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Undiscovered Croatia The Natural Adventure Company

The Mountains and Hidden Beaches of Croatia

Overview

Despite being among Europe’s most visited destinations in recent years, Croatia still has some pristine and unspoiled corners offering a great playground for outdoor activities that will immerse you in the natural beauty of the Adriatic coast. Enjoy walking on quiet scenic paths and explore the beautiful islands of the Kvarner Bay, with their remote beaches and turquoise waters, away from the crowds. Travelling in the north of Croatia, it is impossible to miss the magnificent Plitvice Lakes National Park; still, we will make sure you will get the best of them without merging with the daily tourist flow. You will be led by a local guide who knows the best places and will take you to hidden beaches where you will be able to swim and kayak, as well as scenic mountain tops from where you will enjoy great coastal views.

Click to view map

*This map is only for general reference; detailed route maps will be provided in your pre-departure package.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Zagreb

Arrive in the Croatian capital city of Zagreb on your own. In the afternoon, you’ll meet your guide over a welcome drink to discuss all trip details and get all the information you will need for the week to come. You will also get to know the other travellers joining the tour. You can spend some time exploring the city, still have in mind that tomorrow you depart quite early.

Day 2: Walking in Plitvice National Park | 16 km

Departure today is at 5 am, we realise that this is quite early; still, you can trust us that this is the way to get the best experience of the Plitvice National Park avoiding the crowds. You will be able to have a 2-hour nap in the van, and the hotel will prepare a take-away breakfast. Once there, we will explore the turquoise lakes and waterfalls, walking on wooden boardwalks, and learning about the local flora and fauna, as well as the fascinating geography and geology of this mesmerizing place. We will do a break around noon when the park gets most busy and head to our hotel. After a great home-cooked lunch and a relaxing siesta in the afternoon, we will head to the park once again, walk the less visited trails and enjoy the tranquillity of the area as much as possible.

  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 16 km, ↑450 m ↓450 m
  • Accommodation: local guesthouse (Rustic Lodge Plitvice or similar)

Day 3: From Velebit to the Islands | 12 km

After breakfast, we drive approx 1.5 hours to the Velebit mountain range, rising along the coastline of central Croatia. It is full of rocky formations, extensive forests and grassy peaks with amazing views up to 1,700 meters above the Adriatic islands way underneath. Its wild, pristine landscapes add so much to the diversity of the trip. A semi-circular hike will take us along a grassy ridge and through occasional forests to the peaks of Visibaba, Prikinuto Brdo and Budakovo Brdo. There are no lunch options along the way so that we will enjoy our lunch boxes during the hike.

After we are done with the hike, we hop into the van and drive approx. 1 hour to the Adriatic coastline, where a private speedboat will pick us up and take us to the beautiful islands of the northern Adriatic. Our captain knows the region like the palm of his hand, and he will take us to secluded bays with crystal clear turquoise waters to enjoy the Adriatic without the crowds. On the way, we will also pass the infamous Goli Otok. A barren, uninhabited island that was the site of a political prison during the communist rule in the times when Croatia was still a part of Yugoslavia. We will spend around 3.5 hours on the boat and allow time for swimming, snorkelling, and simply taking advantage of our private boat to get completely away from everyday life. Meanwhile, your hiking guide will drive the van and your luggage to the island of Krk, where you get off the boat and check-in to your hotel for the next two nights.

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, 12 km, ↑500 m ↓500 m
  • Accommodation: 3* hotel or local guesthouse (Bed & Breakfast Došen V or similar)

Day 4: Hiking and Kayaking on Krk island | 13 km

Today we start hiking directly from our hotel’s doorstep in the town of Baska. The hiking trails will take us across the barren terrain of southern Krk which reveals a completely different face of Croatia’s islands. So rugged and hostile, but spectacular at the same time. We are rewarded with stunning island views, the high Velebit mountains in the background, and spectacular beaches to cool off in the blue Adriatic. There is almost no shade during the hike and it is often very windy in this area. That being said, our day will be highly influenced by the weather. We might need to start very early or cut the hike short if necessary. Your guide will make the necessary adaptations on the spot. We will return to Baska for a nice lunch in a cozy “konoba” in the old town. We will leave the afternoon free to relax, swim, rent a kayak or do an extra hike to a viewpoint above the town. Time permitting, we will head to the nearby towns of Krk or Vrbnik for some drinks and dinner. What a day!

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, 13 km, ↑350 m ↓350 m
  • Accommodation: 3* hotel or local guesthouse (Bed & Breakfast Došen V or similar)

Day 5: Hidden Beaches of Cres Island | 6 km

The early risers among you will have the chance to do a truly spectacular morning hike to our favourite viewpoint above Baska. The views of Goli Otok, the stunning Prvic island and Velebit mountains in the background are definitely worth the effort. We will come back for late breakfast, have our last swim on Krk and then take a short ferry ride to Cres island. You will immediately feel the difference between both islands. Cres is much more forested, and you will smell all those pine trees and other Adriatic flora. We will drive to the tiny hilltop village of Lubenice. After a nice lunch in the old town, we will hike (approx. 45 min) downhill to the famous Lubenice beach. We’ll be rewarded with a perfect white pebbly beach and refreshing turquoise waters. Again, we will explore the unknown bays, get a fishing boat to take us to the nearest harbour and spare ourselves the hot and steep hike back to the van. Your guide will make the sacrifice, get the van and pick you up after you have finished those cold beers in the nearest bar. We still have about 1-hour drive to reach the village of Veli Losinj, where we will spend the following two nights.

  • Walking for the day: 2 hours, 6 km, elevation ↑160 m ↓160 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Villa Conte or similar

Day 6: Coastal Walks on Losinj Island | 5 km

Today we are doing some relaxed coastal walks on the island of Losinj. After breakfast, we start directly from the hotel and explore the east coast of Losinj. The pleasant trails will take us along the rocky coast and past several bays. You will enjoy the smell of the pine trees and have some refreshing swims before returning to Veli Losinj for lunch. In the afternoon you can relax, swim, have a nap, explore the neighbouring town of Mali Losinj or join the guide on another easy walk on the west coast. We will wrap it up with some drinks on the island’s best sunset location overlooking the town of Mali Losinj and the sharp Osorscica ridge, our challenge for tomorrow.

Day 7: The Peaks of Losinj Island / Zagreb | 8 km

Today we rise early again; after a 30 min drive, we will reach today’s trailhead and tackle the ascent to Osorscica ridge. It is a constant ascent with approx. 500m of elevation gain, luckily mostly in the shade of the forest. On the top, we are rewarded with spectacular views of Losinj’s and Cres’ coastline and numerous other islands. After completing our final hike of this trip, we drive to the tiny town of Osor for our last lunch together. If time permits, you can have another swim and then we head towards Zagreb. We will reach the Croatian capital in the late afternoon, check-in at the hotel and have a final gelato together before saying goodbye to your guide.

  • Walking for the day: 4 hours, 8 km, ↑500 m ↓500 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Park 45 or similar

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast explore Zagreb or head to your next adventure in the Balkans.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is mostly in nice 3-star hotels (4-star in Zagreb) or charming guesthouses, all with en-suite facilities. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view our default hotels for this trip

Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Accommodation is on a bed & breakfast basis; 6 lunches are also included (1 picnic and 5 in restaurants). You can have dinner at your hotel or the nearby restaurants; you can be sure that your guide will give you the best recommendations.

Difficulty & terrain

We would rate this trip as easy to moderate, with a maximum distance per day of 12 km, and 500 m elevation gain. As this is a guided tour, it is possible to adapt the itinerary according to the general pace of the group (read more about difficulty grades). The hikes take place mostly on scenic mountain ridges. Mind that there is not much shade on the trails and the summer months can get quite hot.

When to go

This small-group tour is available from July to September. Please check the Dates & Prices link to see the exact departure dates. In peak summer months it can be quite hot, above 35 °C. We will adapt the tour and start the hikes earlier, allowing some downtime during the hottest hours and be active again in the late afternoon.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Recommended airport: Zagreb or Rijeka.

By train or bus

  • There are two bus lined from Zagreb airport to the city centre (and reverse): ZEP and Pleso. From both bus stations, you will still have to walk app. 30 min to the hotel or take a taxi.
  • It is possible to use Rijeka airport as well. It is located on the island of Krk, and the tour is passing it by on the way back to Zagreb on Day 7. If you prefer, you can be dropped off at a nearby hotel in Malinska or Njivice, from where it will be easy to catch your flight.

Inclusions

Included

  • An English speaking hiking guide throughout the trip (also driving the van). Guide to guest ratio is max. 1:8
  • All van and ferries transportation (as listed in the itinerary)
  • Private speed boat tour to the islands of Rab, Goli Otok and Prvic
  • Boat ride on Cres
  • 7 nights with breakfast in double or twin rooms with ensuite facilities
  • 6 lunches
  • Plitvice Lakes entrance fee
  • Kayak rental on Krk island

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Meals not mentioned as included
  • Drinks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Other entrance fees and optional activities
  • Airport transfers to/from Zagreb
  • Medical costs, personal expenses, tips
  • Any items not specifically listed as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of the group who require a single room
  • Extra nights in Zagreb before or after the tour

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