Global Adventure - Dayhike and Explore Croatia’s Seacoast, Islands and Mountain Parks


Global Adventure - Dayhike and Explore Croatia’s Seacoast, Islands and Mountain Parks

This 15-day hotel-based day-hiking adventure (55 miles, 13,000 feet of gain) samples nearly the full north-to-south expanse of this dramatic sun-drenched Balkan country, including day-hikes in three National Parks and on two islands, a unique white-truffle hunt with a specially trained dog on the Istrian peninsula with a home-cooked lunch from what we find, and explorations of three spectacular walled cities with Roman or earlier roots and modern amenities. We’ll be in nice hotels with private bath every night, with all breakfasts and two dinners (welcome and farewell dinners) included. Trails can be very rugged and steep, between 3 and 10 miles and up to 2500 feet of gain each day, so experience on rugged trails, good balance, sound joints and fitness are very important. The trip will not be guided, so we’ll all need to be responsible for navigating roads and trails, but trails are well marked and we will have a driver accompanying us nearly every day. This trip is a perfect complement to our hut-to-hut hiking adventure in Slovenia scheduled for immediately before the Croatia adventure, with easy train transport from Ljubljana to Zagreb, so consider registering for both! NOTE: The member fee given is for the 50% final payment - see the Leader Notes below for more details.

  • Sat, Sep 23, 2023 — Fri, Oct 6, 2023
  • Global Adventures Committee
  • Global Adventures, Day Hiking
  • Adults
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 55.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 16,400 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,600 ft
  • Pace: 2.0

We’ll meet at our hotel in Zagreb Croatia on 22 September 2023 for a group dinner (if flight/train times allow, please try to arrive by no later than mid-afternoon).  Our driver will pick us up there early the next morning and stay with us through 30 Sept (transporting us to and from trailheads and lodgings).  From there we’ll take ferries to and between Korčula, Hvar, Mljet and Dubrovnik and get around on our own or by taxi.  Participants should arrange departures from Dubrovnik airport no earlier than the morning of 6 October, though we can help arrange an extended stay in Dubrovnik after the end of the main trip.

NOTE:  This trip is a perfect complement to Amalija Kopac's Slovenia hut-to-hut adventure immediately before this one, with easy transport between them.  Check  out that trip at this link!

Itinerary Highlights:   

This adventure hits the highlights of Croatia from north to south, with a focus on some of the best hiking areas as well as a sampling of historic towns, unique culture, and iconic sun-soaked islands!

We’ll start in the capitol city of Zagreb near the Slovenian border – a modern capitol with Roman roots back to 1450AD.  Fly in or take a train here to meet the group, and then enjoy a day to explore Zagreb and accommodate any flight or baggage delays.  From there we’ll be transported by our dedicated driver and van to experience:

  • Two nights in a hill town in Istria, with a hike between two picturesque hill towns and a truffle hunt and lunch with a hunter and his specially trained dog, during the peak of the local white truffle season!
  • A hike to a 1401m summit in Učka Nature Park, with a spectacular view of the Istrian peninsula, bays and islands
  • A point to point hike along an iconic section of the remote, high Premužića trail in Velebit National Park
  • A loop hike around Plitvice Lakes, the heart of one of the country’s most iconic National Parks, with wooden walkways meandering between 16 interconnected turquoise, blue and grey lakes and dozens of waterfalls.
  • A stout, view-rich hike in Paklenica National Park, known for its steep cliffs, gorges and ridges with stunning views, plus a multitude of unique plants, animals and birds!
  • A hike along the Krupa River to its junction with the Zrmanja river, along a spectacular canyon complete with magnificent waterfalls in what is now the Velebit National Park. 
  • Two days on picturesque Hvar island, with a hike to its summit (360 views!) and a day to explore on our own, including options to hike, kayak, sail or just bask on the beach!
  • A day on our own to explore Korčula island, one of Dalmatia’s most relaxing getaways, scattered with small villages and hamlets filled with centuries-old stone buildings, interspersed with gorgeous beaches. We may seek out bikes (on our own) to ride through its vinyards and farmlands (and catch a wine, olive oil or honey tasting along the way!)
  • A day on Mljet island in the self-named Nature Park, to visit and hike between its two salt lakes (one with a monastery in its center!) with panoramic high views.
  • Time to visit and explore the ancient walled cities of Split and Dubrovnik.

Our adventure will end in Dubrovnik with two days to explore deep into the walled city and/or to take on adventures on your own to other neighboring islands.  After a farewell dinner, we’ll bid our goodbyes and spend a last night in a hotel in town, after which we’ll be transferred to the airport or a train station for flights home or beyond.

Though our hikes aren’t extremely long – max 10 mile days with max of around 2000 feet of elevation gain and loss – these mountains are made of crumbly karst limestone so the footing can be a bit treacherous and exhausting and summits and ridges can have some moderate exposure (see photos of some of the typical terrain at this link).   The highest point is approx 4600 feet. 

Because we’re hitting the highlights of a diverse country stretching over 500 miles from north to south, we will have to endure from 45 minutes to 4 hours of driving or ferrying on many of our trip days.  Transport will be with our own dedicated driver in a comfortable van with our belongings coming with us, and every night we’ll be in a comfortable hotel, many adjacent to lovely restful beaches.  So interspersed with a good level of physical challenge there will be plenty of time to hike, explore and just unwind.

Time of Year:    September-October, when crowds are beginning to thin and temperatures to moderate.

Lodging:   We’ll be staying in nice 3-star to 4-star hotels with private bath convenient to our itinerary and local restaurants and sightseeing.  All accommodations are on a twin-share or double-share basis and we can’t accommodate requests for singles.

Food:   Breakfasts will be provided at all of our hotels.  We may stop for a few restaurant lunches along our route where convenient (individuals pay for their own) but most trail days we’ll buy our own lunch and snack food at supermarkets and prepare our own trail lunches.  A group welcome dinner in Zagreb and farewell dinner in Dubrovnik will be paid for; on days when we’re on our own, participants are free to choose a restaurant or a relaxed take out meal on the beach; for all other dinners we’ll go out as a group to a recommended restaurant in walking distance of our lodgings with tasty local specialties where individuals can purchase their own meal.

Leader’s Experience:   Cheryl Talbert has been a hike and backpack leader for the Mountaineers since 2009 and a Global Adventures leader since 2012.  She has led many Mountaineers hikes and several Mountaineers and private backpacks, treks and cultural trips around the U.S. west and worldwide, including 34 successful Global Adventures from Turkey and Portugal to Bhutan, Peru and Patagonia, and the Alps.  This is her first trip in the Balkans.  (

Participant Requirements:   Must be a current Mountaineers member with an up-to-date waiver on file. Participants must be fully vaccinated.  This outing includes strenuous hiking on rugged terrain (including some steep scree slopes and rugged rocky footing) for multiple successive days, so participants need to be in excellent aerobic condition with good balance and confidence traveling on rough, sometimes exposed trail, and with the experience and willingness to deal with some discomfort, cold and inclement weather for extended periods.    Recent experience with multi-day strenuous backpacking, day-hiking or mountain trekking, plus a positive attitude and a demonstrated ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions, will be very important.   NOTE:  As a Mountaineers group we will operate as interdependent, capable travelers making our way together and helping one another succeed and be safe.  Each of us is responsible for our own safety and that of our fellow travelers.  You must have the ability to navigate on trails with a map and compass.

Covid-19 Requirements:  Participants must be fully vaccinated to participate in the trip.  In addition, participants are expected to practice conservative covid behavior before and during transit to the trip including masking and avoiding crowded indoor spaces whenever possible; and to carry covid self-tests on the trip and use them at any time when they experience a symptom commonly related to covid.  Any positive test will mean that the participant will need to leave the group and quarantine at their own expense for at least 5 days (or longer if not symptom free, per CDC guidelines) before flying home.

Trip Price Detail:   $3000 including all lodging, airport transfers, ground transportation, all breakfasts and two dinners along the trek plus detailed maps and trip support.  Your airfare ~$1600), travel insurance ($75-350), 14 lunches, 12 dinners and all drinks (~$500-700) are not included.   International medical and emergency evacuation insurance are required.  Trip Cancellation insurance is recommended in case you contract covid or other illness before or during the trip and have to leave; Trip Delay insurance is recommended in case you incur extra expenses to quarantine away from home due to Covid.

Registration Instructions:   Please complete and submit the application form at the button below, after which the leader may get back to you with additional questions.    (Leader permission requests are not required, only the application.) PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER UNTIL YOU THE LEADER APPROVES YOU TO JOIN THE ROSTER!)  Applications will be collected for 2-3 weeks before any spots may be granted. 

Acceptance on the roster will not be based on the date of application, but rather based on your experience, fitness and compatibility with the trip.  Preference will be given to people who also sign up for the Slovenia adventure, and prior multi-day trip experience with the leader and compatibility with her trip style will be an advantage, though any applicant who meets the trip requirements will get full consideration.

After the leader’s approval to join the roster, please pay the 50% deposit ($1500) in order to hold your space (a place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit).  You will be required to sign the Mountaineers Covid-19 code of conduct to join the roster.  Registration will close as soon as the roster fills. The balance of the trip payment will be due sometime in August. As soon as you have registered you are asked to complete the online Trip Agreement and Liability Release forms at the buttons below.

Application     Trip Agreement     Release
Supplemental Information

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel anytime up to 59 – 29 days before departure, you may receive a refund of your payments to date less a  $700 cancellation fee.  If you cancel between 15 and 28 days before departure, you may receive a refund of your payments to date less a  $1100 cancellation fee. If you cancel less than 14 days before departure you will not be eligible for a refund.  The above cancellation fees may be waived (up to but not including the $100 Mountaineers cancellation fee) if we are able to register a replacement for you on the roster.


Dayhike and Explore Croatia’s Seacoast, Islands and Mountain Parks

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After receiving your deposit, the leader will send out a series of letters or emails providing information to help participants succeed on the trip, including recommended and required gear, recommended maps and guidebooks.


Trip Reports