Zadar region is not just beaches and sea, it can be explored in so many different ways. For example, did you know that in Zadar region there is Velebit, the largest Croatian mountain and by far the largest protected area in the country?
Velebit mountain contains extraordinary natural values and biodiversity which ranks among the most precious natural sites in Croatia. For that reason, the entire mountain, in its full length of about 150 km, has been placed under UNESCO protection as a World Biosphere Reserve.
Jeep safari on Velebit mountain offers a unique chance to ride in off-road vehicles through untouched nature of the mountain.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE DURING JEEP SAFARI?
1. OLD MACADAM ROAD
Jeep safari on Velebit mountain offers a unique opportunity to drive on the old macadam road, so-called The Master Road (“Majstorska cesta” in Croatian), which got its name due to the advanced construction methods used to built the road through rough mountain terrain. According to the legend, the workers complained about the impossible conditions of breaking through the mountain, so the road engineer offered them a measure of gold for the same weight of excavated stone.
The road was opened on 1832 after it was built for entire 11 years and it was the main road that connected the continental Croatia with its coastal part. Today, this is the most beautiful mountain road in Croatia with beautiful panoramic views, visited only by nature lovers.
2. CHURCH OF ST. FRANCIS
Unusual church of St. Francis is situated at the glade, with equal porches on both sides. On one side the porch is facing the mountain and on the other it is facing the sea. Austrian emperor Francis II decided to construct the church in 1832 to commemorate the newly built Master Road. Today it is a popular stop for all photography lovers.
3. BREATHTAKING VIEWPOINTS
During the Jeep tour you will be able to enjoy majestic panoramic views from more than 1.000 m altitude. There are many stops where you will be able to take stunning panoramic photographs of the sea, sharp mountain peaks and green hinterland.
4. WILD HORSES
Wild horses that live on the Velebit mountain are not native wild horses, but are descendants of domestic horses who served in agriculture. Fifty years ago after the mechanization took the place, those horses were left to live wild because there was no longer a need for them.
Today the horses are protected by law, and well known for its peaceful nature as they sometimes approach people in search of food.
Since they live free on the mountain it is never guaranteed that you will meet them, but if you are lucky enough you may spot magnificent wild horses running free.
5. THE MOST ATTRACTIVE MOUNTAIN PEAK – TULOVE GREDE
Tulove grede is unique karst phenomena and one of the most attractive mountain tops that reaches 1.120 m height. The rocky ridges are extremely steep and 1 km long. There are lot of legends connected with this part of Velebit mountain. According to local tradition invisible Velebit fairies lived on the mountain as well as Black Queen, mythical creature who brought misfortune.
During the Jeep tour you will climb to the foothills of this mountain top and enjoy stunning views but don’t forget to take photographs of unusual karst landscape.
6. ZRMANJA CANYON
Zrmanja is a 69 km long river that flows southward from the mountain towards the Adriatic sea through narrow and steep landscape. Few kilometres before it reaches the sea it created its way through magnificent 200 meter deep canyon.
During the Jeep safari you will stop on a platou to admire emerald green river and amazing canyon.
7. WINNETOU FILMING LOCATIONS
During 1960’s in Zadar region were filmed legendary films about the adventures of the Indian chief Winnetou, based on the novels of Karl May. He is a German writer whose travel novels have been translated into about thirty foreign languages and printed in millions of copies. Movies about Winnetou are considered the most watched films of all time in Germany.
During Jeep tour you will visit many famous filming locations that represent wild west. For example, Zrmanja river with its impressive canyon was shown as a Rio Pecos, while the platou above Zrmanja canyon served as a location for Pueblo village. On Velebit mountain were filmed many famous scenes with Winnetou. Movie character Indian chief Winnetou died on Velebit mountain, and after the death of famous actor Pierre Brice who acted main character, his wife spilled its ashes across this mystical mountain. There is a memorial inscription on the mountain dedicated to the Winnetou and Pierre Brice.
TRADITIONAL LUNCH ON A RURAL ESTATE
On a Jeep safari tour you will stop at a traditional rural estate, situated on a mountain isolated from the closest city. There you will discover delicious traditional food that is usually being served in this part of Croatia. From cured meat products to sea food, quality olive oil, cheese and home made bread. Don’t miss the chance to taste traditional sweets “frite” and treat yourself at the end of the day.
FULL DAY JEEP SAFARI
Full day Jeep safari is a 8-hour tour that includes all the locations mentioned in this post and included you have a lunch on a rural estate. The price per person is 91,00 eur. Click here to find detailed itinerary of the tour.
HALF DAY JEEP SAFARI
If you are tight on schedule but still want to experience Velebit mountain, then 5-hour tour is ideal choice. You will still visit Zrmanja canyon and even more you will climb to Velebit mountain peak. However, lunch is not included in the price of this tour. For more details click the link here.