Epic hiking trails
There are many different hiking adventures in Croatia to choose from. You can find some of the world’s most beautiful mountain, forest, and coastal scenery.
If you want to spend a weekend in Croatia, then you can head to one of its scenic areas to enjoy fantastic day hikes along the coast or in the mountains. However, if you want a life-changing experience in Croatia, you should consider hiking the Croatian portion of one of the epic international hiking trails that thread through this beautiful nation.
The Best and Most Beautiful Hiking Adventures in Croatia
There are 3 long-distance hiking trails for epic hiking adventures in Croatia: White Trail, Green Trail, and Blue Trail. All 3 are part of a network of hiking trails in the Dinaric Alps. Known as the Via Dinarica that runs from Slovenia to Albania. Note that wild camping is not allowed in Croatia, so hikers stay in huts and hostels along the routes.
The White Trail is the main route of the Via Dinarica hiking trail network. Much like the PCT in the US, the White Trail is focused on guiding hikers to the scenic mountain heights within the Dinaric Alps. This trail joins all the most interesting mountain regions in the country.
If you wanted to trek along the entire length of this trail, it would take you around 24 days. On such long hiking adventures in Croatia, you may find it difficult to keep your GPS unit and other electronic devices charged. For that reason, consider taking a charger with solar panels with solar panels so you always have power.
The Green Trail explores the conifer forest inland areas of Croatia, such as the Lika region. Situated in the lower mountains of the Dinaric Alps, the trails here are great for mountain biking as well as hiking. Following meandering trails through the ancient and dense forest. You may get lost, so make sure you’re wearing a watch with a compass or GPS so you can find your way back.
The Blue Trail follows the Adriatic coastline and the mountains located close to the sea for coastal hiking adventures in Croatia. Though the mountains here are lower, they are no less beautiful and benefit from the sea breeze.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
There are many scenic areas where you can enjoy fantastic family hiking adventures in Croatia. If you just want to take your family on leisurely walks through some of Croatia’s most beautiful scenery, then Plitvice Lakes National Park in Central Croatia is for you. In the park you’ll find 16 pristine lakes interconnected by waterfalls and creeks. The lakes feature distinctive colors due to the minerals found in the water and the algae that thrive there.
Wooden steps help you climb rocky slopes while wooden walkways lead you over lakes. So you can better admire the breathtaking waterfalls and surrounding lush green forest. This park is the most popular destination for family hiking adventures in Croatia.
The mountainous region of Gorski Kotar is popularly known as “Croatia’s green lungs” because it is 63% forest. As an area sandwiched between the Mediterranean climate of the Adriatic Sea and the continental climate of mainland Europe. The region is renowned for its diverse ecology. Risnjak National Park is a perfect destination for short, family-friendly treks through scenic forested land.
The Kupa Trail is a short half-hour trek from Razloge village to the source of the River Kupa. The source itself is a 165-feet wide oval lake of turquoise water surrounded by lush green forest. The Leska Nature Path is a 2.8-mile loop trail that begins and ends at the Crni Lug Visitor Center. This educational trail features unique karst limestone features and diverse vegetation.
The Snježnik Trail is a more challenging 1.5-hour trek from Platak Ski Resort to the summit of Snježnik suitable for taking your older kids. At 4,941 feet, it is the 2nd-tallest peak in the park. You can extend this trek another hour by continuing on to Guslica. Guslica is a peak with an elevation of 4,888 feet where you will find an abandoned Yugoslav People’s Army Camp from the Cold War that you may find interesting to explore.
The prairie lands of the Slavonia region also provide great day-hikes suitable for family hiking adventures in Croatia with young kids. Slavonia is located in the Pannonian Basin. Which is the site on an ancient sea that drained away as the Dinaric and Carpathian Mountains rose.
The dense beech forest, lakes, and creeks of the Papuk Geopark are especially popular hiking destinations. The slopes of Papuk Mountain also feature caves and picturesque waterfalls. Around the park are several historic mountain towns such as Ružica and Velički Gradac.
The Velebit Mountains
If you’re looking for epic hiking adventure in Croatia but don’t have the time to hike the whole of the White Trail, there are scenic areas where you can enjoy trekking shorter sections of the Via Dinarica trails. These are multiple-day hiking adventures suitable for the more enthusiastic hiking families. The Velebit Mountains is the biggest mountain range in the country and features 2 national parks. Those two are: The Northern Velebit National Park and Paklenica National Park. The Velebit Mountains boasts rich biodiversity and is the most popular destination for hiking adventures in Croatia.
The 62-mile Velebit Trail (Velebitski Planinarski Put, VPP) is the most famous hiking trail in the Lika region and a great way to explore the whole of the karst mountains. There are many fascinating limestone features along the way, and you may even see one of the rare Balkan bears.
The path is well-trodden and so easy to navigate. However, the steep climbs and rough terrain means that the whole journey takes around 9 days. While there are huts provided for trekkers at the natural stopping points along the route, you must bring your own food. The shorter 35-mile Premužić Trail focuses upon the Northern Velebit National Park area of the Velebit Mountains. This trail meanders through dense forest, alpine meadows, and limestone structures.
The tallest peaks in Croatia are in the Dalmatia region. The highest at 6,007 feet is Dinara Mountain, which straddles the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dinara has 2 peaks, but the other, known as Troglav, is over the border. The Dinaric Alps are named after this peak. There most popular trail to Dinara’s summit takes 2 days from the trailhead near a lake that is the source of the Cetina River. This trail is part of the longer Via Dinarica
Biokovo Nature Park is a popular destination for hikers on the southern Dalmatian coastline and contains mountainous terrain with vineyards, olive groves, and pine forests. The Biokovo Mountain Range is Croatia’s 2nd-tallest reaching an elevation of 5,781 feet at Sveti Jure. It is important to take care when planning to hike the popular trail to Sveti Jure. Hikers have perished on the trail when they did not take their preparations seriously, wore flip-flops, and failed to carry water.
Written by Robert Baker
Author bio: Robert Baker is a blogger and a travel writer for many years and has been providing destination guides and recommendations to places he has been.