It´s 7 am, a bit too early for me to get up. I need two coffee to get responsive but I am looking forward experiecing the national park Paklenica! Starting from Zadar I am driving about 50 kilometers north of the city to the main entrance in Starigrad. Paklenica is situated in between the highest summits of the Velebit mountains and the coast lines. Since the coffein starts to kick in I am wondering how it is going to be…
It takes about 30 minutes from Zadar to reach the main entrance in the village called Starigrad. The mountains are getting bigger and bigger the closer I am. The white rock faces rising up to the hill (up to 400 meters) lead me to suspect that it is going to be an exausting way – already looking at them makes me sweating… I am buying a ticket (20 kuna for students otherwise 30 kuna) and start my hiking tour. After a few meters not far away from the parking lot I can already see climbers climbing up the white rocks. The first hundret meters are going uphill steeply. The uneven path is made of rough slippery rocks: good shoes are indispensable! Mostly I am watching out where I am going to not to fall. Repeatedly I am making breaks to enjoy my surrounding and the beautiful view.
along the path
After I managed the first hundert meters the path is getting much easier and more comfortable to walk on. I am relieved walking around without being scared of falling. Pine trees and huge rock faces are surrounding me.
The “You are Here” maps are more confusing me than helpful. I just keep on following the main path and avoid the sign leading me to caves (which are probably beautiful… but I´ll just be here for 1 day).
Little waterfalls in between are inviting me to have a rest. Additionally water stations and a restaurant keep me provided along the way.
Two hours are passed. The earlier comfortable way now turns back to be more steep and uneven. More and more green plants start crossing my way. The main path now starts guiding me to free liquor – a typically croatian motivation!
30 minutes later I am arriving at the viewing platform / restaurant Ramica Dvori. From here I can see the way which I was walking the last hours.
The restaurant owner Marijo welcomes me with a big smile and starts offering me the free liquor which he is producing by himself.. even though it is just a offer, it seems to be that there is no way to say no. His restaurant looks a bit like a living room under the sky. You can sit down in a armchair and enjoy the beautiful view over the mountains. If you feel active you can even play botcha for free.
Behind the restaurant is an other white rock face. I am asking Marijo how to get there. He tells me that it is just 10 minutes up the way and shows me the path up to the summit. Even though it is just a few meters higher the view is much more impressive than before! The main feeling that can describe it is freedom! Pure freedom!
The walk back down the hill is much easier and relaxing. All around I can observe climbers and goats hanging on the rocks. It was a wonderful day in Paklenica! For those who have more time should come here for 2 or 3 days and explore the park´s 150 kilometer trail. Anyway it is definately worth coming here and spend a day in between the nature! I´ll come here again for sure! I am looking forward hearing about your experiences in Paklenica! Do you have other impressions?