Visiting Northern Velebit National Park

Northern Velebit National Park
Image by Apartments Nives

Northern Velebit National Park is in the northern part of Croatia’s largest mountain range and nature park called “Velebit”, which lines the Adriatic coast south of Senj. Karst landscapes, dense forests, sedimentary rocks, rolling grasslands, caves, and plenty of animal and plant species are its main beauties. The park is also home to the strict nature reserve Hajdučki i Rožanski kukovi.

Nacionalni park Sjeverni Velebit is also rich with a multitude of mountain trails, including the epic Via Dinarica mega trail, which runs through its heart. With so many hiking opportunities, it would be hard to run out of paths to take.

Why you should visit Northern Velebit National Park

Zavižan planinarski dom
Image by Indirektno
  • Hajdučki i rožanski kukovi

This nature reserve, which lies within the national park, attracts hikers, alpinists, and naturalists. It is declared as one of the most interesting speleological phenomena in the world with its torn rocky peaks, karst sinkholes, and chasms. Inside this nature reserve, you can find the deepest cave in Croatia and 14th deepest cave in the world called “Lukina jama”. It is 1431 m deep.

  • Planinarski Dom Zavižan

Zavižan is a mountain lodge and the oldest high-altitude weather station in Croatia set atop a rocky ridge within the park. Stay the night and wake up to panoramic views of the park as well as the Adriatic sea.

  • Kuća Velebita

In the village of Krasno, one of largest mountain villages in Croatia, is Kuća Velebita. It is an educational house spread over four floors where you can see various insects and birds, large beasts, and endemic plant species adapted to the extreme living conditions of the park.

  • Plant oasis

More than 950 plant species and subspecies are registered in the park. Forty of them are endemic and the most popular is Hrvatska sibireja due to its rarity. In Croatia, Hrvatska sibireja grows only at Velebit. It is a Siberian plant and can stand temperatures as low as -30 Celsius degrees. Velebit botanical garden is only a 15-minute walk from Zavižan.

  • Great beasts

You probably wouldn’t like to meet these animals eye to eye, but the fact that medvjed (bears), vuk (a wolves), and ris (lynxes) still live in Velebit’s forests is proof the native residents are highly preserved. The chance of encountering a bear is very rare because they run from noise but it can happen. Lynx and a wolves are very rarely seen and mostly only a camera can catch them.

  • Štirovača

Štirovača is a vast valley situated 1100 m above sea level. It is surrounded by extensive pristine coniferous forests. It also has a water spring that feeds the surrounding grasslands.

How to visit the Northern Velebit National Park

Where it is

Nacionalni park Sjeverni Velebit is located in the northern part of the biggest Croatian mountain range Velebit in Lika-Senj county.

When to go

The best time to visit Northern Velebit National Park is in spring, when the whole mountain is in bloom. Access to the park depends strongly on the snow on top of Velebit Mountain. It is recommended to check out the road conditions before heading out as sometimes snow can be a problem.

Park hours depend on the time of the year and the weather. Before planning a trip, check the latest opening hours on the park’s web site as they have been known to change and are only posted on a month-by-month basis.

How to get to Sjeverni Velebit National Park

The northern part of the park

Babić Siča in the northern part of Velebit is the main entrance to the park. Babić Siča (1300 meters) is also the entrance to Zavižan and Velebit botanical garden. You can get to Babić Siča from the direction of Oltar. Follow the signs and turn right in Oltar. Follow the road for 10 km and it will lead you to Babić Siča. There are an additional 7 kilometers of mountain road from Babić Siča to Zavižan.

If you arrive to Babić Siča from the direction of Krasno, follow the rocky road for 5 km road through the village of Vukelići.

The southern part of the park

The southern part of the park includes Štirovača and Alan grasslands. From Krasno, take the road to Štirovača for 29 km. Another way is to reach Štirovača from the direction of Gospić. There is an asphalt road that passes through Pazarište.

If you want to visit Alan, turn to the west three km before Štirovača towards the sea. Drive 9 km via the mountain road without major climbs. It is also possible to reach Alan from the Adriatic road above Jablanac. There is a 25-kilometer long road that goes to Alan. Keep in mind that it is pretty narrow.

View from Northern Velebit National Park
Image by Via Adriatica

Tickets & Pricing

Park Tickets
Individual 45 knValid for 3 days
Individual, discounted30 knValid for 3 days
Group, per person35 knValid for 3 days
Family, per group115 knValid for 3 days
Kuća Velebita Tickets (Information Center)
Individual40 knValid for 1 visit
Individual, discounted25 knValid for 1 visit
Group, per person30 knValid for 1 visit
Family, per group100 knValid for 1 visit
Combined Tickets (Park and Kuća Velebita)
Individual70 knValid for 3 days in park and 1 visit to Kuća Velebita
Individual, discounted40 knValid for 3 days in park and 1 visit to Kuća Velebita
Group, per person50 knValid for 3 days in park and 1 visit to Kuća Velebita
Family, per group180 knValid for 3 days in park and 1 visit to Kuća Velebita
  • A family ticket covers 2 adults with children up to 14 years of age.
  • A group is defined as “visitors on announced excursion organized by travel agencies, NGOs or other legal entities or as minimum of 15 individuals visiting the Park and/or Kuća Velebita together and not eligible for other types of discount.” Groups are required to book in advance.

Discounted tickets are available for:

  • Mountaineers (does not include Kuća Velebita)
  • Walkers and cyclists (does not include Kuća Velebita)
  • Students
  • People over 60 years of age
  • Croatian war veterans
  • Disabled people
  • Children 6 to 14 years of age

Free tickets are available for:

  • Children under 6 years of age
  • Persons with special permit of the Park management
  • Members of Croatian Armed Forces or Croatian Police Forces if on exercise or a task, members of Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, and journalists writing about the park as long as advance notice is provided to the park.
  • For organized group visits, a driver, one companion, and one guide have approved free entrance, and for school groups, one teacher/professor on 15 students has approved free entrance.

Educative programs

1. Multimedia presentations

If you want, true experts can teach you more about Velebit through multimedia presentations. Presentation subjects cover the natural and cultural values of the park and specific topics such as geology, animal and plant life, and cultural heritage.

  • Duration: 45 – 60 minutes
  • Group size: up to 100 persons
  • Price: 250,00 kn/group

More info here

2. Half-day guided tour

A half-day guided tour includes professional guidance, arrival and return to Krasno, multimedia presentation, visiting Zavižan and the weather station, and a hike through the botanical garden.

  • Duration: about 5 hours
  • Group size: up to 50 persons.
  • Prices:
    • Guidance – 400,00 kn/group
    • Guidance with presentation – 500,00 kn/group
    • Entrance fee – 35,00 kn/person

More info here

3. Full-day guided tour

A full-day guided tour includes professional guidance, arrival and return to Krasno, multimedia presentation, visiting Zavižan and the weather station, a hike through the botanical garden, and a hike through famous Premužić Trail to Rossi’s shelter or Alan.

  • Duration: about 8 hours
  • Group size: up to 50 persons
  • Prices:
    • Guidance – 600,00 kn/group
    • Guidance with presentation – 700,00 kn/group
    • Entrance fee – 35,00 kn/person

More info here

4. Educational program for children

An educational program called “Little Green Workshop” which includes the programs „Little meteorologist“, „Little botanist“ and „Little naturalist“ is available for elementary school children. This educational program includes entrance fee to the Park, a multimedia presentation, worksheets, and educator guidance.

  • Duration: up to 5 hours
  • Group size: 20-25 children
  • Price: 60,00 kn/person

More info here

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