Best Places to Hike in Croatia

From ancient ruins, UNESCO-listed landmarks, and mouthwatering cuisine to spectacular islands, beautiful coastlines, and mountainous terrain, Croatia offers it all. With such diverse and beautiful landscapes, it's also a great place for hiking. Whether you're looking for a challenge or little effort for a big reward, there's a ton of variety. Something for nearly every age and skill level awaits to be discovered among the best places to hike in Croatia, from a short and sweet trek up Mount Srd to a challenging route winding to the Biokovo Mountains' highest peak. Be sure to pack your hiking boots and a hat. With mild temperatures, spring and fall are ideal, but summer hiking can be enjoyed comfortably by avoiding the midday heat.

Mljet National Park

Mljet National Park is a densely forested area at the northwestern tip of Mljet Island. There are picturesque paths for hiking that zig-zag through the woods and along the shorelines of its two famous saltwater lakes with water in brilliant shades of blues and greens. Just walking around the lakes is enjoyable but for a 360-degree view of the park, the endless forest, and the sea, hike up Mount Montokuc. The trail is well-marked leaving from the ticket stand at the entrance and only takes about 90 minutes round-trip to cover. Afterward, take the short boat ride to the islet in the larger lake to explore the grounds of an ancient monastery. There are also lakeside beaches for swimming and sunbathing.

Paklenica National Park

For those who love nature and the outdoors, Paklenica National Park offers numerous trails showcasing spectacular views. Only a 45-minute drive from Zadar, just south of the Velebit Mountains in the Dinaric Alps, it boasts an awe-inspiring mix of deep gorges, breathtaking peaks, and colourful wildflowers. There are about 109 miles of trails, enough to keep you exploring for quite some time. At the park’s entrance, you can purchase a map and get details on all the routes, including difficulty, length, and time to complete. The most popular from Entrance 1 is the trek to the Paklenica Mountain hut, taking 3.5 to 4 hours (round-trip) to complete. It showcases dramatic views, traversing Velika Paklenica Canyon and its high cliffs.

Velebit Mountain

Velebit is one of the largest mountain ranges in Croatia. Via Dinarica, a popular long-distance hiking trail, cuts across Velebit Mountain, meandering by karst formations, through forests, and plateaus. It takes nine days to hike the over 60-mile route from the Zavizan mountain hut but many trails of varying lengths start from the hut, providing stunning views of the sea and islands. You’ll get some of the best vistas in North Velebit by heading to the Zavizan weather station and hiking one of the several easy trails travelling through diverse landscapes to nearby peaks. Watch for the wide range of flora and fauna, including roe deer and red deer, along with the more elusive Eurasian lynx, brown bear, and grey wolf. 

Risnjak National Park

Under an hour’s drive from Rijeka in the mountainous north, Risnjak National Park was named after the lynx as one of the few places in Europe home to the animal. It includes the massifs of Snjeznik and Risnjak as well as the headwaters of the Kupa River. There are 11 named mountains, including Veliki Risnjak, the highest at over 5,000 feet, with one of the most popular hikes leading to its summit. Along the way you’ll enjoy views of the white limestone rock faces that rise from the pines. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the seemingly endless green mountains linking the Alps and the Balkan mountain ranges with the sea in the distance.

Mount Srd

One of the best views in all of Croatia can be enjoyed by heading to the top of Mount Srd where you’ll be rewarded with a phenomenal view over Dubrovnik’s walled Old City and beyond from over 1,350 feet above. That includes the sparkling Adriatic, the red rooftops that glisten in the sun, and landmarks like Fort Lovrijenac, featured in “Game of Thrones” as the “Red Keep” in King’s Landing. The trailhead is just a 20-minute walk from the Old City, starting with a walk through the forest and ascending above the treeline. From the trailhead to the summit, it’s less than 1.5 miles but the steep climb makes it feel longer, typically taking about an hour to complete.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must-visit for anyone on a Croatia holiday. If you can only choose one hiking destination, make it Plitvice. It’s one of the best places to hike in Croatia for viewing some of the country’s most iconic scenery. A UNESCO-listed site, it’s a maze of turquoise lakes and cascading waterfalls with lush greenery in between. There are eight different walking routes to choose from, taking anywhere from about two hours to an entire day to complete. The C loop is one of the country’s best hikes, traversing many of the most impressive areas of the park whilst being flat and beginner-friendly. No matter which you choose, the ground can be slippery, so you’ll want sturdy hiking shoes.

Biokovo Nature Park

Biokovo Nature Park is set along the southern Dalmatian coast with its crown jewel Biokovo Mountain which towers roughly 5,397 feet over the Makarska Riviera. From here you’ll enjoy views over the sea and nearby islands. There are many hiking trails, including the challenging 4.3-mile hike up Sv. Jure Peak which involves a rocky scramble up a steep cliff face. But many come to attempt one of the country’s most difficult hiking routes, Vosac Peak, drawing hikers from across the globe. It’s a hardcore altitude gain of more than 3,280 feet after departing from the town of Makar, but the views are breath-taking, from the coastal settlements and Makarska beaches to the Dalmatian islands across the strait.

Cetina River Canyon

The Cetina River Canyon is considered one of Croatia’s most magnificent natural wonders. Just a 30-minute drive from Split, the Cetina River flows through the rugged canyon, running roughly 63 miles with its vibrantly hued aquamarine water emptying into the sea in Omis. A hike in the canyon, whether enjoyed independently or on a guided tour, not only brings the chance to marvel at the gorgeous colour of the river, but to see Ilinac, the highest waterfall in the country at over 426 feet. There is a wealth of endemic plants too, including herbs like heather, wild thyme, sage, and St. John’s wort. Keep an eye out for wildlife, with forests inhabited by foxes, stone martens, badgers, hares, and wild boar.

Makarska Riviera

The Makarska Riviera stretches for 37 miles, centred around the town of Makarska. It’s backed by Biokovo Mountain which means many hikers use this area as a base to climb it, but there are also beautiful treks along the coast for a close-up view of the brilliant turquoise sea. One of the easiest routes is the 3.6-mile round-trip trail to the Osejava Peninsula from Makarska, traversing through dense pine trees and numerous plant species and revealing tranquil beaches along the way, including the famous nudist beach, Nugal. An easy 1.1-mile loop trail along the Sveti Petar Peninsula will bring you to the 1884 Sveti Petar lighthouse, the church of St. Petar, and a cave that’s open to visitors.

Krka National Park

Krka National Park is renowned for its waterfalls and its abundant flora and fauna that include many endemic, rare, and threatened species. The Krka River flowing through provides critical habitat for many, with everything from nearly 50 different mammal species, including some that are endangered like the wolf, wild cat, and otter. There are more than 220 bird species, including peregrine falcons and golden eagles to please birdwatchers as well. The most popular trail for hiking is the Skradinski buk route that leads to the park’s most famous waterfall, the highest in the Mediterranean, plunging 150 feet. It starts at the wooden bridge over the falls, traversing just 1.2 miles and showcasing stunning views of the cascades.

Ready to plan your trip?

Whatever you want from your dream trip, our team of experts are ready to help

Start Planning

You may be interested in

  • Krka National Park river

    Guide to Croatia’s Regions

    Croatia boasts five major, diverse regions: Dalmatia, Istria, Kvarner, Central Croatia, and Slavonia, each with their own fascinating towns and cities, beautiful natural scenery, and exquisite cuisine. From island hopping in Dalmatia to truffle hunting in Istria, each region offers diverse experiences that will create lasting memories. This guide to Croatia's regions will help you plan your next Croatia holiday, whether you’re looking for picturesque villages, secluded coves, or spectacular national parks.
    Read More
  • Plitvice Lakes waterfall at Autumn

    Top 5 National Parks in Croatia

    Whilst Croatia is best known for its beautiful beaches and historic towns, there is a lot more that this versatile country has to offer.
    Read More
  • Motovun village

    Best Things to Do in Istria

    A wine, foodie, and history enthusiast's dream in Croatia's northwest corner, Istria is home to stunning medieval hilltop towns, coastal cities, ancient sites, and family-run wineries. Many cultures have left traces of the past, including the Greeks, Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Austrians, Slovenians, and Croats. In Pula, the largest city, you'll find a maze of pedestrianised alleyways to wander, with Pula Arena, a dramatic 1st century AD Roman amphitheatre, being the crown jewel. Your options are nearly endless throughout the region. To help narrow them down, we've put together this guide to the best things to do in Istria.
    Read More
  • View of My Wish ship moored in Croatia next to a green island

    The Best Cruises in Croatia

    Embarking on a small ship cruise is one of the best and easiest ways to explore Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. With different routes and cruising options available, you will be able to discover secluded bays, medieval cities, and vast national parks, all on the same holiday. We have rounded up the best cruises so that you can start planning your next trip to Croatia.      
    Read More
  • View of Perast

    Best Things To Do In Montenegro

    Located at the southern end of the Dinaric Alps with Croatia its neighbour to the southwest, Montenegro is a stunning, diverse country with an enchanting coastline, soaring mountains, and sapphire lakes. It's easy to combine a visit with a Croatia holiday, enjoying opportunities for activities like hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and more. There's rich history to explore too, from Roman villas with mosaic floors and walled medieval Old Towns to vibrantly painted monasteries, grand palaces, and castles. After exploring, mouthwatering cuisine is never far away, best enjoyed with a glass of Montenegrin wine. To make the most of your time in this beautiful country, be sure to put some of the best things to do in Montenegro on your itinerary.
    Read More
  • Lucca

    What Countries Should I Combine with Croatia?

    Croatia covers nearly 22,000 square miles with more than a thousand islands and over 2,500 miles of coastline. You'll find lots to see and do from Dalmatia to the Istrian Peninsula, the Slavonia region, and beyond. If you're fortunate enough to have the time to explore more, there are also multiple countries to combine with Croatia that will allow you to take advantage of it. That includes Montenegro to the southeast, Italy to the west, Slovenia to the north, and Bosnia & Herzegovina to the east. Whether you plan to explore one or more countries before or after a Croatia cruise or as part of an independent Croatia holiday, this guide can help you create the ideal itinerary.
    Read More