One of the best winter joys is sledding. If it is snowing in Croatia, all you need to do is grab a sled or cardboard or a bucket and find the nearest hill covered with the snow.
There are many places in Croatia where you can go sledding regardless of whether you own one or not. We put together a list of the most popular places to go sledding in Croatia. Most of them are located within popular ski resorts.
To make sure you are extra prepared, we also included a list of where to buy a sled and some useful sled vocabulary (because we are geeks).
In this article, we cover:
- Where to go sledding in Croatia
- A story of past winters in Croatia
- Where to buy sleds in Croatia
- Sledding vocabulary
Let’s get started…
There is a sledding path near the ski resort “Čelimbaša” at Mrkopalj. Sledding is free. It is possible to rent sleds at the hostel “Skijaški dom Mrkopalj”. Food and drinks to-go can also be purchased at the hostel.
How to get Mrkopalj:
- By car – At Delnice, turn south to Lujzijana road. Turn left at Park šuma Golubinjak, and drive ~11 kilometers until you get to Mrkopalj.
Mrkopalj – View map
Čelimbaša – View map
The hills of Slavonija hide some beautiful locations to enjoy winter activities. There is a popular sledding path at Jankovac at Papuk Nature Park. This is especially stunning during winter when snow covers the hills and woods. Jankovac mountain lodge is also there in case you need a pauza in a warm place.
How to get to Papuk:
- From Slatina – Drive to south ~ 25 kilometers until you arrive at Slatinski Drenovac. After ~10 minutes, you will arrive at Jankovac.
- From Požega – Drive to north ~ 20 kilometers until you arrive at Velika. After ~ 15 kilometers, you will arrive at Jankovac.
Papuk Nature Park – View map
Petehovac mountaineering center is a popular sledding destination, which overlooks Delnice, Gorski kotar, Risnjak National park, and the Slovenian Alps. The center rents sleds, but they are grabbed quickly, so it is best to come early or bring your own.
There is also a mountain lodge where you can sleep over and immerse yourself in winter beauties over the weekend. You can also buy takeaway food and drinks to-go. Try their mulled wine (kuhano vino), which is excellent.
How to get to Petehovac:
- From Rijeka – When you come to Delnice, turn left at the INA gas station. When you see a road sign for Petehovac, follow it. After 10 minutes on the forest road, you will come to Petehovac.
- From Zagreb – When you come to Delnice, turn right at the INA gas station. When you see a road sign for Petehovac, follow it. After 10 minutes on the forest road, you will come to Petehovac.
Platak is located in Gorski kotar, near Rijeka. Platak has a separated sledding path located beside the ski path “Pribeniš 1” and Veliki dom Platak. It is a very popular ski resort in Croatia so keep in mind that it will probably be crowded. You can bring your own sleds or rent them for 30 kuna per day.
How to get to Platak:
- By bus – Every Saturday and Sunday, a bus line “12b” drives from Rijeka to Platak. You can see the schedule here.
- By car
- From Rijeka – At Automotodrom Grobnik, before the toll station, turn to the old road towards Gorski kotar. After 8 kilometers, turn left to the local road towards sports center Platak. After 9 kilometers, you will come across a big parking lot after which is another parking beside Veliki dom Platak.
- From Zagreb – At Oštrovica, turn to the old road towards Gornje Jelenje. Turn left at Gornje Jelenje towards the Kamenjak direction. After 8 kilometers, turn right to the local road towards sports center Platak. After 9 kilometers, you will come across a big parking lot after which is another parking beside Veliki dom Platak.
Ski path Platak – View map
Veliki dom Platak – View map
If you live near Zagreb, you can visit Samoborsko gorje instead of going to the popular Sljeme. There is a sledding path at the highest peak of Samoborsko gorje called Japetić (879 m). You can grab food and drinks in the mountain lodge. It is possible to get there by car, but hiking enthusiasts can pick one of many hiking trails to Japetić.
Another sledding path at Samoborsko gorje is at Plešivica called Kamenice. The tradition of sledding on Plešivica is older than 110 years. There is a sledding club that has been active on Plešivica since 1907. They organize sledding competitions for children.
How to get to Plešivica:
- By car
- From Zagreb – Turn right at Jaska and drive towards Donja Reka. You will arrive at Plešivica after ~15 minutes.
- From Rijeka – Turn left at Jaska and drive towards Donja Reka. You will arrive at Plešivica after ~15 minutes.
Japetić – View map
Plešivica – View map
A favorite place of the citizens of Zagreb and its surroundings is Sljeme. Sljeme (1.033 m high) is the highest peak of the mountain of Medvednica, but the people of Zagreb often call the whole mountain “Sljeme”.
The most popular place for sledding on Sljeme is a hill called “Činovnička livada”. It is the main crossing of hiking trails that come from the side of Zagreb and the side of Zagorje. The list of all hiking trails on Medvednica is available here. Sledding at Činovnička livada is free.
How to get to Sljeme:
- By bus – ZET bus line 140 drives to Činovnička livada. You can see the schedule here. Read about public transport in Zagreb here.
Medvednica – View map
Medvednica – View hiking trails
Činovnička livada – View map
Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t have a whole day or budget to travel somewhere else just to go sledding. This actually isn’t a problem because you can find the nearest hill covered with the snow and enjoy its pleasures.
The only thing you have to do is gather your friends, prepare a few tasty sandwiches, and the sledding party can start! There is a special joy in making your own snow path for sledding.
Back when I was a child, every winter in Croatia was full of snow, specifically in the north and east, Gorski kotar, and Lika. We used the term “snijeg do koljena” (snow to the knee) to indicate that a lot of snow had fallen. However, snow has always been very rare on the Adriatic coast and Croatian islands.
Now, due to the climate change, snow falls occasionally and it is not like it used to be. It still falls at the mountain areas, but when it falls everywhere else, it melts very quickly because it is wet, and not dry and solid. The temperature of the air changes too quickly and it is almost impossible for snow to survive for a longer period.
I spent my childhood in Hrvatsko zagorje, a picturesque hilly area in the northwest of Croatia. We had a true white Christmas – we were always covered with “snijeg do koljena”. During winter holidays, all children would go out to play and enjoy the snow.
In my neighborhood, there were more than 20 children and all of us played together on the local hills and on the street. We made sledding paths everywhere: on the hills, streets, and fields. No one was upset, not even the car drivers. Everyone was happy to see us play and the adults would often sled together with us.
We used to tie the sleds one to the other to form a train. This was so hilarious and exciting! Just imagine a picturesque image of a snowy hill surrounded with trees and children playing and laughing. This was my childhood during winter!
If you don’t have sleds, and you like to sled often during winter, it is cheaper to buy one then spend the money on renting. You can buy sleds in most big sports shops. Prices usually vary between 100 kuna and 600 kuna.
You can choose between many different sleds including:
- Plastic sleds
- Wooden sleds
- Motor sleds
- Sledding plates
- Sledding bags, etc.
Here are some shops where you can buy sleds and other sledding equipment:
Word: sanjkati (se)
Meaning: to sled
Word: sanjke / saonice
Word: snijeg –> Watch Sara say this word here.
Phrase: Gdje je staza za sanjkanje?
Meaning: Where is the sledding path?
Phrase: Hladno je. / Zima je. –> Watch Sara say this phrase here.
Meaning: It’s cold.
Phrase: Idemo na sanjkanje!
Meaning: Let’s go sledding!
Phrase: Imaš li sanjke?
Meaning: Do you have sleds?
Phrase: Kolika je cijena sanjki?
Meaning: What is the price of sleds?
Phrase: Makni se!
Phrase: Pada snijeg.
Meaning: Snow is falling.
Phrase: Pazi! –> Watch Sara say this word here.
Meaning: Watch out!
Phrase: Smrzavam se!
Meaning: I’m freezing!
Phrase: Snijeg do koljena
Meaning: Snow to the knee (a huge amount of snow)
Phrase: Želim unajmiti sanjke.
Meaning: I want to rent a sled.
Learn more Croatian holiday words and phrases here.