Table of contents
- Amazing national parks of Velebit
- Mountain peaks and hiking trails
- Wildlife in Velebit
- What to wear for hiking?
Velebit is the longest, but not the highest, mountain in Croatia. It’s a mountain between two different worlds; from one side you can enjoy the cold Lika plateau, and on the other side you will delighted by the warmth of a sun-bathed Adriatic Sea.
The northern part of Velebit has been declared a national park and is also the most popular destination for mountaineers. This is the place where the Premužić trail, the highest peak Mali Rajinac (1699 m), and the popular Zavižan basin are located.
You can choose between many hiking trails of different levels of difficulty; from easy to difficult, so book your stay in Croatia and dive into the hiking adventure around Veleb
Amazing national parks of Velebit
Believe it or not, Velebit has three national parks on its property, which gives you plenty of opportunities to fully experience the beauty of its nature and admire the untouched pieces of this mountain chain.
Velebit Nature Park
Velebit Nature Park is Croatia’s largest protected area. A multitude of flora and fauna, interesting cultural heritage, and activities await you, all in one place. Skip the winter at high altitudes if you don’t have the experience and necessary equipment, or stay only in the “edge" parts of our beautiful mountain. For your first time, spring or summer will be the perfect choice.
In 1978 it was included in the list of international UNESCO reserves, and we can be proud of the fact that it contains two national parks. These are Paklenica National Park and Northern Velebit National Park.
Paklenica National Park
Northeast of Zadar on the southern Velebit is the Paklenica National Park. This park includes the streams and canyons of Velika and Mala Paklenica, known for their excellent hiking and climbing routes. Within the park are the highest peaks of Velebit, Vaganski Vrh and Sveto brdo.
Paklenica is a place of amazing beauty, and hiking is the perfect activity for an unforgettable time spent there.
image credits: Katsch 1969
Sjeverni Velebit National Park
Sjeverni Velebit is a wide mountainous area without a characteristic main ridge separating the seaside from the interior. The area is mostly karst, covered with beech forest, grasslands and rocky areas. There are numerous hiking trails, the most famous of which is the Premužić trail, which is also distinguished by the nature reserve of Rožanski and Hajdučki kukovi – an incredible group of rocky peaks, cliffs, pits and holes that will leave you breathless.
Mountain peaks and hiking trails
Velebit is a mountain to which mountaineers always return and explore every part of it absorbing the incredible nature it hides. However, it’s not a harmless mountain. Although some parts are tamer and flatter, to conquer its most beautiful parts and most attractive peaks, good fitness, hiking equipment, and sturdy boots are a must. These Velebit peaks that we present are only a fraction of the most beautiful that this mountain has to offer, and all the effort and every drop of sweat pays off.
On the north, not far from the meteorological station, is one of the most visited Velebit peaks. The ascent to the Veliki Zavižan starts from the Zavižan Mountain Lodge, the path further leads to the entrance to the Velebit Botanical Garden, from where it turns onto the path. The total tour lasts on average a little less than an hour. The view from that top is breathtaking, on a clear day you can see the whole area, the open sea, but also other Velebit peaks, as well as the strict reserve Rožanski and Hajdučki kukovi.
Balinovac is situated near Veliki Zavižan, also on the northern part of Velebit. The ascent to the peak starts from the Velebit Botanical Garden, the top is rocky and it is more demanding, but you won’t regret it when the beautiful view of the sea stretches in front of you. Its mighty rocks seem to sprout from the greenery of the botanical garden, and its conquest is what we recommend to those who already have some experience with rock climbing.
This peak is located on the southern part of Velebit, which many consider the most attractive part of this mountain. The terrain here is extremely rugged, full of dips, cliffs, caves and pits, and the ascent is recommended only for experienced mountaineers in good shape. After the ascent, the top itself will reward you with beautiful views as they open in all directions and are considered one of the most beautiful viewpoints not only on Velebit but also in the whole of Croatia. It is recommended to divide the visit into two days with an overnight stay in the Crnopac mountain shelter.
Conquering the highest peak of Velebit is a great wish for many, the path to it is not entirely easy, but it shouldn’t be a big problem for experienced hikers. The top itself is wide and flat, on clear days ideal for enjoying a picnic with a beautiful view. Vaganski Vrh is the highest peak of the Velebit. You can reach it from Velika Paklenica or the Lika side from the Bunovac platform. It is grassy, marked with stones and a wooden cross with a name written on it, ideal for a photographic memory. Views from it extend to the mountainside of Velebit, and the view of Sveto brdo is especially beautiful.
image credit: Neven Andrilovic
Wildlife in Velebit
Velebit range of mountains is a house of about 1,500 species of animals, plants, and fungi. The mountain’s remarkably diverse is Velebit Bellflower, Croatian sibbirhaea, wolf, chamois, lynx, golden eagle, and many other animal species.
The large part of the park is covered with a variety of atmosphere and species, such as pine curves, knotty, mountain beech, grassy and rocky peaks, colorful flowering plants, pollinators (bumblebees, bees, butterflies, and numerous other insects).
What to wear for hiking?
If the decision is already made and your trip to Velebit is only a matter of time, be sure to ensure your safety. You should bring appropriate clothing and gear depending on the challenges of the specific trails. Hiking pants and long-sleeved shirts are „must-have“ pieces of clothing. Bring a fleece jacket or light-insulated jacket, depending on the season. Don’t forget cushioned hiking socks and sturdy hiking boots, as well as sunglasses, even if it is wintertime.
A journey to Velebit is a soul-stirring experience that will unveil the raw beauty of Croatia’s wilderness. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or simply in search of a unique adventure, Velebit offers an astonishing escape from everyday life.
As you walk down through these diverse landscapes, you’ll find yourself deeply moved by the majesty of this Croatian gem. Velebit is not just a mountain; it’s a living testament to the enduring bond between humanity and nature.