Embark on a captivating journey through Croatia’s five enchanting national parks, each offering a unique tapestry of natural wonders and thrilling hiking trails waiting to be explored.
Begin your adventure in the awe-inspiring Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and lush woodlands. Meander along wooden boardwalks that snake through the park, immersing yourself in the ethereal beauty of turquoise-hued waters and verdant foliage. Marvel at the dynamic interplay of light and nature as you traverse the park’s network of trails, encountering breathtaking vistas at every turn.
Next, venture into the rugged terrain of Paklenica National Park, where towering limestone cliffs and deep canyons beckon to intrepid hikers. Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a casual trekker, Paklenica offers a range of trails suited to every skill level. Traverse ancient forests, scramble over rocky terrain, and discover hidden caves as you delve deeper into this pristine wilderness.
For a taste of Croatia’s untamed wilderness, head to Risnjak National Park, where dense forests, alpine meadows, and dramatic peaks await. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a journey through a landscape teeming with biodiversity, from elusive lynx and bears to rare plant species. Lose yourself in the tranquility of this remote wilderness, where the only sounds are the rustle of leaves and the call of wild birds.
Continue your odyssey in Krka National Park, where the mesmerizing spectacle of cascading waterfalls takes center stage. Follow winding trails that lead you past a series of stunning waterfalls, including the iconic Skradinski Buk, where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the crystalline pools below. Explore ancient ruins and historic watermills nestled amid lush vegetation, and marvel at the timeless beauty of this natural oasis.
Finally, ascend to the summit of Biokovo Mountain in Biokovo Nature Park, where panoramic views of the Dalmatian coast and islands await. Challenge yourself with a strenuous hike to the peak, rewarded with sweeping vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Gaze in awe at the rugged beauty of Croatia’s coastline, dotted with picturesque villages and secluded coves, before descending back to earth, your senses filled with the sights, sounds, and scents of Croatia’s diverse national parks.
DAY 1 – Arrival and transfer to Zvecaj
Zvecaj is a small village by the Mreznica River, not far from the highway connecting the Croatian capital, city of Zagreb with the harbour of Rijeka. We will meet you at the airport, railway station or in the harbour and take you there unless you are driving yourself. Zeleni kut (‘The Green Corner’) is a well-known restaurant and a small family-owned hotel overlooking the green Mreznica River and its waterfall. It was built above an old mill which now supplies electric power. The hotel serves traditional Croatian specialties using fresh water fish from its own fishing ponds, homemade cheese, ham and sausages as well as fresh vegetables and fruit from local farms. In the evening we will meet on the terrace overlooking the river for a welcome drink, dinner and brief orientation, where we will have the chance to discuss the upcoming holiday and get to know our guides and fellow travellers.
Accommodation: Hotel in the Mreznica River area; Van ride: 1 hour from Zagreb airport, 1.5 hour from Rijeka airport;
DAY 2 – Risnjak National Park Hiking
The Risnjak mountain range is named after a rare animal that inhabits its woods – the lynx. It is located in Gorski Kotar, the most mountainous and heavily forested region of the country, about 15 km inland from the Adriatic Sea. The pristine park covers an area of 63,5 km2. It includes both the Risnjak and Snjeznik ranges and the source area of the Kupa River. We start our hike from Vilje which will lead us towards our goal – Big Risnjak, the highest point of the mountain range. Schlosser’s mountain hut, situated 100m below the peak, is probably one of the most beautiful mountain huts in Croatia. After resting and enjoying the amazing view over the sea, other peaks of Gorski Kotar and even the Alps, we will descend slowly back to Vilje. After hiking we will return back to our hotel for dinner in the late afternoon.
Accommodation: Hotel in Mreznica River area; Van ride: 1.5-2 hours each way; Walking:3-4 hours; Terrain: easy/moderate, well marked paths;
DAY 3 – North Velebit National Park Hiking
After breakfast, we’ll drive to Croatia’s youngest national park – North Velebit National Park. The area was designated a national park due to its richness of karst phenomena, outstanding biodiversity and exquisitely beautiful nature on a relatively small area. The park is crisscrossed with numerous mountaineering trails. The most famous is the Premužić trail, named after its constructor who built it in the late 1933. The path runs through the most beautiful and the most interesting parts of the park. From the numerous peaks in the surroundings you can have a magnificent view of the Adriatic Sea, its islands and the continental side of the mountain chain.
Accommodation in Plitvice Lakes National Park is provided by the families of Korana Village, a small romantic place hidden away in a valley by the Korana River. The houses are small, traditional dwellings with simple rooms in an idyllic setting. The peaceful atmosphere makes the village an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area – Korana Village has no pubs, restaurants, shops, schools, not even a church – it’s just a village as small and wonderful as it can be, an ideal setting for a fairy tale.
Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Van ride: 2.5 hour each way; Walking: 4 – 5 hours; Terrain: easy/moderate, well-marked paths;
DAY 4 – Plitvice Lakes National Park Walking
Today we visit the most beautiful and stunning national park of Croatia – Plitvice Lakes National Park. We start our day walking along the wooden paths and bridges in and around Plitvice Lakes National Park. 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. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the pure and untouched nature. Panoramic boat and train rides will take us back to the start. Later in the afternoon we return to our accommodation in the village just in time to enjoy a quick swim before dinner.
Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Van ride: 15 min each way; Walking: easy, 4-5 hours; Terrain: easy, well-marked paths;
DAY 5 – Optional trip day
For those who chose a 5-day trip, this is the end of your holiday. You are welcome to schedule your homeward transport for any time (transfer to Zagreb is included in the price). The rest of the group continues the trip.
On the fifth day of your holiday you can be as active or as lazy as you want. You can relax by the river, swim or even take another optional cycling tour on your own in and around Plitvice Lakes National Park. Several river, walking, sightseeing or beach trips will be offered, 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. 60€ per head, payable on site, and is dependent on suitable weather conditions. The price is based on a min. of 4 participants.
Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Van ride: max 2 hours one way
DAY 6 – Paklenica National Park Hiking
After saying goodbye to our village hosts we continue south to Paklenica National Park, part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and a favourite hiking and climbing destination. Paklenica National Park covers the area of torrent flows of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, their distinctive canyons carved vertically into the south slopes of Mount Velebit and the broader surrounding area. This relatively small area offers 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 locals mostly engage in nomadic stock herding, which can be seen by their mountain shepherd residences. Hiking is the only way to really get to know Paklenica National Park. There are several wonderful hikes through beech and black pine forests to choose from. The most popular is the trail leading to Borisov Dom, a mountain hut popular among mountaineers. After descending all the way to the sea we drive to Skradin for the evening.
Accommodation: hotel in Skradin; Van ride: 2h+1h; Walking: 4-5 hours; Terrain: moderate, well- marked paths;
DAY 7 – Krka River National Park Walking
The last day of the journey takes us to Krka River National Park with its fantastic karst formations and travertine waterfalls. We explore the park’s extensive waterways and complex history dating back to the late 10th century and first Croatian kings. One of the options is a visit to Skradinski Buk waterfall, the place where the second hydroelectric power plant in the world was built, just a few days after the one on Niagara Falls. A boat will take us to Visovac Island and its Franciscan monastery. After walking, we return to the hotel and enjoy a late afternoon in the old town before the final evening dinner and a celebration of an amazing adventure.
Accommodation: hotel in Skradin; Walking: easy, 3 hours; Terrain: easy, well-marked paths;
DAY 8 – Departure
Depart from Skradin to the airport and flight home. There might be several group transfers between the destination and airport depending on flight departure 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.
Van drive: Zadar 45 min, Split 1 hour, Zagreb 3.5 hours
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.
- 7 nights accommodation
- meals as noted in the itinerary (7xB=breakfast and 5xD=dinner)
- 5 days of organized activities
- use of walking poles (with advanced notice)
- national parks entrance fees
- local taxes and river permits
- Saturday transfer from Zagreb or Rijeka airport (arrival)*
- Saturday transfer to Zagreb, Zadar or Split airport (departure)*
- skilled English speaking guide and assistance
- ground transportation
- basic insurance
*Several group transfers between the airport and destination depending on arrival time. Arrivals after 6 pm may be subject to surcharge of 30 euros per transfer.
- international airfare to/from Croatia
- optional trip on day 5
- items of a personal nature and gratuities to your guide(s)
- beverages and lunches or picnics as noted in itinerary
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.
Accommodation is provided in different locations ranging from North to South Croatia. We mostly use either small family run hotels or private guest houses located outside the popular tourist areas. This will make your experience of Croatia even more complete.
Accommodation is provided in the following units: in the Zeleni Kut hotel on the bank of the Mreznica River (days 1 & 2) by the families of Korana Village, a small romantic place hidden away in a valley surrounding both sides of the river in Plitvice Lakes National Park (days 3, 4 & 5) and in Skradinski Buk hotel in Skradin (days 6, 7 & 8).
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 Croatia after your trip with us, we can provide additional airport transfers.
Arrival and departure transfers: several group transfers between airport and destination depending on arrival/departure time. Arrivals after 6pm may be subject to surcharge of 30 EUR per transfer.
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.
All prices are per person in EUR
Maximum number of participants: 16 guests per group. Larger groups on request
Minimum age: 12 years if accompanied by parent(s)
Children discount is valid for children age 12 at the time of the travel if accompanied by an adult
*1 child enjoying discount shares parents’ room, 2 or more children can have their own room
Rooms: Zeleni kut hotel offers rooms from 1 to 4 beds. Please note that each house in Korana Village has 2-4 bedrooms and that sometimes two rooms share one bathroom.
Single use rooms are available upon request, with 20% surcharge. Sharing a room with another person is possible
Please inform us in advance (at the time of your booking, by e-mail) should you require walking poles
National Parks in Croatia
The Raftrek Adventure Travel Croatia team consists of travel enthusiasts and profesionals who
will bring you the best adventures in Croatia. Find a combination from our
one-day trips or multiday tours to create your own experience!