Hiking through Velebit on a path made of stones

Photo: Dan Tautan
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Nature & wildlife trip

Via Dinarica hiking across Velebit, with a 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.

Embark on a mountain adventure with a wide variety of flora and fauna, hiking until you reach a mountain ranch and settle down for cowboy life. Along your way, you may see an array of animal species, ranging from the gorgeous Apollo butterfly, the Olive Bee Hawk-Moth and the common yellow swallowtail to reptiles, birds, 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 definitively enjoy is the horseback exploration of the surroundings of the ranch.

Trip highlights

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

Trip availableMAY-OCT
Duration8 days
Suitable for2-8 people
SupportPartially guided
Languagesende
Price per personfrom 613.00 €
Great for
  • Couples without children
You’ll be accommodated in
  • 3-star superior apartment
  • 4-star ranch
  • Mountain lodge
Trip designed by Helena Šarić

True believer that wherever you go, you should go with all your heart

Activities are taking place on the Velebit Mountain

Velebit Nature Park was placed by UNESCO in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (the “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.

Hajdučki and Rožanski Kukovi were declared a strict nature reserve on January 22nd, 1969. Stretching on 1220 hectares, it boasts almost perfectly intact flora. Several alpine plants as well as certain Illyrian or Dinaric vegetation types are scattered around. Located in the northern part of the Velebit Nature Park, it sports isolated groups of rock faces and rugged stone peaks, separated by deep pits and chasms. The most notable Hajdučki kukovi ("cliffs") are: Golubić (1658 m), Begovački Kuk (1407 m), Jarekovački Kuk (1328 m), Pavića kuk (1392 m) and Duića kuk (1460 m). The most notable Rožanski kukovi are: Gromovača (1675 m), Krajačeva Kuk (1690 m), Pasarićev Kuk (1630 m), Vratarski Kuk (1678 m), Varnjača (1630 m) and Crikvena (1641 m). The protected plant species that grow in this area include: globeflower (Trollius europaeus), alpine sea holly (Eryngium alpinum), edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum), Carniolan lily (Lilium carniolicum), lesser butterfly orchid (Platanthera bifolia) and great yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea var. symphyandra).

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1

Explore Senj

Arrival in Senj by your own transportation. 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 for 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, 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 specialties.

Food tip

This part of Littoral Croatia is geographically diverse, which has allowed the rich local cuisine to draw influences from the gastronomic traditions of both the Adriatic coast and the Velebit area. 

tip

Whilst in town, make sure that you stock up on food, energy bars, dried fruit, nuts and water because for the next two to three days you will become a regular Robinson Crusoe living in unison with nature. Also, flashlights will come in very handy.

Day 2

Oltari mountain lodge

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, which is the starting point of your quest to reach the summit of Mount Velebit. Are you ready to take a cue from Robinson Crusoe and embrace his lifestyle, away from civilisation?

Our first stop is the Oltari mountain lodge, located in the eponymous small mountain village in Northern Velebit where time stands still. Overnight stay at the Oltari mountain lodge.

tip

Surrounded by nature and the astounding views of the nearby islands and the Kvarner Bay, you can experience true peace, unwind and enjoy unspoilt nature.

Day 3

Zavižan high-altitude weather station

Waking up in an idyllic forest surrounding in fresh air to the sound of birds chirping, your next stop on your mountain route is Zavižan, one of the most famous sites in the Northern Velebit National Park and the oldest high-altitude weather station in Croatia.

The views that will unfold in front of you on your way to Zavižan will leave you breathless. Overnight stay at the Zavižan mountain lodge.

tip

Check out the meteorological educational trail with 17 info boards, the first of its kind in Croatia.

Day 4

Unique flora of Rožanski Kukovi

The following day, you will discover the beautiful new parts of Velebit and the Via Dinarica as you hike towards the Alan mountain lodge. You can enjoy the unspoilt nature of Rožanski Kukovi, which boasts an abundance of diverse morphological formations and unique flora, and has been declared a strict nature reserve along with Hajdučki Kukovi. This karst realm comprises a group of 50 or so stone peaks reaching over 1600 m in height, which are separated by deep pits and chasms. It is a roughly 5 or 6-hour hike up to the Alan mountain lodge, where you will have lunch and dinner before going to sleep for the night.

tip

You can walk the Premužić trail, which is a true architectural masterpiece, protected in its entirety as a cultural property of national significance.

Day 5

Alan mountain lodge adventure

After breakfast at the Alan mountain lodge, get ready for something truly unique. Your driver will take you to a magical place, a secluded and luxurious haven 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 this lovely ranch. Relax and enjoy the nature and various organised activities. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 6

On the Trails of Winnetou

Right after breakfast, you will embark to "On the Trails of Winnetou" adventure. Heading to the peaks of Velebit in 4x4s, do enjoy exploring the beautiful scenery of Velebit in the company of a licensed tour guide. You're in for a real treat because we will also be visiting the locations used to shoot the legendary western Winnetou. Lunch break at the mountain lodge. We will also visit a few protected animal habitats, which are located in the Northern Velebit National Park. Dinner at the lovely ranch and overnight stay.

tip

We will set forth into the deepest corners of Velebit, where we just might catch a glimpse of a wild animal roaming freely in the wilderness.

Day 7

Cowboy horseback riding trip

After breakfast, brace yourself for an adventure that will provide a true cowboy experience. Take in the familiar leather saddle smell intermingled with the fragrance of wild flowers and pine trees. Horseback riding in the gorgeous scenery will give you a sense of complete freedom and assuage your thirst for adventure. Lunch at the ranch. You'll have a roaring good time in the afternoon with a ton of cowboy-related activities and games, hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream, juice and beer. Overnight stay at the ranch.

tip

You will be riding through the beautiful valley across fields, creeks and gorges against the backdrop of some truly spectacular landscapes, so a decent photo-camera is a must.

Day 8

Check-out&Transfer

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 the arranged location. 

What's included?

  • Overnight stay with breakfast at the Superior 3 star apartment in Senj
  • Tourist tax
  • Transfer from Senj to the Vratnik pass
  • Overnight stay at the Oltari mountain lodge
  • Overnight stay at the Zavižan mountain lodge
  • Full board overnight stay at the Alan mountain lodge
  • Transfer from the Alan mountain lodge to the ranch
  • 3 overnight stays at the 4 star ranch
  • Half day "On the Trails of Winnetou" excursion
  • Half day Horseback Trail Ride excursion
  • Entertainment and various activities at the ranch – Friday BBQ Rodeo
  • VAT and travel preparations

What's not included?

  • Personal expenses. We recommend that you buy travel, personal accident and trip cancellation insurance policies. Please contact us at helpdesk@realcroatia.com.
  • Transfer on the day of arrival – from your arrival airport to Senj (available on request).
  • Transfer on the day of departure – from the ranch to Senj or any other desired destination (available on request).

Ask about availability & get an offer

What happens when you request an offer?

1

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

2

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

3

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

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