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Dinara

The highest Croatian peak - Dinara

Dinara is the highest mountain in Croatia. Although not of remarkable height – it does not exceed 2000 m - its configuration and length form one of the most impressive mountains in Croatia. Its massif, 20 km long and almost 10 km wide, ascends as natural boundary between Dalmatia and Bosnia, and separates two different worlds: the Mediterranean and the continental. Its amazing, several hundred meters high southwest wall attracts everyone that finds themselves at the foothill. Abundant, flowery meadows and forests both add to the natural beauty of the area. Climbing to the top of Dinara requires good shape because all approaches are long, steep and difficult. The Croatian Mountaineering Association, with mountaineering clubs in Knin and Kijevo, organises group climbs to its peak every year.

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Suggestions for hiking/mountaineering

The town Knin is the biggest settlement at the Dinara foothill and at the same time the main starting point. The only road ascending up high into the mountain begins at the Guge village, on the outskirts of Knin. The road is winding and dusty, and unfortunately in very bad condition. The road from Suvo polje, at half of Dinara’s altitude, continues further via several forest roads towards Brezovac, where there is the hiking hut for overnight stay. Anyone who wants to go to Dinara on foot will stay the night in the hiking hut - the peak is only 3 h of climbing away.

The peak can also be reached from the other side of Dinara, from the Glavaš village, but this ascent takes 4-5 h. Above Glavaš there is an old picturesque tower. Half way to the top there is a hiking shelter called Martinova košara, a former shepherds’ summer cottage. Since there are no water sources along the trail, and it is exposed to sunshine, one has to carry plenty of water.

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The ascent over Brezovac (2 days)

KNIN is the biggest settlement at the Dinara foothill and at the same time main starting point for climbing it. The town developed on the southeast slopes of Spas hill, which dominates over the Knin valley, surrounded by river streams of Krka, Radljevac, Orašnica and Butižnica. In the 9th century the town was the seat of the Croatian duke; from the 11th century it was the seat of the Croatian king, and from the 12th century of the Croatian Ban (governor). This made Knin a dominant strategic location and an important military stronghold, and it remained important in the following centuries as well. During Domovinski rat (the ‘Homeland War’ in the 1990s), the town became the symbol of new Croatian freedom, because its liberation on August 5, 1995 broke Serbian aggression. The most important building is the great fortress above the town, nowadays redesigned as an outdoor museum.

The starting point for climbing Dinara from Knin is Suvo polje, the large plateau at half of the mountain’s altitude. Starting from Knin, one has to take the car from road curve near the Kovačići village (on the outskirts of Knin), in the direction of Grahovo for 1.5 km, then to the right, following a narrow road through the Guge village towards Dinara. Right after the last house in Guge the asphalt road ends, turning to the right over a bridge. 18 km of ascent on a wide macadam road continues up to Suvo polje. The road is unfortunately in very bad condition (recommended only for cross country vehicles). This is the only road ascending high into the mountain. One can go from Guge up to Suvo polje on foot as well, following the marked trail that cuts the road - but this route is long and tedious. Entering Suvo polje, on a place named Markov grob, there is a broadening suitable to park your car, but it is possible to drive further, until the road becomes even worse.

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There is an amazing view of the impressive southwest wall of Dinara from Suvo polje, and to the left there is a scenic peak called Badanj, with the trail towards the hiking hut Brezovac passing right beside. The marked trail runs across meadows and later by a bad supply-road towards Brezovac and after 1.5 h it reaches the Badanj foothill. The trail bypasses Badanj through the middle of the valley and afterwards descends to the Brezovac sinkhole - the hiking hut is on its right side.

Slika.HIKING HUT BREZOVAC (1050 m) ) is in the woods, at the edge of the large Brezovac sinkhole. Brezovac is a small mountain settlement, with some ten weekend cottages still in use. The hiking hut has three rooms in the ground floor, one of which is arranged as a dining room; there are two sleeping rooms on the first floor. A water cistern is situated near the house.
INFO - Open: by arrangement - Supplied: not supplied - Capacity: 50 – Management: HPD Dinara, Knin - Information: Perica Šimić +385 91/89 13 506

The marked trail to the top of Dinara enters the forest on the hut’s right side. In 20 min it reaches the edge of the Duler meadow and proceeds to the large Samar meadow. The wide path ascends through Samar for 45 min, to a flatter part where the marked trail turns to the right, uphill, leaving the forest road. Following the steep meadows, it reaches the first grove, with the path from the Mirkovići village approaching from the right. The trail reaches predominantly rocky terrain and gradually ascends with a broad view. A steep couloir gets you to the place where you can easily see the geodetic pillar on the very top of the mountain. From this point the peak can be reached in 10 min.

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DINARA (1831 m) is the highest peak in the Republic of Croatia. On its top there are several rocky peaks, overgrown with dwarf-pines. One of those peaks, oriented towards the Peruča lake, has a geodetic pillar on its top, while another boasts a metal cross. Owing to its altitude and location, the peak provides a view to almost all mountains in Dalmatia and Bosnia, and an exceptional view to the Peruča lake in the distance. Dinara is the only climb on the Croatian hiking trail that needs to be proven not only by a stamp, but also with a photo from the top. A metal stamp is on the rock close to the geodetic pillar. Knin citizens call the peak simply Dinara, while people from Kijevo call it Sinjal since a long time ago.

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Approach from Glavaš 4-5 h

Glavaš can be reached by car or on foot from Kijevo (22 km from Knin), following a road towards Uništa northeast for 6 km (1:30 h). From the road to Uništa you take a turn towards Glavaš at the second concrete bus station (1 km after the first concrete bus station, and the turn towards Validžići).

Slika.THE HIKING HUT GLAVAŠ (550 m) is situated 200 m north of the last Glavaš houses. This is in fact a blue metal container with two separate rooms. One serves as a lounge and a sleeping room, and the other is for club purposes only. The house is provided with a refrigerator, a cooker, a heating unit, a sink, dishes and cutlery.
INFO - Open: by arrangement - Supplied: not supplied - Capacity: 8 – Management: HPD Sinjal 1831, Kijevo - Information: Marko Gojević +385 95 50 90 792

The ascent in Glavaš begins at a small, concrete house with a hiking marking. The marked trail continues left from the road, through the village, and 200 m after the last houses you reach the Glavaš hiking hut. It is followed tby an ascent on open terrain, past the medieval fortification also called Glavaš (671 m, 20 min from the village). 2:30 h from Glavaš the trail reaches the grassy Podcrkvica plateau. Next to the main pathway, in a shepherd settlement called Donje Torine, there is an open hiking shelter named Martinova košara.

Slika.HIKING SHELTER MARTINOVA KOŠARA (1287 m) is situated in Donje Torine. This is an old shepherd dwelling that serves as a simple shelter.
INFO - Open: permanently - Supplied: not supplied - Capacity: 14 – Managing: HPD Sinjal 1831, Kijevo - Information: Marko Gojević +385 91/52 15 285

A constant ascent to the top follows from this point. The ascent is very scenic, but the length and the altitude gain it have to be taken into account.

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  • The Dinara hiking trail is preferably hiked from May to October - it is not recommended in winter months because of harsh weather conditions: a lot of snow, clouds, frequent fog and often very low temperature.
  • It is not necessary to hire local guide, but if you want to hire a guide, it is possible through the Guide Service of Croatian Mountaneering Association, e-mail: vodici@hps.hr.
  • The Martinova košara shelter is permanently open, and you can spend the night free of charge. You will need your own mat and a sleeping bag.
  • Brezovac and Glavaš hiking huts are open by prior arrangement, so you have to contact their management.
  • There are no water springs along the trail. Huts and shelters have water cisterns with rain water nearby.
  • There are no official camping places and camping is generally forbidden. Hikers who prefer tents should be aware that tents may only be placed near huts or shelters.
  • Fire is strictly forbidden, except at pre-arranged fireplaces near huts and shelters. Simple meals can be made in the huts and shelters.
  • All related maps and information in English can be obtained from the Croatian Mountaineering Association.

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