Her Majesty – the Mountain. There is no nature lover, regardless of the level of his or her mountain-climbing experience or rock-climbing skills, who will not bow to the beauty and challenges of Paklenica in the silence of gratitude.
This is where the highest and the most magnificent peaks of Velebit are located: Vaganski vrh (1,757 meters) and Sveto brdo (1,753 meters). Only experienced mountain climbers can reach that high. However, even those without any mountain-climbing experience whatsoever, tourists with a simple desire to spend some time in the mountains, will be richly rewarded during their stay.
For many visitors, the giant ravines of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica are perhaps the most attractive parts of the Park. When facing four hundred meters of ash-grey, wrinkled cliffs dozens of tons in weight, one has no emotion left other than deep respect for the force and superiority of nature.
The stony faces of ravines are so close to each other in some places, as if they are ready to meet after so much history between them. In walking through ravines, one can only vaguely picture the immense force of water that used to flow through them. Nowadays, the ravines are mostly dry, although some creeks still exist in the higher parts of the Park area, drying up in the lower part of their courses during the summer period.
During the last ice age, the highest peaks of the Velebit Mountain were covered in glaciers. That was the time when rock formations were disintegrating, without forest cover that would mitigate the erosion. Due to a large quantity of karst material and various substances brought by erosion, the power of water flowing in those times was enormous. Thus creeks, the only ones on the littoral side of Velebit, managed to force their path to the sea. As a result of this geological “episode” from a highly complex history, two impressive canyons remained cut into the mountain.
The sea is within easy reach of the mountain. The intensity of beauty of the view is immense, from sea to mountain and vice versa. The bulk of the National Park belongs to the Velika Paklenica basin, which is highly accessible to visitors.
The ravine of Velika Paklenica is fully passable, and its lower section is two and a half kilometers long. Towards its upper end lies the highest vertical wall on the Velebit Mountain – Anića kuk. This rock, 400 meters high, is more than well known and popular on the map of every alpinist: in fact, it is the best-known location for rock climbing in Croatia. In May, climbers from all over the world rush to it, as part of a rock-climbing gathering.
Kilometer by kilometer, Velika Paklenica reaches all the way to the heart of Velebit. At 500 meters above sea level, one comes across Brezimenjača – a valley “without a name”, as its Croatian name suggests. The main forests of the Park grow in this area, so a climb to the valley brings with it yet another beautiful view of the contrast between the forest and the rocks.
Mala Paklenica, literally “Small Paklenica” in Croatian, is not particularly big, as its name suggests. The torrent here was weaker. And while even leisurely walkers can enjoy the nicely beaten path that runs through Velika Paklenica, passing through Mala Paklenica requires some skill. One even needs hands in order to break through the thicket, and this part of the Park is best explored during the summer, when the ravine is dry. The wilderness of Mala Paklenica is reserved for mountain climbers, after all. At the very entrance to Mala Paklenica, there is a sign informing the visitors that they are entering the area “for experienced mountain climbers only” – in other words, on top of the entry ticket, experience and knowledge of the mountain are also required. This is an area of pure wilderness, highly beneficial for the area of the Park and its flora and fauna, where the environment is pulsating in the rhythm of its own originality.
Over time, due to the increasing level of protection, the Park has been expanding its borders. At one point, the rocky peaks of Bojinac (1,110 meters) and massifs of Debelo brdo or Višerujna (1,632 meters) and Badanj (1,638 meters), located on the western side, became constituent parts of the Park. Between the localities of Bojinac and Višerujna, there is the largest “field” on the littoral slope of the Velebit Mountain – Veliko Rujno.
Veliko Rujno is a karst depression, and the locality Rujanska kosa is a remnant of true moraine – an accumulation of material of various sizes that a mighty glacier once crushed and carried along through the passage of Ribnička vrata. One of the most beautiful parts of Mala Paklenica is the locality of Velika Močila, covered by black pine forest at the height of 850 meters.
Forests, in particular black pine forests, are a major asset of Paklenica. In the past, hard-living population used to exploit wood to a large extent, primarily for heating and processing, and many trees also ended up destroyed for the purposes of reconstruction following World War II. The establishment of the National Park prevented further destruction of that treasure.
Forests cover roughly one half of the Park area. Beech forests are the most prominent, with black pine forests (Pinus nigra ssp. Illyrica) second in importance. Black pine likes high altitudes, and it seems as if it grows straight from stone. Until World War II, sap was extracted from black pine, providing substance for lighting the houses and for coating wooden vessels. People used to call this substance “paklina”, and some believe that Paklenica got its name precisely because of that.
At high altitudes, above 1,450 meters, survival gets tough even for plants. When it comes to forest species, only bushy mountain pine (Pinus mugo) is present, but not so densely as at lower altitudes. In order to create pastures, livestock farmers used to clear the terrain, thus decreasing the area covered by this pine species.
The vegetation of rocks and talus cones is a story in itself. The blue color of the Adriatic bellflower (Campanula fenestrellata), white flower of Daphe alpina and many endemic mountain species enrich the landscape and biodiversity of the mountain by their scent and appearance. In spring, visitors to the ravines of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica can come across small white flowers of sandwort (Arenaria orbicularis), that can only be seen here, and nowhere else.
The fauna is quite diverse, since this area is marked by a considerable scope of altitudes. The running water flows literally give life to various species. In total, 258 bird species have been recorded, including rare birds of prey such as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), short-toed snake-eagle (Circaetus gallicus) and peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) used to inhabit this area too until 1999. One can only hope that, with the establishment of feeding spots, this bird will also fly above the ravines of Paklenica again.
If the golden eagle is the king of the skies, with its striking appearance and impressive wing span, the role of the kings among carnivores would surely belong to brown bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynx lynx) and wildcat (Felis sylvestris).
The underground is mystical and attractive. Among 115 speleological sites, hiding an entire world of numerous endemic animal species, the visitors are particularly attracted to the cave Manita peć in the lower section of Velika Paklenica, which captivates with a large number of dripstones. So far, 175 meters of the cave have been researched. The dimensions of underground halls are impressive. The biggest one is 65 meters long, 40 meters wide, and 32 meters high. The height of stalagmites exceeds 20 meters. At the sightseeing point in front of the cave, located next to the rocks Zub Manite peći and Maniti kuk, one can enjoy the view of the highest peaks of Velebit.
Paklenica is not a space of alpine gardens; however, with its pointed and rounded peaks, its position and natural characteristics, it is most definitely one of the top rock-climbing and tourist destinations.
Velebit is an extraordinary mountain. Experienced rock climbers, who scaled various mountain peaks of the world, continue to consider Velebit one of their most vivid experiences.
It is challenging, wonderful, unforgiving and harsh; it terrifies and thrills, asks for respect and knowledge of the mountain; and yet, it is an extraordinary host to those who respect it. A space of unforgettable experience and fascinating views, Velebit Mountain is a Nature Park in its entirety, and Paklenica a fairy offering her peaks as challenge and object of admiration to man.
Rocky landscapes on peaks of the mountain of Velebit are habitats to endemic plants, with 200 plant species recorded in total. Large carnivores – bear, wolf and lynx – live in the Park area too. It is by no means a rare sight to see a chamois on a mountain peak, or a golden eagle in impressive flight as one looks up towards the sky.
Velebit became part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) network back in 1978, on account of almost 2,000 species and 78 endemic species recorded so far. Endemic plants in the Paklenica National Park are particularly important in the overall abundance of plant species. In terms of diversity of the flora, the Park represents an extraordinarily valuable area not only in Croatia, but also at the level of Europe and the world. The diversity and presence of relic, endemic, rare and officially protected species have also been reflected in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Prevailing plant groups in the flora of the Park are Asteeaceae and Cichoriaceae, Poaceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Rosaceae and Caryophyllaceae.
Due to the impact of the sun, ice, water and temperature, the rocks of Paklenica eroded and broke over time. These processes resulted in talus cones created below the steep ridges and peaks of Buljma and Vaganski vrh, providing a habitat to many endemic plants, such as Kitaibeli's columbine (Aquilegia kitaibelii), Maly's moon carrot (Seseli malyi), Tertiary relic Linaria alpina and the widespread plant Paronychia kapela.
The specific microclimate existing in crevices of rocks enables the growth of a number of endemic and relic species. One particular species – sandwort (Arenaria orbicularis) – grows only in the canyons of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, and nowhere else in the world. This plant from the family of Caryophyllaceae grows in crevices and recesses of carbonate rocks at altitudes between 100 meters and 700 meters. One of the most frequent endemic species of Velebit is the well-known window bellflower (Campanula fenestrellata), a species widespread in rock crevices. Its blue flowers give a special and striking appearance to the canyons of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica in the first decade of May. Similar to window bellflower is Waldstein’s bellflower (Campanula waldsteiniana). This plant flowers slightly later, in July and August, and grows in altitudes exceeding 500 meters, its distribution partly overlapping with the distribution of window bellflower.
Rocky landscapes of the highest peaks of Velebit are also rich in many endemic species. They include Kitaibeli's columbine (Aquilegia kitaibelii), Maly's moon carrot (Seseli malyi), Velebit bellflower (Campanula velebitica), Crocus malyi and Iberis pruitti .
Long retention of snow in karst valleys is favorable to the growth of wonderful flower plant formations. Particularly prominent species include orange and yellow carnic lilies (Lilium carniolicum), thyme (Thymus sp.), great masterwort (Astrantia major), buckler mustard (Biscutella laevigata) and garland flower (Daphne cneorum). Lower parts of the Park include wet grasslands, covered in orchids in the spring.
The presence of three key European large carnivores in the area of the National Park – bear (Ursus arctos), wolf (Canis lupus) and lynx (Lynx lynx) – is an indicator of the health and stability of the ecosystem of Paklenica.
The area of Paklenica National Park is home to 350 vertebrate species. Invertebrate fauna is not yet fully researched, and includes 1,200 species recorded so far.
Birds are the dominant group of vertebrates, with 254 species present in the wider Park area, out of which 112 species are nesting birds. There are 24 species living on canyon rocks and cliffs, with western rock nuthatch (Sitta neumayer) and blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius) as the most frequent species. Particularly valuable species in the Park are rare birds of prey, such as the golden eagle (Aquilla chrysaetos), peregrine falcon (Falco pereginus), short-toed snake-eagle (Circaetus galllicus) and northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). There are seven owl species in the Park; tawny owl (Strix aluco) and European scops owl (Otus scops) are particularly prominent in terms of numbers. The biggest European owl, eagle owl (Bubo bubo), regularly nests in the canyon of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica.
Woodpeckers are a prominent presence in forest stands, including the rarest species, white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) and middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius).
When it comes to invertebrates, butterflies are undoubtedly the most striking phenomenon. Their survival is closely linked to human activities, and the overgrowing of meadows is a major problem in the Park in this context. Not so long ago, the highest areas of Velebit were inhabited, with many livestock herds grazing the wide expanses of high mountain meadows. Nowadays, these meadows are gradually covered by black pine, prickly juniper, mountain pine and thorny plants. Maintenance is very important for the conservation of habitats, particularly due to the fact that butterflies such as pearly heath (Coenonympha arcnia), marbled white (Melanargia galathea) and southern festoon (Zerynthia polyxena) live in the grasslands of the National Park in relatively dense populations. When it comes to less frequent or rare meadow species, marsh fritillary (Euphydrias aurinia) is worth mentioning too.
The numbers of individual species belonging to targeted animal groups in the Park are subject to monitoring, with the aim of conserving the natural habitats and unique karst ecosystems, given the fact that indicators such as the numbers and population quality of certain species point to the level of quality of habitats. For example, white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus), regularly encountered along the creek of Velika Paklenica, is an excellent indicator of water quality.
On the other hand, nesting of peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) in some parts of the National Park is a clear indicator of remaining wild and pristine habitats that one can encounter in the southern part of Velebit.
There are 24 bat species recorded in the area of Paklenica National Park so far, making the Park one of the richest areas of Croatia in terms of bat species.
Over 55 percent of the surface of the National Park is covered by various forms of vegetation. The most widespread are old beech forests (Lamio orvale-Fagetum, Seslerio autumnalis-Fagetum, Luzulo-Fagetum), primarily in the area of Klimenta, Brezimenjača and source areas of Mala Paklenica.
Rising ground towards Buljma, Crljeni kuk, Babin kuk and Sveto brdo is covered in subalpine beech forests. The diversity of structure and multitude of plant species in these forests is most striking in the summer.
These forests are considered to be very old, due to their slow growth caused by harsh climate and the presence of snow cover in these areas for almost half of the year. The upper boundary of the forest is made of clumps of mountain pine trees (Pinus mugo) covering the peak zone of Velebit. These stands represent the most comprehensive mountain pine surface in Croatia.
Sinkholes or karst depressions, the borders of which are typically covered by these forests, are known as sites prone to frost and very low night temperatures, even in the summertime. Mixed forests of beech and black pine, and pure stands of black pine (Pinus nigra), are widespread in the canyon of Velika Paklenica. They represent some of the oldest pine forests in the Mediterranean area. Some trees are estimated to be several hundred years old.
Black pine is a pioneer species in covering skeletal soils with major share of rock and stone material. Following the spread of black pine, stands with favorable conditions for other species are gradually developing as well, which is particularly true for beech, which then gradually expands and enters black pine forests.
Community of black pine with cotoneaster (Cotoneastro-Pinetum nigrae) is one plant community that gradually developed in the area of Paklenica National Park, and it represents a relic community today. It grows on ridges exposed to the sun, mostly on skeletal soil made of dolomite rocks.
It is precisely in such forest habitats that one comes across a range of rare and endangered plant species, such as martagon lily (Lilium martagon ssp. cattaniae), red helleborine (Cephalanthera rubra), white helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium), narrow-leaved helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) and other species.
The diversity of karst relief and extraordinary geomorphology of the area, coupled with climate impact, results in temperature inversion and major climate diversity in individual micro localities on a relatively small total surface of merely 95 square kilometers. As a result, the distribution of individual Mediterranean elements of the flora occasionally expands substantially upwards in the Paklenica canyon due to the penetration of Mediterranean climate; that includes, for example, fig, holm oak and pubescent oak species. On the other hand, continental species such as beech and yew spread downwards close to the sea.
Paklenica National Park is an excellent example of the Mediterranean karst created from interactions of the climate and a rather specific geological foundation. Canyons of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica are particularly prominent features of the Park, vertically cut into the southern part of Velebit. Valley of the creek of Velika Paklenica is 14.5 kilometers long, and sides of the canyon, in the form of rocky peaks and rock walls, sometimes rise more than 700 or 800 meters. The narrowest part of the canyon is only 30 to 50 meters wide.
Vertical wall of the impressive locality of Anića kuk rises up to 400 meters, making it the most recognizable cliff of the National Park, and the biggest cliff of Velebit. Below Anića kuk, one can see numerous caved-in blocks and rocks, together with fluvial and moraine sediments from the geological past. The creek that flows through the canyon most of the year tends to run dry in the summer months, disappearing into the underground. Its water flow is abundant only in the first half of its course.
In the area where the creek of Brezimenjača meets the valley of Velika Paklenica from the west, the valley extends eastwards to the locality of Ivine vodice. There, at 1,300 meters above sea level, several permanent and abundant water sources enrich the creek of Velika Paklenica.
Although the dimensions of the canyon of Mala Paklenica are somewhat smaller, its length nevertheless exceeds 12 kilometers. Geomorphological characteristics and relief are particularly interesting at its source area, under the localities of Vlaški grad and Jerkovac, all the way to the point where the course of Orljača meets the canyon. The diversity of forms and beauty of the canyon of Mala Paklenica can certainly match those of Velika Paklenica. Remarkably, the narrowest part of the canyon of Mala Paklenica is less than ten meters wide.
Abundance of karrens, cliffs, solution pans and peaks is particularly staggering in the southwestern part of the National Park, in the area of Bojinac. That part of the karst terrain is relatively poor in vegetation, which is why it is precisely in the area of Bojinac that one can experience the karst at its most spectacular.
Numerous caves and pits in the area of the National Park point to a very diverse and intriguing underground. There are 115 caves and pits discovered and researched in the area so far; some are truly impressive in terms of the dimensions of their halls and the abundance of dripstones.
The phenomenon of death resulted in a unique cultural heritage of the area – mirila, stone monuments built on the spot where people would lay the deceased on the ground on their way to the cemetery and the burial. The symbols on mirila continue to puzzle and challenge researchers, and they represent a genuine attraction for visitors.
The southern part of Velebit was a well-known livestock area since ancient times. Inhabitants of coastal hamlets would largely base their existence on using the pastures of Velebit; all extended family members would tend to livestock. Work of the community would revolve around the mountain during one entire half of the year.
Dry karst environment focused the population on small domestic animals (sheep and goats), since they provided the biggest benefits in terms of feeding the family and creating surplus (meet, milk, skin, wool, etc.); on top of that, it was relatively easy to ensure food for such livestock. One characteristic of life on the mountain of Velebit was the zonal distribution of huts, which were divided into several altitude zones on the littoral side of the mountain.
In early spring, around St. George’s Day, entire families would move to huts at 550 to 900 meters above sea level together with their livestock. They would remain there until early summer, depending on the weather and the available quantity of grass for grazing – roughly until the feast day of St. Anthony. Then they would move on to huts at higher altitudes (900 to 1,300 meters). They would remain there throughout the summer. With the arrival of colder days, they would then return down to the huts at lower elevations. Some would spend the entire year living in these huts, built at 550 to 900 meters above sea level.
The idea was to spend as much time on the mountain as possible, as that was in the interest of both the livestock and people. Huts at 1,300 to 1,700 meters above sea level were relatively poorly built, not as numerous as those on lower elevations, and they were used for shorter periods of time.
Entire close and extended family would participate in such seasonal migrations, and entire households would move to the mountain. All households of a hamlet would move to the mountain on the same day, which was determined at least fourteen days in advance by village elders.
Each household took care of its migration separately, which would frequently be done in two or three phases, required to move all the needed equipment to the huts. When it comes to these relocations, they did not entail the transfer of an entire household inventory; instead, only the bare necessities were taken. Families would move on to the huts located at highest altitudes only after the livestock would graze all the available grass in the lower areas. Around 35 pastures once existed in the area from the peak of Visočica to the locality of Sveto brdo along the peak zone of Velebit, and in the lower zone on the littoral side. In addition to the inhabitants of hamlets on the coastal side of the mountain, Dalmatian livestock breeders from the areas of Bukovica and Ravni kotari also used these pastures, together with farmers from the region of Lika on the continental side of the mountain.
The cultural history of the southern littoral side of Velebit from the 18th century until the mid-20th century is best seen in the phenomenon of mirila – miniature stone monuments built within a unique funeral cult.
Mirila can be found on mountain passes, elevations and glades of Velebit, along the mountain trails. They were built back in the times when the population of Velebit lived a semi-migratory lifestyle connected with livestock breeding.
The main households of the population were located in hamlets at lower elevations close to the sea, and a local church with a cemetery would typically be placed nearby. In the spring and summer months, people would move to huts at higher elevations, together with their livestock. They would remain in that pasture zone until the autumn, sometimes even throughout the year, depending on the weather.
When a family member would pass away, the family would carry the deceased to the cemetery, which sometimes entailed longer, and sometimes shorter passages, depending on where the person was at the time of death.
The distance between mirila and a cemetery varied, ranging from ten minutes to two and a half hours of walking, which depended on the distance between a settlement and a cemetery. Mirila would typically be built halfway from the settlement to the cemetery. These stone monuments serve as a memory of the deceased who passed away on mountain slopes, and who then had to be carried to the village church and the cemetery where they would be buried.
On that difficult journey, it was permitted to stop, rest, and lay the deceased on the ground only on one place – and that place represented the final farewell between the deceased and the Sun. It was there that mirilo would be built, and the word represents a “measure” of the deceased, taken by two stones marking the position of the head and the feet. The area in between would be covered in stone, and marked by symbols cut into the headstone in a shallow-cut relief. These monuments were venerated and visited more than the grave itself, which contained only the body, since the soul “stays on mirilo”.
Mystical artwork on head stones, with the cross and the solar circle as the most frequently used symbols, point to a continuity of art forms, ranging from prehistoric cultures, to early Christianity, to the iconography of standing tombstones typical for the region. Written inscriptions are rare, and relatively recent. Mirila, these stone symbols of a unique funeral cult, convey a message about the customs, a way of life and spirit of an entire era.
The central part of the Velika Paklenica canyon consists of steep cliffs, and that part of the canyon is also its narrowest and the most attractive section. Easy and quick access from the parking lot makes it possible to enjoy wildlife viewing throughout the year. Since that part of the Park is also the most visited Park area during the warmer part of the year, the likelihood of spotting large mammals is relatively low.
Wildlife species that can be seen: Peregrine falcon, swift, swallow, rock dove, blue rock thrush, common kestrel, subalpine warbler, Eurasian blackcap, Eurasian nuthatch, rock nuthatch, bats
Recommended time of year for visit: Throughout the year
Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual and group visits
Wheelchair accessible: Not accessible
Mala Paklenica canyon is a wild area with a low number of visitors even during the most visited part of the year. The area is excellent for birdwatching, including songbirds and birds of prey. Due to the demanding nature of the trail passing through the Mala Paklenica canyon, reasonable fitness level is required.
Wildlife species that can be seen: Peregrine falcon, short-toed snake-eagle, golden eagle, Eurasian eagle-owl, pallid swift, black-eared wheatear, subalpine warbler, Eurasian blackcap, Orphean warbler, sombre tit
Recommended time of year for visit: Spring / summer / autumn
Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual visits
The trail leading towards the cave Manita peć offers wide views of the Velika Paklenica valley and the surrounding peaks.
Wildlife species that can be seen: Swift, raven, short-toed snake-eagle, chamois, bear, horned viper, Balkan green lizard, Dalmatian wall lizard
Recommended time of year for visit: Autumn / winter / early spring
Da li aktivnost prilagođena za invalide: Ne
This is the most visited trail in the Park, leading from the Velika Paklenica canyon to the mountain lodge. The trail includes 10 interpretation panels educating the visitors on specific natural characteristics of the Paklenica National Park and cultural characteristics of the area.
Trail length: 5,5 km
Duration: 5 hours
Elevation difference: 400 m
Recommended time of year for visit: Suitable for visit throughout the year
Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible
Trail type: Forest path (100%)
Number of interpretation panels: 10
Note: Recommended equipment includes suitable clothes and hiking shoes, warm and waterproof clothes, protection against rain, wind and sun, as well as drinking water.
Paklarić Educational Trail is located along the left bank of the creek, not far from the entrance to the Park. The beginning of the trail is marked by information panels. The educational trail starts with an old, restored mill of Paklenica, and leads to the fortress of Paklarić at 121 meters above sea level and a belvedere offering a panoramic view. The trail is 550 meters long, and it includes four educational and information panels on shepherds' dwellings of Velebit, traditional agriculture, livestock breeding on southern Velebit and caravan routes. The belvedere also includes a telescope and two interpretation panels on important archaeological sites.
Trail length: 0,55 km
Duration: 45 minutes
Elevation difference: 120 m
Recommended time of year for visit: Suitable for visit throughout the year
Trail type: Wall-retained hiking trail (100%)
Number of interpretation panels: 6
Educational trail "A Short Journey Through the Past" is part of a hiking and cycling trail. It includes five interpretation panels representing the history of the area from ancient times until the present.
Trail length: 0,7 km
Duration: 30 minutes
Elevation difference: 10 m
Trail type: Gravel (100%)
Number of interpretation panels: 5
Educational and walking trail Pjeskarica connects the Paklenica mill and the parking lot in the canyon, extending along the eastern bank of the creek. The trail is 1,500 meters long, and passes through an area rich in diverse relief forms and abundant vegetation. A "classroom" for Schools in Nature educational programs is located at the beginning of the trail, and the remaining part of the trail includes interpretation panels.
Trail length: 1,5 km
Duration: 1.5 hours
Elevation difference: 70 m
Number of interpretation panels: 7 interpretation panels and 4 route maps
Educational trail Manita peć is currently under construction, with its completion scheduled for the beginning of the 2016 season. The plans include the installation of interpretation panels and the construction of a belvedere with a telescope and a panorama panel, with benches to be placed along the trail. From the beginning of the educational trail at the intersection Manita peć - Mountain Lodge the hike to the cave Manita peć takes approx. 40 minutes.
Trail length: 2 km
Elevation difference: 270 m
Number of interpretation panels: 6 in preparation
Lecture (power point presentation)
Target age group: Elementary and high schools
Suitable for individual / group visits: Group visits
Note: Organized group visits must be announced at least 7 days prior to arrival
Duration: 2 - 4 hours
Duration: 4 hours
The tour starts from the parking lot in the canyon of Velika Paklenica, via the main trail passing through the canyon. After the initial 20 minutes of ascent, visitors reach the wider and flat part of the trail, taking them through the forest to the branch of the trail leading towards Manita peć. What follows from the beginning of the branch is a constant 45-minute climb towards the cave.
Recommended time of year for visit: The cave is open only in the warm part of the year, and the most pleasant time of year for this tour is spring and late summer.
Wheelchair accessible: Due to the configuration of the terrain, the activity is not wheelchair accessible
Recommended equipment: Recommended equipment includes suitable clothes and hiking shoes, warm and waterproof clothes, protection against rain, wind and sun, as well as drinking water.
Note: Due to sun exposure on the trail during the summer months, early morning start is recommended.
The tour starts from the parking lot in the canyon of Velika Paklenica, via the main trail passing through the canyon. After the initial 20 minutes of ascent, visitors reach the wider and flat part of the trail, taking them through the forest to the Lugarnica forest cottage after an easy 30-minute walk. The mountain lodge is half an hour's walk away from Lugarnica.
Recommended time of year for visit: This tour is available throughout the year. It is most beautiful in the spring, in April and May.
Starting from the Park entrance, the tour of Velika Paklenica leads to the restored mill open for visits, and onwards via the Pjeskarica walking and educational trail to the Velika Paklenica canyon for two kilometers. The trail passes through an area rich in diverse relief forms and abundant vegetation.
Impressive rocks up to 700 meters high can be seen in the canyon, together with climbers conquering them, endemic plant species and numerous birds. A 20-minute climb from the canyon follows next, covering approximately 200 meters of elevation difference, and bringing the visitors to Anića luka, where they can refresh at a spring of cold water.
Duration: 2.5 - 3 hours
The Mala Paklenica entrance can be reached by car; the canyon of Mala Paklenica is accessible only by hiking. The trail largely leads along the bed of the Mala Paklenica creek, and it is very demanding in some sections. Due to the extraordinarily interesting petrophilic ornithofauna, Mala Paklenica is a zone where climbing activities are strictly forbidden.
After four and a half hours of hiking through the canyon, the trail leads through the grasslands of Njive Lekine and Grabove doline for the next 45 minutes. What follows is one hour of relatively steep descent to the canyon of Velika Paklenica.
Duration: 6 hours
Recommended time of year for visit: This tour is available only during the dry periods, when there is no water in the Mala Paklenica creek bed.
Suitable for individual / group visits: Due to the demanding terrain, the tour is primarily focused on individual visits; guided tours include no more than 8 persons per guide.
Note: Due to sun exposure on the trail during the summer months, early morning start is recommended.
Following a climb along the main trail through the Velika Paklenica canyon, approx. 2 hours of hiking from the parking lot, visitors can reach the Lugarnica forest cottage at approx. 400 m.a.s.l., Located right next to a creek, it offers simple catering services.
Opening times: 10:30 till 16:30 from May to October
open on weekends and holidays from Easter onwards.
Phone: +385 (0)23 369 155;
e-mail: [email protected]
Picnic can be organized for groups on prior notice.
Following a climb along the main trail through the Velika Paklenica canyon, approx. 2 to 2.5 hours of hiking from the parking lot, 10 minutes uphill from the mountain lodge, visitors reach the hamlet of Ramići, where the establishment Ramića dvori is located. It offers simple catering services, including food and drinks.
Phone: +385 (0)23 231 756
Cell: +385 (0)91 589 8617
E-mail: [email protected]
Following a climb along the main trail through the Velika Paklenica canyon, approx. 2 to 2.5 hours of hiking from the parking lot, 10 minutes uphill from the mountain lodge, visitors reach the hamlet of Parići, where the establishment Ivančev Dom is located. It includes four rooms with four beds each, two bathrooms with toilet, and a kitchen with dining area. The entire facility uses solar energy for lighting and refrigeration, which makes it possible for visitors to bring food for several days of stay.
Owner: Franjo Parić
Phone: +385 (0)23 369 139
Cell: +385 (0)95 801 7785 / 098 937 8577
E-mail: [email protected]
It takes around two hours of hiking to get to the Paklenica mountain lodge from the Velika Paklenica canyon. The lodge includes approx. 50 beds in multi-bed rooms, a kitchen, dining area and toilet facilities. In addition, the facility is equipped with electricity and running water. We recommend visitors to take sleeping bags for night stays at the lodge.
The facility is open throughout the year. It is located at 480 m.a.s.l.
Cell: 385 95 358 2111 (Dalibor Bračić, caretaker)
385 95 813 1841 (Ines Pajić)
Phone: 385 23 301 636
email: [email protected]
Paklenica Mountain Lodge is managed by the Paklenica Mountaineering Association from Zadar
(Planinarsko društvo Paklenica, Zadar)
Phone: +385 23 301 636 (premises of PD Paklenica)
E-mail: [email protected]
Vlaški Grad mountain shelter is approximately four hours of hiking away from the mountain lodge, and approximately one hour of hiking away from the shelter at Ivine vodice. It can accommodate 8 to 10 persons for night stays, and represents a good starting point for hikes towards Sveto brdo, Vlaški grad or Veliki Libinj and Mali Libinj. There is a water source nearby that sometimes runs dry towards the end of July, with water appearing only after abundant rainfall.
The facility is open throughout the year. It is located at 1280 m.a.s.l.
For more detailed information, please contact:
Paklenica Mountaineering Association
E-mail: [email protected]
Due to renovation, Vlaški Grad Mountain Shelter is temporarily closed! The shelter will not be functional until the renovation is completed, and use of shelter is advised only if absolutely necessary. Appropriate equipment is required for overnight stay in the shelter. The shelter should always be left clean. When using water or fuel wood, shelter supplies must be replenished, having other visitors in mind. Visitors are advised to check the availability of water, or to carry water with them.
This open-type shelter is approx. two hours and thirty minutes of hiking away from the mountain lodge, and it can accommodate 12 persons overnight. There is a water source near the shelter. This mountain shelter represents a good choice for overnight stay for visitors planning an excursion to Sveto brdo. The shelter is managed by the Babulj Mountaineering Association from Bibinje.
The facility is open throughout the year. It is located at 1200 m.a.s.l.
For more detailed information, please contact:
Babulj Mountaineering Association, Bibinje
091/11 22 440 - Marin Jukić
091/452 3340 - Stjepan Gverić
Appropriate equipment is required for overnight stay in the shelter. The shelter should always be left clean. When using water or fuel wood, shelter supplies must be replenished, having other visitors in mind. Visitors are advised to check the availability of water, or to carry water with them.
The shelter is approx. three hours of hiking away from the mountain lodge. The shelter includes 15 beds, and obtains water from the water source at Marasovac, approx. 20 minutes of hiking away from the shelter.
The facility is open throughout the year. It is located at 1400 m.a.s.l.
For more detailed information, please contact:
Paklenica Mountaineering Association
The National Park camping site is located next to the management building of the Park. It is mostly used by returning visitors to the Paklenica National Park (rock climbers, hikers and others), and it is suitable for family summer vacations as well. The camp is located next to a natural pebble beach, and its capacity is approx. 100 persons.
The camp is open from 15 March to 15 November.
For more detailed information, please contact:
Babulj Mountaineering Association, Bibinje
091/11 22 440 - Marin Jukić
091/452 3340 - Stjepan Gverić
E-mail: [email protected]
Reservations are not taken.
Paklenica National Park is the most important Croatian climbing venue, well-known beyond the Croatian borders as well. Marked by its limestone terrain, it includes around 400 equipped and prepared routes of various grades of difficulty and length (grades 3 to 8b+), which means that every climber can enjoy his or her own optimal route.
Most of the short sport routes are located in Klanci, the narrowest part of Velika Paklenica canyon. Due to easy access, they are also suitable for climbers with small children.
The Crljenica sector is particularly interesting and appealing for climbing during the winter months. The best-known climbing rock in Paklenica is Anića kuk, with up to 350-meter long routes diverse in character, ranging from unequipped ones to technical routes and long modern sport routes.
Routes in Paklenica are quite diverse in terms of their equipment level. Older routes are equipped with pitons, while newer routes include modern anchors.
The main climbing season in Paklenica starts in spring, and lasts until late autumn. Most climbers convene here around May 1st, when the traditional International Climbers' Meeting is held, with a range of events and competitions.
Number of routes: Approx. 400
Route grade: 3-8b+
Note: Climbers can use a special offer of purchasing 3-day and 5-day tickets, as well as annual tickets for NP Paklenica.
Paklenica National Park Public Institution organizes daily monitoring of the climbing site by the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) during July and August, and monitoring on extended weekends in other months (Easter, May Day, Ascension Day, Corpus Christi, Pentecost, Statehood Day of the Republic of Croatia, All Saints' Day).
Manita peć is the only cave in the area of the Park that is open and equipped for visits. Its spaciousness and beauty have been thrilling the visitors ever since 1937, when the completion of the trail leading to the cave made the visits possible. Entrance to the cave is located at 570 meters above sea level, and the hike from the parking lot in Velika Paklenica to the cave takes around an hour and a half.
Length: 175 m
Note: Temperature in the cave is approx. 9°C throughout the year, so visitors are advised to take suitable clothes in the warmer part of the year.
This cycling and walking trail, eight kilometers long, leads from the center of Starigrad-Paklenica to the Velika Paklenica entrance, continuing through old hamlets via Mala Paklenica to Seline.
Trail length: 8 km
Elevation difference: 100 m
Bicycle rental possibilities: Available: Raftrek Agency and UO Rajna
Trail type: Asphalt - gravel - dirt trail - stone
After a 20-minute climb from the parking lot in the Velika Paklenica canyon, one reaches Anića luka (250 m.a.s.l.). From there, it takes an additional hour and a half of hiking along an easy trail to reach the mountain lodge.
Trail length: 6km
Trail difficulty: Easy
Elevation difference: 400m
Recommended time of year for visit: Trail can be used throughout the year
Accessible to persons with disabilities: No
Recommended equipment: Hiking equipment recommended (hiking footwear and clothes, backpack, personal accessories, food and water, sun protection)
Availability of drinking water: Yes
After a 20-minute climb from the parking lot in the Velika Paklenica canyon, one reaches Anića luka (250 m.a.s.l.). From there, it takes additional 10 minutes of hiking to reach the trail branching towards Manita peć. It takes 45 minutes to climb from the beginning of that branch to the cave itself. A viewpoint on top of the climb offers views of the surrounding peaks.
Trail length: 4km
Trail difficulty: Medium difficulty
Elevation difference: 450m
Recommended time of year for visit: The cave Manita peć is open from April to end-October according to defined schedule, and visit to the cave is recommended in that time of year.
Accessible to persons with disabilities: No
Availability of drinking water: No
Note: Opening hours of the cave Manita peć (10-13 hours): April - Saturdays; May - Wednesdays and Saturdays; June and October - Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; July, August and September - every day
After an hour and thirty minutes of climb from the Velika Paklenica canyon to the cave Manita peć, there is a further climb along the talus cones and rocks to Zoljin kuk and Vidakov kuk, taking an hour and a half from Manita peć in total. The peaks offer views of the mountain and the sea. What follows is a somewhat easier 40-minute section of the trail to the intersection towards Tomići, with approx. two and a half hours of downhill hiking remaining to Starigrad.
Trail length: 10km
Trail difficulty: Difficult
Elevation difference: 800m
Recommended time of year for visit: Spring / autumn
Mala Paklenica entrance can be reached by car, and the Mala Paklenica canyon can be explored only by hiking. The trail largely follows the Mala Paklenica creek bed, and it is very demanding in some sections. After four and a half hours of hiking, the trail leads through the grasslands of Njive Lekine and Grabove doline for the next 45 minutes. What follows is an hour of relatively steep descent to the Velika Paklenica canyon.
Trail length: 12km
Elevation difference: 650m
Note: The trail is not passable during the rainy period of the year.
From the mountain lodge, the trail passes through beech and black pine forest to Mala Močila, with the climb taking one hour, and then continues through the forest towards Crni Vrh. From the beginning of the trail branch towards Crni Vrh to the peak itself, there is a 20-minute hard climb. One needs to return via the same trail back to the beginning of the branch, and continue towards Velika Močila for one hour. The part of the trail between Velika Močila and Njive Lekine offers a view of the Mala Paklenica canyon. From Njive Lekine to the Velika Paklenica canyon, there are two to two and a half hours of hiking, first on flattish terrain, and then downhill. Six hours of hiking in total.
Elevation difference: 1000m
From the mountain lodge, the trail passes through beech forest to the Buljma pass, reached after approx. one and a half to two hours of hiking. The pass offers a view of the Velika Paklenica valley on the east, and the Veliko Rujno valley on the west. What follows is a descent towards the Struge valley, where a mountain shelter is located. The section from Struge to Marasovac requires 20 more minutes of easy hiking across mountain grasslands. There is drinking water on Marasovac.
Trail length: 6.5km
Elevation difference: 990m
Recommended time of year for visit: Summer / autumn
The trail from the Struge mountain shelter to Marasovac leads through mountain grasslands, with interchanging climbs and level sections, grasslands and talus cones, taking two and a half to three hours to reach Vaganski vrh, the highest peak of Velebit. The quickest way to go from Vaganski vrh to the Velika Paklenica canyon is by taking the trail of Lipa staza, steeply descending to the canyon in the form of a long talus cone. The total hiking duration is 7 hours.
Trail length: 8.5km
Trail difficulty: Medium difficulty / difficult
Elevation difference: 1250m
Recommended time of year for visit: Late spring / early autumn
The trail from the Struge mountain shelter to Marasovac leads through mountain grasslands, with interchanging climbs and level sections, grasslands and talus cones, taking two and a half to three hours to reach Vaganski vrh. The trail then continues along mountain grassland terrain to Malovanski stanovi, and then via a long talus cone Zla ploča to the grassland Čičina dolina. A climb to Sveto brdo follows from there. The total hiking duration is 6 hours. The trail offers panorama views of the valley of Velika Paklenica and the surrounding dolines and peaks.
Recommended time of year for visit: Summer / early autumn
Note: The trail is largely exposed to the sun, which is particularly strong at that altitude.
It takes two and a half hours to reach Ivine vodice from the mountain lodge, and the trail passes through beech forest and mixed beech and black pine forest. The trail passes along the Velika Paklenica creek, offering views of Babin kuk through the crowns of trees. There is a mountain shelter at Ivine vodice, with a water source next to it that sometimes runs dry in the summer.
From Ivine vodice onwards, a steep trail leads through old beech forest to meadows of Čičina dolina, with one more hour of hiking to get to Sveto brdo. High mountain meadows, rich in various plant species, are particularly interesting in May and June, intertwined with rocky terrain and large rocks. A steep climb towards Sveto brdo at 1753 m.a.s.l. takes approximately 45 minutes, offering an unforgettable view of the region of Lika and northern Dalmatia and its islands.
Manita peć is the only cave in the Park area that is open and prepared for visits. Its size and beauty have been thrilling the visitors ever since 1937, when the visits to the cave started following the completion of the path. Entrance to the cave is located at 570 meters above sea level, and it takes about an hour and a half to climb to it from the parking lot in Velika Paklenica.
The cave is rich in dripstones, which are quite diverse in terms of their shape and origin. The most frequent types of dripstones one comes across in Manita peć are stalagmites, stalactites, dripstone pillars (stalagnates) and dripstone cascades. Some of these adornments are named after their peculiar shapes, such as helmet, organ and witch.
The cave is also marked by its rich subterranean fauna. There are eight bat species recorded in the cave, and the research conducted so far has also resulted in the discovery of 52 invertebrate taxa, out of which 20 taxa are genuine cave animals adapted to the subterranean environment and generally incapable of surviving outside of caves. They are characterized by the lack of pigment and organs of sight (photoreceptors); however, their other senses (smell, taste, touch) are well developed. Many renowned European biospeleologists have been researching Manita peć and collecting the fauna in it. These endeavors resulted in the discovery of new species, such as false scorpion Chthonius radjai, isopod Bogidiella sketi, as well as spider Stalita praetneri that can still be encountered in Cerovačke špilje (Velebit Nature Park).
INSTRUCTIONS FOR VISITORS:
If you decide to visit the cave Manita peć, you will spend approx. 30 minutes in it accompanied by a guide, getting acquainted with many secrets of this intriguing subterranean world. The temperature in the cave is around 9°C throughout the year, which is why we recommend suitable clothes when visiting the cave in the warmer part of the year. The cave can be visited only in the presence of a guide.
OPENING HOURS OF THE CAVE
Regular opening times for visits to Manita peć:
April: Saturdays from 10:00 to 13:00
May, June, October: Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 to 13:00
July, August, September: every day from 10:00 to 13:00
Prior notice is required for visits outside of the scheduled opening hours!
The valley of Velika Paklenica is 14.5 kilometers long. Due to the impermeable lithological layer from the very source of the creek Velika Paklenica to the point where it meets the creek Brezimenjača, water is present in the bed of Velika Paklenica throughout the year.
Canyon characteristics are particularly prominent in the area from Anića kuk to Marasovići, three kilometers long – including the narrow width of several tens of meters, and considerable depth of up to 400 meters. Caved-in blocks of rock have partially closed the canyon, causing the formation of rapids and small cascades. This area has a remarkable geomorphological value, as well as the reputation of the most attractive Croatian climbing site, well known to climbers throughout Europe, but also beyond.
Velika Paklenica canyon can be visited throughout the year.
The main tourist trail passes through the canyon, and its length to the mountain lodge is approx. 6 kilometers. For the most part, the trail is not demanding, with the exception of a climb in the narrowest part of the canyon, which takes about 20 minutes.
As a rule, water can be found in the Mala Paklenica bed upstream from the branch of the trail leading to Njive Lekine, while the creek runs dry in its lower part. The left tributary of Mala Paklenica called Orljača is also a torrent flow that runs dry in the summer. In the wet part of the year, when water runs through the canyon, the trail is impassable.
Eight kilometers downstream from its source, Mala Paklenica creates a canyon approximately two kilometers long, marked by cliffs up to 300 meters high. In some areas, the canyon is only ten meters wide, or even less than that.
The erosion caused by what used to be abundant water flows in the past, running from the mountain peaks to the canyon, resulted in sediment brought by the waters and the creation of several larger cavities and caves in rocks, some with retained water.
Due to the importance of Mala Paklenica in the conservation of original petrophilic ornithofauna, climbing activities are strictly forbidden in this area
In its initial part, the canyon of Mala Paklenica can be visited throughout the year. The remainder of the canyon can be visited in dry periods, when the creek runs dry. (Note: the mountain trail is following the flow of the Mala Paklenica creek for the most part.)
Since this trail is one of the more demanding trails in the Park, a visitor choosing to pass it should be in good physical shape, and equipped with appropriate mountaineering equipment and sufficient quantity of drinking water.
Information on the state of the watercourse can be obtained from the Park management by phone +385 (0)23 369 155, +385 (0)23 369 202, or e-mail: [email protected].
Vaganski vrh (1757 meters) is the highest peak of the Velebit Mountain, and also the highest peak of Paklenica National Park. The peak is a flat ridge covered in grass, and the vista from the peak after rain can extend for 300 kilometers. It is easy to see Risnjak 150 kilometers away and Klek 110 kilometers away, as well as Troglav, the highest peak of the mountain of Dinara, which is 105 kilometers away.
The peak is accessible in the warmer part of the year; in the colder part of the year, it is covered in snow for considerable periods of time, which requires winter hiking equipment. The climb can also be rendered more difficult by gale-force bora wind.
Weather conditions in this part of the mountain of Velebit can change very rapidly at any time of year, so it is strongly recommended to check the local weather forecast prior to climb.
Sveto brdo (1751 meters) is yet another prominent peak of the massif of Velebit, dominant among the surrounding mountain peaks. It is also the second-highest peak of Velebit, providing a view of both the continental and the littoral side. There is a large metal cross and a plaque with the Ten Commandments on the peak itself. It takes five hours to reach Sveto brdo from the mountain lodge, or four hours from Mali Libinj.
Weather conditions in this part of the mountain of Velebit can change very rapidly at any time of year, so it is strongly recommended to monitor the local weather forecast prior to climb.
The peak of Liburnija (1709 meters) is one of the most beautiful viewpoints of Velebit, providing a magnificent vista of the entire archipelago of the central part of the Adriatic. The peak was named after the first mountaineering society in Zadar and Dalmatia, called Liburnija and established in 1899. It is also the highest peak of Zadarska County. The best starting point for the climb is the mountain lodge in Velika Paklenica (480 meters), with the marked trail leading all the way to the peak. However, the climb is rather steep, and it is recommended only for more experienced mountain climbers.
From its littoral side, the peak is hard to access, so it is recommended only for experienced mountain climbers.
Ethno-house Marasović is home to the exhibition entitled “Mirila – Resting Places of the Souls”. Mirila are stone monuments scattered along the paths of Velebit, remains of a unique funeral ritual practiced by the locals back in the days when they lived on Velebit and found survival on the mountain (from the 17th to the 20th century). Today, mirila are part of the protected intangible cultural heritage of the Republic of Croatia.
The exhibition on mirila speaks of the customs and the way of life, creation and dying of one entire era, through a modern interpretation provided by scientists and artists (Siniša Reberski, Krešimir Rončević, Radivoj Simonović, Tomo Vinšćak, Mirjana Trošelj, Petar and Josip Strmečki, Josip Zanki).
The exhibition is organized by the Tourist Board of the Municipality of Starigrad and the Public Institution of the Paklenica National Park, in cooperation with the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb.
The exhibition is open every day from May to September; it is closed during the winter months.
The entrance to the exhibition is free of charge, and the exhibition is open daily from 13:00 to 21:00.
Nowhere on Velebit is there a vertical rock as well-known and remarkable as Anića kuk. Regardless of whether you climb its base along the edge of the creek, or observe it from some other place in Anića luka, this rock dominates the entire area.
The very peak of Anića kuk, at 712 meters above sea level, provides a wonderful vista of Podvelebitski kanal – the sea channel along the mountain – and the area where the Velika Paklenica creek leaves the canyon. Towards the north, one can see the mountain pass Buljma and the peaks of Babin vrh, Vaganski vrh and Sveto brdo, as well as the nearby localities of Komić, Krivi kuk, Vlaški grad, Borovnik and Zoljin kuk. Anića kuk has been attracting numerous climbers for over 70 years, and it includes over 100 climbing routes.
The peak Anića kuk is also accessible by hiking trail throughout the year.
The trail is rather demanding, in particular its section that passes along the eastern side and leads all the way to the peak.
The hike from the canyon of Velika Paklenica to the peak of Anića kuk takes approximately an hour and a half.
The peak area of the Park includes the hydrologically important area of Babino jezero. It is the only permanent lake in the area of Paklenica National Park and on the southern side of Velebit. The lake is located at the bottom of a major doline, at around 1600 meters above sea level, with the hiking trail passing along it towards Vaganski vrh.
Water in the lake is retained throughout the year, but it is not potable. The water level oscillates negligibly over the year, and the lake is usually frozen during the winter period. The retention of water is probably caused by a clay layer that filled the cracks in limestone material, thus preventing water drainage.
In relatively recent history (until the beginning of the Homeland War), the lake was used as a watering place for livestock during the summer months, when people would bring livestock to the mountain for summer grazing. With the disappearance of transhumance livestock breeding in the area, the lake was gradually covered in silty material (pelite) resulting from the decay of algae.
Animal species in the lake include mountain newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris), known as water lizards or so-called žmurci among the local population. In winter, newts hibernate by burying themselves in silt among algae and other plants on the bottom while the water surface is frozen, thus protecting themselves from cold. Newts are carnivores, i.e. predators, feeding on water insects and their eggs and larvae.
DIMENSIONS OF THE LAKE:
Surface: 523.1 m²
Volume: 1307 m³
Maximum length: 32.9 m
Maximum width: 16 m
Maximum depth: 2.5 m
In the winter months, the lake is usually frozen and covered in snow, so visitors are advised to plan the visit to the lake during the warmer part of the year.
In the first half of the 19th century, thirteen water mills were built on the Velika Paklenica creek, in the area from the current entrance to the Paklenica National Park to the Paklenica Mountain Lodge. These mills are Donji Marasovića and Srednji Marasovića, Šikića mlin, Dadića mlin, Markov mlin, Katića mlin, Donji Ramića mlin, Parića mlin, Gornji Ramića mlin (with a still functional fulling mill alongside it), Donji Parića mlin, Gornji Parića mlin, Donji Kneževića mlin and Gornji Kneževića mlin.
These mills once supplied the locals of the area of Podgorje with flour, but also the population of Ravni kotari and islands of the Zadar archipelago, until as recently as the 1960s. Nowadays, these mills are no longer in use, although most of them are in solid state in terms of construction.
Aiming to preserve this specific form of traditional architectural heritage, the Park Management restored the Srednji Marasovića mill with expert assistance of conservationists in 2000.
The mill is open daily from 7:00 to 20:00 in the period from April to October.
In the remaining months, it is open on request by contacting the reception desk at the Velika Paklenica entrance.
Mala Paklenica entrance area also includes a small educational center for presenting the importance of birds of prey and owls in protected areas and in all habitats of Croatia. Birds of prey and owls are the most endangered bird species in Croatia today.
Their protection is still not sufficiently effective in Croatia’s protected areas, however. In addition, the declining numbers of certain nesting bird species in Croatia, such as griffon vulture, points to a careless attitude of man towards species and nature.
By tackling these issues and educating the visitors in small educational centers, such as the one in Mala Paklenica, the aim is to raise awareness and focus the attention of various visitor groups, in particular younger generations, children and students, on the importance of these endangered species and the necessity of their protection.
Mala Paklenica entrance is open daily from 6:00 to 14:00 in the period from May to October.
Educational panels on the importance of birds of prey and owls can be viewed throughout the year.
A guided tour of educational panels coupled with a lecture at the Paklenica National Park Presentation Center is also available at the price of 250 HRK. Prior notice is required.
A future multipurpose visitor center of the National Park is being built in the so-called “Bunkers” – an underground tunnel complex built during the turbulent political situation that marked the relations between ex-Yugoslavia and the USSR in the period from 1950 until 1953.
The tunnel complex was built by the JNA, and its tunnels were supposed to serve as shelter for the then state and military leaders. During the construction of the complex, the entrance area of the National Park was closed to visitors, but also to the locals. The construction of the facility was done in utmost secrecy, and the works included a troop of 500 soldiers and prisoners. The facility was opened for the first time in June 1991, when the metal doors to the complex were removed.
As part of the future visitor center, a souvenir shop and toilet facilities were opened at the southern entrance to underground tunnels in 2007.
The visitor center is currently under construction, and its opening is planned for the 2016 season, when the bulk of the facility should be open to visitors, including the corridors, the main hall, souvenir shop, HGSS mountain rescue service area, and a coffee bar.
It takes about a 20-minute walk along the educational trail to reach the Paklarić fortress and belvedere at 121 meters above sea level. The belvedere provides a panorama view of the wider surroundings, and a telescope on site allows visitors to explore distant points of interest as well. The use of telescope is free of charge.
The belvedere and Paklarić fortress can be visited throughout the year.
Bojinac is one of the most beautiful rocky landscapes in Croatia, marked by an abundance of karst forms. The highest peak of Bojinac is Bojin kuk at 1110 meters above sea level, and the peak of Jagin kuk is particularly impressive in terms of appearance.
This site became part of Paklenica National Park in 1997, when the Park boundaries were enlarged. Visitors can reach Bojinac via a marked trail from Vaganac or Veliko Rujno, and take a loop tour along its picturesque peaks.
Bojinac is available to visitors throughout the year.
Crni vrh is located in the central part of the Park, at 1110 meters above sea level. The peak provides a wonderful view of the forests of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica and the sites of Velika Močila and Mala Močila, Golić and the entire peak zone from Debelo brdo (Višerujno) to Sveto brdo.
Visitors can reach Crni vrh from the parking lot in three and a half hours of hiking, from the direction of Lugarnica through Donja draga to Mala Močila, or via Jurline and Grabove doline to Mala Močila, continuing along the marked trail to Crni vrh. A firefighting and meteorological station was built on Crni vrh in 2007, consisting of an iron pillar 11 meters high and a small stone house with solar panels on its roof.
Crni vrh is available to visitors throughout the year, except in harsh winters or strong bora wind conditions, when it is best to postpone the excursion until the weather conditions become more favorable.
The hamlet of Sklopina is located approximately 200 meters northeast of the hamlet of Ramići. The area above Sklopina consists of rocks known as Sige among the locals. According to the locals, the hamlet got its name due to its “enclosed” nature, as its Croatian name suggests – it is sheltered under the cliff of a semi-cave that protects it against rough weather. The hamlet of Sklopina consists of four houses that were once used for accommodation, or served as shelter for livestock.
The hamlet can be reached by a marked trail passing through the Velika Paklenica canyon to the mountain lodge. From that point, there is a marked trail leading to Sklopina (approx. two and a half hours of hiking from the reception desk at the entrance to Paklenica National Park). The locality is privately owned, and it is accessible throughout the year.
It shows a chronological succession of layers and rocks, starting from the oldest stratigraphic unit at the base of the pillar (dolomites from the Middle and Upper Permian 265 million years old), and ending with the most recent layers at the top of the pillar, the way they would look like without any subsequent tectonic or erosion changes over time.
The site can be visited throughout the year.
00385(0)23 359 133
If you travel by bus, the Bus Terminal in Zadar is well connected with all Croatian cities and major European cities. Bus ride from Zadar to Starigrad Paklenica takes approximately 45 minutes. Many bus lines from the direction of Rijeka also include a stop in Starigrad Paklenica.
The timetable can be checked at www.autobusni-kolodvor.com.
Zadar Airport Zemunik (ZAD) is only half an hour’s drive from Starigrad Paklenica, and it is well connected with all major Croatian and European cities.
Ancona – Zadar ferry line is one of the available ferry routes, and also the shortest for visitors coming from Italy. The ferry trip to Zadar takes 8 hours, and from there it takes about 45 minutes by car or bus to get to Starigrad Paklenica.
A railway line Zagreb – Knin with a change to Zadar is available. From Zadar, visitors can reach Starigrad Paklenica by car or bus.
There are several ways to reach the Park by car. From the direction of Zagreb (distance: 235 km), the fastest route is the Zagreb-Split motorway. Visitors should take the exit towards Maslenica, and then take the state road in the direction of Rijeka for approx. 15 kilometers.
From the direction of Rijeka, the available routes include the Adriatic Highway (D8 state road; 182 km) and the motorway route Rijeka (A6) – Maslenica (A1), 257 kilometers long.
From the direction of Split, the fastest route is the motorway route Split – Dugopolje (A1) – Maslenica (A1), 137 kilometers long.
Entrance 1 Velika Paklenica
Entrance 2 Mala Paklenica
Visit the official Park website at http://www.np-paklenica.hr