Clear Rivers, Hidden Canyons

land of wild west-like canyons
Raftrek Adventure Travel / Clear Rivers, Hidden Canyons
8 days
Starigrad Paklenica, Croatia
Age 8+
Dates (May -Sept)
Price upon request

Clear Rivers, Hidden Canyons

Starigrad Paklenica Activity Holiday Croatia

The daily program on our activity holiday Croatia is a combination of kayaking, walking, swimming, sightseeing and exploring hidden canyons. Through hidden canyons of Velika and Mala Paklenica, two mountain streams have been flowing for thousands of years. They flow towards the sea and form a fertile plain at its base. Together with a peaceful shore, the plain creates the site of Starigrad town. Gently laid out along twenty kilometers of seacoast at the foot of the magnificent Velebit Mountain. Therefore the Paklenica Riviera joins the mountain and the sea. The Mediterranean with an upland climate, tradition with modernity.

Clear rivers joining the sea

Starigrad is located in the far northwestern part of Dalmatia, as a part of the Zadar oriented region. As the center of the Paklenica Riviera, Starigrad is a small but lively tourist town. With somewhat more than one thousand inhabitants. Here the locals exchanged their traditional way of life in the foothills of the Velebit for life alongside the sea some half a century ago. Starigrad is not merely a pleasant seaside resort. It is also a traditional gathering place for hikers and climbers, adventurers and scientists. Therefore all nature lovers who come to enjoy the beauties of Paklenica and the Velebit mountain. If you prefer one of our different activity holiday Croatia please follow the link for more offers.

Short itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival to destination – Starigrad Paklenica
Day 2: Trekking Krupa River Canyon
Day 3: Kayaking the upper part of Mrežnica Canyon
Day 4: Trekking in NP Paklenica + optional rock climbing
Day 5: Sea Kayaking to Vinjerac, afternoon visit to Zadar
Day 6: Free day – optional
Day 7: Zrmanja Canoe Safari
Day 8: Departure

Day 1

Arrival to destination – Starigrad-Paklenica

You will be picked up by our staff at the Zadar or Split airport, bus or train station and transported to Starigrad Paklenica. Hotel Vicko will be the base for this programme throughout the following days. After you settle into your accommodation, you can use the rest of the day to explore the area, go to the beach or just relax. In the evening, you will be joined by your guide and the rest of the group members for a welcome dinner. During the dinner, the guide will inform you about the programme that you are about to undertake.

Meals: D; Van drive from airport: Split 2,30 hours or Zadar 45 min 

Day 2

Trekking Krupa River Canyon

Through millenniums Zrmanja and Krupa rivers in the Velebit Mountain Nature Park have carved a spectacular canyon and built magnificent waterfalls. These are two of the most beautiful rivers in Europe with green banks and perfectly clear water. We start our day with a van drive to a little village called Golubici where very few people live nowadays. One of Croatia’s prettiest rivers is probably exactly the tiny Krupa. Located just under the steep slopes of Velebit, this beautiful river stretches from the lovely spring all the way through a deep canyon where it meets Zrmanja – another beautiful karst river. Arriving to Golubic village we visit a local sheep and goat farm. After tasting local cheese and drinks, we take a short walk down the hill to Kudin most – or The Bridge of Kuda – one of the nicest places in the hinterland of Zadar. Actually, the place is called Deveterci for the 9 small cascades that make the place so magical. Kudin Bridge has been built at the turn of the 18th to 19th century. Legend says that a young guy called Kuda wanted to be closer to his loved one who lived on the other side of the river. So he built the bridge from 12 arches out of travertine blocks, and just as many pillars. The last two arches are now damaged but Kudin Bridge still stands despite time and high water level in winter. After the hike we will stop and visit the Orthodox monastery on the Krupa river bank. You will experience only the sound of river and birds. Magical!

Meals: B, L and D; hiking: 3h, moderate 

Day 3

Kayaking the upper part of Mrežnica River Canyon, OPTIONAL visit to NP Plitvice Lakes

We are going on the water this morning in the upper Mreznica canyon. We start our expedition upstream, traveling through a gorge so narrow and deep that the sun enters it for only a few hours each day, around noon, creating spectacular light effects. Bypassing cliffs of carved white rocks, lush vegetation and cascading waterfalls, we will arrive at a strong freshwater spring. We continue our journey to the second highest waterfall on Mreznica (8m), a magical place ideal for swimming and a picnic lunch. After a break, we head downstream and finish the adventure back where we left our vehicles.

On our way back to Starigrad we can visit Plitvice Lakes, Croatia's premier National Park for a short walk. Its exquisite series of 16 emerald green and opal blue travertine lakes, more than 90 waterfalls and numerous caves make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. (Please note that the optional visit to NP Plitvice will incur an additional charge, payable on site)

Meals: B (picnic lunch on your own, dinner on your own); Van drive: 2.30h one way; kayaking: Class III rapids, 3h. 

Day 4

Trekking NP Paklenica, OPTIONAL rock climbing course

If there was ever a morning worth getting up early, this is that morning. Our small expedition leads us into Paklenica National Park, the most famous hiking and rock climbing national park in Croatia. It covers the area of torrent flows of Velika and Mala Paklenica, and their distinctive canyons carved vertically into the southern slopes of Velebit and the broader surrounding area. The relatively small area has an abundance of exceptional diversity of geomorphologic phenomena and forms, diverse flora and fauna, attractive landscapes and intact nature. Having adapted to the geographic and climatic environment, the residents mostly engaged in nomad stock herding, which is confirmed by mountain shepherd residences. The fact that many people stayed in mountain residences in summertime is reflected in the ruins of numerous sacral buildings: churches, chapels, altars, holy hills and measures. The name Paklenica probably derives from black pine sap called “paklina”, which the locals used in traditional medicine, for wound treatment, for light and for coating of wooden boats. Hiking is the only way to really get to know Paklenica.

For those looking for more excitement, we will have a chance to test our persistence and hardworking personalities by joining an optional short rock climbing school. When we arrive to our climbing spot you’ll dress up in climbing gear and your instructor will set an easy route for you to try to climb it. You’ll learn how to tie useful knots and how to use safety gear. The instructor will be watching you and protecting you from potential risks. (Please note that the optional rock climbing course will incur an additional charge, payable on site)

Meals: B and D (optional lunch at Ramica Dvori mountain hut); hiking: 4-6 hours; moderate 

Day 5

Sea Kayaking to Vinjerac, afternoon visit to Zadar

This day is all about exploring the area in our sea kayaks. After sea kayaking instructions on the beach just in front of our hotel, we head out towards the open sea and little Vinjerac town. The sole arrival offers to each tourist a picture of a quiet place surrounded with crystal clear sea and the mountain Velebit in immediate vicinity. Kayaking and swimming in clear blue sea with a view on the impressive Velebit Mountain will make your day. Vinjerac has always been known as a fishing place. The everyday catch of the local fishermen enriches the menu of the households and restaurants in Vinjerac and together with homemade food makes it a great location for lunch before we head back to Starigrad.

Finishing our fabulous day we continue our journey to visit Zadar, a beautiful old town on the Adriatic coast. In the past several years, Zadar town has become an outdoor exhibition, attracting people from all demographic structures. It is really worth seeing and experiencing. We will get to experience Zadar´s most beautiful sunset and have time for dinner. We return to the hotel for overnight.

Meals: B (lunch on your own, optional dinner in Zadar); kayaking: 4hours, moderate. Van drive to Zadar 1h 

Day 6

Free day – optional

On your optional day you can be as active or as lazy as you wish. You can relax by the sea, swim, play beach volleyball or even take another optional tour on your own. Several organized and guided tours of hiking, canyoning, climbing, sightseeing or beach trips will be proposed in case you are keen on discovering more beauties that Croatia has to offer. (Please note that the optional trip will incur an additional charge of approx. 50€ per head, payable on site, and is dependent on suitable weather conditions. The price is based on a min. of 4 participants.)

Meals: B and D (lunch on your own) 

Day 7

Zrmanja Canoe Safari

We head out for canoeing down the magnificent wild-west-like canyon of the Zrmanja and Krupa Rivers. After a short introduction to paddling (watercraft may be raft, canoe or sit-on-top kayaks depending upon the river conditions), we push off for an afternoon of refreshing fun on the clear, warm and emerald waters of these Croatian rivers, considered two of the most beautiful in Europe. From the geologic aspect Zrmanja is also very interesting. The basin of Zrmanja is, according to geologic research, built mostly of limestone and dolomite. Waterfalls and easy rapids, hidden swimming pools, steep-sided canyons and, very likely, no one else on the river but our group – it doesn't get better than this!

Meals: B and D (optional picnic-lunch); Van drive: 50 min; kayaking or rafting: Class I/II rapids, 4-5 h 

Day 8

Departure day

Depart Starigrad Paklenica for the airport and flight home. You are welcome to schedule your homeward transport for any time. If you decide to spend more time in Croatia, our guides will be happy to recommend other beautiful places to visit - especially those you won’t find in tourist guide books.

Meals: B; Van drive: Split 2,30 hours, Zadar 45 min 

Note on Itinerary:
This itinerary is subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather, water levels, special events of interest, etc. Raftrek 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. Raftrek reserves the right to alter the itinerary without prior notice.

Group size

Min 4 – max 16 people per group; larger groups are on request. Minimum numbers apply. There is a possibility of cancellation after confirmation if there is not enough passengers to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, you will be offered an alternative or full refund. In case the minimum number of participants is not met but the guest/s still want to do the trip, the price increases by a percentage depending on the final number of participants.

Skill level

Moderate*** Read more


Accommodation is provided in Hotel Vicko situated near the beach, in the quiet part of the town. Hotel Vicko has 58 beds in single and double rooms with a view of the sea or the park. Classic rooms are equipped with a shower and toilette, air conditioning, phone, satellite TV and a safe. Maritime rooms are equipped with all the basics but also have a balcony with a sea view. Hotel guests have a 24-hour-guarded parking lot, an exchange office and a beach with chairs, sunshades and a shower available.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate. Early arrivals / Extended stay notes – we include two transfers with each trip. These are usually the transfers on the first and the last day of the trip. In case you are arriving a few days earlier or extending your stay in Dubrovnik after your trip with us, we can provide additional airport transfers.


Meals tend to be fairly heavy on the meats and sausages, breads and pastries, pastas and dumplings. If you have special dietary needs, please let us know as soon as possible. Vegetarian diets can be accommodated but we recommend that you bring along with you some of your favorite protein snacks.


Price upon request
  • All prices are per person in EUR
  • Minimum age: 8 years if accompanied by parent(s)
  • Children discount is valid for children 8-12 years of age if accompanied by an adult
    * 1 child enjoying discount shares parents’ room, 2 or more children can have their own room
  • Single use rooms are available upon request, with 20% surcharge. Sharing a room with another person of the same sex is possible

**NOTE: The prices are fixed in euros. This conversion is for comparison purposes only. The exact price in dollars or pounds is calculated on the day of booking according to the exchange rate of the Croatian National Bank.

Departure seasons

High Season: June 29 – August 23
Intermediate: June 8-June 28,    August 24-Sept 13
Low Season: May 19-June 7,   Sept 14-Sept 27

What’s included
  • 7 nights in 3* Hotel Vicko
  • meals as noted in the itinerary (7xB=breakfast, 1xlunch, and 5xD=dinner)
  • use of kayaks, paddles, life jackets, helmets
  • 5 days organized activities
  • neoprene shorts and booties or sandals in case of cold weather
  • park entrance fees
  • Saturday transfers from/to Split and Zadar airport, bus or train station
  • skilled guide and assistance
  • ground transportation (private transport throughout)
  • local taxes  
Not included
  • international airfare to/from Croatia
  • beverages and lunches or picnics as noted in the itinerary (3rd and 5th-night dinners on your own)
  • items of personal nature and optional gratuities to your guide(s)
  • optional trip on day 6, but it can be booked and paid on spot



In the unlikely case of extreme weather conditions, Raftrek Adventure Travel will reschedule the activity for a day or two prior or after the date booked, if possible. If the rescheduling is not possible, the payments will be refunded in full. Read more –  Terms & conditions.

Staff & Experts

Raftrek 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. 

Weather – the summers are typically warm and sunny. From May to October temperatures are comfortable for hiking, paddling, and swimming. Rain is always a possibility in Croatia so it is essential to bring adequate rain wear and a jacket in case of inclement weather.

Questions – Feel free to call us at 0038516521666, if you still have any questions or concerns. We’re here to help you. For further information on FAQ please visit our website

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