Velebit Adventures - Hiking in Croatian youngest National park, is described by our professiona associate Marko Kovač
If you like hiking you should defenately visit Croatian youngest National park. It was established in 1999 on biggest and longest Croatian mountain! National park Sjeverni Velebit (Northern Velebit) is destiantion where you search for peacfull but stunning hikes. If you enjoy watching karst landscepe made in limestone than you should visit this European Destination of Excellence (EDEN).
Most popular place to visit in Park is mountain hut Zavižan (1594 m a.s.l.).
Oldest part of hut was build in 1927. It is oldest high altitude weather station in Croatia, constantly working from 1953! Just belowe mountain hut is big parking area where you can park your car and start hiking! You can spend here week if you enjoy in mountains and hiking. If you have only half day for hiking this amazing place then I recommend Tour of Zavižan Summits. Complete tour includes hike to summits: Veliki Zavižan (1676 m), Balinovac (1602 m), Zavižanska kosa (1622 m) and Vučjak (1645 m).
My advice that you hike this summits in same order. Main reason to choose that direction is surprise stunning view. Walking from parking area you don't see the Sea. After uphill through the forest just before you get to top of the summit you see amazing view and one of the reasons why Velebit mountain is best hiking destination in Croatia.
Some places looks amazing on picutres but view from Velebit mountain is always better when you are there! Second reason is you finish tour in mountain hut where is possible to have a local drink! Sometimes it's possible to have a meal but for that you have to call and check is it possible.
From terasse you can see all the summits you visit and have proud feeling for visiting so beautifull Nature. First you came on top of Veliki Zavižan (1676 m) with breathtaking view on islands in Adriatic Sea. The you descent to circular trail in Velebit botanical garden. Garden is placed in sinkhole from which is begining of ascent to summit Balinovac (1602 m). From Balinovac you are scrambling and walking on boulders to meadow from where is uphill to Zavižanska kosa (1622 m). After third summit you have one more downhill and uphill to place where you are sitting now and admiring to amazing tour you did with cold local drink in your hand. From mountain hut you have only one more summit which is just above hut and you need on 7 minutes walk to the top!
For all tour you need around 3 hours (depends how often you stop to take picture or breath). In 5 kilometers of trails you make 940 m of ascend and descends (470 each). On described tour you will have few places where you need to use hands (scrambling). Hardest part is between summits Balinovac and Zavižanska kosa. You can also avoid that place by going back from Balinovac to circle trail of Velebit botanical garden and than from Velebit botanical garden hike to summint Zavižanska kosa. From mountain hut to the car you have nice educational trail about climate in mountains.
When you plan this trip count you need to drive all the way to parking area belowe mountain hut. You can hike these trail in 3 hours but if you take a lot pictures and have few drinks in European Destiantions of ExcelleNce (EDEN) than you will spend minimully 4 hours outside of your car! To not get lost you should buy hiking map at National park enternce. Trails are marked really good so you shouldn't get lost! If you want to hike more you can always spend all day hiking on other trails including most famouse Premužić trail.
Video Nacionalnog parka Sjeverni Velebit – EDEN (European Destinations of ExcelleNce)Autor: Dario Olrom