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Paklenica

Paklenica National Park is the first protected area in Velebit, it is particularly attractive for climbers who are regular visitors of cliffs, caves and caverns, and the most famous cliff is 712 m high Anića kuk.
Highlights
  • Velebit mountain, 145 km long is the biggest mountain in Croatia and the whole mountain is protected as a Nature Park
  • Paklenica National Park was established in 1949 and it protects a special area in the south of Velebit mountain
  • Paklenica is a result of unique bio system started by geological forces creating a mountain over 1600 m tall right next to the Adriatic sea
Activities
  • Hiking in Paklenica is the only real way to get around so the area is crisscrossed with almost 200 km of trails and paths
  • Cycling is possible in several locations and the Park has a special 8 km long marked cycling and hiking educational trail
  • Paklenica is the most popular climbing centre in Croatia with over 360 routs of various difficulty
  • 76 speleological objects have been explored in the Park, namely 39 pits and 37 caves
Sights
  • Amazing views from the top of the mountain towards the sea which is just a few km away
  • Many endemic plants for some of which Velebit mountain is the only location where they grow in the world
  • Unique geological locations with many canyons, cliffs and caves all around
  • Velika Paklenica canyon is 14 km long and 50-800 m wide and over 700 m high

Attractions

Velika Paklenica canyon is 14 km long and 500-800 m wide. In its narrowest part around the Bunkers, the canyon is only 50 m wide. Vertical cliffs rise above both sides of the canyon up to a height of over 700 m. The most attractive part is the area around the steep drop of the stream downstream from Anića luka, where steep cliffs rise directly above the stream, forming the narrowest part of the canyon between Anića luka and the parking lot.

Mala Paklenica Canyon is of lesser dimension, and the torrent running through it is much less powerful. It is 12 km long and 400-500 wide. In its narrowest part, it is only 10 m wide, while the surrounding cliffs rise up to a height of 650 m. The pass between the Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica Canyons is formed by a very inaccessible karstic area comprising rocks and cliffs.

The cracks in the rocks have specific microclimatic conditions, enabling many plants to survive the unfavorable period of the last glaciation. That is why numerous endemic and relict species can be found in such karstic habitats. These include the bell flower (Campanula fenestrellata), Croatian bell flower (Campanula cochleariifolia), Waldstein bell flower (Campanula waldsteiniana) and Arenaria orbicularis, which only grow in the canyons of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica and nowhere else in the world.

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. Park also organises guided hiking tours.

Cycling

The eight-kilometers-long bike & pedestrian track leads from the center of Starigrad – Paklenica to the reception in Velika Paklenica, through old villages all the way to Seline. The Educational Track “A Short Journey through History” is part of this pedestrian & bike track. It is equipped with five boards presenting the history of the area from prehistoric times to date.

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. 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.

Speleology

A trail starts in Anića luka toward the west side of the canyon, to Manita peć. The entrance to the cave is at an altitude of around 550 m. The 175-meters-long cave is divided into two halls abundant with stalagmites, stalactites, dripstone pillars and cascades. Because of their interesting forms, some of these ornaments have been given names such as the helmet or organ. It takes 10-30 years for an ornament to grow by just a millimeter, depending on the water dripping speed.

Manita peć has been explored and searched for fauna by numerous renowned European biospeleologists. This resulted in discoveries of new species like the pseudoscorpion Chthonius radjai and the small crab Bogidiella sketi.

Cultural Heritage

The Paklenica National Park Public Institution has purchased and renovated the old house in the almost abandoned village of Marasovići, directly in front of the entrance to the Park. The ethno house contains a small ethno layout consisting of some preserved household, farming and other tools and furniture, depicting the way of life, customs and beliefs of this area’s residents. The house also contains a small info-center with a souvenir shop, and a tavern offering traditional food of the area.

During the first half of the 19th century, seven water mills were built on Velika Paklenica Creek. Up until the 1960s, these mills were used to serve the households in Podgorje, and often from Ravni Kotor and the island archipelagos as well. Today, not one of these mills is still in function, even though they are still in good condition. In order for the park administration to preserve the mills, as a specific form of traditional industry, the Paklenica National Park, with the professional assistance of the conservation experts of the Office for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the Mid Marasović Mill was restored in 2000.

Gifts

Souvenir shop is located in the Park visitors centre and offers a lot of local and traditional products.