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 definitely 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.

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.

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. 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.

You sleep in a shared dormitory, on a bunk bed, which together recall the pleasure of simplicity. As use of your own linen is mandatory, we suggest you bring your own sleeping bags.

Duration: 10 hours

Length: 17,9 km

Lowest point: 680 m

Highest point: 1402 m

DAY 3

Zavižan high-altitude weather station

Waking up in an idyllic forest surrounded by 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.

Zavižan hut 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.

Overnight stay at the Zavižan mountain lodge.

Duration: 7 hours

Length: 11,3 km

Lowest point: 942 m

Highest point: 1677 m

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.

In the Alan mountain hut, 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 the basic hygiene is provided next to the house. It is recommended to bring your own sleeping bags. For guests with no sleeping bags there are enough blankets, needed even in mid summer. The Alan mountain hut offers a variety of refreshing drinks. As far as possible, simple meals are offered by arrangement.

Duration: 6 hours

Length: 14,5 km

Lowest point: 1344 m

Highest point: 1652 m

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 nature and various organized 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.

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.

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?

  • 1 overnight with breakfast at the Superior 3* apartment in Senj, tourist tax
  • Private car transfer from Senj to Vratnik pass
  • 1 overnight stay at Oltari mountain lodge, tourist tax
  • 1 overnight stay at Zavižan mountain lodge, tourist tax
  • 1 overnight stay at Alan mountain lodge, tourist tax
  • Private vehicle transfer from Alan mountain lodge to the ranch
  • 3 overnights in a unique 4* lodging accommodation based on All-inclusive service: 3 full boards (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks), tourist tax
  • Half day excursion "On the Trails of Winnetou" on the day 6
  • Half day excursion “Horseback Trail Ride” on day 7
  • Entertainment and various activities at the ranch
  • Private car transfer from the Ranch to arranged location in Senj
  • Trip preparation fee
  • VAT 

What's not included?

  • Transfers to and from Senj, Croatia
  • Meals and services other than specified in the itinerary
  • Hiking guide services for the routes: Vratnik - Oltari - Zavižan - Alan (day 2 to day 4) - available upon request 
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities (tips are always appreciated but not mandatory)

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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