Croatia’s Best Hiking Spots: When to Visit and Essential Tips

A photo of Croatian hiking trails, a horse in the forest and text "hiking in Croatia,"

Hiking is a popular activity in Croatia and each year more and more tourists take on hiking itineraries around Croatia to experience the intact, jaw-dropping nature and burn some calories.

Croatia has a nice variety of hiking trails that are suited both for experienced hikers not afraid of a challenge and for those who want to take it slowly and enjoy nature.

I love to hike and I usually go for a hike with my friends at the end of the week somewhere in Croatia.

I’ll use just a fraction of the beautiful hiking spots in Croatia to illustrate a story in your mind, so you know what you can expect when you come to hike in Croatia.

These are also my favorite hiking spots!

Dinara (North Croatia) – The Most Challenging Hike

Dinara, the mountain that’s been used by generations of Croatians as a symbol of strong Croatian hearts and warrior mentality due to its notoriously challenging paths is exactly that, the hardest mountain to hike in the region!

Hike the famous Troglav peak at 1913 m above sea level and conquer the highest Croatian mountain if you dare.

Dinara is one of those epic mountains with low temperatures at the summit, but summer hikes are the worst inexperienced hikers’ nightmare, so being prepared is essential.

The mountain is not inhibited as life is hard up there, but you can still encounter occasional mammals and interesting fauna that grow in the merciless mountain lands.

This is definitely a great hike for experienced hikers, but my advice is to avoid going there during the summer as the heat becomes intolerable the higher you go. After all, you know what you get when you combine the sun’s rays and the big, naked rocks, an oven!

( za fotografije

Northern Velebit

Northern Velebit is the epitome of a big, rich mountain that offers a piece of everything to everyone.

Whether you are looking for an easy-to-moderate hike, exploring the wildlife and botanic gardens, enjoying the views over the Adriatic coast from the top of the peaks, or are looking for a real hiking challenge, you’ll find it on Northern Velebit.

I have recently been on a hike on Northern Velebit with friends, so you can watch the video where I shared a short story about this magnificent mountain and our hiking experience.

I loved hiking on Premužić Trail and it helped me overcome my fear of heights, enjoyed the view from Veliki Zavižan, and spent a night at Rossi’s hut. However, when we climbed the Balinovac peak I felt quite out of breath and the sun didn’t help.

Northern Velebit has multiple peaks you can reach for an achievement and take a stamp at the top to add to the collection of the peaks you conquered! The highest peak in the mountain is Mali Rajinac at 1699 m.

You can find hiking tours for Northern Velebit which are suited both for hours-long tours and days-long tours.

Mount Srđ (Dubrovnik)

Mount Srđ is the iconic mountain above Dubrovnik, and the chances are 100% that you have seen it if you ever looked for pictures of Dubrovnik, as no tourists feel complete unless they visit this spot.

People usually take a cable car or drive to the mountain to take amazing photos and brag about a great time on social media, but if you want to hike then starting from the Old Town is the best way as it will take you nearly 2 hours to get up and you’ll see plenty of things worth seeing in Dubrovnik along the way.

We are talking about the old villages and buildings beautifully merged with the Dalmatian vegetation and fresh air along the way.

You can also visit the popular Museum of Croatian Independence located at Srđ, the symbol of the defense of Dubrovnik, and learn about Croatian history.

NP Učka Mountain (Istria)

The big Učka Mountain is the first thing you see when you enter Istria from the direction of Rijeka.

This mountain covers almost 150 square kilometers and its peaks serve as the best view sights in Istria with the highest peak, Vojak at 1396 m.

Učka Nature Park will amaze you with its impressive flora and fauna, while there are both beginner hiking trails and challenging trails for more experienced hikers.

If you are aiming for Vojak, you can take on a Plas Hiking Trail that’s approximately 300 meters below Vojak and it takes a couple of hours to beat its 2 kilometers of peaceful, barely challenging path.

However, my favorite hiking trail on Učka is the Perun Hiking Trail, named after the famous Slavic God of Thunder. You’ll experience what it was like for the first Slavic settlers to conquer the area and leave a significant mark in history.

It’s not the easiest trail, as it’s 15 kilometers long which takes 6 hours to beat, but it’s worth it!

Moreover, one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Istria located on Ucka Mountain is the Vela Draga Hiking Trail which will make you experience the beauties of the mountain in its true colors with its 1.6 kilometers path which can be beaten in just 30 minutes.

Finally, Sapaćica Hiking Trail is the place you’d take your family along the 6.5-kilometer-long trail you can finish in a couple of hours. The area is the least demanding of trails mentioned in the article and is ideal for children!

The Trail of 7 Waterfalls (Istria)

If you are looking for a simple hike that won’t burn too many calories and squeeze the life force out of your muscles, the trail of 7 waterfalls is a great choice.

This simple trail starts in Buzet and will take you through lush vegetation and medieval villages, and what makes it unique are lovely Istrian waterfalls you’ll able to experience as long as it’s not a dry season.

This is among the best trails in this part of Croatia for a peaceful walk through magical nature that will take 5 hours to finish.

Via Adriatic Trail (Best Multi-day Hike)

One coast, a hundred peaks, and 1.100 kilometers of trail that take almost 70 days to finish is the epitome of a hiking trail for the most experienced hikers.

The trail starts at Cape Kamenjak in Pula and ends in Rt Oštro, Prevlaka which is near the border of Montenegro.

I think that it would be pointless for me to try to explain this trail as it would take an entire article to talk about it, so you’ll have to imagine what it’s like to pass the entire coastline of Croatia and at one point in Dalmatia hike Dinara at 1.831 m.

Of course, you can jump in at any point just as you can jump off, so there are plenty of trail parts that are beginner-friendly, but come on, I believe in you, when was the last time you walked the entire country?

Via Adriatic Trail map

Medvednica, (Zagreb)

Medvednica Nature Park is the finest place near Zagreb for those keen on hiking as the mountain has 70 excellent trails for all fitness levels.

The mountain is covered in lush forest that counts numerous vegetation species and while the dense oak, chestnut, pine, and beech trees create a true spectacle under which you can find shades, there’s plenty of space where you can enjoy cozy sun rays.

If you are like me and love the feeling of losing yourself in the forest for a couple of hours (not literally, the trails aren’t confusing), and if activities such as exploring the ruins of the medieval town of Medvedgrad, caves, old mine shafts, waterfalls, and old villages and churches sound interesting to you, this is the right mountain for you!

After a hike, you can visit the mountain lodges around the summit where you can rejuvenate yourself with a classic specialty such as bean soup with sausages and a strudel made from local apples and cottage cheese.

Samoborsko i Žumberačko Gorje (Samobor, near Zagreb)

Žumberačko Gorje serves as the natural border between Croatia and Slovenia with the highest peak St. Gera at 1178 m, and in its northern region, Samoborsko Gorje with the highest peak Japetić at 880 m.

The area is rich with historical findings, and you’ll see proud ruins of medieval towns Tuščak, Žumberak old town, and Okić, the oldest fortress in Croatia from which we have the documents that it existed in 1193 and successfully denied the invaders from Mongols to Ottoman empire.

Trails such as Kneževa, a 4.2 km long education trail are made for those with a strong interest in culture and the past, but there are 347 km of hiking trails that will test all fitness levels.

While writing this I got a sudden urge to go back to Žumberak and explore the various trails the park hides inside its lush beech forest, so maybe I’ll see you there.


Where once was the majestic Pannonian Sea, the ancient European lake a few million years ago, now the beautiful land of Slavonia stands with the mountain Papuk with its peak of 953 m above sea level.

Slavonia is very different from the rest of Croatia, its lands are predominantly flat, rockless, and full of beautiful forests, landscapes, and wildlife.

Papuk is culturally rich, so you will have an opportunity to study the Neolithic culture during a visit to the old settlements above Potočani or hear the tales of the warriors of the Iron Age whose cultural presence was documented by multiple findings such as armor and weapons.

In short, as you hike through intact nature you’ll be constantly passing near archeological sites, and the trails combined are 200 km long, with Lapjak-Jankovac Mountain Lodge being a 15.6 km difficult trail full of constant ascending which takes almost 6 hours to beat and some easier for those who like to step down the game and just enjoy the mesmerizing beauties of the mountain.

Klek (Ogulin)

With a peak at 1181 m Klek stands above Ogulin city and it’s home to legends and mysteries that still occupy the minds of Croatians and passing travelers.

According to the legend Klek was formed after a war between giants and gods.

A giant Klek went against the will of a god named Volos when the giant noticed the unfair treatment as gods kept all the finest food and booze for themselves. Volos turned the parts of the mountain into rocks with his magical sword and petrified and entrapped him into the same rocks.

For the story to be even cooler, beneath the mountain runs the river Dobra and it’s believed that the river runs from the petrified giant’s veins.

Now, this is a legend, and the claim the giant made about his return that shall come one day when he’ll have the ultimate revenge might not be considered serious by modern people.

Yet, Klek’s witches are said to run occult rituals on stormy nights in the Klek mountain and this has been confirmed by numerous eyewitnesses from the nearby city of Ogulin whose stories spread to the rest of Croatia.

It could be that those women pranked the citizens of Ogulin, but some people have a theory that the witches are trying to wake the giant from the rocks as prophesized.

From Klek you’ll have an amazing view of Ogulin, Bjelolasica, Klečice rocks, and the lake Sabljaci.

Klek is a great mountain for beginners as there aren’t many surprises on a hike, but it can still provide moderate exercise to experienced climbers.

So, hike up and report back to me what you discover about the great mystery of witches and the occult because I want to know whether the rumors are true or not!

Risnjak (Gorski kotar)

Risnjak, named after Ris (eng. lynx) is a magnificent national park with a 1528 m peak named Veliki Risnjak.

Risnjak is home to rich wildlife as it’s placed in the area that connects the Alps and the Dinarides and thus it played an important role in the migration of many species that begin their journey from the Alps to the southeast.

For that reason, it’s not unusual that Risnjak is home to wolves, bears, and lynxes, an astonishing 1148 species of flora, many birds, lizards, and insects and there’s even an entire area known for being home to a swarm of exotic butterflies.

If you spot a lynx there, consider yourself extremely lucky as most experienced hunters only spot a lynx once in a lifetime if ever!

My friend somehow has incredible luck as he claims that he spotted a lynx twice and he’s 27 years old.

From the top, you’ll have the most beautiful view of Kvarner Bay, Kamniške i Julijske Alps, Klel, Bjelolasica, Velebit, and beautiful Slovenian Snežnik.

Bijele i Samarske Stijene (Gorski kotar)

Bijele I Samarske Stijene is an interesting hike because these huge tall rocks can go beyond 50 meters into the sky, and between the rocks, you’ll find deep abysses that are jaw-dropping.

The fact that Bijele i Smarakse Stijene is the only area in Croatia besides Hajdučki i Rožanski kukovi in Velebit which is protected as a strict nature reserve, speaks of its intact nature and importance.

There are two peaks 1355 m at Bijele and 1302 m at Samarske stijene.

Beneath the peaks, you’ll find a lovely log cabin placed in a hole inside the rock, which is such a unique feature.

To reach Bijele i Samarske Stijene you’ll follow the road that’s right next to Matic Poljana where you should go first to see the rocks on the land that are monuments from WW2.

These monuments tell the sad story of 26 frozen partisan soldiers who passed away in a cold February in 1944.

Since I was a child, every time I visited it, I took a walk through Matic Poljana thinking about what the area looked like back in the days of WW2 and how soldiers prepared for battles that would inevitably take their lives.

Snježnik (Gorski kotar)

Northwest from Risnjak, at 1506 m stands proud Snježnik peak and it offers a good amount of workout for those not afraid to reach the very top of the peak.

Hiking up to Snježnik is a beautiful adventure because you first have to pass through flower meadows and lush forests rich with spruce trees before you get to the big green fields covered with rocks and bushes that lead to the peak.

At the top of Snježnik are big rocks and an abandoned mountain hut above which you’ll experience beautiful view sights in all 4 directions.

In Croatian, Snježnik could translate to Snowpeak and as the name says, it’s normal for the peak to be covered in snow even in autumn.

The last time I visited it with a friend it was super foggy, so unfortunately you can’t see much but I’ll still share the video for the spooky vibes.

Best Croatian islands for hiking

Every accessible, populated Croatian island has trails you can hike and most of them are beautiful, so if you like the islands you won’t be disappointed.

Just bear in mind that having a car on bigger islands such as Cres and Krk is suggested, as you can drive, park somewhere, and continue on foot.

You can find more about navigating Croatian islands in our separate article, so you can also plan an itinerary, but now let me name the islands with the best hiking trails.

Vidova Gora (Brač)

Vidova Gora on Brač is a fantastic island hiking spot with the highest peak found on Croatian islands, 780 meters above the sea.

The view from Vidova Gora is different than any view from the mountains as wherever you look, the sea surrounds you which adds to the wow factor, and the views such as over Zlatni rat, the famous sand beach will make you want to spend a couple of hours before getting down.

While the hiking trail is nicely organized, it’s difficult to hike due to the harsh, rocky terrain leading up to the peak.

If you visit Vidova Gora, don’t hurry, take your time to slowly get up and visit Zmajeva špilja (Dragon’s Cave) and the monastery built in 1551. where you’ll witness the times of medieval hermits and monks who settled on the island a long time ago and left more than 10,000 old books, documents, maps, and more.

Telašćica (Dugi Otok)

Telšćica is one of the candidates for the best hiking spots on Croatian islands, as its beauty is something almost out of this world.

Telašćica became a Nature Park in 1988. and in my opinion, this is a must-see for all who want to experience the best of Croatian sea beauties during a peaceful hike and continually explore new viewpoints that could be used to depict the idyllic landscapes in most prestige movies.

Every hiking trail on Telašćica is beginner-friendly, except the “Svjetionik Veli Rat – Uvala Mir” trail, but that’s only due to its 100.6 km length that lets you explore the entire island from the top to the bottom.

If you are not looking for a challenging hike, you want that moment of wow, and like the sea, Telašćica Nature Park will give you the finest hiking experience on Croatian islands.

What is the best time of year to hike in Croatia?

The end of the summer and early autumn (September and October) is the best time of year to hike in Croatia as it’s not hot but it’s neither cold and the sun isn’t as strong as it is during the summer.

However, for people who don’t mind hot or cold weather, summer and winter hikes might be a better choice for a hike. In the end, it’s all about preferences.


In Croatia, spring is very similar to summer as the only difference is the vegetation that just starts to bloom, and the temperatures are only slightly lower. For instance, temperatures can already be above 30°C in May, but early spring is a great time for avoiding extreme heat and enjoying the blooming vegetation on a hike.


During summer, early mornings and late afternoons are great times for hiking Croatian mountains as the heat is tolerable and the sun isn’t strong.

The higher you go from the sea level, the fresher it is as the temperature significantly drops and there are many forested areas that protect you from the harsh sun rays.

For instance, Croatia is hot during summer and temperatures are usually between 30°C  and 37°C ( 86°F and 98.6°F) at sea level, however, when you climb to the mountain the temperature can drop for more than 10°C.

So, summer is a great time of the year to go hiking in Croatia if you prefer warm weather, the lack of rain, and lively vegetation.


Autumn is beautiful in Croatia and it’s a great time to make a visit.

Some people (including me) prefer colder weather and weaker sun for hiking and some Croatian mountains and peaks are notorious for being rocky, treeless, and with harsh sun that awaits you at every corner.

For instance, the highest Croatian peak Dinara at 1831m is one huge rock ideal for those looking for a hiking challenge or climbing the rocks.

During the summer the sun is so strong, and the heat multiplies because the rocks get hot and emit the heat, making it one of the most difficult mountains to climb during the summer.

Hahlić Peak near Rijeka, is also notorious for hiking during summer as you simply can’t escape the sun, making it a known autumn/winter hiking trail in Croatia.


Winter brings new challenges for those who are looking for an idyllic winter experience.

Croatia is beautiful in winter when the white attire enriches the hiking trails that offer magnificent views of the surroundings.

Average temperatures in the coastal region are usually between 5 to 10°C, in mountainous regions between -10 and 0°C, and between -5 and 5°C in continental Croatia.

As you can see, winters in Croatia aren’t as harsh as in many other countries, and only from time to time does the weather get affected by the cold front which freezes the country for a few days.

Whether you are looking to hike in deep snow and reach the peak and then rest in a mountain lodge drinking mulled wine, or take a peaceful walk into Plitvice Lakes and witness the waterfalls that appear frozen in time, Croatia is worth experiencing in the winter season.

Tips for hiking in Croatia

  1. Weather Variability: Croatia’s weather can be unpredictable, so check the forecast before your hike and be prepared for sudden changes in conditions.
  2. Heat and Sun: During the summer, temperatures can soar, so wear sunscreen, and a hat, and stay hydrated to avoid heat-related illnesses.
  3. Wildlife: While wildlife encounters are generally rare, it’s a good idea to be aware of snakes, ticks, and insects in certain areas. Wear appropriate clothing and take precautions against insect bites. You can read more about the dangerous animals in Croatia to be prepared!
  4. Steep Terrain: Many hiking trails in Croatia can be steep and challenging. Ensure you have proper footwear and be cautious on rocky terrain.
  5. Cliffs and Heights: Some trails feature cliffs and heights. Pay attention to signs and stay on marked paths to avoid accidents.
  6. Water Sources: In some areas, water sources may be scarce. Plan your hikes with adequate water supply or purification methods. Not carrying enough water is the biggest mistake inexperienced hikers make, so in summer don’t go on a 3-5 hour hike without at least 3 liters of water per person.
  7. Navigation: Carry a map, GPS, or a hiking app, as some trails may be poorly marked. It’s easy to get lost, especially in remote areas.
  8. Cultural Respect: Croatia has a rich cultural heritage. Respect local customs, private property, and sacred sites you may encounter during your hike.
  9. Trail Research: Do your research on the trail you plan to hike. Check trail conditions, difficulty levels, and any recent closures.
  10. Local Knowledge: Seek advice from locals or experienced hikers for insights on the best trails and current conditions.
  11. Hiking Permits: Some national parks or protected areas may require permits. Check in advance and obtain the necessary permits.
  12. Emergency Contacts: Save emergency numbers in your phone and inform someone of your hiking plans, including your expected return time.
  13. Proper Gear: Ensure you have suitable hiking gear, including sturdy footwear, appropriate clothing layers, and a first-aid kit.
  14. Leave No Trace: Follow the Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash and minimizing your impact on the environment.
  15. Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid feeding animals.
  16. Language: Learn some basic Croatian phrases or have a translation app handy, as not everyone may speak English in remote areas.
  17. Currency: Carry some local currency, as not all places may accept cards in rural areas.
  18. Safety in Numbers: If possible, hike with a companion or join a guided group for added safety.

Remember that safety should be your top priority when hiking in Croatia. By being well-prepared and aware of potential dangers, you can have a rewarding and enjoyable hiking experience and leave with good memories in mind!


Dino is a local who has spent 27 years of his life in Croatia. He's here to provide you with useful information and some local guidance.

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