Guide to National Parks in Wider Zadar Region: Paklenica
The majestic mountain in perfect contrast to the mesmerising blue sea… Let such an amazing picture take your breath away by visiting Paklenica National Park in Zadar region!
The precious gem of nature was declared a national park in 1949, while its beech forests were included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017. Paklenica encompasses the southern slopes of Velebit mountain with the two of its highest peaks -Vaganski vrh (1757m) and Sveto brdo (1753m).
The fascinating beauty of nature
Experience that unique sense of awe on the mountain top in Paklenica! See the attractive scenery all around such as the amazing geomorphological shapes, especially the two canyons - Velika (Cro. ‘large’) Paklenica and Mala (Cro. ‘small’) Paklenica. Enjoy the absolute tranquility of the forests that are full of life, home to numerous birds and other animal species.
Paklenica is a true paradise for nature lovers! The mountain tops such as Vaganski vrh, Sveto brdo or Liburnija may pose quite a challenge to reach, but are an absolute must-see especially for experienced hikers. Still, there are also lookouts at an altitude lower than 1000m with phenomenal views such as Vidakov kuk and Anića kuk.
Also, pay attention to the spectacular rock formations, starting from the two canyons. Explore the wilderness of Mala Paklenica and admire the most exciting Croatian rock climbing site in Velika Paklenica. Then, step into the cool space of Manita peć cave to see the fascinating shapes all around you. For an insight into the underground tunnels, stop by the Visitor Centre “Underground Secrets of Paklenica”.
A great sense of achievement and fulfillment come with the territory in Paklenica! Whether you walk its trails, climb its rocks or take in the spectacular views and beautiful nature all around, Paklenica will leave you feeling inspired.
There are 150-200 km of hiking trails in the national park. The trails vary in length, level of difficulty and the number of highlights along the way, but each one has its charm. If you just want to unwind in nature, take a light walk along the educational trail towards the Paklarić lookout. For more exploration, hike for a couple of hours towards the mountain hut, Lugarnica or Manića peć cave. Or go for the maximum challenge by hiking to the peaks and spending more than a day exploring the park.
Try out rock climbing in Velika Paklenica canyon! Rock climbers come to conquer the rock Anića kuk, Debeli kuk, Veliki ćuk and others mostly from spring to autumn. The shorter climbing routes are found in Klanci, where beginners can give it a try as well. There is also an artificial climbing wall in the Visitor Centre for first-timers.
All set for your Paklenica adventure? Before heading out, make sure you have all the necessary info:
How to get there. Even though there is a bus to Starigrad-Paklenica from Zadar, the best way to reach the national park is by car. Take the Maslenica exit on the A1 motorway and just continue along the D8 state road (E65) following the signposts. Apart from the Velika Paklenica main entrance, during the top season you can also use the Mala Paklenica entrance (Seline village).
Price. The basic price for adults ranges from less than €3 to €8 (top season). Children, students, senior citizens and mountaineers get a discount. There is also a €1,5 parking fee and extra charge for Manita peć cave.
Basic equipment. Make sure you have plenty of water and quick snacks, proper footwear and some warm clothes if you plan to visit Manita peć cave. Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. Bring along a fully charged mobile phone and some cash, since credit card payment is not available everywhere in the park. If you plan to sleep in the mountain hut or a mountain shelter, bring the necessary equipment and announce your stay beforehand.
Other. Check the working hours of the park and establishments you plan to visit, since they vary according to the season. Pets on a leash are allowed in the park. If you are coming in a larger group, consider getting a guide, particularly if you are interested in birdwatching.
Hike, climb, explore and just enjoy… the perfect, peaceful Paklenica!