HighlightsZagreb or Rijeka airport and transfer to Zvecaj | Mreznica River | Risnjak National Park | Risnjak mountain range | Big Risnjak | Northern Velebit National Park | Plitvice Lakes National Park | Paklenica National Park | Krka National Park | Skradin
Description of Croatia national parks walking holidayOn this week long Croatia walking holiday we cover five of the country’s most magnificent national parks: Risnjak, North Velebit, Plitvice Lakes, Paklenica and Krka. Staying in a variety of accommodation so that we easily access our chosen walking routes, but also feel immersed in Croatian rural heritage, we are able to walk for five days of the itinerary, with routes that vary from 2- 5 hours every day, and so not too strenuous.
On our walking holiday we also want to introduce you to traditional Croatian culture, taking time to enjoy fine local food and wine in some of the spectacular places we visit. And as we travel with expert local walking guides who share their wide knowledge of local flora and fauna, they also know the best places to meet local people who will always welcome walkers with open arms.
Along the way, the landscapes you will enjoy include the numerous lakes of Plitvice Lakes NP, the dramatic travertine waterfalls and river valley of Krka NP, the karst wilderness of North Velebit and Big Risnjak, the highest point of the eponymous mountain range and national park.
Vouchers Accepted Holiday type Small group holidays Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right. What are the main benefits? Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen. Who is it ideal for? Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier. Mythbuster “I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No. Meet a group leader As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.
Meet a local guide No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.
|Day 1:||Arrival in Zagreb or Rijeka and transfer to Zvecaj. Accommodation in a small, family-run Zeleni Kut Hotel on the bank of the Mreznica River. Accommodation: Hotel in the Mreznica River area; Van ride: 1h from Zagreb airport, 1.5 h from Rijeka airport; Meals: D|
|Day 2:||The Risnjak mountain range is named after a rare animal that inhabits its woods the lynx. It is located in Gorski Kotar, the most mountainous and heavily forested region of the country, about 15 km inland from the Adriatic Sea. The pristine park covers anarea of 63,5 km2. It includes both the Risnjak and Snjeznik ranges and the source area of the Kupa River. We start our hike from Vilje which will lead us towards our goal Big Risnjak, the highest point of the mountain range. Schlossers mountain hut, situated 100m below the peak, is probably one of the most beautiful mountain huts in Croatia. After resting and enjoying the amazing view over the sea, other peaks of Gorski Kotar and even the Alps, we will descend slowly back to Vilje. After hiking we will return back to our hotel for dinner in the late afternoon. Accommodation: Hotel in Mreznica River area; Van ride: 1.5h-2h each way; Walking:3-4 h; Terrain: easy/moderate, well marked paths; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own)|
|Day 3:||Northern Velebit National Park. After breakfast, we’ll drive to Croatia's youngest national park - North Velebit National Park. The area was designated a national park due to its richness of karst phenomena, outstanding biodiversity and exquisitely beautiful nature on a relatively small area. The Park is crisscrossed with numerous mountaineering trails. In the afternoon we proceed to Korana Village in Plitvice Lakes National Park, where the accommodation for the following three nights is provided by the families of Korana in private guesthouses. Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Van ride: 2.5 h each way; Walking: 4-5 h; Terrain: easy/moderate, well marked paths; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own)|
|Day 4:||Walking in Plitvice Lakes National Park. Today we visit the most beautiful and stunning national park of Croatia - Plitvice Lakes National Park. We start our day walking along the wooden paths and bridges in and around Plitvice Lakes National Park. Its exquisite series of 16 emerald green and opal blue travertine lakes, more than 90 waterfalls and numerous caves make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the pure and untouched nature. Panoramic boat and train rides will take us back to the start. Later in the afternoon we return to our accommodation in the village just in time to enjoy a quick swim before dinner. Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Van ride: 15 min each way; Walking: easy, 4-5 h; Terrain: easy, well marked paths; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own)|
|Day 5:||For those who chose a 5-day trip, this is the end of your holiday. You are welcome to schedule your homeward transport for any time (transfer to Zagreb airport is included in the price). The rest of the group continues the trip. On the fifth day of your holiday you can be as active or as lazy as you want. You can relax by the river, swim or even take another optional cycling tour on your own in and around Plitvice Lakes National Park. Several river, walking, sightseeing or beach trips will be offered, in case you are keen on discovering more beauties that Croatia has to offer. Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Van ride: max 2 hours one way; Meals: B and D (lunch on your own)|
|Day 6:||Paklenica National Park Walking. After saying goodbye to our village hosts we continue south to Paklenica National Park, part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and a favorite hiking and climbing destination. Paklenica National Park covers the area of torrent flows of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, their distinctive canyons carved vertically into the south slopes of Mount Velebit and the broader surrounding area. This relatively small area offers exceptional diversity of geomorphologic phenomena and forms, diverse flora and fauna, attractive landscapes and intact nature. Having adapted to the geographic and climatic environment, the locals mostly engage in nomadic stock herding, which can be seen by their mountain shepherd residences. Hiking is the only way to really get to know Paklenica National Park. The most popular trail is the one leading to Borisov Dom, a mountain hut popular among mountaineers. After descending all the way to the sea we drive to Skradin for the evening. Accommodation: 3* Skradinski Buk Hotel in Skradin; Van ride: 2h+1h; Walking: 4-5 h; Terrain: moderate, well marked paths; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own).|
|Day 7:||Krka River National Park Walking. The last day of the journey takes us to Krka River National Park with its fantastic karst formations and travertine waterfalls. We explore the park's extensive waterways and complex history dating back to late 10th century and first Croatian kings. One of the options is a visit to Skradinski Buk waterfall, the place where the second hydro plant in the world was built, just a few years after the one on Niagara Falls. A boat will take us to Visovac island and its Franciscan monastery. After walking, we return to the hotel and enjoy a late afternoon in the old town before the final evening dinner and a celebration of an amazing adventure. Accommodation: 3* Skradinski Buk Hotel in Skradin; Walking: easy, 3 h; Terrain: easy, well marked paths; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own)|
|Day 8:||Departure. Depart from Skradin to the airport and flight home. If you decide to spend more time in Croatia, our guides will be happy to recommend other beautiful places to visit - especially those you won’t find in tourist guide books. Meals: B; Van ride: Zadar 45 min, Split 1 h, Zagreb 3.5 h|