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Location

Villa Estella location
  • Vodice
  • Croatia

A trip to the Paklenica

A trip to the Paklenica

The area of Paklenica National Park stretches on the littoral slope of South Velebit directly above the settlement of Marasovići, up to the zone of the highest mountain peaks (Vaganski vrh, Babin vrh, Sveto brdo) – between 15°23’ and 15°35’ east geographical longitude and between 44°18’ and 44°25’ north geographical latitude. 

It covers the area of torrent flows of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, and their distinctive canyons carved vertically into the south slopes of Velebit and the broader surrounding area. The relatively small area has an abundance of geomorphological phenomena and forms, diverse flora and fauna, attractive landscapes and intact nature.

DATE OF PROCLAMATION OF THE PROTECTED AREA: 19 October 1949
PROTECTION PROCLAMATION ACT: The Act on Proclamation of Paklenica Forest a National Park (Official Gazette no. 84/49); the Act on Amendments to the Act on Proclamation of Paklenica Forest a National Park (Official Gazette no. 15/97)
AREA: 95 km2
HIGHEST PEAKS: Vaganski vrh 1 757 m, Sveto brdo 1 753 m
INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION: MAB – a biosphere reserve


Hiking
Hiking is the only way to really get to know Paklenica. The Park area contains 150-200 km of trails and paths, from those intended for tourists, leading from Velika Paklenica Canyon to Manita peć cave, Lugarnica forest cottage and the mountain hut, to those intended for mountaineers, leading to the highest peaks of Velebit. The trails in the Park are marked with boards and mountaineering signs.


The most popular trails in Paklenica National Park:

Velika Paklenica – Anića luka -  Lugarnica – Paklenica Mountain Hut 
route difficulty: 1.5/5
walking time: 2 hours
vertical drop: 400 m
Features on the trail: Paklenica mills, Velika Paklenica Canyon, karstic phenomena, stream falls, climbing area, Anića kuk rock, Lugarnica forest cottage, hut in Paklenica at the foot of mountain villages of Parići and Ramići. 


Velika Paklenica – Anića luka – Manita peć 
route difficulty: 2/5
walking time: 1,5 hours
vertical drop: 450 m
Features on the trail: a panoramic view of the cliffs of Anića kuk, Jurasova glavica and Manita peć (Zub od Manite peći), Manita peć cave


Manita peć – Zorin kuk - Vidakov kuk – Tomići – Starigrad 
route difficulty: 4/5
walking time: 3 hours
vertical drop: 300 m
Features on the trail: karstic rock forms, panoramic views, karstic flora and fauna


Circular trail: Reception -  V. Paklenica – Anića luka – Grabove doline – Njive lekine – Mala Paklenica – Seline (or the other way around) 
route difficulty: 4/5
walking time: 6 hours
vertical drop: 650 m
Features on the trail: Velika Paklenica Canyon, black pine and beech woods, Vodarica pit, Kapljarka cave, karstic phenomena, Mala Paklenica Canyon. 


Paklenica Mountain Hut – M. Močila – Crni Vrh (1 110 m) – V. Močila – Njive Lekine – Grabove doline (Jurline) – V. Paklenica. 
route difficulty: 3/5
walking time: 6 hours
vertical drop: 600 m
Features on the trail: karstic phenomena, rural agglomeration, panoramic views, black pine and beech forest communities, flora and fauna.


Paklenica Mountain Hut – Buljma – Struge – Marasovac (1 470 m) 
route difficulty: 2.5/5
walking time: 3,5 hours
vertical drop: 990m
Features on the trail: beech forests, glacial/fluvial deposits, panoramic views, karstic relief, plants and wildlife


Struge – Marasovac – Vaganski vrh (1757 m) – return via Lipa staza 
route difficulty: 3.5/5
walking time: 7 hours
vertical drop: 1250m
Features on the trail: panoramic views, karstic valleys, rocky grounds, meadows in rock grounds


Struge – Marasovac – Vaganski vrh – Sveto brdo 
route difficulty: 2.5/5
walking time: 6 hours
vertical drop: 400 m
Features on the trail: panoramic views, high-mountain meadows, Babino Lake, panoramic views, a dwarf pine community, meadow flora


Paklenica Mountain Hut – Ivine vodice – Sveto Brdo 
route difficulty: 2.5/5
walking time: 6 hours
vertical drop: 1250m
Features on the trail: beech and black pine communities, panoramic views, meadows in rocky grounds, meadow flora, fauna


Climbing

Paklenica National Park is the most visited climbing center in Croatia, also popular outside Croatia. The close proximity of seawater gives this climbing site a special charm, making Paklenica Riviera an ideal place to combine climbing and water sports.

The history of alpinism in Paklenica began way back in 1938 when Dragutin Brahm tried to climb Anića kuk. Unfortunately, he died trying. Two years later, Slavko Brezovečki and Marijan Dragman completed Brahm’ route. After that, Croatian climbers climbed all routes that are now established routes in Paklenica. They are routes such as Mosoraški, Velebitaški, Klin, Funkcija. Since 1970, Slovenian alpinists have visited Pakelnica National Park and have slowly taken the initiative in establishing new routes. 

Today, there are over 360 equipped and improved routes of various difficulty levels and lengths within Paklenica’s climbing sites, so each climber can find to their liking.

The main climbing season begins in spring and goes on until late autumn.


Big Wall Speed Climbing
The Big Wall Speed Climbing is a climbing competition that has taken place in Velika Paklenica canyon since 2000. This is combination of speed climbing and big wall climbing and the first competition of its kind in the world. It comprises a roped alpine ascent following all the normal climbing rules (clipping all the protections, not allowed to climb simultaneously, ascend with alternate leaders, etc.) but in the shortest time possible. 

Numerous famous domestic and foreign climbers participated in this competition.

Along with this unusual climbing discipline Big Wall Climber's Meeting includes numerous lectures, slides and films shows climbing and alpine expeditions, also the outdoor gear fair.


The area of Paklenica National Park has an exceptional diversity of geomorphological forms.

The most attractive and most valuable parts of South Velebit are surely the impressive canyons of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica.

The area of Paklenica National Park is one of the most completely explored areas in Croatia in terms of speleology. 76 speleological objects are known and have been explored in the Park, namely 39 pits and 37 caves.

Paklenica National Park has several permanent or occasional flows and many permanent springs. The permanent springs of high-quality drinking water are Stražbenica, Kontinovo vrilo, Crno vrilo, Velika Močila and Pećica. 

The wealth of flora is reflected in the list of 1,000 plant species and subspecies recorded to date, 79 of them endemic. The great diversity, the presence of relict, endemic, rare, statutorily protected species many of which are included in the Red Book of Plant Species of the Republic of Croatia and the IUNC’s Red List of Endangered Plant Species, make the Park a very valuable floristic area, not just in Croatia, but in Europe and the world as well.

As a rarity, we will highlight the lady slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), one of the most beautiful European orchids, found on a Lika slope on the edge of a beech forest.

The forest phenomenon is one of the main reasons why the South Velebit area was proclaimed a national park.

The diverse habitats in Paklenica and the vertical stratification provide home to a diverse fauna. 

Mirila (Measures)
Mirila (Measures) are sepulchral landmarks alongside the paths and trails of Velebit. They were created between the 17th and the 20th century, and are associated with a sepulchral custom of the local population who had to carry their dead to the cemetery because the church and the cemetery were far away. They consist of a headstone and a footstone, with a paving between them. The length of the deceased was measured and marked with two stone tablets, so the measure was made after the deceased was buried. They were worshipped and visited more than the grave, where “only the body lies, without the soul that remained at the measure”. 

Cube roofs
The features of the area are also reflected in the traditional architectural style – namely, the cube roofs, concrete barrel-shaped roofs that have remained preserved on houses, economic facilities and mills along the stream of Velika Paklenica.


The National Park contains ten villages that are now mostly abandoned:  Bršljanuša, Jasenar, Jurline, Katići, Kneževići, Marasovići (Gornji), Parići, Ramići, Rimenići and Škiljići. A particularly interesting feature is the houses built into semi-faults at Sklopina.


Paklenica Mill  
During the first half of the 19th century, seven water mills were built on Velika Paklenica Creek, from the entrance of today’s National Park to the Paklenica Mountain Hut. These mills are: Donji (Lower) Marasović Mill, Srednji (Mid) Marasović Mill, Gornji (Upper) Šikić Mill, Markov Mill, Katić Mill, Parić Mill and Ramić Mill, with its column still functional today.   


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