Croatia national parks hiking vacation

“A week of walking in Croatia’s national park nirvanas, fully guided in a small group. Staying in different hotels and homestays along the way.”

Highlights

Zagreb or Rijeka airport and transfer to Zvecaj | Mreznica River | Risnjak National Park | Risnjak mountain range | Big Risnjak | Northern Velebit National Park | Plitvice Lakes National Park | Paklenica National Park | Krka National Park | Skradin

Travel Team

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Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Croatia national parks hiking vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

On our trips we bike on paved roads only, walk and hike off the beaten paths and forewarn our guests not to feed, fish, hunt or disturb animals. Traveling on foot produces no carbon footprint, unlike using all-terrain-vehicles, moto-cross bikes, or other modes of industrial transportation. Also traveling on foot slows your pace down so you take in more of the nature that surrounds you. By buying local products you are supporting this country's economy and helping Croatia stand on its feet again! We consider it our responsibility to lead efforts to maintain and preserve the integrity of this fledgling sector by petitioning the introduction of tighter controls over the use of the country’s natural resources.

Safety is our first concern: while we take pride in offering "off the beaten path" vacations, we do make sure to stick with routes we are 100% sure are safe, even for families with children. We believe sticking to these hiking trails is very important, as it keeps our guests safe, as well as preserves the environment and leaves it undisturbed.

Community

This trip ensures that the local people benefit as much as possible in the form of jobs (we employ local guides and drivers, we use either a family owned hotel or home stay with a local family), and most of all by minimizing the negative environmental impacts. Other than that we use local transfer services, buy food from the small farms and work on developing responsible waste management by stimulating waste recycling. We do not take commission from restaurants or owners of rooms or apartments that our guests stay in. We make living by providing kayak and related services and believe in fair revenue distribution.

As a company, we support local community by building camps in partnership with local families, building bridges and accesses to the rivers. In order to preserve travertine barriers on Zrmanja River we have built wooden detour bridges.

Zeleni kut is a small family hotel that directly or indirectly employs many local people and in that way is irreplaceable in the community. Our hosts in that small family restaurant prepare breakfasts and barbecue dinners with their own home grown food and fish from their own pond.

The Korana Village has less than a dozen houses and it is situated on both sides of a small river of the same name, at the end of a dead-end road in Plitvice Lakes National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travel agencies or tour operators never showed interest in the place that cannot accommodate more than 20 tourists and whose road is too narrow for a tourist bus. Like in no other hotel room you have stayed in, these traditional houses are perched on the very edge of the river bank. We are happy to say that we brought much needed business to this and many similar places in Croatia.

12 Reviews of Croatia national parks hiking vacation

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 18 Jun 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Out of many memorable experiences, one captured the sense of living fully in the moment. After a not-too-strenuous gradually ascending walk along the canyon in Paklenica National Park, with a final short "breath-taking" section, we arrived at the Mountain "Hut" to be warmly greeted with a generous congratulatory selection of grappas. Whether we had been bribed or simply generously welcomed, we couldn't resist the hospitality and enjoyed local beer and traditional bean soup on the panoramic terrace, and all was well with the world!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure to plan your journey for the perfect time and season. Early June after the wettest May for 70 years gave us the most spectacular waterfalls we have ever seen anywhere, in perfect mid-twenty degree walking temperatures. Definitely bring solid footwear (ankle-supporting boots) as some of the paths are rocky and potentially slippery if wet, as well as walking poles. Although the walks are easy to moderate grade, it is definitely worth a 3-month fitness preparation (including hills), so you can better enjoy the views.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


There was no doubt that most of our accommodation brought benefit to local owners and their staff. Our National Park entrance fees will have supported the infrastructure of the Parks, whose principal purpose is to preserve sensitive ecosystems in addition to providing educational services. Our principal guide (Viktor) was very diligent about dealing with rubbish, and we often saw him picking up other people's discarded waste. Unfortunately, as tourists we personally made some negative contributions with our air and road travel, and visits to the most popular (over-visited) sites.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Absolutely fantastic. This tour allowed us to get a good taste of some of the range of natural beauty of Croatia that we could not have obtained under our own steam. We also sampled the local produce, both prepared meals and wine, and these were uniformly good.

Reviewed on 29 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Hiking in such varied National Parks left us overwhelmed by the exceptional beauty and variety of the landscapes. Igor’s knowledge and understanding of Croatia’s history and current affairs along with his detailed knowledge of the National Parks and keen sense of humour made this a fantastic vacation. Both Igor and Tino ensured our safety and comfort were considered at all times. Tino willing shared his love of all things outdoors.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Weather conditions can make the climbs challenging be prepared for some tough hikes. This is moderate grade trip.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All accommodation was owned and operated by local communities creating a very personal feel. Korana village is an exceptional example of local communities achieving great things. Travel in the van was essential as the distances between the parks are significant.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A delightful trip in a wonderful country.

Reviewed on 27 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Well one day the weather was atrocious with thick fog, heavy rain and a biting wind, so after wrapping up as well as we could (including bin bags!) we decided to cut short the walk in Velebit Park and headed for a refuge where we gratefully consumed Turkish coffee and swapped stories. As a back-up plan B, guides Igor and Tino gave us the option to visit a bear rescue center which was great, a volunteer gave us an informative tour, we saw the six resident bears close-up, and it did stop raining!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Pack wet weather gear, very changeable weather. We had all types of temperatures

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely - we enjoyed the hospitality in the Korana village staying with local people and had meals prepared on-site.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Brilliant, varied awe-inspiring views with so much green and waterfalls, lakes and trees, a great vacation

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The Plitvice lakes are breathtakingly beautiful- and staying at Korana village was
special with warm hosts and great home cooked food.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take good walking shoes as we walked on limestone rock a lot.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


10/10- our guide Mikey was awesome and the tour well planned with a good variety of activities and accommodation.

Reviewed on 17 Jun 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Our guide Mikey was fabulous

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?




3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes to all

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Was excellent due to our guides attitude help and support

Reviewed on 21 May 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Reaching the summit in Velebit National Park

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go in the spring

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes we stayed in many local guest rooms and ate local food

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?



Reviewed on 31 May 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


We really liked all sections as each one had something different to offer. But as experienced walkers who enjoy more remote destinations we really liked North Velebit and would have liked a longer more challenging walk in this area.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The only thing I would mention is that when we stayed in the village our accommodation had a very steep narrow spiral staircase up to our room. So would warn people that this is possible and to use bags that are easy to fit up this stair case. I would also check whether people are able to manage such staircases. This home was also opposite some neighbours that have a dog that barks all night. Despite the best efforts of our hosts to get the neighbours to manage the dog. This continued through out our stay and we had very poor sleep for 3 nights. Not optimum as it makes for grumpy customers and pressure on guide/s.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes it definitely benefited local hotel owners and village hosts. Don't know that it reduced environmental impacts, apart from maybe using local produce and making sure recycling is done. Probably supported conservation as more visitors to National Parks probably encourages governments to preserve and extend natural areas.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


The vacation was very enjoyable as it had plenty of variety. The guides were very knowledgeable and helpful, going above and beyond when one of them went all the way to Zagreb to get us a new vehicle when the airconditioning in our vehicle malfunctioned. Great service.

Reviewed on 25 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The whole vacation lived up to expectations and I feel that the vacation provider and their reps showed us a wide range of different things,however for myself the 3 nights in the village staying with local people in a beautiful place was the tops.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be a part of and enjoy a great vacation.The walks are pleasant and some experience of walking is needed.Be prepared for travel,but use the time on the road to see a great country.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The vacation used a variety of local shops,hotels and in the village locals certainly benefit from the 3 nights we stayed with them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A great first time visit to Croatia and already looking at other vacation providers tours.

Reviewed on 27 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The national parks were stunningly beautiful. The guides shared the history and culture of the place.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't book in July or August -- too hot! Also bring insect repellent

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. We did not stay in chain hotels but with locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent value for the money

Reviewed on 26 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The steep rocky climb in North Velebit National Park among the wild flowers and insects, and walking the beautiful river and islands area in Krka National Park.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


May be very hot if you go in summer so some of the walks will be less demanding than normal on safety grounds and you won't get so much of a challenge (if you are seeking that as well as scenery). The river areas for swimming are very crowded in the summer so don't expect a peaceful swim.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


In Korana Village the rooms used are owned by local people rather than companies. The lovely 'home cooked' meals are provided by a small organisation.
The travel is in a comfortable van over long distances, so uses a lot of fuel and everyone on our trip travelled by plane to Croatia...
There was not usually anywhere obvious to recycle the plastic bottles of mineral water we bought each day (Korana Village had recycling bins).

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. The areas of the 6 National Parks we visited each have their own character. The guides have an excellent knowledge of Croatia, are very familiar with the itinerary and drive very carefully.
Only downside perhaps was the Skradinski Buk Hotel: the staff need to learn some customer service skills and the rooms are small.

Reviewed on 17 Oct 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Every day was the most memorable one! If I needed to mention, it would have been a day trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina. A big waterfall in Una River was absolutely worth to see. All the walks were in good combination of challenge, beauty and pleasure. In a small group I felt I was taken care of and didn't need to worry about anything - our lovely and professional guide Zeljka made us feel good. It was a great week!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Do not hesitate at all if you want to see such lovely landscapes and challenge yourself! A little exercise beforehand would help to enjoy uphill, uphill!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely it benefited local people, especially at Korana village where we had homestay of 3 nights and common meals prepared by locals. And of course, the tour operator Huck Finn is a local company itself!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


My overall rating will reach 4 out of five!

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


walking in Bosnia and our wonderful guide

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be aware that it involves a lot of driving. Two of the national parks were very
busy and not that enjoyable and I don't think we needed to visit the monastery in
Krka

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes although there was a lot of driving

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


very good

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