Hiking Croatia – Coast
Croatia, a less mountainous country than it’s northern neighbour, yet blessed with a long coastline and the beautiful Adriatic sea, dotted with 1000+ islands. Yet in Croatia, the mountains and the sea are never far apart. Here mountains actually play an important role weather wise, as they represent the natural divide between the coastal and continental climate. The high mountain ridge of Velebit offers the perfect setting for the famous strong bora wind, which cools down the temperatures. There’s nothing better than a cool breeze during the hot summer months and locals strongly believe that it can lift up ones mood. On the contrary, they blame the jugo (the southern wind) for their laziness. 🙂
Hiking in Croatia is far from being widely spread as in neighbouring Slovenia. The southern you go, the summer sun feels hotter and the high temperatures are forcing you to take things slower. And in the far south, in Dalmatia, is where this is obvious the most. People there would joke that you’ll see them running only if their house is on fire. Yet if we consider that geography and climate also partly shape our mentality, it is no wonder that this is the case. You start to understand the state of mind that is prevailing on the coast and in the islands during hot summers. Its called fijaka. We found it best described on K. Vukovič*, who said: »Fjaka is a sublime state in which a human aspires for nothing. Fjaka is something that can’t be learned; in Dalmatia, it’s considered a gift from God. And one must experience it to awaken its meaning.«
Where to hike in Croatia?
When speaking about hiking in Croatia, the places you’ll probably hear about are Risnjak National Park, Učka Mountain, Northern Velebit and of course Paklenica National Park (rock climbing heaven).
Croatia has incredible hiking trails on the mainland, yet the majority of visitors head to the coast. The coastal side definitely steals all the show, so it’s no wonder that in the last decade it rapidly gained popularity. You might want to spend a day at the beach, but expect to have company, as plenty of them are packed with tourists. The good news is, that eating lots of gelato and getting tanned is on the to do list for 90% of the arrivals, which leaves you to have hiking trails almost completely to yourself.
Amazing hikes can be found on the islands and the best part is, that hikes will always offer vistas of the blue Adriatic sea. Those trails were in use for centuries by islanders, who needed to reach their lavender fields on one side and the town market on the other. But since the roads were built and arrival of cars (which arrived relatively late in Croatia) those trails are almost deserted, yet not forgotten.
On our Dalmatia explorer tour we walk through deserted old villages on Hvar island, we hike up to an ancient monastery on Brac island and visit the famous Stone walls, to mention just a few.
When to go hiking on Croatian coast?
The trails are most welcoming in May and June, when you can find flowers in blossom. Lavender and rosemary are the scents prevailing throughout the coastal areas. Early Autumn (September and October) is also a great time to hike, as the temperatures are mild. That’s also a perfect time to taste various fruits –mandarins, pomegranates and figs, which locals normally air dry in September.
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