Croatia's diverse geography includes spectacular mountains and 1,800km of coastline, with plenty of opportunities for hiking. Although the country's peaks may only reach 2,000m, the landscapes are varied and beautiful enough to appeal to hikers of all abilities, with many shorter trails for families. Our guide to hiking in Croatia lets you take a walk on the wild side. Here are some of the best routes to explore on your trip.
Ucka MountainTowering over the Istrian Peninsula, Ucka Mountain is one of the country's most spectacular mountain ranges. The lush green forests are packed with chestnut trees, while Vojak, the highest peak, provides stunning views over the Julian Alps, Istria and the surrounding Adriatic Islands. With routes here ranging from an hour's stroll to a lace-up-your-boots nine-hour trek, there's plenty to suit all abilities.
Plitvice Lakes National ParkOne of Croatia's most beautiful national parks, Plitvice is a popular choice for families thanks to its easy circular walking route that's ideal for beginners. When it comes to hiking in Croatia, this is one location you can't afford to miss. There are plenty of more challenging options too, with trails ranging from 3km to 18km in length. Most routes involve a stop-off at Veliki Slap (Great Waterfall), with many including a boat trip on the Kozjak Lake. The longest trail (K) takes you around the whole park, while Trail A is a great option for families, taking you to part of the Lower Lakes and the Great Waterfall. Trail B is ideal if you're bringing slightly older children with you on a day out. It's a little longer and includes a boat trip and short train ride. It's almost impossible to get lost here, thanks to the well-marked routes and maps along the way.
Risnjak National ParkYou'll find Risnjak where the Alps and Balkans intersect, and its lush landscape of dense pine forests, mountains and meadows makes it popular with hikers. Experienced trekkers may relish the challenge of climbing Veliki Risnjak, which reaches 1,528 metres at its peak. While you're here, watch out for deer, wolves and brown bears.
Northern VelebitCroatia's longest mountain at 140km in length, Northern Velebit is a must if you're hiking in Croatia. Popular with experienced hikers looking to escape the crowds, this mountain range is home to wolves, bears, eagles and vultures. Hiking the ridge along the Premuzic Path takes just over a week, but there are also shorter walks that take between 3 and 4 hours.
Medvednica MountainMedvednica nature park lies just outside Zagreb and is a popular walking spot for locals. There are plenty of easy and more challenging trails to follow, with the hike to the peak of Sljeme Hill one of the most popular (taking around two hours). While you're here, don't miss the opportunity to check out Veternica Cave, home to resident bats, and the Stone Waterfall. You can book a guided tour if you're planning on spending the day exploring. Have you been hiking in Croatia? Tell us about your favourite routes in the comments below.