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Hiking in Paklenica National Park

Updated on February 27, 2015

Velika Paklenica Canyon

Scenic landscape, rocky crags, amazing karst phenomena and dramatic canyons - Paklenica National Park is one of the finest hiking places in Croatia.

I visited the national park this September and made an unforgettable day hike into Velika Paklenica canyon up to the Paklenica mountain hut. The hiking trail led me past fascinating rock formations, a dried up riverbed, old bunkers, a forest cottage and a bubbling mountain stream. I enjoyed a sweeping view from Paklaric lookout and climbed up to Manita pec cave.

This lens is dedicated to this memorable mountain trip. Enjoy!

Rocks, ridges and naked peaks

Velika Paklenica walking tour
Velika Paklenica walking tour

The Paklenica National Park occupies the coastal part of the southern Velebit, the mythical mountain range in Croatia. Two streams, Velika (big) and Mala (small) Paklenica carved their way through this karst territory forming incredible canyons with steep cliffs up to 700 m high.

As Velebit is predominantly limestone and dolomite, Paklenica National Park boasts countless karstic phenomena including caves, underground streams and crevices. The park has two entrances, the main one at Starigrad-Paklenica, the other one at the neighbouring seaside village, Seline.

Entrance tickets (May-September)

1-day ticket (adult): 50 Kn (10 $)

3-day ticket (adult)*: 100 Kn (19 $)

5-day ticket (adult)*: 150 Kn (28 $)

*includes climbing permit

Paklenica National Park is open all year around.

Tickets cost 10-30 Kn less during winter.

Hiking essentials

5 "must have" items you should have when go for a hike to Paklenica National Park:

  1. Map

    The park administration provides you a simple map at the reception. More detailed maps are available on the national park's website.

  2. Boots

    Sturdy boots are indispensable in Paklenica. Some parts of the hiking trails are demanding and you really need the footwear that is waterproof and does well on uneven and rocky surfaces.

  3. Water

    Always keep a bottle of water with you. In Velika Paklenica canyon there are drinking water taps and you can buy drinks at Manita pec cave, Lugarnica forest cottage and Paklenica mountain hut.

  4. Personal first aid kit

    This does not have to be large but should include antiseptic wipes, adhesive bandages, cotton balls, gauze, sting relief and pain killers.

  5. Suncream

    Protect yourself from sunburns!

Grab your Hiking Boots!

Grab your Hiking Boots!
Grab your Hiking Boots!
Paklenica village
Paklenica village

The village of Marasovici

Located only a few hundred meters from the park entrance, some houses of this old village are in a poor state of repair, the others have been recently renovated. The newly-arranged ethno house with a small ethnographic collection is worth a visit just like the konoba, a traditional Dalmatian tavern.

Genuine Dalmatian tavern

Genuine Dalmatian tavern
Genuine Dalmatian tavern

The Paklaric Lookout

Adriatic sea view
Adriatic sea view

From the mouth of Velika Paklenica Canyon a wooden footbridge leads to Paklenica mill. From here take the zigzag path to Paklaric lookout that features a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Adriatic coast and the mountains behind.

Anica kuk rock climbing
Anica kuk rock climbing

Anica kuk

Paklenica National Park is also a rock climbers' paradise. Climbers all around the world gather here together to conquer the vertical cliff faces of which the 712 m high Anica kuk is the most renowned.

From the basin-shaped valley, Anica luka signs point the way to Anica kuk.

Rock climber in Velika Paklenica Canyon

Rock climber in Velika Paklenica Canyon
Rock climber in Velika Paklenica Canyon
manita pec cave Croatia
manita pec cave Croatia

Manita pec cave

The most memorable part of my hiking trip was the path up to Manita pec cave. Lying 550 m above sea level this cave can be approached in 40 minutes - according to the sign post. Well, it took me more than an hour and seemed a never ending story. The time was approaching 10 am, the sun was shining brightly and its rays were reflected off the stones and bare cliffs... hmm, yummy!

I thought I would never make it! When I finally reached the entrance of the cave, I needed at least 10 minutes to get my breath back.

To visit the cave you need to pay an entrance ticket of 10 Kn. One of the park rangers (yes, they climb up here EVERY DAY!) guides visitors through the huge chambers of the cave highlighting the most interesting karst formations.

Yes, I've made it!

Yes, I've made it!
Yes, I've made it!

My insider tips

  1. If you plan to visit Manita pec cave, take a sweater with you. The cave has a permanent temperature of 10°C and you will need an extra layer to avoid getting cold when entering from the summer heat.
  2. If you visit the park from April to September, wake up early. I mean really early. The park is opened from 6 am and you had better to start your trip as early as possible before it gets very hot.

Have you forgotten your picnic basket at home?

Velika Paklenica view
Velika Paklenica view

Velika Paklenica Poll

Starigrad paklenica croatia
Starigrad paklenica croatia

Which attractions would you visit in Velika Paklenica Canyon?

See results

Lugarnica Forest Cottage and Paklenica Mountain Hut

Lugarnica forest cottage offers drinks and simple food for hikers, this was the next stop on my trip. From Anica luka it takes about an hour to get here and it is the easiest section of the canyon. Located on the bank of Paklenica stream, the forest cottage is open every day from mid-April to October. On that day they served me grilled sausages that were carried up here by horses.

Another hour and a half later I was sitting outside Paklenica mountain hut. This romantic house can put up 45 hikers, it has a kitchen and a dining room. If you would like to spend the night here, contact Paklenica Mountaineering Association.

Paklenica mountain hut

Paklenica mountain hut
Paklenica mountain hut

Would you visit Velika Paklenica Canyon?

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    • fitnessdad70 profile image

      fitnessdad70 5 years ago

      I love hiking trails

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      Yes, I have no doubt that I will :)

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      Would love to visit. Looks like a beautiful place. :)

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 5 years ago from USA

      Sounds like a great time. Beautiful photos.

    • terracroatia profile image
      Author

      terracroatia 5 years ago

      @misterminister: Velika Paklenica is a rock climbing mecca! I'm going to add some photos soon about rock climbing here!

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      It's beautiful, and I would love to visit there.

      Congratulations on making the front page!

    • profile image

      misterminister 5 years ago

      Don't you have some nice rock climbing places there in Paklenica too?

    • terracroatia profile image
      Author

      terracroatia 5 years ago

      Thanks for all of you! I am happy you enjoy this lens! I hope as much as I enjoyed the trip!

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 5 years ago

      I would love to go there...

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 5 years ago

      I would love to go there...

    • Merstarr profile image

      Merstarr 5 years ago

      Love hiking, wish I could do more of it! For now I will just settle for looking at your lovely account of what looks like a great hike indeed :)

    • autofanatic profile image

      autofanatic 5 years ago

      Nicely done! Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. My last foreign "hiking" experience was in the forest near the little town of Peredelkino, Russia, just southwest of Moscow. in the dead of winter. Not rugged like Velika Paklenica Canyon, but the snow was quite a challenge.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      An excellent hiking opportunity. I would love to return to Croatia, having visited once a few years ago. You have done a great job presenting the highlights of this trip. Thank you for the virtual hike up Velika Paklenica Canyon. I enjoyed our trip. Blessed by the Hiking and Backpacking Angel.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Very nice lens, I love walking through high country, as you will see if you look at my lens. Thanks for sharing with us, it re minds me a lot of New Zealand. Blessed

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Excellent!

    • LeCordonDude profile image

      LeCordonDude 5 years ago

      I would now!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Rugged looking, but beautiful. Nicely done.

    • cryptid lm profile image

      cryptid lm 5 years ago

      Excellent lens! You really made me want to go visit this beautiful canyon! I love hiking, but many areas around me are pretty stale unfortunately. And I hate having to drive hours and hours just to get somewhere where I can hike and not feel extremely bored. Living in the US, Croatia is a bit out of the way (haha); but I can certainly see the appeal of this lovely country. Great job again!