Current as of: July 23, 2024 - 23:37

Sunset over Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia: Islands & Mountains Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Croatia
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TVD
  • Carbon Footprint: 11kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Walk idyllic coastal and mountain paths in Croatia

Enjoy the very best of Croatia: the coast and islands, the beautiful towns, near-perfect national parks and spectacular mountains. Starting in the fascinating Unesco-badged city of Dubrovnik, we begin our journey along the coast where the crystal-clear sea forms the backdrop for many of our early walks, followed by the peaceful sound of waterfalls as we head into the national parks of Paklenica and Krka. Here we have a chance to visit Skradinski buk waterfalls and enjoy walks through spectacular gorges, forests and mountain scenery.

At a Glance

  • Six days trekking
  • Group normally four to 16, plus leader
  • Luggage transported by private vehicle
  • Altitude maximum 3,707ft (1,130m), average 1,913ft (583m)
  • Seven nights in two- and three-star hotels
  • Option to travel by train to your adventure

Highlights

  • Walk idyllic coastal and mountain routes
  • Discover the Unesco-listed town of Dubrovnik
  • Experience the wilderness of Krka and Paklenica national parks

Is This Trip for You?

This tour is graded Activity Level 3 (Moderate). For more information on our trip gradings please visit our Activity Level Guidelines page. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to contact us.

The majority of the walking routes are on clearly defined paths. The paths can get steeper in places and some sections can be rocky. No specific technical experience is required but we recommend that you are comfortable walking in hilly and mountainous areas. Anyone with a reasonable level of fitness should be comfortable with the daily distances and height gained.

Group

Normally four to 16, plus leader and driver.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

Map TVD

Land Only

  • Start City: Dubrovnik
  • End City: Zadar

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Dubrovnik

The tour starts in the fascinating old city of Dubrovnik. Situated right on the Adriatic Sea, the fine religious buildings surrounded by heavily fortified walls and the jumble of red-tiled roofs make this a truly enchanting place. In the evening, we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the city (subject to flight arrival time) and go out for an optional group meal where we will have a briefing about the tour.

Accommodation: Hotel Vis or Hotel Komodor (or similar)

Day 2
Walk from Gornji Obod to Strazisce Peak; transfer to Dubrovnik, explore the old town

After breakfast we take a short transfer (about 25 minutes) to the village of Gornji Obod. From here we follow a path that zig-zags up to the village of Velji Do. After a break, the walk continues up to Strazisce Peak; at the top we are rewarded with spectacular views back over Dubrovnik and can see the commemorative cross in memory of the US aircraft that crashed delivering aid in 1996.

We return to Velji Do and then catch a bus back to Dubrovnik where we have the afternoon to enjoy the city. The shelling of Dubrovnik by Serb troops in 1991 and 1992 outraged the world. Fortunately, great care has been taken over the last decade to rebuild and the city has now returned to its former glory. The cobblestoned streets of the old town, or Stari Grad, feature fountains, churches, palaces and museums – all built from the same light-coloured stone. There are no motor vehicles in the city, but at night the streets come alive as people take an early evening stroll along the Stradun – this is the main street and is covered in smooth shiny marble.

Accommodation: Hotel Vis or Hotel Komodor (or similar)

Distance covered: 4mi (7km)

Ascent: 2,133ft (650m); Descent: 656ft (200m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Transfer up the coast to the Biokovo Massif; walk above the town of Makarska; transfer to Bol on the island of Brac

After breakfast, we will transfer by bus to Tucepi. This transfer takes about 3hr 30min, including a coffee break en route. Once in Tucepi we begin our walk to Makarska, through the Biokovo mountains. The Biokovo massif rises steeply above the Makarska Riviera in three spectacular shelves, providing hiking for all levels and fabulous views. Our destination of Makarska is a small but lively town, tastefully restored in stone after a devastating earthquake in 1962. It has a fantastic 1.2mi (2km) stretch of beach, so if we have a bit of time we can take a refreshing dip before we head for the island of Brac. We will catch the ferry from Makarska and transfer to Bol, by far the biggest draw on Brac.

Accommodation: Villa Daniela (or similar)

Distance covered: 7mi (12km)

Ascent: 1,148ft (350m); Descent: 1,148ft (350m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Climb Vidova Gora for views over Bol and Zlatni Rat, the Golden Beach; afternoon to relax on the beach

We start today with a 20-minute transfer to the small village of Gazul, where we begin our walk to the peak of Vidova Gora (2,559ft/780m above sea level). The first part of our walk will take us through woodland for around 90 minutes as we gradually ascend 755ft (230m) to the summit of the highest point on Brac. The views from the top of Vidova Gora are spectacular; we can see all the way to the island of Hvar in the distance and the 1,640ft (500m) long spit of Zlatni Rat jutting out to sea in the foreground – this view is one that features on many postcards in Croatia, so make sure to bring your camera.

From here, our walk is downhill for around two hours towards the town of Bol. In the afternoon you can make the most of the glorious beach of Zlatni Rat. It is south-facing – ideal for an afternoon of rest and relaxation.

Accommodation: Villa Daniela (or similar)

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Ascent: 755ft (230m); Descent: 2,625ft (800m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Catch the ferry to Split and explore the old town before transferring to Krka National Park; visit the Skradinski Buk waterfalls

We begin with a morning ferry transfer to Split, the second biggest city in Croatia. The old centre is compact and easily explored on foot; many make a beeline to the best-known attraction, Diocletian’s Palace. The town as a whole is a lively and friendly place with a cafe culture. Stop, have a coffee and soak up the atmosphere.

We then have a transfer (approximately 52mi/84km) by bus to Krka National Park. Here we begin our walk to Skradinski Buk, a series of waterfalls dropping down in 17 dramatic steps. The area is accessed by wooden walkways and forest paths. It’s also a fantastic spot for wildlife – an important sanctuary with several endemic species, some now extinct elsewhere in Europe. The walk will take around 2hr 30min and all on easy paths. In the late afternoon, we transfer to Starigrad Paklenica.

Accommodation: Hotel Vicko (or similar)

Distance covered: 4mi (7km)

Ascent: 492ft (150m); Descent: 492ft (150m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Velika Paklenica National Park gorge walk via Ramici Village

In the morning we take a transfer to the western part of Paklenica National Park where we start our hiking tour passing old villages and fields, hidden among rocky towers and ridges of this limestone realm. After reaching the highest point of the day (approx. 760m), offering splendid views of Velika Paklenica Canyon from the west, we go down to the main canyon and descend to the entrance of the park, admiring the mighty walls of Velika Paklenica along the way.

As one of the most popular climbing destinations in the region, Paklenica attracts climbers from all over the world. While hiking down the canyon, you will be able to admire the courage and determination of climbers whom we will see high above us in the vertical world of Paklenica cliffs. We end the hike at the park entrance and take a short (10min) transfer back to the hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Vicko (or similar)

Distance covered: 7mi (12km)

Ascent: 1,509ft (460m); Descent: 3,150ft (960m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Another day in Paklenica National Park; walk to a meadow beneath Bojin Kuk peak before returning to Starigrad Paklenica in the afternoon

Today we have another opportunity to explore the wonderful wilderness of Paklenica National Park and complete the most challenging hike of the trip. We walk to the saddle of Pod Jaginim Kukom, which has a great view up to Bojin Kuk. The Bojinac group is made of a vast area of limestone, with the karst scenery forming towers of rock, furrowed limestone cliffs, caves and green meadows creating a contrast against the severe rock. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and a walker’s paradise.

Today’s walk takes about five to six hours, the terrain is quite challenging and rocky and requires concentration, steady footing and good balance. En route, we pass the unusual Mirila graves. This afternoon, we return to Starigrad Paklenica in time for a swim and relaxation before leaving Croatia tomorrow.

Accommodation: Hotel Vicko (or similar)

Distance covered: 6mi (10km)

Ascent: 1,969ft (600m); Descent: 656ft (200m)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
End Zadar Airport

Enjoy your last breakfast at the hotel this morning, before starting your return journey home. Of course, if you’d like a little time to explore Zadar, home to Roman ruins and intriguing art installations, speak to your sales representative about extending your hotel stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels in Dubrovnik, Brac and Starigrad Paklenica

Croatia: Islands & Mountains

We spend seven nights in simple but comfortable hotels. We typically stay in three-star properties, all well-located in towns and villages with a good variety of restaurants, allowing you to indulge in the fantastic local cuisine. Below are the hotels we typically use.

Dubrovnik: Hotel Vis or Hotel Komodor (annex) (nights 1-2)

Croatia: Islands & Mountains

Our first two nights are spent at either Hotel Vis or Hotel Komodor (above), both three-star beachside properties. The 151-room Vis hotel, sandwiched between pine trees and the Adriatic, has a rooftop terrace, bar, and a seaside restaurant serving local and international cuisines. The 113-room Komodor is split between a main stone building built in 1934 and a 50-room annex, which we stay in. It is close to restaurants and bars, and the bus stop for the Old Town is just in front of the hotel. A pebble beach is nearby or you can enjoy the outdoor pool.

Bol, Brac: Villa Daniela (nights 3-4)

Croatia: Islands & Mountains

This family-run hotel is a 15-minute stroll to the beloved Golden Horn beach. Katarina is one of the friendliest receptionists you’ll meet and her father has a lovely traditional restaurant you can visit – it will be a dinner to remember. Traditional dishes made from local produce and vegetables grown in their garden will possibly be the culinary highlight of your trip.

Starigrad Paklenica: Hotel Vicko (nights 5-7)

Croatia: Islands & Mountains

Hotel Vicko is a short stroll from a public beach, ideal for a quick dip after walking through beautiful Paklenica National Park, and there is a good restaurant serving local dishes. This hotel truly understands the meaning of a hiker tourist; they never complain about muddy shoes or a wet overcoat and will help you dry out. Their breakfast has various choices, and their restaurant menu comprises secret family recipes spiced with medical herbs from the great mountain of Velebit.

Worth knowing

  • In recent years, Croatia has regained its place as a popular tourist destination with visitor levels nearly as high as before the Balkan conflict. Unfortunately, many hotels were damaged beyond repair during those years and demand now heavily outstrips supply. As a result, hotel prices are high and Croatia is not the cheap destination some might expect. Hotels tend to be more functional than luxurious with Communist-era architecture and facilities. We work with several hotels to ensure availability and a comfortable place to rest.
  • Some hotels we use don’t have lifts.

Single supplement from £ 350

Food & Drink

All breakfasts are included. For breakfast you can expect a large continental buffet with meats and cheeses, bread, jams and pastries, plus tea and coffee.

Croatian cuisine is a mixture of fine seafood, grilled meat, pizza, pasta and salads, with influences from central Europe, Italy and the Balkans. Some specialities that we highly recommend include squid-ink risotto and octopus salad.

Transport

Travel will be by private bus, scheduled ferry services and local public bus in Dubrovnik.

Weather & Seasonality

Croatia has one of the sunniest climates in Europe, and some regions are notoriously free from rain. We generally travel off-season, so you should expect some variation in temperature and possibly some rainfall. Temperatures can be high, particularly in July, averaging around 30C (86F).

Joining Instructions

Key information

Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Dubrovnik Airport (DBV)

Croatia: Islands & Mountains

Getting to the start hotel

Take an Exodus transfer

Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way

You can reach the start hotel relatively easily by public transport. Take a 25-minute Platanus shuttle bus to Pile Gate (Old Town) from the airport. Services leave about 30 minutes after every flight and you can purchase a one-way ticket from the counter or on the bus for around €8.85. From there, take the number 4 bus for nine stops to Lapad Bay. Tickets, costing €2, can be bought on the bus. The hotel is across the street from the bus stop. For more information and service times, visit www.platanus.hr/shuttle-bus/.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to Zadar Airport (ZAD) that is scheduled to align with a flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join.

If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Dubrovnik
Location end: Zadar

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Normal daily clothes
  • Lightweight walking clothes (especially for summer departures)
  • Backpack
  • Walking boots (with ankle support and good soles)
  • Waterproofs and warm jacket/jumper
  • Water bottle or hydration pack
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Towel and swimwear

Optional Equipment

  • Supply of your favourite snacks to eat while out on walks
  • Walking poles

Practical Information

Passport

Remember to check the expiration date of your passport if travelling internationally. Many countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return.

Visa

Croatia

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Croatia. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/croatia
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/croatia
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/croatia/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Croatia.html

Vaccinations and Health

There are no required vaccinations. However, ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

Local Time

Croatia's time zone: Europe/Zagreb (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

Croatia's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and F (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Croatia: Islands & Mountains

Money

Croatia's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available and most credit cards are accepted in shops and restaurants. Cash is usually easier for smaller purchases and is the only form of payment accepted at market stalls.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow €45 per day for meals that are not included; this would cover a good-size lunch and a standard three-course meal in the evening. It is certainly possible to spend a lot more depending on what you choose to eat and drink.

The bus into Dubrovnik town centre is not included. Please allow for approx €7 (€1.73  per journey). The Dubrovnik Card is a cost-effective way to explore the city, providing you with entrance and discounts to many attractions and bus travel. Visit https://www.dubrovnikpass.com/ for more information. Your leader can assist you in getting one of these either at your hotel or at Pile Gate. Walking poles are available to hire from our local team for €10 for the duration of the trip. Please request this with Exodus at the time of booking so we can reserve poles for you.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Tipping is at your discretion, but many clients wish to tip their leaders and driver at the end of the trip. We suggest €13-€20 per client for the guide and €7-€13 for the driver. Most groups prefer to present the money to the leader at the end of the week with two separate envelopes (one for the leader and one for the driver). This is completely at your own discretion and to be used as a guideline only.

People, Places & Planet

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel. Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus visit www.exodus.co.uk/sustainable-travel.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.