Starigrad Paklenica, a small town in a harbour that sits at the foot of the UNESCO Velebit Nature Park. This is your gateway to the Paklenica National Park – two canyons divide this mountainous region, filled with gorges, and cliffs that reach up to 400 metres in height. Starigrad (literally 'old town'), is one of the oldest towns in Europe, built on the historic Roman settlement of Argyruntum. Today is free to do as you choose until our welcome meeting at 6 pm. Check-in to our family run apartments, our home for the week. This meeting will introduce you to the other families and tell you about the week ahead. There are local restaurants a 10-15minutes walk from the apartments for a optional dinner after our meeting. COMPLIMENTARY GROUP ARRIVAL TRANSFER - SPLIT AIRPORT: Our complimentary arrival group transfer leaves the airport at 4:30pm.
After breakfast, it’s time to set off on a hike through Paklenica National Park. The National Park is one of the most visited climbing sites in Europe thanks to its incredible rock formations and stunning natural scenery. Your hike will take you to Manita Cave. Paklenica National Park abounds in karst relief forms, among which there are some important underground forms like caves and pits. Manita Cave is the only cave in the park accessible for sightseeing. It is 175 m long and divided into two halls rich in stalactites and stalagmites and cascades. The hike is 4 hours and we recommend you bring hiking boots. This route can be adjusted dependent on the ability of the group and the weather conditions. Return to the comfort of your accommodation for a well earned rest.
Today delivers all things wet and wild as you hit the water for an exciting canoe safari or a white water rafting adventure on the Zrmanja River which travels 69 kilometres as it winds along its route from the southern part of Mount Pljesevica towards the sea. Make your way along perfectly clear and green waters, through karst scenery of narrow valleys and steep sided canyons, passing magnificent waterfalls. The first part of the trip is easy, allowing you to get a feel for your craft and enjoy the surroundings, and then it will gradually get more downhill, with an increase in rapids. Drifting serenely makes this a memorable day of activity. You will spend 2.5 hours on the water. Note: The activity chosen will depend on seasonality and water levels in the river.
After yesterday’s river adventure, it’s time to head back and explore Paklenica National Park. The grassy hills and rugged mountain trails of the park make for a great spot to get some mountain biking practice in. Cycle around the countryside and enjoy this breath-taking part of Croatia. The route chosen will depend on the group's ability There are three routes that the group choose to ride - from 15 km to 40 km. Helmets and all equipment is provided. All trails travel through the characteristic rocky landscape of Dalmatia, dominated by the view of the slopes of the serrated Velebit mountain peaks and beech and black pine forest and the Adriatic Sea as a constant backdrop. Today's included lunch is a pleasant picnic.
After the last couple of days of frenetic activity today is left free to rest and relax. Perhaps visit the beach or explore Zadar, the ex capital of Dalmatia which has a thriving cafe culture and some cool historical spots for the kids. Local buses to Zadar take an hour and run every 2 hours. Zadar, a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, is known for the Roman and Venetian ruins of its peninsular Old Town. There are several Venetian gates in the city walls.
Today we head out on a sea kayak adventure in Paklenica Bay. Paddle out on the clear blue sea through the Velebit Channel and spend a day on the water, with the mountains serving as your backdrop while you tour the coastline. Glide along blue satin water that’s often so clear that you can see the bottom. Feeling hot? There’ll be plenty of chances to stop and dive into the water on swimming breaks. Along the way you’ll stop for lunch. Your final destination is the nearby fishing village of Vinjerac across the bay, a picturesque place with neat rows of pastel coloured houses fronting the harbour. Perhaps try some of the daily catch for dinner in one of the local restaurants. You’ll return to Starigrad for the night.
Today you’ll continue the water theme with a trip out to the stunning World Heritage-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park (approximately 1.5 hours). It's one of the oldest national parks in south-eastern Europe and the largest in Croatia, a misty Eden of endless waterfalls and spectral blue lakes. The waters tumble from a high, tree-lined ridge down through the valley and skirt dense forests of beech, spruce and pine. The interplay of water, rock, and plant-life creates a wondrous, dynamic landscape, changing the water colour from azure to bright green, deep blue to grey. A series of wooden walkways pass over the landscape, ensuring there’s little impact upon the park. A stroll around this park will leave you feeling very in tune with nature. The walk takes 3.5hours which you can do at a leisurely pace. There is self-service restaurant in the middle of the park for those wanting a lunch option. Even amongst this pristine natural beauty, the Plitvice Lakes are shadowed by the region's history. The 1991 civil war erupted here after rebel Serbs took control of the park's headquarters, holding the park for the duration of the war and devastating infrastructure, though thankfully leaving the natural landscape intact. Return to Starigrad and celebrate your final night with the group.
Today, our Croatian adventure comes to an end, unless you want to stay on and explore a little longer. Take breakfast with the group this morning before saying your goodbyes to your newly-found friends and thinking about where to head to next. COMPLIMENTARY GROUP DEPARTURE TRANSFER: Our complimentary departure group transfer leaves our accommodation at 10:00AM. Please do not book your departure flight until after 3:30pm.