The mountain Velebit belongs to the mountain Dinaride system and it is its longest mountain. In the same time, Velebit is the most interesting and the richest natural landscape in Croatia. In order to protect these values, whole Velebit was declared as nature park, and its most precious landscapes are protected as national parks, strict reserves and nature monuments. The whole mountain was 1978 included in the list of biosphere reserves in the network of UNESCO programme "Man and the Biosphere".
Velebit hiking trail (Velebitski planinarski put, VPP) is the mountain trail leading through the most interesting landscapes of Velebit. The trail starts on Zavižan to where the shortest approaches are from Oltari and Krasno (3-4 h). Some hikers tend to divide the trip in two parts, with break on Baške Oštarije. The trail ends at Starigrad Paklenica on Adriatic highway. Route of the Velebit hiking trail is about 100 km long and is marked with usual red-white mountaineer signs.
To pass the entire route of VPP 9 days of walking are needed. The traveling is divided into 9 units of equable length, depending on possibilities of a night's accommodation. In addition to VPP, on Velebit there are also numerous other mountain paths, marked to enable shorter trips according to wishes. The most beautiful parts of Velebit hiking trail are the area between Zavižan and Alan (North Velebit) and National Park Paklenica on South Velebit. Croatian Mountaineering Association (Hrvatski planinarski savez, www.hps.hr / firstname.lastname@example.org) takes care about Velebit hiking trail.
Because of limited capacity of mountain and hiking huts, and shelters, recommended is visiting in groups up to eight participants. For overnight stay in hiking huts and shelters it is necessary to have sleeping bag and a mat.
Food has to be carried by himself, because there are no supply possibilities. Meals can be obtained in permanently open mountain huts. Water can be replenished from cistern facilities along the trail, or it should be purified by appropriate pills or cooked before use. For travel on terrain it is necessary to have enough of liquid (two to three liters daily).
The most appropriate period for a visit is the summer season, because of the most stable weather. In summer the ascents from coastal side must be avoided, especially during the day, because bare and stony hill-sides are exposed to sunshine and sometimes is there unendurable hot. Because of possibility of sudden weather changes, also in summer the cloth protecting from rain and coldness must be taken along.
Up to the mountain hut Zavižan, that is the start of Velebit hiking trail the most convenient are pedestrian approaches from Oltari and Krasno (both 3-4 h of walk, through the woods). The bus drives from Senj over Oltari to Krasno twice daily. In hamlet Oltari it is possible to stay overnight in hiking hut Oltari.
HIKING HUT OLTARI (940 m) is situated directly at the asphalt road from Sv. Juraj (St. George) to Krasno, in mountain village Oltari. There are three rooms on the first floor in the house, above the closed inn. INFO - Open: by arrangement - Supplied: not supplied - Sleeping places: 22 (+ 1 in winter room) – Managing: HPD Sisak, Sisak - Informations: Ljubica Matijašević +385 91/56-32-075; Miroslavka Kalezić +385 99/19-16-097
The trail from Oltari to mountain hut Zavižan overcomes 600 m of altitude, but is pleasant because it is not too steep and leads mostly through forest shade. This is the shortest and most suitable pedestrian approach to Zavižan. At the half way there is a forest house Babić Siča, where the entrance ticket to the North Velebit National Park has to be paid. Zavižan can as well be approached from Oltari by car (the road 17 km). At the beginning of Zavižan valley there is a large parking place, and although the road continues further, the traffic on it is not allowed. Right upon from parking place is mountain hut Zavižan.
MOUNTAIN HUT ZAVIŽAN (1594 m) is on southern slope of peak Vučjak (1645 m) above steep meadows, with view to the sea, Zavižan valley, Veliki (Great) Zavižan and Hajdučki kukovi. This is built one-floor house with two dining rooms, the kitchen and sanitary facilities. The hut is at the same time the highest meteorological station in Croatia, with regular hourly measurements. Next to the building in enclosed area are meteorological instruments, and householders are in the same time meteorological spectators (the family Vukušić). INFO - Open: permanently - Supplied: food and drinks - Sleeping places: 28 – Managing: Croatian Mountaineering Association, Zagreb - Informations: tel. in hut +385 53/614 209
Starting from mountain hut Zavižan nice excursions to peaks of Zavižan group are possible: to rocky Vučjak (1644 m), grassy Zavižanska kosa (1622 m), steep Balinovac (1601 m), Veliki (Great) Zavižan with nice view (1676 m) and Zavižanski Pivčevac (1676 m) as well as the highest peak of North Velebit, Mali (Small) Rajinac (1699 m).
VELEBIT BOTANICAL GARDEN (1480 m) is situated on wider area of Modrić dolac, surrounded by wooded steep slopes of Balinovac and Zavižan and grassy brows of Zavižanska kosa. The garden was founded by mountaineer and botanist from Zagreb, prof. Fran Kušan. Circular pathway around the valley begins at small wooden house and enables the visitor to see during 2 hours of walk hundreds of plants, among which also velebite endemic plants. On circular path there are two extensions, to Balinovac and Veliki Zavižan.
Starting from mountain hut one should go downwards to Zavižan road in the valley and set on 2 km more until the place where the Premužić's trail roles out to the right towards Rožanski kukovi. Premužić's trail at first leads through the woods and then enters the stony area of Rožanski kukovi.
PREMUŽIĆ'S TRAIL is longitudinal pathway stretching from Zavižan to Baške Oštarije 57 km long, running through the most beautiful and the most inaccessible parts of Velebit without heavy ascents and descents. The trail was built from 1931. to 1933. according to idea and under the management of forestry engineer Ante Premužić. The section of Premužić's trail leading through otherwise quite inaccessible karst of Rožanski kukovi is especially impressive.
The path passes below the peak Gromovača (possible ascent 20' to the peak).
GROMOVAČA (1676 m) is the highest peak of Rožanski kukovi and the most viewable lookout to this breathtaking stony labyrinth. Exceptional is also sight to the sea, and from the peak at the distance the mountain hut Zavižan can be seen.
The next point on Premužić's trail is Rossi's shelter.
ROSSI'S SHELTER (1580 m) is situated in the heart of Rožanski kukovi, just beneath the cliff of Pasarićev kuk. It was built in 1929. and named after an explorer of velebite flora. INFO - Open: permanently - Supplied: not supplied - Sleeping places: overnight stay not possible (except in need) – Managing: PD Kailaš, Zagreb - Informations: Andrej Đapić +385 98/18-35-580, +385 51/648-347; Nikola Hapač +385 92/26-65-369, +385 1/33-96-669
From Rossi's shelter Premužić's trail continues through once the most impassable part of Rožanski kukovi towards the peak Crikvena (1641 m). After Crikvena the pathway enters the wood, and then near Seravski vrh gets out on the meadows. From Zavižan to hiking hut Alan 6 h walking is needed.
HIKING HUT ALAN (1340 m) is placed close to the transversal Velebit road that past Mrkvište above Štirovača connects Krasno and Jablanac. This is wooden hiking hut open during the whole summer. Water is supplied from cistern, but there are no sanitary facilities. Because of view to the sea numerous hikers go from hiking hut to the edge of meadow Mirevo where there are the remains of former cargo cableway and to grassy peak Buljma (1451 m). Hiking hut Alan is convenient base for trips to the outstanding peak Zečjak (1622 m) and to Kita, Veliki Golić, Golubić, Alančić, V. Kozjak (1629 m), as well as for trips along the Premužić's trail. INFO - Open: the hut is open during summer, when there take care members of PK Sljeme, and in winter a winter room can be used- Supplied: drinks and food by arrangement - Sleeping places: 40 (+ 7 in winter room) – Managing: PD Sljeme, Zagreb - Informations: Irena Pavlić +385 98/17 95 214, Ivan Hapač +385 99/51-54-999, Krešimir Bartaković +385 98/90-15-742, Marino Rabak +385 91/20-16-785
The travel along Mid Velebit and further, follows Premužić's trail to the south. The path towards the peak Zečjak (1 h ascent) roles out from the trail.
ZEČJAK (1622 m) is, together with equally high Šatorina, the highest peak in Mid Velebit. It is very appreciate viewpoint owing to its location and grassy slopes across which leads the path to its peak. The views from the top spread on the Adriatic sea from Učka to Ravni kotari near Zadar, on peaks of North and Mid Velebit and far away towards Lika.
Premužić's trail further continues at equable altitude along the coastal hill-side, alternately through meadows and forest 2.30 h to the place in forest where roles out to the left the first path to Šatorina, past Ograđenica (1 h). On this path, 20' above Premužić's trail, is placed simple hiking shelter Ograđenica. Premužić's trail goes down from the node under Ograđenica past the upper edge of karstic plain Mlinište till the water-source Gornja korita, where to the left roles out the second, steeper but shorter path to the peak Šatorina. The way further across the small fold reaches the upper edge of large plain Radlovac and further to hiking shelter Skorpovac next to the path.
HIKING SHELTER SKORPOVAC (958 m) is placed near Premužić's trail, in abandoned mountain hamlet Skorpovac. The shelter is provided with an oven and simple berths. INFO - Open: permanently - Supplied: not supplied - Sleeping places: 10 – Managing: HPD Sveti Šimun, Zagreb - Informations: Nenad Sitar +385 98/98-12-249
In Skorpovac roles out the path for the ascent to Budakovo brdo (Budak's hill), and Premužić's trail continues straight ahead 1:30 h to the foothill of peak Visibaba through forested terrain. It is recommended to leave Premužić's trail and climb onto Budakovo brdo (more attractive way).
BUDAKOVO BRDO (1317 m) is scenic grassy hill. Due to its location and height it offers views to both sides of Velebit, coastal and continental. On the broad area of Budakovo brdo is one of four known biotope of Degenia velebitica.
The path goes down 45' till the crossing beneath Bačić kuk. To the left leads the path onto rocky Bačić kuk (40'), and straight ahead continues the path towards the mountain hut Ravni dabar. The ascent to the peak of Bačić kuk is difficult and is not recommended to hikers without climbing experience.
BAČIĆ KUK (1304 m) is the most northern and the most scenic rock in Dabarski kukovi. The peak that has the shape of small elongated stony ridge offers an unsurpassed view to Dabarski kukovi that like wall jut from forest greenness, extending to Baške Oštarije.
From the crossing beneath Bačić kuk it should be continued to the south towards Bačić duliba and Ravni dabar. Downwards Korita the path goes down 40' till Bačić duliba, where it crosses the road.
BAČIĆ DULIBA (860 m) consists of several beautiful meadows surrounded by forested hills at three sides, and on the west the impressive wall of Bačić kuk dominates above it. There are placed two mountain huts, Ana and Kata, about which HPD Bačić duliba from Karlobag takes care.
HIKING HUT ANA (862 m) is located in Bačić duliba, on foothill of Bačić kuk. In the ground floor there are the kitchen, living room, bathroom and sanitary facilities, as well as covered terrace, and on the first floor there are sleeping rooms. The house has water-supply from cistern. Together with hiking hut Kata forms an unity. INFO - Open: during summer, otherwise by arrangement - Supplied: drinks, food by arrangement- Sleeping places: 12 – Managing: HPD Bačić duliba, Karlobag - Informations: Ana Došen +385 91/54-94-922, Stipan Došen (householder) +385 91/15-00-330, Srđan Kuruc +385 95/90-76-114
The trail leads further across the valley Došen dabar until the valley Ravni dabar, where there is the mountain hut.
RAVNI DABAR (715 m) is large karstic hollow with flat base almost like proper bowl. It is surrounded by stony rocks of Butinovača, Visibaba and Čelinac. From former village only school building, now adapted to mountain hut, remained saved.
MOUNTAIN HUT RAVNI DABAR (723 m) is beneath huge rock Čelinac. The hut is an excellent base for trips to Dabarski kukovi. It has water-supply from cistern. The whole attic is arranged as collective sleeping room. INFO - Open: on week-ends – Supplied: drinks and food - Sleeping places: 50 – Managing: PD Industrogradnja, Zagreb - Informations: Mile Prpić (housekeeper) +385 53/633 +385 16, +385 99/79-88-363; Vlado Fabijanić +385 91/51 97 789, +385 1/39 03 226
Starting from mountain hut one should go steeply up-hill through the forest 40' up to Dabarska kosa, where Premužić's trail runs. From Dabarska kosa on the other side the path descends down to Karlobag (3 h). Velebit hiking trail from Dabarska kosa continues to the left by Premužić's pathway towards Baške Oštarije.
BAŠKE OŠTARIJE (927 m) is velebite village consisting of several hamlets scattered on Oštarije plain between Mid and South Velebit. The term Oštarije reminds on former inns (osteria in italian) on the way from Lika to Primorje (coast). The central point is hotel Velebno with restaurant. Near is the church of Visitation, hiking hut Vila Velebita and small private auto-camp. The place Oštarije is easily accessible owing to the passing-through road Gospić – Karlobag. From Karlobag and Gospić buses drive twice a day. Owing to this, Baške Oštarije are the starting point and goal of hiking tours and trips.
HIKING HUT VILA VELEBITA (920 m) is one-floor building on the road Karlobag – Gospić, 100 m east from the church. The hut is open during summer. From the hut the marked paths to Ljubičko brdo (1320 m) – 2 h, and to Metla (1288 m) – 2:30 h begin. INFO – Open: from 1. 6. to 1. 9. - Supplied: by arrangement- Sleeping places: 32 – Managing: PD Željezničar, Gospić - Informations: Eduard Fajdić +385 91/76 31 817; Tomislav Čanić +385 98/96 10 +385 42, +385 53/574 +385 65
Baške Oštarije are at the half way of VPP, and therefore, owing to good traffic connections, the place where the majority of trailers breaks or starts VPP-trail, dividing so the trail into two parts.
The marked pathway leaves the road at former school in Oštarije and soon enters the forest, ascending onto stony ridge of Sladovačko brdo (hill) and descends to the meadow Sladovača. The path continues mainly through the forest further towards south. On this part of the travel there are not many attractions, but prevails mountain peace. On the way exists an important crossing called Piskovita kosica. We continue straight ahead until hiking shelter Šugarska duliba.
ŠUGARSKA DULIBA is large karstic valley behind the first chain of coastal peaks. On broad area of Šugarska duliba, on narrow zone, is one of four known biotope of Degenia velebitica.
HIKING HUT ŠUGARSKA DULIBA (1220 m) is metal container that serves as an open hiking shelter. Near the shelter, at ruins of forest house, the cistern with drinking water remained saved. From hiking shelter in Šugarska duliba the marked pathway leads to the peak Veliki Stolac (1406 m), reachable in 45'. The ascent is at the end very steep. The view from the peak is extraordinary. INFO – Open: permanently - Supplied: not supplied - Sleeping places: 11 – Managing: PD Naftaplin, Zagreb - Informations: Antun Odicki +385 91/56 29 763, +385 1/37 73 974
From shelter and cistern in Šugarska duliba one should go at first straight ahead through the forest and across the meadows towards the peak Panos. We do not go onto this peak (there are abandoned military objects), but following the mountaineering signs descend to remains of forest house in Jelova ruja (it is possible to go along the road, but this takes little longer).
JELOVA RUJA (950 m) is forested, deep and long transversal valley, surrounded from all sides by the garland of high peaks. Here are, close to forest road from Rizvanuša, useless ruins of former forest house and cistern. Water from the cistern is not recommended to drink.
From forest house one should go further following the marks up-hill to the fold above Jelova ruja. Further follows the ascent through the forest till the fold below Debeli kuk near Stap.
DEBELI KUK (1269 m) is, in spite of its altitude, modest for Velebit, exceptionally nice viewpoint with wide sight oriented to the sea. Apart from beauty of sight, it is attractive also because of splendor of meadows that reach to the very rocky peak. The trail continues shortly down-hill 1 h until hiking shelter Tatekova koliba (Daddy's cottage) on Stap.
STAP is large grassy valley with flat base, all-around surrounded by scenic limestone rock and forests. The most beautiful view on the whole Stap is offered from the rock Čučavac and from Debeli kuk.
HIKING SHELTER TATEKOVA KOLIBA on STAP (860 m) is likable cottage at the edge of nice and flat grassy valley Stap, on the VPP route, ideal starting point for a number of interesting shorter ascents in nearer surroundings, but also the important overnight-stay place on longitudinal way from Baške Oštarije towards Struge. The name Tatekova koliba (Daddy's cottage) the shelter obtained after the nickname of Slavko Tomerlin who built it, organized and furnished. Water is supplied from narrow cavern, about 30 m from shelter. INFO - Open: permanently - Supplied: not supplied - Sleeping places: 10 – Managing: PD Paklenica, Zadar - Informations: PD Paklenica +385 23/301 636
STAPINA (1124 m) is the biggest and the most imposing rock in South Velebit. This high smooth conical rock by its shape reminds on milkman's tool piston (stap in croatian). The fact that this huge rock, on outstanding grassy peak with nice view, is well visible from afar contributes to the beauty and attractiveness of Stapina.
Velebit hiking trail continues towards the south until plateau Malo (Small) Rujno. To the right from Malo Rujno (1 h from the main route) there is hiking shelter Zavrata. From Malo Rujno in 2 h Veliko (Great) Rujno can be reached. The track across Malo to Veliko Rujno leads through open space and is exposed to the sunshine.
VELIKO RUJNO is large grassy plateau elongated between Bojinac and the ridge of Višerujna. In the middle of Veliko Rujno is a chapel of Our Lady of Rujno, and next to it there is the cistern with drinking water. Feast day in the chapel is on the holiday of Assumption of Mary on August 15th. The pilgrimage traditionally organized for this occasion is in the same time the main croatian mountaineers' pilgrimage.
Starting from the chapel we continue shortly in southeast direction and enter the pine forest on pathway. It ascends to the fold Stražbenica (1130 m), about 1:30 h from Veliko Rujno. There to the right roles out the path towards mountain hut in Paklenica (1:30 h), but our route continues 45' even steeper to the fold Buljma, after which begins the plateau Struge.
Prior to Buljma roles out to the right one more descent to mountain hut in Paklenica, and the main trail soon reaches the hiking hut Struge.
HIKING SHELTER STRUGE (1400 m) is in the central part of Struge. This is a wooden bungalow arranged for hikers' needs by members of HPD Paklenica from Zadar. Water can be taken from well Marasovac. INFO - Open: permanently - Supplied: not supplied - Sleeping places: 15 – Managing: PD Paklenica, Zadar - Informations: PD Paklenica +385 23/301 636
The zone from Struge across the water-source Marasovac, Vaganski vrh to Sveto brdo was encompassed in war, and therefore the walk is allowed only on the marked track of Velebit hiking trail, which is safe.
From hiking shelter Struge we continue strictly along the pathway 10' to the well Marasovac and from there to the right onto Vaganski vrh (peak).
VAGANSKI VRH (1757 m) is the highest peak of Velebit. Its vertex is in fact wide flat ridge, covered by thick grass so it does not give the impression of the highest peak. The view is oriented towards Lika.
In the southeast direction from Vaganski vrh the trail steeply descends 10' to flatter terrain where from the right approaches Lipa staza (Beautiful path) from Paklenica and continues straight ahead 15' along the pathway further to the fold between Segestin (1715 m) and Brundo (1710 m).
On the other side of fold the path gradually ascends to the foothill of Malovan (1709 m) and passes below the peak of Malovan by isohypse. Close to the path is memorial to speleolog Ozren Lukić who fell a war victim. We continue further to the place where the path crosses to the coastal side offering extraordinary view to the sea and canyon of Mala Paklenica. The path further gradually descends along more karstic terrain until the place where from the right the path from Ivine vodice approaches. The way further leads up-hill across the meadows towards the peak of Sveto brdo (Saint hill).
SVETO BRDO (1751 m) is the last high peak of Velebit that ends the chain of the highest peaks on Velebit. Owing to its location it enables unhindered sight both on Lika and coastal side. On the very peak stands big metal cross and the table with written the ten commandments of god.
From the peak of Sveto brdo one should go back by the same path 30' to the small fold where to the left the path roles out down-hill to Vlaški grad. It descends with open views towards Mala Paklenica and well visible crest of Vlaški grad. Beside the path is memorial sign to three hikers from Split who lost their lives there in an accident on ice.
HIKING SHELTER VLAŠKI GRAD (1280 m) is on a small fold below the peak of Vlaški grad. Simple brass shelter raised by members of PD Paklenica is suitable base for ascents to Sveto brdo. There is a watersource near the shelter. INFO - Open: permanently - Supplied: not supplied - Sleeping places: 10 – Managing: PD Paklenica, Zadar - Informations: PD Paklenica +385 23/301 636
From hiking shelter Vlaški grad to Ivine vodice the marked path leads through forest, almost on isohypse (with one small ascent and descent).
HIKING SHELTER IVINE VODICE (1250 m) is a ground-floor building with one room and wooden attic. For overnight stay by all means the mat and sleeping bag must be taken along. Near the house is cistern with drinking water. By its location at the half way between Paklenica and Sveto brdo and convenient accommodation near water and forest, the shelter serves as advisable place for time-out, water-supply, or overnight-stay at ascent to the highest peaks on Velebit. INFO - Open: permanently - Supplied: not supplied - Sleeping places: 10 – Managing: PD Babulj, Bibinje - Informations: Marin Jukić +385 91/11-22-440, Stjepan Gverić +385 91/45-23-340, PD Paklenica +385 23/301 636
From hiking shelter Ivine vodice one should go down-hill 45' until the fold Martinova mirila (914 m). From there to the left the paths lead across Velika Močila to Mala Paklenica and to Crni vrh (1110 m), and the main path continues to the right 1:30 h till mountain hut Paklenica.
MOUNTAIN HUT PAKLENICA (480 m) is nice one-floor building with two wings at the beginning of the canyon Velika Paklenica. In front of the house is a large terrace for rest. Near it murmurs the creek Paklenica. The house is placed at the valley base, just on the joining of creeks Paklenica and Brezimenjača. INFO - Open: on week-ends and from 15. 6. to 15. 9. permanently - Supplied: drinks - Sleeping places: 35 – Managing: PD Paklenica, Zadar - Informations: Valter Morović (housekeeper) +385 95/80 34 114; PD Paklenica +385 23/301 636
From mountain hut wide arranged pathway leads towards Starigrad on the seacoast. After 10' it passes by the forest house, crosses the creek and enters the most attractive part of Paklenica canyon. At particular place the zigzag ascent roles out to the cave Manita peć (40'), and from the left side ahead the nice view opens on the cliff of Anića kuk.
MANITA PEĆ (540 m) is the most beautiful cave in Paklenica area and one of the most beautiful in Croatia. It is 175 m long and 35 m deep. It consists of only one, but tremendous hall, divided by stalagmites and stalactites into three smaller parts full with cave ornaments. The cave can be visited in summer months on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 to 13 h, and in other days by arrangements with guides in National Park Paklenica. The cave sightseeing lasts half an hour.
ANIĆA KUK (712 m) is the biggest cliff on Velebit and the most remarkable rock in Croatia. In particular protrudes its recognizable overhanging edge of peg. The cliff is higher than 300 m, and especially popular among climbers. At the foothill od Anića kuk is a green meadow Anića luka with water-source.
The Velika Paklenica canyon suddenly narrows and the path enters its the most exciting part. At the canyon base, at the right side there is entrance into bunkers.
TUNNEL SHELTER (BUNKERS) is at the narrowest part of Velika Paklenica canyon. At the end of fifties of 20th century in top secret yugoslav army dig them up in order to save the people in the case of nuclear war, but after the termination the entrances were blocked up and were never used. The surface area of the whole underground complex is 1730 m2, and length 549 m. It can be sightseen in summer months the each day from 16 to 19 h regardless of the number of visitors, and during other months by arrangement with the guides of NP Paklenica. The visit lasts 30 minutes.
The marked path leads along the canyon by the wide path between giant rocks 20' to parking place, where asphalt begins. About 2 km further is entrance reception of national park, where the seal of Velebit hiking trail can be found.
The road continues through the hamlet Marasovići and Paklenička street reaching the Adriatic highway. There is 250 m more to the right to gasoline pump, hotel Alan and bus station. The center of Starigrad Paklenica is about 1 km away (by asphalt road).
For stay in NP Paklenica an admission-ticket should be bought at entrance reception of national park.