Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Zvecaj
Zvecaj is a small village by the Mreznica River, not far from the highway connecting the Croatian capital - city of Zagreb - with the harbour of Rijeka. We will meet you at the airport, railway station or in the harbour and take you there unless you are driving yourself. Zeleni kut ("The Green Corner") is a well-known restaurant and a small family owned hotel overlooking the green Mreznica River and its waterfall. It was built above an old mill which now supplies electric power. The hotel serves traditional Croatian specialties using freshwater fish from its own fishponds, homemade cheese, ham and sausages as well as fresh vegetables and fruit from local farms. In the evening we will meet on the terrace overlooking the river for a welcome drink, dinner and brief orientation, where we will have the chance to discuss the upcoming tour and get to know our guides and fellow travelers.
Accommodation: Hotel in the Mreznica River area; Van ride: 1h from Zagreb airport, 1.5 h from Rijeka airport; Meals: dinner
Day 2: Hiking Risnjak National Park
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 an area 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. Schlosser’s 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: 1-1.5h each way; Walking:3-4h; easy/moderate well-marked paths; Meals: breakfast and dinner (picnic lunch on your own)
Day 3: Hiking in North Velebit
After breakfast, we'll drive to Croatia's youngest national park - North Velebit National Park. The area has become a national park due to its richness of karst phenomena, outstanding biodiversity and exceptionally beautiful nature, all on a relatively small area. The park is crisscrossed with numerous mountaineering trails. The most famous is the Premuzic trail, named after its constructor who built it in the late 1933. The path runs through the most beautiful and the most interesting parts of the park. From the numerous peaks in the surroundings you can have a magnificent view on the Adriatic Sea, its islands and the continental side of the mountain chain.
Accommodation in Plitvice Lakes National Park is provided by the families of Korana Village, a small romantic place hidden away in a valley by the Korana River. The houses are small, traditional dwellings with simple rooms in an idyllic setting. The peaceful atmosphere makes the village an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area – Korana Village has no pubs, restaurants, shops, schools, not even a church – it’s just a village as small and wonderful as it can be, an ideal setting for a fairy tale.
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: breakfast and dinner (picnic lunch on your own)
Day 4: Plitivice Lakes walking tour
Having today’s itinerary in mind, we put smiles on our faces and head out into the wild. We start our day with a van drive southwest towards NP Plitvice Lakes, Croatia's premier national park. Our day is dedicated to hiking in and around the park making breathtaking pictures. Its exquisite series of 16 emerald green and sapphire 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 enjoy a picnic lunch along the trail. Later in the afternoon we return to Korana village just in time to enjoy a swim in the clear river just in front of your guest house.
Accommodation: Korana village private guest house; Van ride: 15 min in each direction; Hiking: easy, 4-5 h; Terrain: easy, well marked paths, Meals: breakfast and dinner (picnic lunch on your own)
Day 5: Optional trip day
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. Please note that the optional trip will incur an additional charge payable on site, and is dependent on suitable weather conditions.
Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Van ride: max 2 h one way; Meals: breakfast and dinner (picnic lunch on your own)
Day 6: Hiking in Paklenica Mountains
The National Park Paklenica is the most famous hiking and rock climbing national park in Croatia. It covers the area of Velika and Mala Paklenica, and their distinctive canyons carved vertically into the south slopes of Velebit and the broader surrounding area. The relatively small area has an abundance of 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 residents mostly engaged in nomad stock herding, which is confirmed by mountain shepherd huts. Hiking is the only way to really get to know Paklenica.
There are several wonderful hikes through beech and black pine forests to choose from. The most popular is the trail 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: breakfast and dinner (picnic lunch on your own)
Day 7: Walking and exploring around Krka River
We will spend the day visiting the Krka River National Park. A short boat ride will take us from Skradin to the 44-meters high Skradinski Buk waterfall. We will continue by motor boat to the island Visovac to visit the 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: breakfast and dinner (picnic lunch on your own)
Day 8: Departure day
Depart from Skradin to the airport and flight home. You are welcome to schedule your homeward transport for any time. 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: breakfast; Van drive: max 2 h
Minimum age: 8 years if accompanied by parent(s).