Enjoy trekking, biking, kayaking and rafting on this active Croatia adventure

Croatia is home to some of the most beautiful national parks, waterfalls and rock features in Europe, and this active adventure sees you hiking, biking, rafting and kayaking in and around a host of incredible spots within Paklenica and Plitvice Lakes national parks. Enjoy local cuisine, do some sightseeing and enjoy some down time to replenish your energy because every day on this active adventure sees you taking on a different challenge, be it on the sea, on lakes, by waterfalls or along forest paths.

Starigrad Paklenica, Croatia
Starigrad Paklenica, Croatia
Cycling, Explorer, Walking & Trekking
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
114kg pp per trip


  • Get into the heart of Paklenica National Park on foot and by bike, a place where the mountains meet the sea, where stunning deep gorges, lush forests, and lost villages wait to be explored
  • Drift along pure spring-fed rivers past sparkling waterfalls, and then get the heart rushing riding the rapids of Zrmanja River by canoe or raft
  • Sea kayak out on the silken blue waters of the Adriatic, dramatic mountains the backdrop while following the coast to the delightful fishing hamlet of Vinjerac
  • Take a day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, and marvel at the luminous lakes and waterfalls that seem to have been sketched by an artist


Arrive in Split and take a transfer to Starigrad Paklenica, a small city in a harbour that sits at the foot of the UNESCO Velebit Nature Park. This is your gateway to the Paklenica National Park – two canyons divide this mountainous region, filled with gorges, and cliffs that reach up to 400 metres in height. A group arrival transfer is included in the price of the trip. This transfer will depart from Split Airport at 4pm. In order to take advantage of this service, please advise your booking agent of your flight arrival at the time of booking. Alternatively, a private transfer can be booked for any time of the day from both Split and Zadar Airports (at an extra cost). Ease into things with a welcome meeting (usually taking place at 6pm – please look out for a message in your apartment), where you’ll get acquainted with the rest of the group. The evening is spent at your leisure exploring the streets of Starigrad, one of the oldest towns in Europe, built on the historic Roman settlement of Argyruntum. Relax harbourside tonight before all your activity this week.
After breakfast, it’s time to set off on the first active adventure of this trip. A hike through Paklenica National Park is a great way to get familiar with the area. The National Park is home to one of the most visited climbing sites in Europe, incredible rock formations and stunning natural scenery. Your hike will take you by the right edge of the Velika Paklenica Canyon and reveals the most magnificent views of the national park. Have your camera at the ready to capture the lush surroundings, which are a result of the pure spring water that flows through the area, blossoming the trees and meadows. When you arrive at a mountain lodge there’ll be time for a traditional lunch (optional). After lunch, why not try the homemade brandy of the region. Alternatively, try some of the herbal tea, made from the Velebit herbs that the region’s famous for. Back on the track, you’ll drop by a 17th century village, Sklopina, which consists of houses built into the cracks in the rock. The return path leads you to the very bottom of the Velika Paklenica Canyon, along the creek where you can freshen up. Return to the comfort of your Starigrad apartment.

Notes: Total walking time is approximately 6-8 hours, with an altitude difference of 850 metres.
The Zrmanja River travels 69 kilometres as it winds along its route from the southern part of Mount Pljesevica towards the Adriatic Sea. Today delivers all things wet and wild as you hit the water for an exciting canoe safari or a white water rafting adventure, so make sure you pack your swimming gear, a towel and sunscreen. After a short drive from Starigrad you will reach the start point at Kaštel Žegarski. After a short briefing, you’ll begin your journey down the river all the way to Obrovac, a distance of 14 kilometres. During the white water rafting season the rapids will be grade 2 or potentially even grade 3. Make your way along perfectly clear and green waters, through karst scenery of narrow valleys and steep sided canyons, passing magnificent waterfalls. The first part of the trip is easy, allowing you to get a feel for your craft and enjoy the surroundings, and then it will gradually get more downhill, with an increase in waterfalls and rapids. Drifting serenely and also getting the heart pumping makes this a memorable day of activity.

Note: The activity chosen will depend on seasonality and water levels in the river.
After yesterday’s river adventure, it’s time to head back and explore the mountain paths at Paklenica National Park – except this time it’s on two wheels. The grassy hills and rugged mountain trails of the park make for a great spot to get some mountain biking practice in. Cycle around the countryside and enjoy this breath-taking part of Croatia. The route chosen will depend on the group's ability – there are three routes that can either be tackled by individually, or they can be combined. They run from about 15 to approximately 40 kilometres in length. All trails travel through the characteristic rocky landscape of Dalmatia, dominated by the view of the slopes of the serrated Velebit mountain peaks and beech and black pine forest. Ride through untouched nature, and diverse flora and fauna, thousands of plant species, 79 of which are endemic to the area. Cycle along dry stone walls through picturesque villages, characterized by traditional stone architecture, and pass many cultural and historical sites, with the Adriatic Sea never far away.
After the last few days of action, it’s time for a rest! There is no shortage of options – a dip in the azure blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, a doze on the sandy beach, or perhaps an exploration of the nearby town of Zadar. For centuries Zadar was the capital city of Dalmatia, and the city's rich heritage is visible at every step. It’s also a great place to check out the country’s vibrant café culture. For those interested in history, you could visit the atmospheric 9th and 10th century buildings of St. Peter's Chapel in Starigrad or St. George Chapel in nearby Rovanjska. Alternatively, head to the village of Nadin for a traditional lunch and some wine tasting. Croatia is fast becoming a hot destination on the radar of foodies, and this area is known for producing some of the finest organic wines in the country. If action is still the order of the day, there are many optional activities that can be undertaken in the national park. Perhaps hike to the interesting Manita Cave, 175 metres long and whose cool interior houses a wealth of stalagmites and stalactites, or hire bikes and do some more cycling within the national park. If you’re after the opposite level of activity, then perhaps chill out and refresh at a local spa. In the evening, come together for a traditional Croatian dinner at a local restaurant.
This is a place where the mountains meet the sea, and today you’ll hit the beach and then keep on going for a sea kayak adventure in Paklenica Bay. Strike out on the clear blue sea through the Velebit Channel and spend a day on the water, the mountains your backdrop as you tour the coastline. Glide along blue satin water that’s often so clear that you can see the bottom, and there’ll be plenty of chances to stop and dive into the water on swimming breaks. Along the way you’ll stop for lunch, then your final destination is the nearby fishing village of Vinjerac across the bay, a picturesque place with a neat row of pastel coloured houses fronting the harbour. Look back across to the sea to the mountains, and then perhaps try some of the daily catch for dinner in one of the local restaurants. You’ll return to Starigrad for the night.
Today you’ll continue the water theme with a trip out to the stunning World Heritage-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park (approximately 1.5 hours). It's one of the oldest national parks in south-eastern Europe and the largest in Croatia, a misty Eden of endless waterfalls and spectral blue lakes. The waters tumble from a high, tree-lined ridge down through the valley and skirt dense forests of beech, spruce and pine. A series of wooden walkways pass over the landscape, ensuring there’s little impact upon the park, and a stroll around this park will leave you feeling very in tune with nature. The Upper Lakes are in the dolomite cliffs, where rushing water weaves in and out of the karst, dropping dramatically down to the Lower Lakes, with enchanting forests, grottoes and steep cliffs. This interplay of water, rock, and plant-life creates a wondrous, dynamic landscape, changing the water colour from azure to bright green, deep blue to grey. Even amongst this pristine natural beauty, the Plitvice Lakes are shadowed by the region's history. The 1991 civil war erupted here after rebel Serbs took control of the park's headquarters, holding the park for the duration of the war and devastating infrastructure, though thankfully leaving the natural landscape intact. Return to Starigrad and celebrate your final night with the group.
After breakfast it’s time to bid a fond farewell to this active Croatia adventure. If you would like to stay longer in Starigrad Paklenica we are happy to book you additional accommodation here (subject to availability).
View trip notes to read full itinerary


7 breakfasts, 1 dinner
Private vehicle, Bicycle, Kayak, On foot
Guesthouse (7 nights)
Included activities
  • Hiking in Paklenica National Park
  • Rafting or Canoeing on Zrmanja River
  • Mountain Biking in Paklenica National Park
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park - Entrance


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Important notes

- A group airport arrival transfer is included in the price of the trip. Please check with your travel agent as to the exact timing. Otherwise a private transfer is available to purchase.
- The activity on day 3 will either be canoeing or rafting, depending on the weather conditions.
- A single room supplement is available to book on this trip, please see Trip Notes for more details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes


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