1. Arrival in Zvecaj
Zvecaj is a small village by the Mreznica River, not far from the highway connecting the Croatian capital city of Zagreb with the harbour of Rijeka. We will meet you at the airport, railway station or in the harbour and transfer you to Zvecaj. “The Green Corner“ (Zeleni kut) is a well known restaurant and a small family owned hotel overlooking the green Mreznica River and its waterfall. Each room has its own bathroom, most of them a sunny balcony as well. It was built above an old mill which now supplies electric power. The hotel serves traditional Croatian specialties using fresh water fish from its own fishing ponds, homemade cheese, ham and sausages as well as local farm grown vegetables and fruit. The group usually gets together around mid-day, which will give us enough time to choose and test the bicycles on a short tour of the villages. In the evening we will meet on the terrace overlooking the river for dinner and brief orientation, where we will have the chance to discuss the upcoming holiday and get to know our guides and fellow travelers.
Accommodation: 3*** Hotel in the Mreznica River area; Meals: D; Drive: 1h from Zagreb airport, 1.5 h from Rijeka airport.
2. Risnjak National Park and Kupa River Valley Cycling
On our first day of biking, we’ll start exploring Risnjak National Park. The pristine park covers an area of 63,5 square kilometers including the Risnjak and Snjeznik ranges. The Kupa River forms a natural border between Croatia and Slovenia. The Kupa flows through a picturesque valley, also known as the mysterious valley of butterflies – more than 500 species of butterflies inhabit the area! We’ll start the tour from the entrance to the National Park and bike towards Razloge. The route leads through little villages and forest paths, where the fresh clean air will renew your senses. The bridge crossing the Cabranka River by Zamost is also a border crossing to Slovenia. After a short passport procedure, we will bike along the Slovenian bank of the green Kupa River to Brod, where we will cross back to Croatia. Here we will have time to relax and freshen up a cold drink before returning back to our hotel.
Accommodation: 3*** Hotel in Mreznica River area; Meals: B (picnic lunch on your own); Activity: Cycling, 3-4 hours/ around 50 km, easy/moderate; Van ride: 1-1.5h each way.
3. Northern Velebit National Park Cycling
After breakfast, we’ll load our bikes and luggage and drive to Croatia’s youngest national park – Northern Velebit National Park, 800 meters above sea level. After a short walk in Krasno village and the park area, we will descend by bikes to the Valley of Gacka River, world famous for excellent trout fishing. A stop for lunch will be made by its source, surrounded by numerous old wooden mills. From here, we drive towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Plitvice Lakes National Park. Accommodation in the park is provided by the families of Korana Village, a small romantic place hidden away in a valley by the Korana River. The houses are small, traditional dwellings with simple rooms in an idyllic setting. The peaceful atmosphere makes the village an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area – Korana Village has no pubs, restaurants, shops, schools, not even a church – it’s just a village as small and wonderful as it can be, an ideal setting for a fairy tale.
Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Park; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own); Activity: Cycling, 3-5 hours/ 43 – 63 km, easy/moderate; Drive: 2 -3 h.
4. Walking The 16 Lakes Route
Today we will be visiting the most beautiful and stunning national park of Croatia – Plitvice Lakes National Park – possible only by walking or hiking around its 16 lakes, numerous waterfalls fed by both the Black and White Rivers, and seemingly endless forests. We start our day walking along the wooden paths and bridges in and around Plitvice Lakes, Croatia’s premier national park. Its exquisite series of 16 emerald green and opal blue travertine lakes, more than 90 waterfalls and numerous caves make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the pure, untouched nature. A panoramic boat and train ride will take us back to the start.
Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own); Activity: Walking, 4-6 km, easy; Drive: 10 min each way
5. Countryside and Barac Caves Cycling
For those who chose a 5-day trip, this is the end of your holiday. The rest of the group continues the trip. Today is all about exploring the lovely pastoral Croatian countryside by bicycle. We cycle on roads that are nearly traffic free through forests, between hills and across green fields. Cycling through traditional villages, we reach Barac Caves, where we stop for a guided underground tour of the cave’s fascinating limestone formations. According to local legend, a man named Barac fought heroically and defeated a raging Turkish giant near these caves, which were thereafter named in his honor. After visiting the caves there will be enough time for sunbathing by the river Korana in the village before we enjoy traditional Croatian dinner.
Accommodation: Private guesthouses in Plitvice Lakes National Parks; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own); Activity: Cycling, 2 – 3 hour/ 30 km, easy/moderate.
6. Paklenica National Park Hiking
After saying goodbye to our village hosts we continue south to Paklenica National Park, part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and a favorite hiking and climbing destination. Lying on the southeast slopes of the Velebit Mountains near the coast and cut by two awe-inspiring gorges, Mala Paklenica and Velika, Paklenica’s scenery is one of the most pristine in the whole Mediterranean. The lofty peaks making up this range offer huge views of both coastal and mountain scenery. There are several wonderful hikes through beech and black pine forests to choose from. The most popular is the trail leading to Borisov Dom, a mountain hut popular among mountaineers. After descending all the way to the sea we drive to Skradin for the evening.
Accommodation: 3* Skradinski Buk Hotel in Skradin; Meals: B (picnic lunch on your own); Activity: Hiking, 4 hours, easy/moderate; ; Drive: 2h+1h
7. Krka River National Park Cycling
The last day of the journey takes us to Krka River National Park with its fantastic karst formations and travertine waterfalls. We explore the park’s extensive waterways and complex history dating back to late 10th century and first Croatian kings. One of the options is a visit to Skradinski Buk waterfall, the place where the second hydro plant in the world was built, just a few years after the one on Niagara Falls. We will bike to the viewpoint over Lake Visovac where we will have a view over the island and its monastery. After cycling, we return to the hotel and enjoy a late afternoon in the old town before the final evening dinner and a celebration of an amazing adventure.
Accommodation: 3* Skradinski Buk Hotel in Skradin; Meals: B and D (picnic lunch on your own); Activity: Cycling, 3 hours/30-40 km; easy/moderate.
Depart from Skradin to the airport and flight home. If you decide to spend more time in Croatia, our guides will be happy to recommend other beautiful places to visit – especially those you won’t find in tourist guide books.
Meals: B; Drive: Zadar 45 min, Split 1 h, Zagreb 3.5 h.
This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, water levels, special events of interest, etc. Huck Finn guides and trip leaders will do their utmost to ensure the best possible experience for their clients without compromising safety at any time. This may mean changing the original itinerary to avoid discomfort or risk which could be caused by exceptional situations. Huck Finn reserves the right to alter the itinerary without prior notice.