoilt location.
What You Carry
The walks are fully supported so you only need to carry a daypack with your daily requirements including wet weather gear, lunch supplies, water bottle, warm top, phone etc. Exception is on Day 4 where you will need to carry your overnight requirements to the mountain hut.