Trip Number: 13705A
Staff: Hurston Roberts
- Hike and cycle through landscapes of forests, hills, meadows, mountain
- Kayak rivers surrounded by lush forests teeming with birds
- Experience three nights on a sailing cruiser; sail to exotic island
- Kayak, swim, and snorkel in the Adriatic, exploring cliffs, caves and
- All lodging; three-night Adriatic cruise; most meals, guides, on-trip
transportation and gratuities
- All equipment, i.e. bicycles, helmets, rafts, kayaks, canoes, snorkel
gear and bicycle support van
Photo: Hurston Roberts
Discover Croatia -- Europe’s undiscovered adventure travel destination!
Croatia has pristine nature, history, art and tradition in a friendly atmosphere
and pleasant climate. Adventure activities galore! Sea kayaking, canoeing, rafting,
bicycling, sailing, hiking, snorkeling… and more. Visit incredible places…coastal
rivers flanked by green banks and karsts canyons, lush forests and mountains,
inland river banks, full of flowers, birds and curious little mammals waiting
to be discovered.
Experience the unspoiled countryside while rafting down Croatian rivers. The
diversity of landscapes makes Croatia a magnificent place for all hiking, walking,
and biking enthusiasts. Conquer the most beautiful peaks and explore the fascinating
mountain ranges, canyons, forests and countryside paths. Hauntingly rugged beauty
awaits -- don't miss it.
Visit historic towns…Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, developed in the
15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town; the Croatian city of Trogir,
a city with 2300 years of tradition, which has been protected by the UNESCO
as a unique and well-preserved historic-Romanic-island town. Experience warm
Croatian hospitality during an overnight stay in a small village hidden away
in a valley by the river in Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Relax on our sailing cruiser as gentle winds take you among the captivating
Croatian islands, their peaceful and picturesque beaches, caves, cliffs and
blue sea… an incredible setting for various activities: sailing, kayaking,
diving, hiking, biking. Explore the Pelješac Peninsula, one of the most
successful and famous wine making regions in Croatia. Sail to the Elafiti Islands
archipelago -- some of Croatia's most beautiful green islands, covered by forests
with lots of sunshine and sandy beaches.
Day 1: Zagreb – meeting and trip orientation
We meet at our hotel at the Zagreb’s main city square at 4:00 p.m. After
our trip orientation and welcome dinner, you can spend the evening enjoying
Zagreb's beautiful architecture, the old town, ancient monuments, and nightlife.
Day 2: Medvednica Nature Park hiking (9.3 miles, 2,500’
After breakfast we head to Medvednica Nature Park to stretch our hiking legs.
Mt. Medvednica (“The Bear Mountain“), which embraces Croatia’s
capital city Zagreb, is a unique example of an almost fully preserved natural
environment just out the back door of a large city. The mountain massif is covered
by dense forests of beech, oak, and chestnut, and certainly deserves a title
of Nature Park. We will make our way to the highest peak (Sljeme), famous for
the Snow Queen Trophy slalom race, held as part of the Alpine skiing World Cup.
After hiking, we drive to our next destination, located 70 km from Zagreb in
Zvecaj village. The accommodation is a friendly, family-run hotel on the bank
of the Mrenica River. The restaurant overlooks an old mill close to a
small waterfall and serves freshly caught fish, as well as home-grown vegetables.
Day 3: Risnjak National Park cycling (28 miles, 1,500’
descent with rolling hills)
Today we head for Risnjak National Park to cycle through a landscape of forests,
hills, meadows, mountain streams and rivers. There is very little car traffic
on these paved roads and the atmosphere is very peaceful and friendly. The pristine
park includes the Risnjak and Snjenik ranges, as well as the source area
of the Kupa River, which is beyond doubt one of the most beautiful places in
Gorski Kotar. The Kupa River springs from a karstic well at the Park's lowest
point, forming a turquoise pond some 200 meters long and 30 meters wide. The
Kupa flows through a picturesque valley, also known as the mysterious valley
of butterflies -- more than 500 species of butterflies inhabit the area! We'll
bike towards Razloge, a village not far from the source. The route leads through
little villages and forest paths, where the fresh clean air will renew your
senses. Once in Razloge, we'll descend to the river source and enjoy a break
at this magical spot. After our cycling tour we will head back to our hotel
on Mrenica River.
Photo: Robert Pincevic
Mrenica river trip (4 miles)
Our adventure today takes us to clear emerald water, unspoiled woods, and magical
landscapes -- that is Mrenica, one of Croatia's finest and clearest rivers,
ideal for rafting, kayaking and canoeing. This typical ‘karst’ river
-- with numerous travertine waterfalls, interspersed with calm water -- can
reach 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer! Due to its biological diversity
and variety of habitats, the Mrenica area will soon be categorized as
a Croatian Nature Park.
Today’s outing is a soft adventure suitable for beginners or those who
wish to spend a relaxing day on the water with lots of swimming, jumping off
waterfalls, and enjoying our natural surroundings. After the river trip we will
head to Korana, a small village hidden away in a valley by the river in Plitvice
Lakes National Park, for our home stay. The houses are small, traditional dwellings
with simple, clean and comfortable rooms in an idyllic setting. The peaceful
atmosphere is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area.
Day 5: Plitvice Lakes National Park hiking (8.2 miles, 500’
Today we remain in Plitvice Lakes National Park for some remarkable hiking.
The series of 16 emerald green and opal blue travertine lakes, more than 90
waterfalls and numerous caves make Plitvice Lakes National Park a UNESCO World
Heritage site. The lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests, and are home
to extensive wildlife. After a full day of exploring this Croatian national
treasure we’ll return to our home stay in Korana Village. If time permits,
we can go for an afternoon swim in the outflow of the lakes.
Photo: Hurston Roberts
Day 6: North Velebit National Park hiking (9.3 miles, 700’
After breakfast, we’ll drive to Croatia's newest national park -- North
Velebit National Park. The area was designated a national park due to the richness
of its karst phenomena, outstanding biodiversity, and natural beauty in a relatively
small area. The Park is crisscrossed with numerous mountaineering trails. The
most famous is the Premuic trail, named after its constructor who built
it in late 1933. The path runs through the most beautiful and interesting parts
of the park. From the numerous peaks in the surrounding area you can have a
magnificent view on the Adriatic Sea, its islands, and the continental side
of the mountain chain. After hiking we retire in Novigrad, a small fishing village
situated deep in the Novigrad Sea. Scattered along the coastline, the village
of Novigrad has managed to preserve its authentic traditional architecture,
untouched by modern tourism. A well-preserved 13th-century fortress stands above
the village. From the restaurant terrace we should have ample opportunities
for a memorable sunset over the bay and peaks of Mount Velebit.
Day 7: Zrmanja river trip and Zadar visit
Today we gear up for our expedition down the magnificent Wild-West-like canyons
of the Zrmanja and Krupa Rivers in Velebit Nature Park. Perfectly clear and
green waters, rapids and waterfalls, hidden swimming pools and steep-sided canyons
will steal your heart and make this excursion an unforgettable experience. No
previous canoeing or kayaking experience is needed if you can swim. We use open
canoes or sit-on-top kayaks. Rafting boats are used during high water season
(usually before May and after September). If you are not too tired after the
river trip, you can visit Zadar, a beautiful old town on the Adriatic coast.
We return to Novigrad for the evening.
Photo: Hurston Roberts
Day 8: Paklenica National Park hiking (9.7 miles, 1,800’
elevation gain) and Trogir visit
After breakfast we gather our hiking gear and head to Paklenica National Park
-- a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and a favorite hiking and climbing destination
in this part of Europe. Lying on the southeast slopes of the Velebit Mountain
near the coast and cut by two awe-inspiring gorges, Mala Paklenica and Velika
Paklenica's scenery is one of the most pristine in the whole Mediterranean.
The lofty peaks making up this range offer huge views of both coastal and mountain
scenery. There are several wonderful hikes through beech and black pine forests
to choose from. After the hike we head to Trogir, a city with 2300 years of
tradition, which has been protected by the UNESCO as a unique and well-preserved
historic-Romanic-island town. With its concentration of palaces, churches, towers
and fortress on a small island, Trogir certainly deserves its nickname "The
stone beauty." We overnight in Trogir.
Day 9: Canoeing on Trebiat River and Mostar Visit (Bosnia
Today our adventure involves canoeing through unique karst areas of Herzegovina.
We will take a relatively easy paddle down the narrow Trebiat River surrounded
by lush forests and karst landscape that was formed by the river over thousands
of years. After the river trip we will travel to historic Mostar, the cultural
and economic center of Herzegovina. We retire to our accommodation by the Trebiat
River in Herzegovina.
Photo: Hurston Roberts
Day 10: Sailing and cycling (12-16 miles) Mljet Island National
After breakfast we drive to the Croatian coast where we will board our accommodations
for the next three nights. Once aboard our sailing cruiser, we set sail for
Mljet Island National Park. Two saltwater lakes surrounded by a lush, green
forest, the larger one with a small island in the middle, make this island a
spectacular location for hiking, cycling and swimming. We will cycle from our
sailing cruiser to the lakes, where we will take a boat to a small island with
a 15th-century Benedictine monastery. Overnight on the sailing cruiser.
Day 11: Sailing, kayaking and snorkeling Peljesac Peninsula
Today we set sail for the Pelješac Peninsula and explore one of the most
successful and famous wine-making regions in Croatia. It is a true oasis of
peace with its vast vineyards, salt and oyster farms, quiet towns, narrow streets
and hidden beaches. We will spend the day sea kayaking to White Beach, a very
special bay which can be reached only by boat or kayak. Its caves and reefs
make it an ideal place for swimming and snorkeling. Overnight on the sailing
Day 12: Sailing, cycling and hiking Elafiti Islands
We set sail for the Elafiti Islands archipelago -- Lopud, Kolocep and Šipan
-- some of Croatia's most beautiful green islands, covered by forests with lots
of sunshine and sandy beaches, free of traffic, and under an hour’s sailing
time from Dubrovnik. If we’re lucky, we’ll be escorted by friendly
dolphins that are often seen in the area. Hiking, kayaking and cycling are among
today’s possible activities. Overnight on the sailing cruiser.
Photo: Hurston Roberts
Sailing - Dubrovnik visit
Today we set sail towards the coast and visit Dubrovnik -- one of the world’s
most beautiful and historic old towns. On our guided tour of Dubrovnik, we’ll
walk around the city walls, visit museums and churches or find a small cafe
and relax. Optionally, you may visit the nearby Lokrum Island during the town's
busy hours. Discover the botanical garden, Benedictine monastery and beaches:
tame bays on the northern and dramatic cliffs on the southern side. Following
a full, eventful day, we travel to Zaton Village where we have our last night's
accommodations on Zaton Bay (resort apartments). If time permits, you can take
one last swim before our farewell dinner.
Day 14: End of trip and airport transfer
Today we say farewell to all our fellow adventurous travelers as we conclude
our “lifetime” Croatian adventure. We transfer to the Dubrovnik
airport for our flights home.
Please keep in mind that this itinerary may be altered due to inclement
weather, trails closed for repair, or for any reason that may affect the safety
of the group.
The trip begins in Zagreb and ends in Dubrovnik. Many airlines service both
airports. The leader will send detailed instructions to trip participants for
arrival and departure.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: Hurston Roberts
From our welcome dinner in Zagreb to our final breakfast in Dubrovnik, all
breakfasts, two lunches, and all dinners are included. On days when lunch is
not included, you may purchase lunch materials for picnic lunches at local grocery
stores. While on the sailing cruiser dinners will be at local village restaurants
ashore. Excluded are alcoholic beverages, extra snacks, and any meals not taken
with the group. It is advisable to bring one or two good water bottles that
can be filled at the hotels. The drinking water in Croatia is excellent. If
you request water in a restaurant you will likely be served bottled water, which
is often very expensive, and those many plastic bottles are an environmental
issue in themselves. Vegetarians can be accommodated on this trip. Please contact
the leader if you have other dietary restrictions.
Our accommodations will be at comfortable hotels, village stays, lodges, and
onboard a sailing cruiser. We spend one night in a small, riverside hotel in
Ljubuški, Bosnia and Herzegovina. We will sleep in two-person rooms with
hot showers and friendly Croatian service. Participants travelling alone will
be assigned a same-sex roommate. Accommodations on the sailing cruiser are cozy,
but will have adequate berthing (no more than two to a cabin) and shower and
toilet facilities. Our experienced Capitan and crew will oversee all sailing
cruiser operations and prepare our breakfasts onboard. Our sailing cruiser will
berth in a marina each evening. Depending on the size and make-up of our group,
a second sailing cruiser may be used for our sailing adventure.
With the exception of your transfer to the hotel in Zagreb, all travel that
we take during the trip as part of our itinerary is included in the trip cost.
Transfer to the airport in Dubrovnik will be provided on the last day of the
trip (morning transfer only). If you elect not to use the airport transfer provided
on the last day, you should plan on obtaining your own transportation to the
airport. Please be aware that we will make every attempt to stay within this
schedule. However, if weather, equipment, or any other condition causes a change
in itinerary, please be flexible and respect the decision of the leader. The
safety of the group is our number one concern.
This trip is for physically active people who are experienced hikers and cyclists.
Hybrid bikes will be used as we’ll travel over dirt/gravel tracks as well
as paved roads. Although a van will be available to pick up cyclists who become
tired, those that are physically prepared for the trip will be rewarded with
a great outdoor experience. The kayaking and rafting events do not require previous
experience; however, it would be helpful for those with no kayaking experience
to get a basic kayaking course before the trip. Hikes will be easy to moderately
strenuous. The trails are generally in good condition, but some will have a
few steep grades up or down, with mixtures of soil, rocks, and roots making
them uneven. The pace will generally be leisurely to moderate. Anyone in good
physical condition who enjoys hiking in the mountains can make the trip, but
pre-conditioning on similar terrain can help you determine if you are comfortable
with the length and type of hiking. Alternatives to our planned activities are
available on some days.
Equipment and Clothing
Photo: Robert Pincevic
Lightweight hiking boots with good ankle support are the preferred footwear
for hiking, since some trails are rocky, "rooty," and occasionally
steep. Hiking sticks may be very useful for the rougher patches.
Croatia has two climates. The interior (Zagreb) temperatures in September will
range from mid 60s to high 70s during the day to low 50s to high 60s at night.
The coast has a typically Mediterranean climate. September still has glorious,
sunny weather with warm temperatures, and the sea will also still be warm enough
for swimming. Expect daytime temperatures from high 70s to low 80s and evening
temperatures in mid 60s. Good quality rain gear can serve as an excellent outer
layer when it rains or is windy.
Bicycles, bike helmets, kayaks, canoes, rafts, paddles, life jackets and snorkel
gear are provided. We will carry day packs with extra clothes, water, and lunch,
along with cameras and minor first aid. Water shoes are recommended for kayaking
and all water activities. You should provide your own personal first-aid kit
for minor needs, which includes such items as band aids, moleskin, insect repellent,
sunscreen, etc. The leader will also carry a more complete first-aid kit for
Upon approval for the trip, the leader will provide a more comprehensive equipment
list to all participants.
The Internet has many great sites describing Croatia, its history, and culture,
Many guides for exploring Croatia can also provide useful information on history,
wildlife, geology, and the Croatian people:
- Mutic, Anja and Iain Stewart, Lonely Planet Croatia (Country Travel
- Kurapovna, Marcia, Shadows on the Mountain: The Allies, the Resistance,
and the Rivalries that Doomed WWII Yugoslavia. 2009.
- Tanner, Marcus, Croatia: A Nation Forged in War; Third Edition.
- Evenden, Karen, A Taste of Croatia. 2007.
- Silber, Laura and Allan Little, Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation.
- Curtis, Benjamin, A Traveller's History of Croatia. 2010.
Photo: Hurston Roberts
Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about conservation
and sustainability of resources, both locally and globally. Our work is accomplished
by volunteers, aided by a salaried staff, encouraging grassroots involvement.
Our outings seek to empower participants toward environmentally understanding
parallel concerns at home and abroad.
The environmental quality of the Croatia is better than that of the European
Union (EU) nations, basically because it has a low level of industrial development.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction
(MEPPPC) and the Croatian Environment Agency (AZO) are the leading environmental
agencies of the country. Industrial pollution is the major cause of environmental
problems in Croatia, as it is in the rest of Eastern Europe.
Croatia’s Sava River Valley contains three bird sanctuaries, two of which
are part of the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park. The floodplain of the Sava River
is extensive, resulting in wetlands that provide a habitat for numerous plant
and animal species. These wetlands are at risk as a result of encroaching agriculture,
drainage and land reclamation, and water pollution.
Croatia protects 6.7 percent of its total land area in parks and other reserves
-- a higher percentage than any of the country’s eastern European neighbors,
yet much lower than many western European countries. Forests make up 32.6 percent
of the country’s land area. Given 95% of natural composition of the forest
stand, Croatia’s forests show a very high level of preservation of natural
structure, which is especially valuable and rare compared to forests of other
European states. Natural rejuvenation of forests is therefore one of the most
important indicators of their naturalness. Industrial air pollution from the
cities causes acid rain that is damaging to the forests.
Croatia is party to treaties concerning air pollution, biodiversity, climate
change, hazardous wastes, marine dumping, and wetlands. As we hike/cycle/kayak
through these magnificent landscapes, we will view Croatia’s balancing
act between "progress" and "conservation" at close quarters.
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
Hurston Roberts loves the outdoors and gets great enjoyment out of sharing mountain splendor, the wilderness and outdoor experiences with others. A Sierra Club trip leader for over 11 years, Hurston also leads Sierra Club international trips in England, Scotland, New Zealand, Vietnam and Nepal. He leads national trips in the Sierra and Hawaii. After living in Hawaii for 24 years and Northern Virginia for 7 years, Hurston recently relocated to Reno, Nevada to be closer to the Sierra.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips