Scenic rides through the valleys come with spectacular views, stream crossings, gorges and meadows

Photo courtesy of Linden Tree
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Nature & wildlife trip

Explore Velebit mountain on horseback, a week of cowboy life on Via Dinarica

Live in the mountains for a week and get around by horseback riding, hiking and riding off-road in 4x4s. With a western-themed ranch as your home base, you’ll experience the lifestyle of a cowboy while exploring Velebit, the monumental Croatian mountain.

Spend a week on the authentic western yet luxury ranch on the magnificent Velebit mountain. Velebit is the largest mountain range in Croatia. Its biodiversity and natural beauty have long been acknowledged and the entire range was included in 1978 in the world network of biosphere reserves within the UNESCO programme of Man and the Biosphere (MAB). Unleash your adventurous spirit and become a real cowboy. Enjoy the ranch activities from riding classes to hiking, caving/spelunking, canoeing, mountain biking, archery, and off-ranch activities like ziplining, all-terrain vehicle adventures, and kayaking. With guides and gear always provided, you do not need to worry about feeling safe. In this all-inclusive offer, an all-day connection with nature and horses will allow you to fully renew your spirit and recharge with energy to survive the stress of everyday life.

Trip highlights

  • Luxury and unique 4* accommodation in wilderness of the Velebit mountain UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Great escape from the crowds and traffic
  • Possibility to experience an unforgettable connection with nature through mastering different types of horse-riding skills
  • Waking up to the birdsongs
  • Fun and outdoor educational program for children
  • Scenic horseback rides in the valley with stream crossings, gorges and meadows
  • Hiking trip along the beautiful mountain landscapes

Trip availableMAR-OCT
Duration8 days
Suitable for2-7 people
SupportFully guided
Languagesen
Price per personfrom 1,478.00 €
Great for
  • Young couples
  • Families with children
  • Seniors
  • Groups of friends
You’ll be accommodated in
  • 4-star ranch
Trip designed by Goran Božić

Active holiday specialist and a very passionate windsurfer

Activities are taking place on the Velebit Mountain

The ranch is located inside Velebit National Park, the UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve since 1978.

From the start, it has committed to being a part of the Velebit ecosystem in an entirely environmentally sustainable manner. The ranch started with a vision for a sustainable wilderness resort. The dream became a reality as the food for people and livestock has come from local farms and gardens. All the windows, doors, furniture, carpets, decors, and construction material have been made by local artists and craftsmen and sourced in the valley. You are thinking green? This is a place for you. Enjoy the concept that puts humans in the center of attention to create a balanced and integrated living system for all creatures.

An extensive variety of on-ranch activities are available from 9 am to 6 pm. All guided activities include professional guides with a passion for the adventure and a selection of gear, such as cowboy hats and boots, raincoats and walking canes.

With so much to discover, we encourage you to do two activities per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, or to participate in one of the day-long activities. The schedule is designed around a 7-day stay, from Saturday to Saturday. During your stay, you can try every activity at the ranch at least once.

Itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, snow and water levels, special events or interests, etc. Ranch guides and trip leaders will do their utmost to ensure the best possible experience for their clients without compromising safety at any time. This may mean changing the original itinerary to avoid discomfort or risk which could be caused by exceptional situations. You as a guest are not a mere spectator but rather an active participant. You absorb a wealth of knowledge and wisdom from locals and you leave some of your own wisdom behind.

Once a year you can take part in an expedition deep into the mountain on a journey that guests describe as the “trip of a lifetime”, or “best vacation ever”! After you spend a week on the mountain listening to the sound of silence and deepening your understanding of self and your place in this world, you will never look at life with the same eyes again.

Day-by-day itinerary

DAY 1

Saturday - Welcome to Zadar & Explore the ranch

Fly into Zadar. Your driver will meet you at the exit of the arrivals area at the Zadar Airport and take you to your mountain base for the next 8 days. People from all over the world venture out to Velebit in search of peace and unhindered contact with nature. In this land where horses graze freely and where meadows are filled with wildflowers, people encounter one thing they did not plan on meeting: themselves.

Check in upon arriving to the ranch. Your accommodation will cradle you with carefully appointed furniture, feather beds, massage showers and above all nurturing silence because of natural sheep wool insulation that is sourced from shepherds in the valley.

After settling down, come for a welcome drink in the Saloon where you will meet your host who will come to greet you and talk briefly about the week ahead and your horseback riding experience.

Dinner and evening entertainment. Overnight at the ranch.

DAY 2

Sunday - Wagon ride through the village & Archery

Fresh, nutrient-rich, tasty breakfast is served.

Make sure not to skip the wagon ride in the morning hours. The journey will take you close to the farms that produce milk and dairy products for the ranch so that you can experience organic farming firsthand and see from where the food that is prepared on the ranch comes from. Give it a try at herding a team of horses and earn the bragging rights!

In the afternoon hours, after lunch, we invite you to try archery. The Ranch provides an accessible and exciting opportunity to learn archery or hone your bow and arrow drawing skills. Guide will provide extensive safety and technique instructions with less demanding longbows. You can start by practicing on traditional bulls-eye targets while receiving personalized instruction. Once you hit the mark, move through the secluded hillside range, where you’ll find an exciting archery course that will put your skills to a test. A selection of near-to-life-sized foam cutout animals is situated along a short, easy hiking trail. Walking the trail allows you to shoot at different angles and target positions to recreate an authentic wilderness bow and arrow hunting experience.

BBQ dinner and evening entertainment. Overnight.

DAY 3

Monday - Cathedral hike

Monday is a lay day for horses so you will have a hiking trip but first things first - you will enjoy your tasty breakfast.

The forest around you has an abundance of logging trails that are any hiker’s paradise. The hiking trails are different and adapted both to the experienced and recreational hikers and people who enjoy walking and soaking in this beautiful, picturesque landscape.

After lunch you can join cowboy games. A variety of fun and safe games to make you laugh and smile and get a good workout out of it. Sack runs, tug-of-war, snap-the-apple, wood chopping, wagon-in-a-river, spoon run are few of the games that you can play as a part of this favorite activity for guests of all ages.

Evening at your leisure. Overnight.

DAY 4

Tuesday - Saddle up and share the horseback riding passion

In the morning hours, after your breakfast, you will participate in the two-hour horseback riding program - the shortest riding program on the ranch. Inhale the glorious scent of saddle leather mixed with wildflowers and sun-warmed pine. No matter how much experience you might have, all riders go through a brief technical orientation before getting on their horse. Your understanding of communication between yourself and your horse is what will be not only discovered but also advanced and understood. It is again one way that you will be able to take your horseback riding experience from ordinary to extraordinary.

Delight in the simple luxury of experience—the power of a strong and willing horse beneath you, the freedom of the frontier—and satisfy your yearning for adventure. This scenic ride goes through the valley with spectacular views, stream crossings, gorges, and meadows.

Lunch and in the afternoon hours followed by participating in natural horsemanship.

Dinner, evening entertainment. Overnight.

*The maximum weight for riders is 100 kg (220 lbs US). Exceptions might be made for very experienced/athletic riders. No prior riding experience needed.

DAY 5

Wednesday - A journey to the origins of Karl May's "Winnetou"

4x4 off-roading is another way to discover Velebit Mountain and the Winnetou trail. People on the ranch often must make their own way, clearing fallen trees or navigating around rock boulders. Trips are guided and take you to some of the deep corners of the mountain where wild animals roam free. The trip is a combination of off-roading and hiking. Simple but tasty lunch is prepared and served by mountain guides at Veliki Alan mountain hut.

Return to the Ranch.

During summer nights, around the campfire, live music and singing happen. From country evergreens to pop hits, there is going to come your favorite song you can sing along to.

Overnight..

DAY 6

Thursday - Create your own perfect day

There are horseback riding lessons and natural horsemanship on the schedule for today in the morning hours and hiking in the afternoon hours.

You can even ride a bike to the birthplace museum of Nikola Tesla (20 km /13 miles) to Smiljan, or set out on a journey and find for yourself hidden wonders of our valley – soft meadows bursting with vegetation, peaceful shady grooves as shelters from the summer sun, ruins of forsaken hamlets telling stories of past times. Crossroad bikes will be at your disposal for rental to discover trails surrounding the Ranch.

If you are traveling with your kids, we are sure you will enjoy the little Bear’s club and activities in their “Survival academy” or participating in cowboy games, gold panning and pony painting party.

Dinner, evening at leisure. Overnight.

DAY 7

Friday - Canoe expedition & seize the day and test your inner Cowboy

Glide along in a canoe along the Lika river canyon. Enjoy the exercise when the wind is down, and the river is still. Get your heart rate up while basking in the sun and splashing a paddle in the cool water. Depending on the water level, you will have up to four prehistoric dams that you will have master by taking your canoe on your shoulders while crossing a pile of ancient rocks. Keep an eye out for wildlife while paddling.

Be a part of an exciting display of your cowboy's skills in the afternoon hours. They include a flag parade, races (pole bending, barrel racing), obstacle courses, wagon runs, shooting a bow from a back of a horse and other fun and safe activities for all ages and skill levels. Spend a final night all together around the campfire and talk about favorite moments from this week.

DAY 8

Saturday - Just one more thing before departure

After breakfast you can go ahead and check-out. Depending on your flight schedule, your driver can drive you to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park. This gorgeous park is just one hour away by car. The Plitvice Lakes are famous for their 16 magnificent and entwined cascading lakes that form a gorgeous ring of water. Plitvice has been named one of the 35 most beautiful national parks in the world, and for good reason. Release your inner explorer and see for yourself why Plitvice Lakes have found their place on UNESCO World Heritage List. Later on a private transfer to the Zadar airport. 

What's included?

  • Return private vehicle transfer from the Zadar airport to the ranch
  • 7 overnights in a unique lodging accommodation based on All-inclusive service: 7 full boards (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks), tourist tax
  • Wagon ride on Day 2
  • Half day hiking tour (up to 4 hours) with English speaking local guide on Day 3
  • Horseback riding lessons and natural horsemanship on Day 4
  • “A journey to the origins of Karl May's "Winnetou" trail adventures – jeep, safari and hiking on Day 5
  • Canoe expedition on Day 7
  • Use of equipment for bike riding, canoeing, volleyball, badminton
  • Use of Ranch facilities like private movie theatre, karaoke, board games, book and CD/DVD library and access to a rare collection of books
  • Daily activities for children from ages 4 to 12: pony rides, gold panning, wildlife monitoring and counting, cowboy games, arts & crafts, and winter sports
  • Evening entertainment
  • Trip preparation fee
  • VAT

What's not included?

  • Airfare to and from Croatia
  • Meals and services other than those specified in the itinerary
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park visit (available upon request)
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities (tips are always appreciated but not mandatory) 

Reductions and supplements

  • For 3rd person on additional bed (on request)
  • For children (on request)
  • For single room (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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