Under the highest peaks

Mountains have a special place in the hearts and minds of many nations. For Croats, Velebit is a beloved mountain range with a simplicity that many other mountainous areas lost long ago. There are no clusters of huts or hordes of people – just peace and wilderness.

The beloved Velebit

Velebit is Croatia’s largest and longest mountain range and rich in natural phenomena. The seaboard side is higher than the continental flank, which is lower but steeper, especially in the South Velebit. The Velebit range culminates in the Vaganski Vrh-Sveto Brdo (1757m), its highest peak.

Protected as a nature park extending over 2,000 square kilometers, it is the country’s largest protected area. Within the park is a whole range of smaller protected areas, including two national parks: Northern Velebit and Paklenica. The entire range, at its full length of about 150 km, has been placed under UNESCO protection as a World Biosphere Reserve, presently the only one in Croatia listed as such. Velebit is also significant for a wealth of flora and fauna in a huge number of different species, including a significant number of endemic ones.

Zavižan is the highest and most beautiful place on Velebit that is accessible by car. The Velebit Botanical Garden is located close to Zavižan. The Garden is home to some 300 plant species, including some that are rare and indigenous. The symbol of the Velebit Botanical Garden is the endemic Velebit degenia flower.

Northern Velebit National Park

Located in the peak area of the northernmost part of the mountain range and extending over 109 km2, the national park is rich in exceptional features: the cone-like karst formations known as Hajdučki kukovi and Rožanski kukovi, the botanical garden set in a natural environment, and the pothole Lukina jama (“Luka’s pothole”). Hajdučki kukovi and Rožanski kukovi (kukovi means “hips”), an endless range of rocky peaks with diverse and bizarre forms of up to 200 meters high, are situated in the very center of the national park. This amazing rocky landscape is protected as a regulated reserve, the country’s strictest form of nature protection.

Middle Velebit – Dabarski kukovi

A particular location in the 143-kilometer-long massif of Velebit is Dabarski Kukovi, situated close to Baške Oštarije. This range of sharp, rocky peaks emerges from the green woods and grass sinkholes of Dabar, stretching parallel to the Adriatic coast.

Southern Velebit – Paklenica

The place where Velebit adjoins the sea with the deep ravines of Velika and Mala Paklenica in an unusual way is one of the most exciting karst areas in Croatia. The broader area of Paklenica has been protected as a national park. Thanks to the agreeable climate, lovely nature and various hiking possibilities, Paklenica cliffs are especially popular among hikers and are known as one of the best European hiking destinations.

The rich network of mountain trails and hiking paradise is undoubtedly a great reason to visit Croatia!

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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