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Paklenica National Park: what to see and things to do

Paklenica National Park is part of Velebit, the longest mountain in Croatia. This national park is only 1 hour drive from Zadar (2 hours from Split and 3 hours from Zagreb). Paklenica was protected as a national park in 1949, and in 2017 the beech forests of the park were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Special charm of this national park is given by the vicinity of the sea and the coast, so visitors of park enjoy the unique surroundings of the Velebit mountain, but also the breathtaking viewpoints of the coastline.

Read our guide and check what to visit and what to do in the Paklenica National Park.

WHAT TO VISIT IN PAKLENICA NATIONAL PARK?

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Etno house and tavern Marasović is located within the Paklenica National Park and is a protected  as cultural asset of the Republic of Croatia. The traditional architecture of the ethno house Marasović testifies to the art of stone carving in this area and is open to visitors during the tourist season.

A 19th century mill that has been renovated and is open to visitors. In the past, 13 mills were built along the stream in the Paklenica National Park, but today mills do not operate anymore. Yet near entrance 1 there is a mill which is renovated and open for visits during the season.

Paklarić Lookout is one of the many lookouts within the park. It is a great choice for those who want to enjoy the view of the sea. The lookout is located at a height of 121 m and is easily accessible if you follow the path from entrance 1.

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Two canyons, the canyon of Velika and Mala Paklenica. Velika Paklenica is 14.5 km long, and its most famous phenomenon is Anića kuk, a rock that reaches up to 400 m in height. The canyon of Mala Paklenica is known for its “wilderness” and untouched nature, as well as the stream Mala Paklenica, which dries up in the lower part of the canyon.

Visitor’s center “Underground city of Paklenica” is located in the canyon of Velika Paklenica, only 5 minutes walk from the main parking lot. The complex of underground tunnels, excavated at the foot of a 400 m high cliff, is also popularly called “Bunkers”, and was built in strict secrecy during the 1950s. Today, they have been converted into a multimedia hall and exhibition space, a souvenir shop and a coffee bar.

Manita cave is the only cave in the area of the national park that is open for visits. Since the cave is  only open for a few hours a day, you need to plan your visit to the park in advance and set off early enough. The climb to the cave takes a 1.5 hour walk from the main car park. At the entrance to the cave you will be greeted by a guide who will take you on a 30-minute tour. You have to pay to enter the cave, and tickets can be purchased in front of the cave.

Mountain lodge is 6 km from the main parking lot. It will take you about 2 hours to walk to the lodge. Here you can treat yourself with the tea, Turkish coffee or a refreshing drink. You can even order a meal that is on offer that day (often it is beans with sausage).

THINGS TO DO IN PAKLENICA NATIONAL PARK

Walking in the Paklenica National Park is the best way to really get to know the park. In the area of the park there are 150-200 km of trails and paths, of different difficulty, from tourist to hiking trails. Choose the route that suits you best and spend the day in beautiful nature.

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Hiking in the park through more than 150 km of hiking trails and 14 peaks above 1700 m altitude. The highest peak of the Paklenica National Park is Vaganski vrh (1757 m), which is also the highest peak of the Velebit mountain. Besides this, you can visit other mountain peaks and enjoy the view from the most beautiful viewpoints overlooking the entire archipelago of the central Adriatic and the Velebit mountain range.

Rock climbing in the canyon of Velika Paklenica, the most famous climbing area in Croatia and one of the most famous climbing areas in Europe is a special treat for climbers. More than 500 climbing routes of various weights and directions have been arranged on the 400 m high rock.

Take photos of old beech forests, mountain meadows, vertical cliffs of the canyon, a stream and an old mill and enjoy numerous lookouts.

Wildlife experience for nature lovers because over 1000 plant species have been recorded in Paklenica, of which more than 80 are endemic species and 59 species of mammals.

If you want to explore the Paklenica National Park with the guidance of an experienced guide, then the best option for you is a trip to the Paklenica National Park.

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