Hiking the Wild Mountains of Croatia
Eva zu Beck
We all know Croatia's beautiful islands, coastline and Game of Thrones vibes. But I had never known that it's also home to some of the most beautiful mountains I've seen in the world: untouched, wild, magical, dropping straight into the sea below. This hike was one of my top discoveries in Europe.
Hiking through Croatian Wild Mountains in 2 days
Get Started at the Zavižan Mountain
For this first part of the trip, I drove my Defender to the Zavižan Mountain Hut. There I prepared all the things I needed for the rest of the adventure.
Today's trek starts at the cute Zavižan Mountain Hut, which is the furthest you can reach with a car. Make sure you climb the low Zavižan peak next to the hut for incredible 360 views, and pack in a solid breakfast before heading out.
The road was beautiful and epic because we were driving up the mountains along the stuning croatian coast. It's something else!
Enjoy 5 Hours of Epic Mountain Views
After a few hours, we arrived to the "mountain parking" where i left my friend in charge of my car. He would drive it to the other side of the trail and he will pick me up there. Then, I took all my things and started hiking the mountain. I started the route in the Zavižan Mountaing and my goal for the day was arriving to Alan Mountain and spend the night. The trail is soupoused to be moderate so I think I would accomplish the goal.
The next five hours took me through some of the most breath-taking mountain scenery I'd ever seen in Europe. Karst peaks flanked by lush green meadows, wildflowers blooming in summer, views of the sea... Follow the trail and enjoy the views!
Stay the Night at the Cozy Alan Mountain Hut
I was exhausted but finally, I arrivied at the mountain hut in Alan mountain. In this hut you can find shelter, water, food and even cold beer.
After arriving to the hut, I made myself a hearty dinner and took some well-deserved rest. But don't be like me and call ahead to make sure you can get a proper bed to overnight in. I had bad luck and they didn't have any space in the standard dormitories, so they kindly let me stay in one spare room with a matress on the floor so I could sleep. It was not ideal but at least I had somewhere to stay.
Pro tip: 100m away from the hut, you'll find a meadow with the most epic views of the sun setting over the Adriatic Sea. Don't miss the spectacle!
Enjoy an Early Breakfast and Coffee in Nature
After a good night of sleep, the second day I woke up early and I ate breakfast. I recommend you to order in the hut a breakfast of scrambled eggs and coffee. It's also a good idea to check your route for the rest of the day.
I find mornings really important to just sit down, re-calibrate, and get myself ready for the day - especially when a lot of walking and navigating is going to be involved. You can also take the opportunity to wash yourself a little, put on some sun cream and finish planning the day.
Set off on Today's Hike and Swing By Ograđenik Peak
After planing the day, I realised I already wished I'd opted for the full 3-day version of the trek! I wanted to see as much as possible of this beautiful region. Today's hike will take you down soft meadows, up rocky peaks and through dense forests. It's amazing how in almost 5 hours of hiking I had not seen anyone, not a single soul. I was surprised because the landscape was beautiful and I really thought it would be more people around. Apparently, most people go to the Croatian coast, not the mountains.
Please don't miss out on a couple of the detours! You can leave the main trail here and there to visit the nearby peaks, like Ograđenik.
You're Done! Celebrate by Taking a Dip in the Sea!
I finally arrived at the coast after 25km or more of hiking that day (it was a long one!) I was supposed to meet my friend at the coast and he would pick me up with the car. I was super happy when we finally met.
My dream was to do the hike so that I could jump into the beautiful sea off of Croatia's coast at the end of it. And my dream came true! A dip in the sea never felt so good. It was the perfect ending for the hike.
Before you travel
- Pack light! The luxury of doing an overnight hike is that you really don't need to carry much stuff with you. For toiletries a toothbrush, toothpaste and sunscreen will do! And if you're planning to stay in a mountain hut with a restaurant, you don't even need to bring much food beyond basic snacks, like energy bars, nuts and dried fruits.
- A set of up-to-date Croatia maps will be your best friends in case you're not sure which way to go. The trail is very well-marked, but it's good to have a back-up. You can get paper maps in outdoor shops across Croatia, and use almost any hiking app to get a detailed map right on your smartphone.
- Make sure you check the weather forecast before heading into the mountains. And remember that out there the conditions can change pretty quickly. Even if the skies are looking clear, bring a rain jacket in case of showers.