37. National park Northern Velebit

DAY 1 : Parking (1520m) – Zavižan mountain hut – Mt. Velika Kosa (1622m)

DAY 2: Zavižan mountain hut – Mt. Mali Rajinac 1699m – Rossi shelter – Mt. Gromovača 1676m – Vučjak

DAY 3: Zavižan mountain hut – Mt. Veliki Zavižan 1676m- Botanical garden

Altitude difference combined of all days: 954m.

When I was a kid we used to go camping each summer to the Krk island. From Baška where we stayed, we had a view towards the Prvič island and a mountain massive on the mainland Croatia, called Velebit. As I mentioned in another post, mountains were always a huge attraction to me. Especially the unknown ones. I was observing the mysterious land of Velebit on quiet evenings, sitting on the beach of camp Bunculuka, dreaming away…

All memories kept rushing back a few days ago, sitting on the top of Mt. Zavižan, one of Northern Velebit peaks, looking down at the island of Krk and the beach where I spent my childhood summers.

After so many years I have finally made it. Velebit. And Croatia just became the 4th country in which we added meters to our 4600 altitude meters challenge.

DAY 1

We arrived at the park with a car via Senj. After the entrance to the park, which is about 30 km from Senj, there is 7 km of white road. At the entrance, you pay the park entrance fee, which is about 5 eur for adults and is valid for 3 days. More info on entrance fees HERE.

Under the Mountain hut Zavižan, there is a big parking space. We arrived in the late afternoon and headed immediately to the Velika kosa peak to see the sunset.

We then descended to Zavižan hut, where we had two sleeping places reserved. (If you plan to go in the summer, make a reservation, it is very busy, especially on weekends)

The hut is simple, they serve some drinks and there is a kitchen available, so you can prepare your own food. The common sleeping space is very comfy, the beds are big and clean and they have their own bed linen, so the sleeping bag is not necessary. There is running water but no showers. The price for a night is 80 – 100 kuna and half for holders of the mountain club cards of some European countries. As members of Slovenian PZS we got 50% off.

We enjoyed the quiet evening and went to bed early, to get some rest before the next day hike.

DAY 2.

We decided to do a full day loop, including two peaks and a portion of the famous Premužič trail.

Our loop marked with green

First, we hiked through the forests towards Mt. Mali Rajinac, which is the highest peak of Northern Velebit with its 1699m. Tha path is very well marked and easy to follow. The fauna is extraordinary and we really enjoyed walking amongst meadows of different colored flowers.

From Mt. Mali Rajinac we descended down to the other side till reaching a wider path which took us to the crossroad for Rossi shelter. It is advisable to check the map for this part, cause there are some crossroads and paths that might be confusing. I actually just took a photo of a map on the parking lot. Once reaching the path leading to the shelter the signs get frequent and easy to see again. We finally ascended above the tree line and the views became wider. Hiking gets absolutely enjoyable there. We could see our whole loop. Where we were and where we are going. Soon we reached the beautiful shelter and I was quite sorry we didn’t bring our stuff for sleeping with us since I would happily stay for the night. We had some very well deserved lunch, so my backpack was lighter for quite a lot of food then.

The best portion of the hike was still ahead though. Premužič trail and mt. Gromovača. The building of this trail dates back into 1930 and it is an incredible pathway in the sheer rock. Worthwhile to visit and observe the special rock formations.

Also a real candy was Mt. Gromovača, just 20 min above the Premužič trail, with a bit of climbing and an amazing view of the Kvarner and its islands. Superb!!! We just couldn’t turn around and leave, even though we were already on our way for more than 7 hours and we still had about two to return to the mountain hut.

We managed to get back soon enough to also enjoy a sunset from Mt. Vučjak which peaks a bit up behind the hut.

DAY 3

We took our last day in the Park easy. After a late breakfast, we started towards Mt. Veliki Zavižan which is only about an hour and a half hike from the hut.

The view was amazing again. All the islands showing off in the blue sparkling sea. We stayed on the top quite a while. Sunny kid was drawing and I was just enjoying the perfect moments up there.

We descended straight to the Botanical garden and tried to get to know the names of some of the beautiful flowers we were meeting on our Velebit hikes. We did. Don’t ask me what they were though… So bad at remembering the names.

We finished the day with a visit to Kuča Velebita. A great museum of Velebit region not far from the National park. We loved it!!!

We recommend visiting the park, for shorter or longer hikes. To families especially. We will certainly be back in the Velebit region too 😉 🙂

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