Cycling in Croatia's National Parks

Two wheels, five parks & some hiking, too.

Summary

A fantastic cycling tour taking you through traditional villages and the most beautiful and stunning national parks of Croatia.

START - Zagreb (or Rijeka) / FINISH - Zadar (or Split).

Activity code: CRHK04

Duration: 8 Days

This National Parks cycling tour will take you to Croatia's inland mountain region and five national parks: Risnjak, North Velebit, Plitvice Lakes, Paklenica and Krka River. Daily routes on this cycling tour are between two and five hours. The terrain is easy to moderate and leaves enough time for relaxing in the evening. It's all about exploring the lovely pastoral Croatian countryside by bicycle; cycling on roads that are nearly traffic free, through forests, between hills and across green fields. This cycling tour takes you through traditional villages and the most beautiful and stunning national parks of Croatia.

Accommodation on this trip:

Your accommodation for the first couple of nights is the Zeleni Kut ("The Green Corner") a well-known restaurant and a small family-owned hotel overlooking the green Mreznica River and its waterfall. Each room has its own bathroom, most of them a sunny balcony as well. It was built above an old mill which now supplies electric power. The hotel serves traditional Croatian specialities using fresh water fish from its own fishing ponds, homemade cheese, ham and sausages as well as local farm grown vegetables and fruit. Accommodation in Plitvice National Park for the middle section of the holiday 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. The third accommodation is the Skradinski Buk Hotel in the heart of Skradin.

Departure Dates

  • Any date between May 15th and September 25th
  • Preferably saturday start day
  • Other dates upon request

Essential Information:

Activity level: Trips are designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude.

Group size: Min 4 – Max 16 persons per group.

Minimum child age: from 12 years, must be accompanied by an adult.

Meals: The meals tend to be fairly heavy on the meats, 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 favourite protein snacks.

Weather: The summers are typically warm and sunny. From May to October temperatures are comfortable for cycling, hiking and swimming (July & August may be too hot for some doing activities).  Rain is always a possibility in Croatia so it is essential to bring adequate rain wear and a jacket in case of inclement weather.

Arrival and departure transfers: several group transfers between the airport and destination depending on arrival/departure time. Arrivals after 6pm may be subject to surcharge of 30 euros per transfer.

NB. This itinerary can be subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather, water levels, special events of interest, etc. Our guides and tour leaders will do their utmost to ensure the best possible experience for you 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.

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Prices from £731 per person

  • Single supplement (from): £ 146 per person

What does your Cycling Holiday include:

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Use of bicycles, helmets, etc.
  • 6 days organized activities
  • National Parks entrance fees
  • Local taxes and river permits
  • Arrival transfer from Zagreb (or Rijeka)
  • Departure transfer to Zadar (or Split)
  • Skilled, experienced English speaking guide & full assistance
  • Ground transportation
  • All local taxes

Highlights

Itinerary

Zvecaj is a small village by the Mreznica River, not far from the highway connecting the Croatian capital city of Zagreb with the port of Rijeka. You will be met at the airport, railway station or in the port and transferred to Zvecaj. "The Green Corner" (Zeleni kut) is a well-known restaurant and a small family owned hotel overlooking the green Mreznica River and its waterfall. The group usually gets together around midday, which will give us enough time to choose and test the bicycles on a short tour of the villages.

Accommodation: Hotel in the Mreznica River area

Transport: approx. 1 hour from Zagreb airport, approx. 1.5 hours from Rijeka airport

Meals: Dinner

On your first full day of biking, you get to start exploring Risnjak National Park. The pristine park covers an area of 63 km2 including the Risnjak and Snjeznik ranges. The Kupa River forms a natural border between Croatia and Slovenia and flows through a picturesque valley, also known as the mysterious valley of butterflies - more than 500 species of butterflies inhabit the area! Start the tour from the entrance of the national park and bike towards Razloge; the route leads through little villages and forest paths where the fresh clean air will renew your senses. The bridge crossing the Cabranka River by Zamost is also a border crossing to Slovenia. Cycle along the Slovenian bank of the green Kupa River to Brod, where the group will cross back to Croatia. Here you will have time to relax and freshen up with a swim or a cold drink before returning back to the hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel in Mreznica River area

Transport: approx. 1-1.5 hours each way

Cycling: Easy / Moderate - 3-4 hours (around 50 km)

Meals: Breakfast

NB. Passport obligatory!

After breakfast, load your bikes and luggage and drive to Croatia's youngest national park – Northern Velebit National Park, 800 meters above sea level. After a short walk in Krasno village descend by bikes to the Gacka River Valley, world famous for excellent trout fishing. A stop for lunch will be made surrounded by numerous old wooden mills. From here, drive towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Accommodation in the park is provided by the families of Korana Village, a small romantic place hidden away in a valley by the Korana River.

Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes

Transport: approx. 2 hours each way

Cycling: Easy / Moderate - 3-5 hours (43-63 km)

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner (picnic lunch - own arrangements)

Start your day walking along the wooden paths and bridges in and around Plitvice Lakes, Croatia's premier 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. A panoramic boat and train ride will take us back to the start.

Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks

Transport: approx. 10 min each way

Walking: Easy well marked paths, 4-6 km

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner (picnic lunch - own arrangements)

Today is all about exploring the lovely Croatian countryside by bicycle. Cycling on roads that are nearly traffic free, through forests, between hills and across green fields. Cycling through traditional villages to reach Barac Caves where you will stop for a guided underground tour of the cave's  fascinating limestone formations. According to local legend, a man named Barac fought heroically and defeated a raging Turkish giant near these caves, which were thereafter named in his honour. After visiting the caves there will be time for an optional visit and walk in the national park (small lakes and waterfalls) before going back to Korana Village in time to enjoy a traditional Croatian dinner.

Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks

Cycling: Easy / Moderate: 2 – 3 hours, 30 km

Meals: Breakfast & dinner (picnic lunch - own arrangements)

After saying goodbye to your village hosts head south to the Paklenica National Park, part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and a favorite hiking and climbing destination. Lying on the southeast slopes of the Velebit Mountains near the coast and cut by two awe-inspiring gorges, Mala Paklenica and Velika, Paklenica's scenery is one of the most pristine in the whole Mediterranean. The lofty peaks making up this range offer huge views of both coastal and mountain scenery. 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 your driver will take you to Skradin for the evening.

Accommodation: 3* Skradinski Buk Hotel in Skradin

Transport: approx. 2 hours to Paklenica plus 1 hour to Skradin

Hiking: Easy / Moderate, 4 hours

Meals: Breakfast (picnic lunch on your own)

The last day of the journey takes you to the Krka River National Park with its fantastic karst formations and travertine waterfalls. 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. You will cycle to the shores of Lake Visovac where you will have a view over the island and its monastery. After cycling, 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: 3* Skradinski Buk Hotel in Skradin

Cycling: Easy / Moderate, 3 hours (30-40 km)

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner (picnic lunch - own arrangements)

Depart from Skradin to the airport and flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: Zadar is approx. 45 min, Split approx. 1 hour, Zagreb approx. 3.5 hours

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