Croatia’s Most Incredible Hiking Regions
When someone mentions Croatia, a few images may spring to mind. The golden beaches and dramatic cliffs of the Dalmatian Coast. The terracotta hues of its coastal town rooftops. The tumbling waters of Plitvice Lakes’ intricate natural water system. You would be forgiven for not associating the country with wild highland trails or wind-sculpted mountain tops. However, hiking in Croatia is one of the best ways to truly connect with the nation and experience its most intimate natural beauty.
Whether you are an experienced trekker looking to hike the length of the country or simply in search of a picturesque stroll among Croatia’s most beautiful vistas, there are sure to be routes applicable to both your level and the nature of the walk that you are seeking. Most hikes in Croatia are walkable throughout the entire year, meaning that you can experience a side of the country that hasn’t been seen by most. It also lets you discover Croatia’s quietest corners, where the lack of crowds allows you to be immersed in memorable moments that belong to you alone.
Most of Croatia is home to some stunning walks, including within the walls of its historic limestone cities. However, there are some regions within the country whose breathtaking scenery and overall adventurous atmosphere make them stand out among the crowd.
Lika is a county of varied terrain that lies at the very center of Croatia. The region stretches from the Adriatic Sea to the mountainous border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, encompassing sandy beaches, luscious forests and dramatic highlands within its borders. Thanks to this, it offers fantastic natural scenery of all descriptions to every traveler that decides to venture through.
Much of Lika’s appeal is in the variety that it possesses. Some of Croatia’s most notable National Parks lie within the region, in the form of Velebit, Paklencia and the internationally renowned Plitvice Lakes. Not only are these areas brimming with natural splendor, but each is utterly unique from the last. You can spend one day venturing over 1,500m above sea level through the natural rock sculptures of Velebit – Croatia’s largest mountain range – and the following day getting lost in the trails that wind and twist between Plitvice’s sixteen lakes. It is an area that truly has something for every type of hiker.
Situated in a scarcely visited eastern corner of the country, sandwiched between Hungary, Bosnia and Serbia, Slavonia is Croatia at its Balkan best. Particularly flat in comparison to other parts of Croatia, it is home to a number of river tributaries, including those belonging to the Danube, which have gifted it with an abundant range of flora and fauna.
The region is also home to a number of significant historic sites. Strolling through the rolling green hills, you can come across ancient fortifications one minute and gently tumbling waterfalls the next. One particularly popular hiking route is through Papuk Nature Park, which consists of dense forests, placid lakes and the occasional ruin that is slowly being reclaimed by the environment in which it stands.
If you are looking for a refreshing green escape from the bustle of Zagreb, Slavonia may be just the place that you are after. Contact our friendly team and ask for it to be incorporated into your journey to the Croatian capital.
Often overlooked in favor of its ever-popular neighboring region Istria, Gorski Kotar is a dream location for hikers of every capability. With almost two thirds of the area covered in a lush emerald canopy, it is clear why it is known by many as the “Green Lungs of Croatia”.
Gorski Kotar gives you the impression that you have become completely separated from the hustle and bustle of the world and connected with nature on a deeper level. Stunning throughout the year, the county is a myriad of warm-colored flora in fall, coated in a pure white canvas of snow throughout winter and comes to life with varied wildlife during spring and summer. Imagine rivers meander between dramatic mountain scenery, trees overhanging the banks and no sound in the air but that of the rippling water.
Venture into Risnjak National Park to witness wild grasslands with a dramatic alpine backdrop, before delving into a nearby forest and discovering one of its impossibly blue hidden lakes for a sense of true tranquility. This is hiking in Croatia at its very best.
Gorski Kotar’s neighbor to the west and one of the better-known areas of Croatia, the Istrian Peninsula offers an abundance of hiking spots that range from treks up to the peak of Ucka Mountain to peaceful saunters along its gorgeous coastline. Istria is a region that somehow manages to seamlessly combine untamed highland terrain with soothing ocean views.
There are countless weaving trails to explore throughout Istria, and each is as beautiful as the last. Wander from one coastal town to the next, exploring rugged rural scenery in between and stumbling across historic gems like the hillside town of Grožnjan to mix a little culture into your adventure.
Gazing down on the mist-covered bays from above in the early morning is an experience unmatched by most hiking experiences across the globe. Plus, one of the greatest benefits of hiking in Istria is the fact that you can finish off your walk with a refreshing dip in the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea.
An excellent alternative way to see Istria is via bike. Explore our Bike Tour – Istria itinerary to discover what cycling through Istria entails.
Better renowned for its quaint coastal towns, stunning beaches and paradisiacal islands, Dalmatia also has a lot to offer those looking to explore Croatia by foot. Strap on your boots and venture up and down the coast’s abundance of dramatic cliffs, overlooking the calm waters of the sea below.
Or head inland to Mt. Snijeznica – just a short drive from Dubrovnik – scale the summit and gaze over the mesmerizing peaks that stretch far beyond the horizon. Those with less experience venturing the great outdoors can opt for the short hike up to Mt. Srd, on Dubrovnik’s northern border. An iconic representation of hiking in Croatia, it gifts those that reach the top with fantastic views of the city’s terracotta rooftops nestled on the point where land meets sea. Afterwards you can climb down and help yourself to a well deserved portion of unforgettable local food with a refreshing glass of wine or ice cold beer.
For more information on hiking in Croatia and how to start planning your trip, please contact our friendly team of experts and they can set you on the right path for the perfect hiking holiday.