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This walking holiday explores Croatia's national parks; the jagged peaks of Dalmatia, plunging gorges in Paklenica and spectacular lakes and waterfalls in Plitvice. Stay in the capital Zagreb and in coastal Spilt meander the maze of cobbled streets past ancient sites.
Explore Tour Leader
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Zagreb, a city rich in art, culture and gastronomy, but for a capital city it doesn't experience the huge rush of tourists that most other European capitals do.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 9pm for the welcome meeting. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Zagreb at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive at Franjo Tudman Airport Zagreb (ZAG) which is around 30 minutes' drive from the hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to stroll along the cobbled streets of Gornji Grad (Upper Town), you could take the funicular up from the main street (Illica), it's the shortest cable car in the world! Tonight you might like to try the traditional Zagreb meat and vegetable stew of Cuspajz.
Today we start our day with a city tour of Zagreb. Famously called a city of museums as there are more museums per square foot than any other city in the world it also has many other architectural structures to boast of. Zagreb has a unique blend of Austro-Hungarian architecture and more hard edged socialist buildings. The city's centrepieces are the Gothic Zagreb Cathedral and 13th century Saint Mark's Church.
Later in the afternoon we drive down to the magnificent beauty of the Plitvice Lakes, a sumptuous setting of forested hills and beautifully clear lakes that are, with good reason, Croatia's premier tourist attraction. Travertine terraces cascade down through the lush landscapes, presenting the visitor with a series of plunging waterfalls and turquoise, calcium rich lakes that are one of Europe's natural marvels. Little wonder then that this remarkable park was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979.
Today we plan to spend our time walking a track of which the second half provides us with far reaching views of the lakes, waterfalls and surrounding pine clad hillsides from a higher vantage point. Over the millennia, the waters of these lakes have dissolved the limestone rock and carved out the valley in which they now lie. Through the sedimentation of calcium carbonate and the build up of special types of algae and moss, minerals have been deposited to form the natural dams that separate these lakes. The dynamic process still continues today, creating new falls as the water breaks through the slow growing barriers.
Our route today gives us the opportunity to experience the rich variety of flora in this region, ranging from reeds, bull rushes and willow trees, which shade the lakes and line the wooden walkways, through to the myriad orchids of cyclamen, scabius and smoke bushes which can be found beneath the predominantly oak and beech forests.
Today's 14 kilometre walk to is expected to take around five hours with 140 metres of ascent and descent.
After breakfast, we transfer to Zavizan to walk the Premuziceva Trail. The top parts of northern and central Velebit from Zavizan to Baske Ostarije are connected by a 57km long hiking trail. It was named after its designer, Ante Premuzi, the great builder of roads and trails on Velebit. The construction of the trail took only 3 years (1930 - 1933), but it required the labour of a large number of workers from sub-Velebit villages. The trail opened access to the most hidden and the most beautiful parts of Velebit.
Later we will transfer towards Paklenica National Park, which lies on the southern edge of the imposing limestone mass of the Velebit Mountains. The impressive mountains that make up this breathtaking landscape present an almost continuous wall of rock, rising up to separate the waters of the Adriatic from the rolling landscapes of the interior. This region contains some of the most spectacular walking country in Croatia, with majestic karst landscapes, plunging gorges and jagged mountain peaks to enchant and captivate the visitor.
Today's 16 kilometre walk to is expected to take around five-and-a-half hours with 280 metres of ascent and descent.
After breakfast, we depart the hotel and follow a trail that passes through the villages lining the narrow coastline under the Velebit mountain. Trail will take us through small villages and enable us to enjoy the contrast between the clear waters of the Adriatic sea and slopes of the Velebit mountain.
Upon reaching the entrance to Velika Paklenica canyon, we visit the old mill. The old mill is located on Paklenica river, and it was used in the past by the locals when the winter's rain would elevate the rivers flow. Continuing our exploration, we head into the canyon to admire the steep cliffs rising from the Paklenica river.
After exiting the canyon, we head towards the sea. Heading downhill, we walk by the sea until we reach the iconic Vecka Kula, a testament to history dating back to the 16th century. Explore the rich heritage of this site, offering a glimpse into the way of life of the early Dalmatians. Here we will have the opportunity to enjoy the sea and a well-earned rest with optional swimming and relaxation in one of the local beach bars.
Afterwards, we continue our walk by the sea back to the hotel.
In the afternoon, you'll be taken by bus to coastal Zadar with is compact old town and Roman ruins. There will be free time to explore and enjoy dinner, listen to the Sea Organ and experience the Sun Salutation solar light installation before returning to Starigrad Paklenica.
This morning's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours along a relatively flat route.
A full day in the park sees us follow a different route, affording us with a variety of entrancing views. Leaving the hotel by jeep, we will follow a zigzag road with stunning views of the coast, stopping for a visit at the centuries old Mirila; stone monuments signifying the place where the departed would greet the sun for the last time. We then continue on foot to the abandoned summer village of Ramici, occupying the Njive Plateau. Making our way through the broadleafed forest we then descend into the upper reaches of the gorge, following a mountain trail lined with fragrant thyme and sage, all the while surrounded by stunning views of the dramatic karst gorge. We take our time as it is uneven terrain.
Continuing up the gorge we will stop for lunch at a traditional mountain hut before returning through the spine of the gorge along a gentle stream. We wind our way through the window and chimney bellflowers and smoke bushes with a steep decent out of the gorge. There is the option to descend the other side of the gorge and continue our walk along pine forested paths, returning to the hotel via a steep ascent with far reaching views. As our route circles back towards the hotel it meets the coast, affording some opportunities for a refreshing swim, if time allows, before we head back for dinner.
Today's 18 kilometre walk to is expected to take around seven hours, the easier 10 kilometre option is expected to take around four-and-a-half hours. Please note this walk is weather dependent, if it is not available the Tour Leader will suggest the shorter walk.
Today we transfer to Split. En route we stop at Trogir with free time for sightseeing and optional lunch. Trogir has a rich history that dates back to the 3rd century BC, with a delightful collection of cobble stoned squares and medieval architecture, and a Romanesque cathedral that is considered one of the most exquisite in the entire Adriatic. Spanning some three centuries it boasts a superb entranceway in its west portal, carved in the 13th century by the master mason Radovan. The town also boasts Venetian Gothic mansions, an impressive clock tower and a comprehensive collection of church artwork displayed in the 13th century Church of St John. What makes Trogir such a delight to wander around though are its meandering alleyways, filled with cafes and restaurants and its elegant riverfront promenade, which leads up to the Kamerlengo Fortress, a 15th century edifice with imposing battlements and a huge octagonal tower.
After lunch we continue towards Split. Today's Split is the product of 17 centuries of building, renovating and remodelling. There is time to wander the streets independantly or take an optional guided walking tour of the city, you may wish to visit the Diocletian's Palace (optional). The Diocletian's Palace is a well preserved Roman monument and became the mausoleum of the pagan Roman emperor. The building evolved with time into the world's oldest Roman Catholic church, today it is an intriguing maze of narrow cobblestone streets where pre Romanesque churches nestle alongside Gothic chapels.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Split.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Split at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Split Airport (SPU) which is around one hour's drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 66 kilometres
The Croatian Adriatic has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm, dry, sunny summers. There is a chance of sporadic rain in spring and autumn, though generally it is in the form of short showers. Thunderstorms can occur in summer, generally helping to cool the air. Hvar Island gets the most sunshine in summer with 10-12 hours each day, followed by Split, Korcula Island and Dubrovnik with around 7-8 hours. Temperatures from May to October are generally in the low to mid 70's (in °F), but can reach into the 30's (in °C) in July and August. Trip itineraries with boat cruises can occasionally be disrupted due to bad weather.
2 Pin Round
Private guided tour of Split - €35.00 (minimum 4 people, 15 min walk to meeting point)
Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. It can become cool, especially at night, so bring warmer layers. Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier, a warmer fleece is recommended as a mid layer, and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. -Breathable wind and waterproof jacket (light rainwear may be needed at any time of year) -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) -Swimwear and towel -Midlayer Fleece/pullover -Socks (liner and thicker pair)
We recommend you bring lightweight trail/walking shoes with ankle support. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear and it may be advisable to pack some waterproof shoes for rocky beaches. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
Bring one main piece of luggage and a 20-30 litre day sack is recommended. You will need to carry what you need for the day which may include a raincoat, jumper, camera, sun-cream, water and picnic lunch. On hot days you will carry fewer clothes but more drinking water.
-Sunglasses -Sun cream and lipslave -Small Torch (with spare batteries and bulb) -Camera -Walking poles (if you usually use them) -Personal toiletries -Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. -Insect repellent -Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) -Reusable water bottle (minimum 1 litre) - Get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go bottle www.explore.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/water-to-go-discount-with-explore -Lunch bag/Tupperware (for packed lunches)
Accommodation and service levels in Croatia are generally very good. On this trip we stay in a number of smaller, family-run hotels that might not offer the same luxuries as larger chain-style hotels, but they do provide a warm welcome and a comfortable place to stay. As with the nature of hotels in this part of the Mediterranean, the size and standard of the rooms can vary.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Croatia: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US or Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend being up-to-date with your routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK including protection against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Tick-borne encephalitis protection is recommended by some medical sources at certain times of the year. Ticks are most active between spring and late autumn. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.