Hiking In Croatia: 9 Most Beautiful Trails To Explore
Written by Res Marty, an expert advisor in camping and hiking.
From gorgeous cities to ancient sites, sparkling coastlines to stunning islands, it’s easy to see why Croatia is the preferred travel destination for most people. On top of that, it’s full of beautiful trails and gorgeous treks, making it an excellent destination for hikers and backpackers.
So, if you plan to go on a hiking expedition in Europe, Croatia should be at the top of your list. Whether you are a casual hiker, a seasoned trekker, or a beginner, we have a vast selection of hiking Croatia trails for you.
But, with so many gorgeous treks in Croatia, we know that choosing the best ones for your expedition can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. This article will take a closer look at the nine most beautiful trails to explore in Croatia in 2022.
Hiking Plitvice Lakes Loop
Located halfway between Zagreb and Zadar, Plitvice Lakes is one of the most popular national parks in the country. This UNESCO-recognized natural feature comprises beautiful woodlands, spectacular views, gorgeous waterfalls, and approximately 16 interconnected lakes. It’s also filled with plenty of wildlife, such as bears, deer, wild boars, hedgehogs, martens, voles, and mink, to name a few.
The hike starts near Entrance 1. It will then take you on a tour of all the bigger lakes in this loop. You will also come across several beautiful waterfalls along the way. This loop will also pass close to the Gustav Janecek Memorial. You can also stop by for a swim in one of the lakes, especially during those hot days.
Due to its popularity among hikers, there’s a high chance you will come across crowds. To minimize such issues, hitting the trail as early as possible will be highly advisable, probably around 7 am to 8 am. There are several hotels around Entrance 2 and a campground if you plan to spend the night.
Also, you can explore several other trails in this area, especially if you are a seasoned hiker. But, if you are a beginner or have never been in this area before, this loop is the most recommended. And the best part is that you will have finished traversing it within three to four hours.
- Trail length: 12km
- Difficulty level: Easy
- Hiking time: Approximately 3 to 4 hours
- How to get there: Rental car, bus, or private transfer
Velebit Hiking Trail
The Velebit Hiking Trail is one of the best hikes in Croatia if you are looking for a multi-day hike. The entire trail is around 100 kilometers. You will hike through small, rural towns, rugged peaks, and rolling green hills. Also, you will have an opportunity to spend your nights in mountain huts spread along the way. However, the available space in these mountain huts is quite limited. Therefore, make sure you book well in advance.
It’s worth mentioning this hike is quite demanding. So, make sure you pack enough food supplies in your hiking backpack. You should also remember to pack proper hiking gear since you will be on the trail for several days.
The entire trail is adequately maintained and easy to follow. Also, it’s clearly marked. Hence no bushwhacking will be needed. You can begin your hike in Babic Sica, the trail’s information center. You can hike upwards to the Zavizan hut, which will only take a few hours. Once you are there, you will have ample time to explore the nearby peaks.
The best time to hike this trail is during the summer. During this time, the weather is stable and friendlier. You will be required to pay an entry fee of around $7 for the Velebit national park.
- Trail length: 100 km
- Estimated hiking time: 9 days
- Level: Hard to moderate
- How to get there: Bus
Hiking In Dubrovnik
If you are looking for a traditional hiking trail, then you should check out this loop trail around the Walls of Dubrovnik. It offers breathtaking views of the old town, church towers, rooftops, lanes, and stunning cliffs. Accessible all year round, this loop trail is mainly used for hiking, nature trips, walking, and bird watching.
Besides the beautiful views you will catch along the way; this trail is popular because of its ease of access. Also, it’s not challenging. Anyone with excellent physical condition can tackle it within two hours or even less, depending on the pace.
You can start or end your hike at the Gate of Pile, the old town’s main entrance. It will be highly advisable to walk this trail early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the conditions are a bit friendly. Also, these are the best hiking times if you are looking to avoid crowds.
If you are staying around Dubrovnik, you should include this hike in your itinerary. It will provide an excellent means of exercising as you experience stunning views along the way.
- Trail length: 2 km
- Difficulty level: Easy
- Hiking duration: 2 hours
- How to get there: Car, bus, or flight
Hiking The Via Dinarica White Trail
The Via Dinarica is one of the newest hiking trails established in Croatia. It runs from the south of Slovenia to the north of Albania. You can opt to tackle the entire trail or just a section of it, depending on your hiking experience and how long you will be around. But it’s filled with spectacular views every mile along the way.
If you are a seasoned hiker and have the time to spare, you can tackle the entire trail. It connects all the most beautiful sections of the Dinaric Alps. Also, it connects some of the most beautiful mountain regions in the country. Besides the White Trail, you can also opt to tackle the Blue Trail (mountain trail) or the Green Trail (forest trail), depending on your preferences.
As mentioned earlier, this trail is relatively new. Hence, some sections along the way are poorly marked and badly maintained. But, as long as you have a reliable GPS and a well-detailed map, you are good to go. Remember to bring your camera; you will have plenty of opportunities to capture memorable, beautiful photos.
- Trail lenght: 1,261 km
- Difficulty level: Hard
- Hiking duration: 410 hours
- How to get there: Bus or car
Milna Coastal Walk
You should check out the Milna Coastal Walk if you love hiking in coastal areas and sandy beaches. This trail is located on Hvar Island, one of Croatia’s best coastal getaways. Hvar Island is a short distance from Split. And a ferry ride will get you there within two hours or even less.
Thousands of hikers come here yearly to savor the region’s hidden beaches, gorgeous seas, and rugged coasts. The trail starts at the harbor based in Hvar Town. You will then follow a paved coastal walkway, which will take you to Mustado Bay. This walk should take you around 30 minutes or so. There’s an eatery along the way where you can stop to refuel. There’s also a beach along the trail, where you can take a quick dip.
From Mustado Bay, the trail becomes increasingly rugged, occasionally shifting between the coast and the woodland. The trail will take you through forests, beaches, and bays. After around 20 minutes, you will come across a bay, where you can go for a swim and relax. There’s also an eatery, which doubles as a bar and restaurant. Eventually, you will find yourself at Milna.
- Trail length: 7 km
- Hiking duration: 2 hours
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- How to get there: Ferry or high-speed ship
Plješivica Mountain Hike
If you are an experienced hiker looking for a hiking trail that will stretch you to your limits, then you should check out the Plješivica hiking trail. The entire course features rocky terrain, which is quite challenging. Hence, make sure you come with a comfortable pair of hiking boots. You should also consider bringing a pair of walking poles.
Most sections of this trail go through dense forests, which provide adequate shade. Therefore, it will be an ideal hike for those hot summer days. As the trail nears the end, you will come across an old military facility, which is quite impressive.
The views along this trail are nothing short of spectacular. Also, the trail’s end is close to Croatia’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hence, you will also enjoy striking views of rolling landscapes and lush-green forests in both countries.
- Trail length: 12 km
- Hiking duration: 5 to 6 hours
- Difficulty: Hard
- How to get there: Train, bus or taxi
Hiking Vidova Gora Trail
The Vidova Gora trail is yet another challenging trail. But it’s gratifying if you can manage to go the entire length. If you are hiking this trail during the summer, you should ensure you carry adequate water and sun protection since there’s minimal shade. Also, you should ensure you start your hike as early as possible to minimize sun exposure.
You will start your hike on a gravel road in the village of Bol. From there, the trail will take you through a rough mountain path, with lots of local sheep and wildflowers to keep you company.
The summit of the Vidova Gora mountain is simply spectacular. Considering it’s the highest peak in this region, it will give picturesque views of the entire Adriatic region, from the sea and the islands and the mainland.
- Trail length: Approximately 11 km
- Hiking duration: 3 to 4 hours
- Difficulty: Intermediate to difficult
- How to get there: Bus or private car
Mljet Island Hike Through
Mljet Island is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful islands in Croatia. It also provides a great hiking experience, and thanks to the spectacular views, it serves the entire route.
The trail runs from Sobra to Pomena. Depending on your hiking pace, you can cover the entire course within two days. Most section of this trail runs through lush, green forests. Therefore, you will be shielded from the scorching rays of the sun. You can also opt to climb to one of the summits if you are looking for scenic views.
Unlike other trails in this region, this one is easy to get onto. You must board at Prapratno, which will take you directly to Sobra. As much as this trail is relatively new, it’s well-marked throughout.
One of the best things about the island of Mljet is that more than 70% of its surface is covered with forest. So, you will be surrounded by nature regardless of where you look or go. There are lots of great, short hikes which you can discover. You can also opt to explore the Odyssey’s Cave, which is quite popular with vacationers. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or not, this island is worth a visit.
- Length: 33 km
- Estimated hiking duration: 2 days
- Difficulty level: Moderate to advanced
- How to get there: Ferry
Vošac Peak Hike
The Vošac peak hike is one of the most challenging hikes in Croatia. The mountain is located in the Biokovo Nature Park, which is quite a popular hiking destination in Croatia. You will cross several paths, winding up the mountains and hills filled with pine trees and olive groves.
The trail starts at Makarska, where the climb upward begins right away. After around 5 to 6 hours of climbing, you will make it to the peak, enjoying the beautiful views below. Most sections of this trail feature loose stones. Therefore, make sure you carry appropriate shoes.
As noted above, this hike is challenging. Hence, make sure you come prepared. If you are not in good physical condition, then it will be highly advisable to explore other hiking options. Also, pack enough water, especially if you are hiking during the warm months.
- Hiking length: 30 km
- Hiking duration: 5 to 6 hours
- Difficulty: Hard
- How to get there: Car or bus
Hiking In Croatia – Wrapping It Up
As you can see, your options regarding hiking trails to explore in Croatia are almost endless. You must choose a trail that best aligns with your hiking experience and personal preferences, pack the right gear, and hit the road. Happy hiking!
Now that you know where the best hikes in Croatia are to be found, we hope that you enjoy your hiking in Croatia experience.