Nature & wildlife trip

Via Dinarica hiking across Velebit, with a luxury mountain ranch experience

The Northern Velebit National Park in Croatia is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful parts of the Via Dinarica. Nature here is extreme, unique, and precious, as evidenced by the four special protection areas located in this national park.

Trip highlights

  • Horseback riding in the gorgeous Northern Velebit scenery
  • Breathtaking views at various vantage points on Velebit mountain
  • Walking the legendary drystone man-made Premužić trail
  • Sleeping in a mountain lodge in a forest
  • Staying at a unique western-style mountain ranch

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Embark on a very special guided mountain adventure, connect with nature by walking along the amazing Velebit trails and sleeping in mountain huts and then enjoy the luxury of a unique mountain ranch. Along the way, you may see an array of animal species, ranging from the gorgeous apollo butterflies or olive bee hawk moths to reptiles, birds, and amphibians. You might also find yourself in an opportunity to see large carnivores, such as bears, wolves, and lynx, from a very safe distance. What you’ll definitely enjoy is the horseback exploration of the surroundings of the ranch.

Velebit Nature Park was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves within the UNESCO “Man and the Biosphere” Program from 1978 because of its specific relief, vegetative, and landscape features. There are four special protection areas located in the Northern Velebit National Park – the strict nature reserves of Hajdučki and Rožanski Kukovi, the Visibaba ("Snowdrop") Botanical Reserve, the habitat of the endemic plant the Croatian Sibiraea and the Zavižan-Balinovac-Zavižanska Kosa Botanical Reserve, which houses the Velebit Botanical Garden, listed as a monument of landscape architecture.

Day-by-day itinerary


Explore Senj and get ready for your Via Dinarica adventure

Arrival in Senj by your own transportation or organized private transfer (optional).

After check-in at the apartment, take a walk around town, where every nook and cranny bears witness to its brave and proud warrior history, spanning through three millennia. Breathe in the "bura", a wind which Senj is famous for, take a stroll through the narrow alleys and winding streets. If you have time on your hands, make sure you visit Nehaj fortress, the famed symbol of Senj, which was erected on Nehaj Hill in 1558 for defensive purposes. You can have dinner at a well-known Senj restaurant where you can enjoy the local specialities.


Vratnik pass to Oltari mountain hut - meet your guide

After breakfast, it's time to begin your adventure exploring Via Dinarica. After stocking up on food and water, your driver will take you to the Vratnik pass, a mountain pass at an elevation of 692 m.a.s.l. located in the Dinaric Alps of Croatia, which is the starting point of your quest. Here you will meet your mountain guide who will accompany you to the ranch.

The central part of this northernmost branch of Velebit mountain range is the main ridge 15 kilometers long, with the highest peaks Jadićeva plan (1416 m.a.s.l.), Konačište (1404 m.a.s.l.) and Bijeli vrh (1492 m.a.s.l.). The most interesting hiking tour in the area is the longitudinal tour from Vratnik to Oltari – a section of Via Dinarica.

The starting point for the longitudinal tour is the mountain pass Vratnik. The trail starts above the motel, initially passing through the forest, and then, after only one kilometer, it reaches the road towards Stolac and Žukalj. Above Liskovac, to the right, there is a trail connecting from Sijasetska draga, and to the left there is a trail branching from Žukalj and ascending to the peak of Jadićeva plan (one hour of climb). After the hamlet of Liskovac, the route continues with hiking trail markings that take hikers across meadows for one hour and a half to the hamlets of Tuževac and Rakita. One more hour of hiking remains to the village of Oltari with a mountain hut.

The facility consists of three rooms on the first floor of a building that once housed an inn on the ground floor, currently closed. As use of your own linen is mandatory, we suggest you bring your sleeping bags.

Have dinner and let your guide present a detailed hiking program for the following days.

  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • Length: 14.8 km
  • Lowest point: 692 m.a.s.l.
  • Highest point: if you opt for a hike to Jadićeva plan peak 1416 m.a.s.l.


Zavižan - one of the best-known localities in the Northern Velebit National Park

The next stop on your mountain route is Zavižan. The wider area of Zavižan, together with the sites of Rožanski kukovi and Hajdučki kukovi, is one of the most beautiful mountain areas in Croatia, and therefore protected as a national park.

The path from Oltari to the Zavižan mountain lodge covers 600 meters of elevation difference, but it is pleasant nonetheless, because there are no extremely steep sections, and the trail itself mostly passes through forest shade. This is the shortest and the most suitable hiking approach to the official Park entrance at Babić Siča (1300 m above sea level). From Babić Siča, Zavižan is reached by a 7 km dirt (macadam) road.

Located at 1594 m above sea level, is the mountain hut Zavižan and the oldest high-altitude weather station in Croatia, established in 1953. Since Velebit forms a natural border between the continental and the Mediterranean regions of Croatia, two different climates clash at its uppermost parts – the maritime and the continental climates - resulting in unpredictable weather conditions. This makes the Zavižan weather station invaluable to the meteorological community.

If you want more beautiful vistas, your guide can take you to one of the Zavižan area peaks (Veliki Zavižan 1676 m.a.s.l., Balinovac 1601 m.a.s.l., Zavižanska Kosa 1620 m.a.s.l.). The scenic vistas provided by this group of peaks are sure to take your breath away.

Zavižan lodge offers minor drinks service as well as the possibility to prepare your own food. Rooms and dormitories are furnished with bunk beds and bedding, no sleeping bags are required. The house has electricity and telephone. The building has a water cistern with limited capacity, and the water should be used only sparingly.

  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • Length: 16.9 km
  • Lowest point: 942 m.a.s.l.
  • Highest point: if you opt for a hike to Veliki Zavižan peak 1676 m.a.s.l.


Premužić Trail and the Mountain hut Alan

After breakfast, you will embark on the next stage of hiking and join the well-known Premužić Trail, built in the 1930s using the drystone technique. The 57 km trail was laid out and constructed by the forestry engineer Ante Premužić, a passionate mountaineer and lover of Velebit, along the mountain ridge from Zavižan to Baške Oštarije in central Velebit. As there are no steep ascents, the route is also suitable for visitors unaccustomed to mountaineering. Branching off from the Premužić Trail are several paths that climb up to some of the most spectacular peaks of northern and central Velebit – of course, our guide knows them all. The route section between Zavižan and mountain hut Alan is perhaps the most beautiful part of the Trail, and it's a total of 15 km long.

The Alan mountain hut is a wooden cabin at 1348 m.a.s.l. featuring 5 rooms with a total of 40 beds on the first floor. There is a fully equipped kitchen on the ground floor where you can prepare and eat your own food and drinks. In the summer season, the water from the cistern next to the kitchen is conducted into the kitchen. It should be used only sparingly. The mountain hut has no electric lighting. The water for basic hygiene is provided next to the house. It is recommended to bring your own sleeping bags. The Alan mountain hut offers a variety of refreshing drinks. Simple meals are offered by arrangement and dinner will be prepared for you.

  • Duration: 5,5-6 hours
  • Length: 16 km
  • Lowest point: 1340 m.a.s.l.
  • Highest point: 1634 m.a.s.l.

DAYS 5 - 7

Get ready for another treat - unique lodging accommodation with the finest amenities, gourmet meals and a robust outdoor activities program

After breakfast at the Alan mountain lodge, get ready for something truly unique. A driver will pick you up and take you to a magical place, a secluded luxurious heaven at Mount Velebit where you can enjoy your eco-adventures in the wilderness surrounded by horses and beautiful nature.

Check-in and lunch. You will spend the next two days at a lovely all-inclusive ranch, home of unique horsemanship, bespoke attention to comfort, service, sustenance, and transformative experience. Various organized activities include horseback riding, trail adventures, jeep or canoe expeditions, and other fun activities like archery or geocaching. You will also have varied dining experiences including exciting outdoor dining. From sunrise to sunset there is always something going on.



Breakfast at the ranch. Soak up the Velebit sun and breathe in the oxygen-rich air of the Velebit forests! Ranch check-out and transfer to Senj (or some other location-optional). 

Ask about availability & get an offer

What happens when you request an offer?


We will double-check availability and make reservations for your rooms, restaurants, guides etc.


With reservations confirmed, we will prepare the best offer possible in regard to your arrival date & party size


You will get the offer via e-mail, along with the payment options. Feel free to request further customisations!

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